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First lesson


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Only had the one fly in the VH Gazelle at Horizons... That was enough to cure me of that!!! At the time I posted asking if I should change my profile to show the Gazelle... and it seemed to be agreed that it would not be inappropriate and of course my home field is Mackay because I spend 50+ hours every week there working as ground crew with the BIG birds.


I have had a fair amount of flying experience... I grew up in a Gliding environment i.e. every weekend until I was 15 years old or so. Dad was CFI at Leichardt Soaring Club from day dot for me... You can find some old movie footage of my youth I have posted in the video section of gliding operations in North West Queensland.


The gliding club closed up shop in Mount Isa in the mid eighties... the clubs Blanik VH-GIY was leased to the Burdekin Gliding Club... the fact that they stopped paying the lease on it, transferred the rego to their clubs name and said "Sorry we are keeping it" after a few years is another story... and pretty much put an end to gliding in Mount Isa... It was always the plan to re-commence club operations in the future as at the time the club stopped flying MIM was going through a period of restructuring and the local economy...i.e the jobs of most of the members... dried up.


So that pretty much put an end to my flying...


In the early 90's I found a magazine in the local newsagent (may even have been the late 80's)... this magazine was what today has become Pacific Flyer... It was Pacific Ultralights and I think may have even been called something else way back then... So I started buying them and leaving them where my dad would find them... Of course back then no self respecting pilot would be caught dead flying a "dangerous" ultralight... over the years we had all witnessed the antics of a fellow called Tony Bilboro (I think) trying to fly his GyroCopter and he was in fact banned from using the local glider port because everyone was convinced he was trying to kill himself and he very nearly did on the several occasions I saw him try to fly... and another fellow who's name I can't recall who was the local Parachute Clubs pilot bought an ultralight (a fairly sophisticated machine by my dad's description), flew it with no training and crashed it on his first flight... and spent many months recuperating form his injuries... This happened in the final days of the Gliding Club and was witnessed by the remaining members including my dad (fortunately that day I was not there)... So Dad didn't think much of ultralights.


I remember over many years of leaving my Pacific Ultralight Mags with dad and every now and then showing him articles about the more and more "real" aircraft like ultralights popping up in Australia... and then along came the Skyfox. I ordered a promotional Video which impressed Dad... he likened it to a very light Auster and his interest started to grow. In the early 90's a dealer bought a Skyfox to 'the Isa' and I arranged a flight in it for dad (and myself) and he started making "I could buy one of these" noises... but with an ever increasing work load at MIM it never eventuated.... It was always Dad's plan to buy a machine when he retired and that was his plan.


Dad's best mate was a gentlemen called Doug Bruhn who used to own an aviation business in Mount Isa... he always planned on spending his retirement flying with his buddy. Doug had retired in the eighties to the Gold Coast and based his Super Cub (formerly the gliding clubs tow plane) at a private field. A couple of years before retirement Dad was on holidays at the Gold Coast visiting Doug, making plans, when they arranged to visit the Clifton Flyin... at this time to cut a long story short I was bumming it and living the wild life in Brisbane after having divorced and gone bankrupt in my business thus no flying for me. I got a phone call at about lunch time on the day of the fly in that still to this day makes me nervous about answering phones... My Mum was on the phone crying... She explained that Doug had crashed and was dead. My first thought was for my Dad as I had assumed that they would be flying in Doug's Super Cub... but as I got the story out of my Mum it turned out that Doug had borrowed an RV-3 for the days flying and had lost the engine after take off and put it in at the school near the Toowoomba Airfield after having had lunch at the Zucoli hanger... dad was in the back seat of a Piper belonging to another ex Mount Isan mate and was safe... and had jumped out and ran all the way to the school to witness a very gruesome accident scene in person. Doug was almost finished building an RV-4 and was using the smaller RV to get some experience before test flying his new machine.


I can honestly say that my Dad has never been the same since... I wouldn't say the light went out on Dad's flying dreams but it certainly dimmed to a tiny flicker. I am not sure he has ever fully recovered... but he did get his Ra-Aus certificate with Trevor Bange form Clifton in a Drifter at Rainbow Beach a few years ago... and dreams of flying still. Sadly his health is not the best... He is not the same man since the death of his friend... and now has Hodgkins lymphoma...


Soooooo... that is my long story. Not long after Doug died I suddenly decided that the life of a struggling musician was not for me and started looking to the skies again... so about 7 years ago I moved back to North West Qld and started working 9 to 5 always with the idea in the back of my mind to get my Pilot certificate... My daughter was born just over 6 years ago so that sort of slowed things down and there was never any training available in Mount Isa or in Mackay where I now live... So I joined this forum dreaming and gathering information on where I would have to travel to, in order to start my flying... I have not rushed as it always seemed a bit crazy to have the certificate but not be able to use it while living in Mackay.


Now... somehow as always seems to happen in life... the flying has finally come to me and there is no stopping me.


I am nervous as a virgin bride about my training... after my "Uncle" Doug's death it has taken years to get over a feeling I find it hard to describe... I would not call it fear... but it is something significant. The flight I took last year in the Gazelle was my first flight since then at the controls of a light aircraft and it went a long way towards soothing my shattered confidence (even if the machine was as rough as guts i.e. rusting, and the instructor scared the sxxt out of me and himself by not taking much notice as we almost exceeded Vne- I would never fly with them again)


So... it has been a long journey... but I will finally be back in the sky... my spiritual home... the culmination of a lifetime of dreaming...


Sorry if this is a long post... I hope some of you may take something positive away from it.


To cut a long story short... I am now 41 years old... and have been a pilot in my soul since the day I was born... and finally I am going to get my wings!!!





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Wolf... Lessons not TIF.


Destiny... according to the CFI at the new school they are already discussing acquiring a second aircraft due to demand.... Not too bad considering the aircraft only arrived about a month ago. That is why I will be arriving at 0530hrs... got to get in early due to high demand... with the average wage in this area being quoted as $110k/year I think there will be a lot of miners investing in aircraft (unfortunately airline ground crew are not paid this well...Damn it!!!)


Personally I think it would be nice if they were able to add a Drifter or 582 Thruster to the fleet... The man behind the school has his 503 Thruster hanging in the rafters of the hanger... Probably a bit underpowered for serious training?



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Just did 1.4 hrs this morning... Now I need to buy a log book to put it in. Does anyone have any advice on a top quality log books... the sort that will last a lifetime. The Ra-aus ones don't seem to be very good quality. I have heard mention of the Airservices Australia Logbook?? Apparently they are good quality. I will go and look in the Clear Prop Store in a minute too.


It was a beautiful morning for flying... Fair bit of cloud broken cloud around. The Jabiru is a lovely machine compared to the Skyfox/Gazelle... Has a nice solid feel to it in the air. I was very impressed.











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Ok... to answer my own question about logbooks and the Clear Prop Shop... they sell ATC Logbooks. These were mentioned this morning as being good quality and the price is cheaper than quoted elsewhere.... Good stuff!


Thats a sale Ian!



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