Jump to content

South Grafton Fly-In


Recommended Posts

South Grafton airfield has finally dried out, and the annual Fly-In coinciding with the Jacaranda Festival is on again, 31 Oct - 1 Nov.


South Grafton has always been home to a very welcoming group of flyers, and we've had some good times there. Not only at the annual fly-in, but also any time, with ready offers to help cart fuel from the nearby servo, and a bed in their bunkhouse for overnight.


They've had a heck of a bad time there this year. Flying north up the coast in May, I had planned to stopover, but found the whole airfield, including hangars, under water...... Then later they tried to do a fly-in only to get washed out again.... But it's finally dried out now, so let's all make a real effort to go there and show our support.


All those Jacaranda trees are in bloom, so the city is a haze of Jacaranda blue. Plenty of other festival activities all around the city. South Grafton shows a lot of history, with lots of early workers' cottages, and a couple of little old working class pubs with real character.


The aero club will be doing a bar-b-que and breakfast, and reckon they'll find enough food for all of us. Let's test them on that, and turn out in huge numbers!







Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Don't forget, South Grafton is on this coming weekend.


Long range weather looking good.


Lots of us planning to go, should be a good gathering.


See ya there!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just got back from the South Grafton Fly-In and scenic tour, what an excellent weekend!


South Grafton AeroClub is always very friendly and welcoming, and during the Jacaranda Festival their annual Fly-In is extra good. They’ve had a heck of time this year, with the entire airfield under water in the floods in May, then tried to organize a Fly-In a couple of months later and got rained out again....... So we really wanted to show our support this time.


We started out from Kilcoy at 6:30 on a perfect Saturday morning for flying. That was Hans and Kenny 701, Geno 701, Dags Savannah, JohnG Savannah, Gordon and Allison Sonex, and Roger from Caboolture Savannah. The air so steady and smooth at that early hour, and the morning light just brilliant on the scenery. Jalapeno Savannah from Toogoolawah was also on his way. First stop Boonah to try to stir up some of those fliers. Rob and his partner in the Lightwing were already primed to go. The rest of them there all had excuses......


Over the range at the Border Loop, where the train goes through the mountain and then does a 360º loop through two more tunnels as it descends into the next valley. When I went over, a passenger train was just leaving the loop and headed south, with it’s passengers no doubt enjoying the scenery but nothing as spectacular as we saw it. They’ve had real good rain in those parts, so brilliant green everywhere. Follow the highway to Grafton, and then the whole city is a purple haze of Jacaranda blossoms!


Lots of airplane and flying talk. We gave lots of free advice to help Richard to understand that useless instruction manual for the Savannah that he’s building at the field. He’s done a really good job despite that manual....


The bar in the clubhouse was soon busy, with a large friendly circle of stools swapping stories. Then a fine big smorgasbord meal, some more general B/S, and early to bed, some in our cozy tents under the wings and some in the club bunkhouse. As I’ve said before, South Grafton is a very welcoming field for a stopover at any time.


Next morning we had planned to fly early via Mt Warning, and the Scenic Rim, but dark low cloud and showers to the north were ominous. Over breakfast the locals suggested we instead go coastal, with a stop at McIntyre Field (Palmer Island). That sounded like a great idea so off we went, down along that magnificent Clarence River, along with Grafton locals Peter Eurofox, Trevor Kitfox and Col Boorabee. Eleven aircraft arrived at McIntyre Field, so Bob McIntyre was delighted, and Annette was hard pressed to find enough coffee cups and biscuits. We learned that they have a popular fly-in barbeque every Australia Day, so we’ll really try to be there next time, sub-tropical ‘wet’ season weather permitting.....


On to the coast, where the weather was brilliant again. Magnificent flight along the beach, past Evans Head, Ballina and Byron Bay. Inland again at Ocean shores, headed for the Numinbah Valley, but low cloud filled the pass, so back to Murwillumbah to land and re-plan..... Locals advised the landmarks to watch for in order to go through behind the Coolangatta control zone. That was a clear run, with a grand view of all the development along the Gold Coast. Then around Mt Tamborine and home to Kilcoy.


On the ground everyone was still buzzing with the pleasure and excitement from the trip. A pleasant adventure that will be a treasured memory for the rest of our lives. Lots of grand scenery, some weather challenges successfully managed that become a good learning experience, and an excellent and growing social circle of like-minded flyers.


I’m forever encouraging aircraft owners to get out of their home patch and use their aircraft more. This weekend was a really good example. We can only go on long trips to the outback once in awhile, but can go on short adventures like this on any weekend. The RAAus social circle is growing all the time, and these aircraft, especially home-builds, attract such interesting, diverse, and independent-minded characters. There’s always somewhere to go and swap aircraft news and views, and learn more about their projects. It’s really a heck of a lot of fun when you get away from your home field and see some new country and meet some new flyers. We look forward to seeing you around, and hearing your stories. Contact Dags at [email protected] to get on the email list of upcoming events.


The next weekend adventure for us will be Mt Perry, near Bundaberg, 21-22 November. It’s a country race meeting, where they open the middle of the race course for aircraft landings, and provide camping facilities and catering. Sounds like a lot of outdoor fun!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...