Lawrie Hutton age 84 flying around Australia.

waraton

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#1
Lawrie is a very well known aviator in the Broken Hill area. He is a very active recreational pilot with a PPL and is currently on his way around Australia fulfilling a lifelong dream. Lawrie is also encouraging older Australians to live life to the full and is hopeful that his trip will inspire others to try something they have wanted to do. If you see Lawrie about the traps say hi to him, now on day 5, he is in Lismore heading towards Queensland as soon as he can get inland over the ranges, Lawrie is one of natures true gentlemen.

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The link below is to the ABC news story which gives some more background.

Elderly pilot takes off on round-Australia solo flight
 
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#2
What a great way to see our beautiful country, I'd love to do that one day. For now I am just working towards a flight next year to the Cape.
 

Yenn

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There goes my chance to be the oldest to circumnavigate the country. Lawrie is older than me.
I talked to an old bloke at Old Station, who had a twin commander (like Bob Hoover had) they gave him a spot nearest to the amenities and food stalls. He was younger than me. Got to be good to be flying a big twin at 81.
 

Mick

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I talked to an old bloke at Old Station, who had a twin commander (like Bob Hoover had) they gave him a spot nearest to the amenities and food stalls. He was younger than me.
Actually we put him where he was not going to blow anyones tent or aircraft away when he departed, the proximity to amenities was coincidental to that.
 

waraton

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UPDATE on Lawrie. I spoke with him earlier this evening and he is in Charters Towers. He tried to get to Mareeba today but the weather sent him back to Charters Towers. When back on the ground he picked up on a couple of minor repair issues which are being sorted by a father and son team at the Charters Towers airport. Waiting for parts, he will spend at least the weekend where he is. Although grateful for being somewhere assistance is readily available he is a little frustrated that he is falling a bit behind his schedule. When I passed on the encouraging comments that are being made by people when hearing of his adventure he told me there are a couple of media outlets trying to track him down. He is a little surprised at the interest but it is no surprise to the rest of us. His undertaking is an extraordinary effort for anyone and one that not many will ever achieve regardless of age. If you see a mature blue and white C-172 with its mature owner please go and say hello.
 

Yenn

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Mick. There was a C150 that should have been there also. He parked in front of 3 other aircraft and proceeded to blast away until some of your marshals moved him on What was he thinking, or was he thinking.
 

waraton

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Is there a way of tracking where he is?
One of Lawries supporters asked OZ Runways about this, unfortunately unless Lawrie is in your area, we can not track his flight. Next best option is to keep everyone updated with his daily diary each week which is below. Lawrie has said he will send some photos as well so I will post them when he does.

Day 1 was busy packing and getting away, even with all the help I received.
Flight to Bendigo,with a short stop at Swan Hill, was uneventful.

Day 2 Took off for Wildsons Prom, however after about 20 minutes I realised that the weather was against it, so back to Bendigo.

Day 3 Spent the whole day waiting for the weather to clear, but it didn't.
Lots of rain and wind.

Day 4 Decided to skip Wilsons Prom and headed for Armidale via Parkes for fuel. Landed at West Wylong due weather (wx) and decided to head for Dubbo for a quick fuel stop.
Arrived at Armidale with a few minutes of daylight.

Day 5 Headed over the ranges to Grafton and on to Lismore, and then to Cape Byron. Great to see, one compass point down 3 to go.
Back to Lismore.

Day 6 Lismore back over the ranges to Chinchilla and on to Emerald.
A fairly long day !

Day 7 Left Emerald under clear skies and arrived at Charters Towers.
Wx between here and Undara wasn't looking real flash, so decided to stay overnight. Had chance to catch up on laundry ( hard work this flying, a new experience on a motel washer, probably easier to get a Private pilot licence.)

This is a copy of a note that was sent to Channel 9 today, who are trying to arrange an interview:-

"Due to a couple of relatively minor mechanical problems, I shall most certainly be in Charters Towers today (Sat.) and tomorrow; probably Monday 5th as well. Trying to work my way around the weather, I have been held up and lost several days already. As a result I have changed my plans and now plan:- 5th June - Normanton 6th Weipa. Horn Island 7th Normanton 8th Boulia. Alice Springs 9th Ayres Rock. Warburton 10th Prenti Downs Meekatharra 11th Carnavon 12th Steep Point. Geraldton 13th Kalgoorlie 14th Forrest. Ceduna.
15th Broken Hill (home)

These are mere plans, probably a bit optimistic and all subject to weather, to aircraft (VH DMY) reliability and to this 84 year old performing.
Sorry, that I can’t be more definite, but unfortunately, I can’t be sure of anything.
It would seem that “after the fact” is the only time we can have any certainty."


