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Caloundra to South Grafton


gavinl
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Hi all

 

I'm planning a trip down to Coffs for Chrissy from Caloundra and was hoping someone might have some advice regarding places to stop for fuel or toilet breaks. I read on the forum that Straddy is a good way to go and also to perhaps plan for South Grafton as an end destination, rather than Coffs. I am not an overly experienced pilot, so the most relaxing route would be best.

 

All the best

 

gav:)

 

 

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Hi Gav,

 

Have enjoyed flying south from YCDR a few times now and always coastal for the scenic value ;).

 

Do you have a PPL and is your plane transponder equipped? If so, then plan to track down Bribie Beach until abeam the Fairways Golf Resort at Woorim climbing to 3400' (tune BN RADAR 125.7) then TL and head for the Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Is.

 

Track coastal on the western side of Moreton and Straddy (listen out on 126.7) keeping below the 3500' control step of YBBN losing height as you choose to 1000' lowest as tracking past Surfers 1000' is required to avoid northbound traffic. You'll need to plan to contact BR RADAR (119.5) before reaching Surfers (say at top end of Straddy) to obtain clearance and sqwark code to pass through the Gold Coast CTR. On approval they will advise you to contact GC TWR (118.7) who will guide you through quite happily. Also along Straddy keep listening out on 126.7 for Dunwich and Heck Field.

 

Well before Surfers tune to Southport CTAF (119.0) to announce your position and intentions, and to listen out of course. About 5nm before YBCG make sure you're tuned to GC TWR. You may be asked to hold off Surfers if there is an imminent arrival or departure.

 

Between YBCG and Cape Byron is a good time to call Flightwatch (128.15) to check that the restricted areas around Evans Head are deactivated. Continue on past Cape Byron (tune BR RADAR 119.5). Before Lennox Head tune to the Ballina CTAF (124.2) to announce your position and intentions before passing Ballina.

 

When approaching Evans Head (still 124.2) also make the usual calls but be aware that there is the Great Eastern Fly-in event planned for there on Dec 28 - 31 (drop in ... you'll be warmly welcomed).

 

Then at Yamba just follow the Clarence River (IFR) to Grafton but remember the req'd safety/courtesy calls for Palmer Island strip (126.7) and Sth Grafton (126.7).

 

If you don't have PPL and transponder then you'll need to avoid controlled air around YBCG by tracking inland over Southport. I'm not familiar with this route so won't attempt to offer any advice 049_sad.gif.af5e5c0993af131d9c5bfe880fbbc2a0.gif.

 

Hope this is helpful.

 

Paul

 

 

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I visited Coffs last week to see the parents, and stopped at South Grafton. I couldnt get into the Coffs before it became controlled airspace in the morning. (See ersa for tower hours) from mem I think you'd have a couple of hours of daylight before that time in Summer, though I suspect the landing and parking fees at coffs will be orders of magnitudes dearer than Sth Grafton.

 

There is a private airport closer to Coffs at Emerald Heights and is marked as Stewarts on the coffs VTC. However the owner was in Melb when I rang and while he was generally happy for me to use the strip (next visit) he told me that it needed mowing and he wasnt comfortable that I could get out again for that specific visit. I got his contact details from the Coffs Aeroclub.

 

South Grafton is fine, I tied down for a week the landing fees where a real killer at $5 per time, tie down cost nothing. There isnt Avgas available at the field, though there is Avgas available at Coffs Airport, and perhaps at a grafton fuel distributor, though I suspect in drum only which may leave you some spare for next time (and the time after that as well!) . Empty Gerry's dont weigh much but do take up some serious volume. Not an issue in a J230 though. The drive Coffs to South Grafton via the highway is smooth the whole way and about 45-50 minutes. The back way through Glenreagh, Nana Glen etc is a more challenging drive, better scenery and less traffic though will add 5-10 minutes onto the trip. Roos are on this road though.

 

Not sure re stopping on the way, but wouldnt have thought it necessary in most 2 place aircraft, flight time would be around 2hrs I would have thought. Adelaide to South Grafton was done with one stop at Narromine. Same on the way back despite a 25-30kt headwind the whole way. Suspect your scenery will be much nicer to look at that the narromine to adelaide stretch....

 

Andy

 

 

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Thanks heaps Paul and Andy for the detailed information on route, frequencies and strips.

