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Transiting the Sydney Basin


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Hi All, apologies if this isn't the right forum so feel free to redirect me if not. I'm a fairly new RPL+Nav holder but haven't flown a lot in CTA (Canberra during these recent months hasn't been the busiest place). I'm planning on flying from Moruya to Camden Haven (a little south of Port Macquarie for those that don't know it) and have been trying to work out a route. I can of course avoid all the controlled palaver and go the long way (Goulburn, Bathurst, Scone) or I can go the more direct route through Sydney / Williamtown. I've been looking over the Sydney/Newcastle VTC and Sydney General Flying Guide but can't see any recommendations for just transiting the area and perhaps landing at Maitland for fuel. Is there are preferred way to do this, and by preferred I mean most efficient / least likely to get in the way of local traffic / work in nicely with Sydney Centre? Am I just thinking about this too much?

 

Ta

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The direct rout is not always the easiest or even quickest. The rout with the least climbs/descents/ turns is usually the most expedient and less stressful. If you want the inexpert of navigation through busier airspace then go the Sydney/Williamtown way.

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6 minutes ago, skippydiesel said:

The direct rout is not always the easiest or even quickest. The rout with the least climbs/descents/ turns is usually the most expedient and less stressful. If you want the inexpert of navigation through busier airspace then go the Sydney/Williamtown way.

Yeah I was thinking that as well, particularly from the "stress" perspective given my level of (in)experience. Going the long way around however puts me going close to or over Barrington Tops area and I'm concerned about that given the weather patterns of late with lots of low-ish cloud.

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Don't know how experience turned into "inexspert" (whatever that means) - the wonders of spell check!

 

Cant speak for you - however challenge's/stress can be a good thing.I would suggest having a good talk with your instructor(s), they should have a good idea of where you are up to and if appropriate, guide you through the more challenging rout.

 

It is all about thorough pre flight planing and in my case I like to do a lot of pre visualisation/day dreaming (basically a mental virtual flight).

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You have a few options, The most scenic is to go coastal up victor 1. You will be down at 500' just off the coast, awesome in the very early morning....

 

You can also go inland west of bankstown but east of the richmond restricted areas.

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I was thinking Scone for fuel but I see now they aren't allowing itinerant aircraft to land currently so I guess that's out, I could go via Lithgow and then head back in to Maitland. I read up on Victor 1 but that definitely looks like something I'd prefer to do with an instructor first. Otherwise up the guts threading Bankstown and Richard that way. The need to stop for fuel is driven by a combination of the Tomahawk's endurance and the fact there's no avgas at Camden Haven. Totally agree on the thorough pre-flight and visualisation, that's basically why I've asked what I have but it's starting to sound like I am overthinking it.

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Coastal would be the best in my opinion, Victor 1 isn’t too hard. Maybe drop into Cessnock for fuel and have a chat with Phil Unicomb or one of his instructors regarding the Williamtown transit. I’d be inclined to call first and offer to pay for briefing time. 
Camden Haven is a beaut spot. 
https://philunicombaviation.com/?gclid=CjwKCAiAt9z-BRBCEiwA_bWv-KhCGrMECYVOMP11vXFB1fKzDdLcpql7aMDHPIw4QUlg-eUafjIdHBoCoNgQAvD_BwE

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Wow ! dont have any Tomahawk experience but that seems like a very short range aircraft, with very low carrying capacity. Still you could probably carry 2 X 20Litre (or more) collapsible jerry can/bladders, to extend your range - just land and refuel.

 

I had heard that Scone was conducting renovations but that was months ago or is your info more sinister (CV-19 related)?

 

Wicki suggests the PA-38 has a still air range of 368Nm. YSCB- YBTH- YSCO- YCMH is 160 Nm ( X 2 + 320 Nm return) - to be safe you could easily refuel at Bathurst, up & back, if needs be.

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3 minutes ago, Roscoe said:

I have operated in the Sydney basin for  many years and would be happy to brief you on procedures.

PM me if you wish with your phone number,happy to help.

 

 "......................................definitely looks like something I'd prefer to do with an instructor first". - good plan! 

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1 minute ago, skippydiesel said:

 

 "......................................definitely looks like something I'd prefer to do with an instructor first". - good plan! 