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Headset check prior to leaving Broken Hill
 

waraton

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Above. A story on Lawrie published in the Barrier Daily Truth this week with the map outlining the planned trip.

This email received today from Lawrie today

Hi !
As I mentioned in my Day 8/9 epistle, I expected to have been to Normanton, Cape York, Horn Island, and back to Normanton by 7th June.
However, this was not to be so. The carburettor parts did not arrive until Tuesday evening and were fitted Wednesday morning.
When a test run was attempted the starter motor refused to cooperate, despite the earlier fitting of an alternate starter switch.
Further checks revealed that the solenoid was OK, and that the starter motor was u/s. A replacement was due about 8th (day 14) and duly arrived and was fitted.

Wow! after a week, almost to the hour, in Charters Towers, I was in the air again at about 1417 local time. Clear skies and with a light tailwind I managed to land in Normanton a few minutes after 1700 local.
DMY performed well, thanks to the attention he (she) had had in the past week.

I am thankful that the problems happened in Charters Towers where there are engineers etc. I have been very well looked after for accommodation etc.with the engineers, Bob and Ben (father and son). They have been extremely generous and hospitable beyond measure.
I have even had the use of their vehicle to have a look at the town and run back and forth to the airport.
I am beginning to feel like a local.

Tonight, I am comfortably settled in a motel in Normanton.
Tomorrow, maybe, Weipa, Horn Island, who knows ?

Again, thanks for your interest.
Regards
Lawrie(Lawrence)

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More from the local paper in Broken Hill.
 

waraton

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THIS FROM LAWRIE.......

.Subject: Round OZ Days 15-22

Hi !

Last Round QZ update Days 10-14, I mentioned that I had arived in Normaton from Charters Towers.

Day 15 After overnight and breakfast, I joined two fellow travellers (using their Beech Musketeer) in being driven to the airport by Amanda, the motel lady.
The local fuel man filled DMY up to the brims, despite the fact that it was a publc holiday in the district due to the 3 day RODEO in town. ( I knew I was in the bush now).
I left for Weipa for more fuel on my way to Cape York. The cloud wasn’t entirely favourable, however I was soon on the ground Weipa, refuelled and in the air again. The cloud lifted somewhat as I approached the Cape about Bamaga (Northern Peninsular airport) and YIPPEE Cape York. No 2 point reached.

I took the appropriate photos, however, I was somewhat disappointed with the results, as it was difficult with the glare on the camera screen, flying the plane etc.
No2 point achieved I head south for Moreton, a 4 wheel drive to the Cape stopover, some 60 minutes away through heavy haze.
On arrival, I overflew the complex, as arranged, and landed to be picked up by very friendly Pete, who with his wife Bec are managing the site. It is indeed a great complex; providing camping, eco tents, caravan sites and cabins (take your pick), together with a delightful open-air dining room. This night I enjoyed an excellent dinner of Barramundi prepared by chef Brian.

Day 16 Come morning, I was able to check on their landline that fuel was available in Coen (no Telstra coverage in these parts). After a good breakfast, I took off about 09.30, again in haze under cloud at 1500-2500ft and headed for Coen airport (the airport is about 25 kms out of the small town Coen). Arriving at 10.24, I was met by Clive, as friendly a fuel man as you will ever find. Clive even offered me a cup of tea at his house, but with 153 minutes in the air to follow to Normanton, thanks, but no thanks, Clive.
I arrived in Normanton a few minutes after 2.00 and was able to entice the fuel man to fill DMY up again. I always seem to be looking for fuel , don’t I ?
I rang Amanda, my lady at the motel and she arranged for one of her regular guests to pick me up from the airport. No cabs in Normanton.
I was fortunate to get a room, this being the Saturday night on the Rodeo weekend.