 

I have an RAA x-country endorsement, but don't have a PPL, so I think I'll follow your track Paul, but have to get advice on avoiding YBGC. I'll also try to contact the Coffs Aeroclub and see if I get get the contact for the owner of Stewarts and then hopefully organise something for a few days.

 

Once again thanks heaps. I'm alot closer to getting a plan together now.

 

gav:)

 

PS: glad to hear it is only about two hours. Although I might take a little longer, as I enjoy the 75-80 knot cruise at 4500rpm with my SkyRanger.:)

 

 

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The people at Straddie are very friendly so it is a good place to stop, but it is close enough to Caloundra that you may just want to keep going.

 

Coffs is fine. If you want someone local to give you some advice give Rob a call at Professional Flight Training.

 

I haven't flown into South Grafton so have no advice there. If you want to go further affield, Port Macquarie is a good place to stop (I know - it's not actually where you want to go, but it is a nice place!)

 

 

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Guest Crezzi
If you don't have PPL and transponder then you'll need to avoid controlled air around YBCG by tracking inland over Southport. I'm not familiar with this route so won't attempt to offer any advice 049_sad.gif.af5e5c0993af131d9c5bfe880fbbc2a0.gif.Hope this is helpful.

 

Paul

I 've done this route quite a few times (no xponder in the trike). I'll post or PM something at the weekend if you can wait that long (I'm pushed for time and on really slow link until then - sorry)

 

John

 

 

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The Maroochy VTC shows a VFR route that sneaks to the W of the GC CTR routing from Hinze reservoir to Murwillumbah. I've done this a few times and I don't like it at all. There are several ridges running down from the ranges towards the coast which you have to cross - the airspace starts at 2500 but the highest ground is over 2200. You have to go very close to the edge of CTR and all the land seems to be either at 45deg slope or covered by the ever expanding gold coast sprawl. There are very few options for a forced landing. Its not uncommon for the seebreeze to blow showers inland and they get trapped against the hills just to make it a bit more "interesting".

 

The locals prefer to a route further inland following the road through the Nerang valley. Its spectacular (especially at the south end) but the valley floor has better options in an emergency. The sides of the valley are >3000' though so its not a route to choose if its windy as it acts like a funnel.

 

The final option would be just to go for height over the mountains if cloudbase permits (airspace LL is 6500) but there are still few options to land apart from the Nerang valley. In my experience its also fairly unpleasant if theres much wind as there are some big lumps of granite around there.

 

The choice is yours ...

 

John

 

 

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It's regretable that a coastal route isn't available to a lot of ultralights - although GC is busy its not Mascot (which you can fly past)

 

People regularly fly all these routes without problems so don't be discouraged from your trip - just plan it carefully.

 

Cheers

 

John

 

 

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You could don a life jacket, take a SE heading from Sea World, climb to 1500' and pass east of the 7 mile DME zone around GC then come back in around Kingscliff :confused:. But don't expect to glide back to land in the fan stops. Wouldn't be my first choice.

 

You could also telephone GC TWR (5599 5990) the day before, explain your aircraft type and that you feel unsafe taking the inland route and ask them if they would clear you to fly past. I know from experience that they're a co-operative bunch and are known to help like this. Don't be afraid to ask, and the experience is well worth it.

 

Paul

 

Paul

 

 

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You could don a life jacket, take a SE heading from Sea World, climb to 1500' and pass east of the 7 mile DME zone around GC then come back in around Kingscliff :confused:.

Wouldn't an ultralight also need flotation equipment for this to be legal ?

 

(It wouldn't be my first choice either !)

 

John

 

 

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Crezzi,

 

This suggestion is tongue-in-cheek, although could be done legally if life jackets/bouyancy vests/PFD's are worn. Just like flying Victor One past Sydney. Floats might make one feel a little more secure but not required. I know some of our forum members fly across the Bass Strait too.

 

To do this just to get around GC would be silly as I know the TWR guys would be happy to help if asked.

 

Paul

 

 

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7DME...from 1500, so long as I had a slight tail wind that would almost be possible.......with a short swim!

 

GAVINL

 

Check your PM's mate!

 

J

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
You could also telephone GC TWR (5599 5990) the day before, explain your aircraft type and that you feel unsafe taking the inland route and ask them if they would clear you to fly past. I know from experience that they're a co-operative bunch and are known to help like this. Don't be afraid to ask, and the experience is well worth it.

This would still be illegal if the pilot does not hold a PPL and CTA endorsement.

 

Kyle

 

 

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