Day 17 After two weeks on the go (even though I had spent almost eight days on the ground), I decided to adopt a "PLAN B” ( or is it C or D).
Instead of heading west to Alice Springs and beyond, I will head south for hometown Broken Hill. I have several good reasons to be there for a couple of days. These include renewing my AFR (Airplane Flight Review), which might have expired had I missed a few more days in the west, reviewing my mail, paying a couple of bills, (strangely, they don’t go away when one goes away), an oil and filter change for DMY, and I needed a haircut etc etc.
So…this day 17, I headed south for Winton and Longreach. Good flying at 5500 with clear skies but a significant headwind. Climbed to 7500ft and with less headwind, picked up about 12 kts. Needed to check whether enough fuel on board to overfly Winton; all OK, so didn’t land at Winton and went on to Longreach.
Longreach, in the Jumbuck Motel overnight.

Day 18 There was a group of fellows at the motel, flying in three aircraft heading to Lawn Hill about 500nm to the north. It would be a great trip for them. If you get the chance, do a safari trip like this with a group. Jean and I really enjoyed a few group safaris. (Darwin and others).
It is always interesting to see the three aircraft permanently parked at Longreach:- a DC3, a Boering 707 and a Boering 747.
I was told that there is a restoration project underway for a Lockheed Constellation. From the bits I saw, it has a l-o-n-g way to go.
Don’t plan your trip to Longreach just yet.
I was off the ground about 0930 and headed south into a fairly stiff breeze and at 5500ft I was achieving just 84kts. After climing to 7500ft I managed 106 kts, still a bit short of what should do in calm air.
About 3 hours saw Thargomindah on the nose, and following landing and refuelling, I decided that since the weather looked good, DMY was going well and I was doing OK; to continue on to Broken Hill, a further 269 nm (498ms) to the south. Again the wind wasn’t entirely cooperative, however I arrived at the Silver City at about 0430.
I then enjoyed a cup of coffee with two engineers and aero club friends who were at the workshop despite this being the Monday of the long weekend, a publc holiday. I managed a lift home to pick up the Pajero, unpacked a few things, secured DMY for the evening and headed home.
Later went to Rob and Mark’s for dinner. They were just home from their weekend at Melrose, SA for church camp.
I do appreciate the comforts of home !

Days 19-22 I have been at home in Broken Hill; managed my AFR, sorted some mail, paid a couple of bills, had an oil and filter change for DMY and had a hairrcut. Mission accomplished.
I now plan (about "Plan G”) to head out of Broken Hill this Sunday afternoon and head for William Creek, then Curtain Springs , then Ulara and continue on with the original plans to the west and back. Time will tell !

Again, I thank you for your interest.
Regards
Lawrie (Lawrence)
 
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Well, Lawrie has reached three of his destinations despite several delays due to weather and electrical problems.

"I am back "on air” after visiting the far west. I am currently waiting on a three day clear weather envelope, so as to make a dash to overfly Wilsons Promontory, the fourth and final of my planned exteme compass points in my “adventure”. However, that said, it is good to be home for a few days."
Lawrie.
 

waraton

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Photo is John MacLeod, President of the Broken Hill Aero Club wishing Lawrie well. Now time for days 23 to 29 of Lawries adventure. In this section Lawrie refers to Jean, she is Lawries wife who passed away late last year. Jean was a big supporter of Lawries flying, her life was full of love and kindness.

Hi !
You will recall that I detoured back to Broken Hill, completed a few necessary tasks over a few days. Continuing then :-

Day 23 Saturday morning after men's bible study, I joined with others at the aero club for the usual morning coffee; about ten or so bods were present. The rest of the day I spent repacking DMY (unpacked, so as to enable the AFR to be carried out). I am travelling a little lighter this time.

Day 24 Up early, took my port to DMY and loaded. I then took the opportunity to visit the Rose Garden at the Broken Hill cemetery before finally deciding on the base etc for Jean's memorial plaque. After attending my usual Sunday morning service at the Broken Hill Church of Christ, I slipped away, changed into flying clothes at home and readied DMY for departure. All was ready about 1300 hrs, Mike G wandered by munching on a sandwich and Bruce C appeared to wish me well. In the air, I climbed to 6500 ft and picked up a good tailwind that gave me 138 kts (251 kph) over the ground. Balcanoona, the Flinders Range, Marree, the "Marree Man" soon went bye and William Creek appeared on the nose. DMY refuelled and tied down, I settled for dinner at the almost famous William Creek pub. I couldn't find the business card that Jean left on the wall of the pub about twelve years ago. There are probably several thousand cards that have found their way on to the wall over many years. I settled in for the night at the motel; not quite 5 star, but quite OK; even TV with just 1 channel, channel 7.

Day 25 I left William Creek, again with a fair tailwind at 6500 ft. After overflying the Oodnadatta Track, Marla on the Stuart Highway, Mt Connor, that Ayers Rock look-a-like, came into sight a long way out. I overflew the Curtin springs complex on the Lasseter Highway, as arranged, and landed on their airstrip. Tied down DMY and a lift arrived to take me to the complex, about 3kms away. Had lunch in the bough shed dining area and settled into a quite good motel room. I spent some time sorting out what needs to be done to refuel at Ayers Rock and fly "The Rock". Yes..... The airport is still "Ayers Rock Airport". The rock is "Ulura". The village is "Yulara" Confused ??? Me too ! For dinner, I sampled locally made sausages as recommended by Irish, ( yes, that is his name on his badge, his real name David Allen, get it ? ) my pick-up man from the airstrip. I, too, can recommend the snags. Talked with a NZ fellow, a dairyfarmer from Dunedin. He is doing a solo tour in a Britz VW campervan ( a bit heavy, with toilet, shower etc, 19 days $2000 plus fuel etc. Today......All good !!!

Day 26 This is the day that I had to spend here at Curtin Springs due to the fact that I couldn't get accommodation for tonight at Warburton, my next stop. It is a very pleasant place to spend a day; could be a bit hot in the summer though. I phoned Ayers Rock from the pay-phone box ( no Telstra coverage in these parts) and confirmed the info for flying in tomorrow morning. Would you believe?; you are supposed to fill in a form 24 hrs before. The lady on the phone kindly let me go around that. I also phoned Rob in Broken Hill, just to let her know that all was OK. I spend most of the afternoon chatting with the guys that I had met Sunday evening in William Creek. They had driven over Monday and part Tuesday. And were now staying overnight at Curtin Springs. Interesting to talk to them and it filled in the afternoon. We all enjoyed dinner in the Bough Shed.

Day 27 A lift to the airstrip, preflight DMY and in the air on way to Ayers Rock Airport. Refuelled, and then flew the scenic tour around Ulura and the Olgas. Before setting off for Docker River, Giles (the weather station), then a long leg to Warburton WA. The scenic around The Rock was quite an experience, flying, photoing and enjoying the view. Warburton is an aboriginal settlement, situated on the Great Central Road (Kalgoolie to Docker River and beyond). Appears to be quite a tidy village, possibly due to the illegiality of the consumpsion of alochol in the area. The Warburton Roadhouse offers accommodation, I am in room 27, and is a must stop for the travellers on this outback track. Accommodation is basic, but OK. Evening meal is delivered to the room. The Roadhouse is open just 9-5 M-F and 9-3 Sat-Sun, and locked up after these hours. The fuel bowsers (opal fuel) are locked behind mesh screens. There must have been a few problems in the past.

Day 28 Stephen, the fuelman gave me a ride to the airport and refuelled with the dearest avgas I have bought to date, $3.55 per litre. DMY uses almost 40 litres per hour. Left the ground just in front of a 9-10 passenger Conquest aircraft coming in and headed for Laverton and Leonora. All good at 6500 ft until about halfway when the cloud level was just above that level and the air was rather rough. I just realised that this aircraft ( or rather it's pilot ) runs on Marg C's fruit cake. Marg cooked, sliced and packed a whole heap of great cake, which I have gradually consumed in the air in my travels. Many thanks Marg. On the ground at Leonora, I cancel SAR, Telstra coverage here, and can't find a fuelman, his phone just leaves one of those frustrating messages, ( I later found that he was out of town). I found a Skippers airline man, Neil. who offered a lift into town and found a motel room at the Central Hotel. A 79 year old still on the job and very involved in the town; even has a street named after him, Biggs Avenue. Neil has lived in the town 72 of those 79 years. Dinner at the hotel; as good a steak as you would ever come across.

Day 29 I managed to arrange to fill up DMY,however I discovered that DMY has a problem, which somehow won't allow it to start. Battery or starter related ? Time will tell ! I have spent pretty well all day waiting for a battery charge. As they say...Such is Life. Still...let me say ....."all good"

Thank you again for your interest
Regards
Lawrence (Lawrie)
I was trying to keep these notes brief, I got a bit carried away...sorry about that!
 

waraton

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More from Lawries adventure.....

Round OZ Days 30- 36

You may recall that on Day 29, I spent pretty well all day waiting for DMY's battery to be chaprged. Well, John, the shire 2 IC engineer was called out of town. He phoned about 1730 when he got coverage as he came back to town. Later, the battery was fine and we arranged that he pick me up first thing next morning.

Day 30. John suggested 0530, but we settled on a compremise of 0730. John installed the recharged battery and a start-up test proved all OK, " ops norm ", as they say. DMY was ready to go, but both Leonora and Kalgoorlie weathers were not. I spent the morning regularly checking on the weather, particularly at KG and eventually, following a further lift from John, preflighted DMY and about 1230 took off on runway 22, climbed to 3500 and set course 175 for KG, just under low cloud.

The cloud lowered a little as I approached KG, however I managed to join left base for a runway 11 landing. Refuelled with 57 litres and then found Goldfields Air Services hangar which, being Saturday afternoon, was all closed-up. Parked and tied down in the GA parking area. KG is a well set-up and laid out airport. It has an excellent commercial terminal as well. Cab to motel recommended by cabdriver Esther and settled for night.
I have discovered two motel features that I am not keen on:- bathroom fans that come on automatically with the light switch resulting in noise and cold; and almost raw vegs with a hot dinner.

Day 31. Found the local Baptist Church and enjoyed the service, conducted this day by children of the K to yr6 group. I got lost walking back to the motel ( one might wonder how I ever got BH to KG, isn't GPS wonderful.) Managed some laundry in the afternoon. I think I am getting better at driving these machines. It is interesting to note that of these 31 days to date:- -I have flown on the project 16 days ( on 2 of which I turned back due
weather), - 13 days I have been grounded due to weather 2, mechanical 6, and other 5 of which 2 I flew for my AFR. I suspect that all of my mechanical problems are electrical related and will be traced to some simple source. Otherwise DMY Is going fine.

Day 32 To the airport early, hired a Europass car, Kia Rio, and visited Mark at Goldfields Air Services, I needed to taxi DMY to another, far away, hangar. DMY started normally, I taxied across 2nd runway to hangar and shut down. Then DMY wouldn't start, key wouldn't connect power.
Trevor, engineer, took over, I left him to it and went to town. Coffee, chemist and a look around town. Coincidently, Mark has worked at Sea Breeze hangar, Moruya, from where I picked up DMY in January this year. Mark phoned about 1330, DMY was ready to go; three hours plus one part.
Unfortunately, too late for a getaway today, so we arranged that Mark repark DMY in the GA parking forovernight. I went back into town, went to the chemist again and found a CBA ATM. Another look around and took a photo of the "HUTTON STREET" road sign. Back to the motel, dinner and readied for an early start. That evening, I discovered that I had overlooked buying some Osteopara pills, so I went to town to the chemist.
The night chemist on duty was a guy taking a flying lesson at Goldfields Air Services when I delivered DMY this morning. Needless to add that we had a good chat.

Day 33. Up early and to the airport. I met up with a couple from Toowoomba Qld. who were flying a Tecnam P2008. It was well equipped and they had a fair bit of travel gear in it as well. They were planning to go east, however, the weather wasn't favouring them greatly. They left before me. Later this evening I spoke to Tex who informed me that he and Vicki had made it to Nullabor Roadhouse. They had done well. I left for Geraldton under lowist cloud (perhaps 5000 ft), climbed to 4500 ft .The cloud was there for most of two hours before lifting to enable me to climb to 6500ft. Lots of big holes in the ground around Kalgoorlie and beyond. Not much else until well on towards Geraldton. If you thought Queensland was remote in parts, in has nothing when compared to the parts of WA that I saw today. What a site it was to see the Indian Ocean come into view as I approached Geralton. After three and one half hours even with a heathy tailwind a good part of the way ( I was doing a ground speed of 140 kts at one stage.

The guy who helped me refuel turned out to be the managing director of Shine Aviation Services, a prominent and significant player in aviation in these parts. John even organised an unsolicitated 5cent discount on my fuel. His office phoned for a cab and organised an accommodation booking.
You will be pleased to know that DMY did everything it should have today. So, hopefully it's problems are behind it. Overnight in the Ocean Centre Hotel. I watched a ship, a tanker-like ship (I suspect a wheat carrier). come into port with appropriate horn blasting.Later on a second similar vessel came. Again with appropriate horn blasting. I have since discovered that these ships are iron ore carriers. Lots of "boutique type" shops nearby. Hoping to get to Steep Point tomorrow. Depends on weather etc. Time will tell.

Day 34. I decided that weather permiitting, I would try for Steep Point and stay in Geraldton another night. Early in this morning I asked about another night and I could hardly believe it when there was no vacancies; booked out. So, lumbering my port I I set out for the airport, readied DMY, and took to the air a bit after ten. Clear skies and favourable winds; what more could one wish for ? Keeping the very blue Indian Ocean on my left, I climbed to a very smooth 6500 level. Kalbarri came and went. I was surprised that from there on the land was basically tree/shrub covered and virtually no developement, towns or farms nor even settlements. Shark Bay appeared and there nearby on the left was the point we were looking for, Steep Point. Nothing to be seen there; some tracks leading to the point and what might be a small monument to mark the fact of it being the most westmost point of the Audtralian mainland or perhaps indicating that it was off this point, some 200 miles, that the HMAS Sydney was sunk with great loss of life, during WW2. Three down, one to go. I have yet to overfly Wilsons Promintory. Again, I found photos difficult, flying around the point, maintaining height, getting into a position for a photo and taking the photo with one hand holding and pressing the button, aiming, because the viewing screen merely reflected me.
Could be difficult to prove that I was there, but others, those tech wizards, have ( or so I believe) the evidence. An uneventful flight back to Geraldton, keeping that very blue Indian Ocean on my right this time, Landed on runway 08 into a stiff breeze or I should say wind. Refuelled, a lift into town with a guy who flew in, in a near new Skyfox Vixen aircraft. He hired a car as he is staying for a few days. I managed to get a bed for the night on my third phone call. Don't know why the town (city) is so busy. Tomorrow, winds permitting, I shall move on.

Day 35. And move on I did; taking off into a wind that some might consider a gale, and headed down the cost to Dongara, before turning inland to Dalwallinu, where turning again on a southerly heading eventually brought me to Northam where I landed to refuel. One guy there surprisingly recognised me from an ABC interview that he had viewed. Leaving Northam I headed east towards Kalgoorlie, 252 nm(467kms) away. All went well, over Meriden and Southern Cross then when about 70nm from Kalgoorlie, the radios when quiet, the auto-pilot ceased auto-ing; I had lost battery power. DMY can fly quite comfortably without a functioning battery. It just means that I am a bit more involved keeping on course and having no radio is not good. I tuned the transponder to "7600" which is designed to signal " no radio". Flying on the 70nm seemed to pass slowly, however Kalgoorlie eventually came into view and fortunately, there appeared to be no traffic leaving or arriving. I joined the circuit as normal for runway 11. As I continued on "finals", I decided to test the electric flaps and, lo and behold, they worked and came down. A few seconds later the radio came on. I landed uneventfully and with the radio still working continued to the refuelling bowser. Refuelling done, now to taxi to the GA parking area. DMY objected, not enough battery life to turn the engine over. I pushed DMY off the runway area, locked it up and walked to the terminal to hire a car. I was too late to catch the local engineer, Mark. I managed to book a room at the Miners Rest Motel and settled down for another night at this establishment.

Day. 36. Out to the engineers early. Jump started DMY and taxied to their workshop. Everything appeared to be normal at this time; nothing obviously wrong. Trevor checked out numerous things electrical, with no specific thing broken or mis-operating. He cleared up a lot of connections and then put the battery on slow charge to recharge. All this meant that a departure to Forrest was not a goer for today; that will have to wait until tomorrow.
I have been into town, Kalgoorlie, and have also visited Boulder which is really the same city or perhaps a suburb, although it is all known as "Kalgoorlie Boulder". Tomorrow will be another day and I have said before, "time will tell" And I can still say "All good".

Regards
Lawrie(Lawrence)