Skippy why did you give je a CAUTION note?

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10 hours ago, Roscoe said:

Skippy why did you give je a CAUTION note?

Easy question - I would advise any student pilot (includes freshly minted ones and the not so fresh, facing a new challenge) to stick with the instructors that know them & their capabilities. 

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1 minute ago, skippydiesel said:

Easy question - I would advise any student pilot (includes freshly minted ones and the not so fresh, facing a new challenge) to stick with the instructors that know them & their capabilities. 

This Pilot has a RPL and a NAV Endorsement!

Said he operates at Canberra in Controlled Airspace.... he is not a Student.

My aim was to talk to him about the Sydney basin and get a feel for his experience/ confidence.

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No offense Roscoe . I know your intentions are good.

 

Note: that I included the not so fresh student -I have been flying for 30+years and still consider myself to be in this bracket, when faced with an unknown (to me ) challenge.

 

No matter the qualifications, he radiates a level of inexperience/uncertainty that is best (in my view) addressed by his mentors/instructors.( "......................................definitely looks like something I'd prefer to do with an instructor first". )

 

I obtained my unrestricted PPL out west. When I first started to fly in the Sydney Basin, I found myself completely confused. Having been used to, the slowly emerging, navigation features like, dry lakes, grain silos, isolated hamlets, disused railway lines, hills that pop up out of the plain, etc. The change to the confusing jumble of the built up environment was very challenging - I took an instructor along, many times,  until I started to see what he saw.

 

I would also add - when I did my Nav's at least one was into Canberra - ATC look after me the whole way in/out, from first contact outside their space, to parking and out again. Unless our friend is planing on using CTA he will not have that level of assistance.

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Point taken Skippy,

As Roundsounds said, Victor 1 is not hard, but can be challenging st 500ft in turbulent conditions!

Here is another scenario....

Fly to Camden, land and refuel.

The Controllers at Camden are very helpful and all you have to say is UNFAMILIAR with Camden and they will talk you in.

Then, Camden to Prospect Resv (easy to find), across to Parramatta, again easy to find with its high rise buildings and Rosehill Racecourse, then up the lane to Patonga.

There are very good briefing notes on navigating the Lane, and strobe lights at Pennant Hills to keep you on course.

At weekends, you may find that Williamtown is released to 1000ft coastal, so you can remain in Class G along the beach.

The Briefing Office and Notams will confirm this on the day.

My offer to elaborate on the above remains if you wish.

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The pic below was taken from a Airservices or CASA Flying School wall chart a couple of years ago.

Need to check if its still valid and applicable.

As I said, read Notams and Contact Briefing Office on the day

D59C58BA-4AF9-42FA-A368-3443621F1ECE.png

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For the moment, I'd avoid Scone like the plague. The availability of fuel is limited and the AD Manager apparently published the incorrect phone number for the on-site refueller now their self-serve bowser has been removed - and she has now got the Council charging for each T&G, instead of a 1-per-session fee like most other places. 🤬 Wait until they get their "upgrade" sorted out before planning a stop over there. I can't even get the RV into my hangar there until the end of January! 🤬

 

Also bear in mind going coastal through Sydney is likely to be easier than going coastal through Newcastle which you'll also have to negotiate, but if it were me, I'd consider YMRY-YGLB-BTH (fuel)-YWKW-YCMH. The difference is +15 minutes over YMRY-YCMH direct, but that 15 minutes gives you high-altitude, stress free, turbulence free flying, with much better options if the engine stops. I've done Victor-1 multiple times as part of a scenic junket but wouldn't plan it as part of a cross-country flight, a mid-trip descent to low level just to get past Sydney doesn't make sense to me, I'm all for takeoff, climb, cruise, descend, land keeping things as simple and boring as possible! 😛

 

The other benefit to clipping the southern edge of the 'Tops is both Cessnock and Maitland have weather-cams so you can see the actual weather - as does Goulburn & Bathurst for that matter. Scone doesn't have theirs installed yet, with the only other ones up that end of the Hunter being the ASA cameras at Murrurrundi.

 

For fuel, if you can't or don't want to do YBTH-YCMH-YBTH you also have Taree & Port Macquarie a few minutes away too.

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Thanks all! @Roscoe, your Camden scenario was the kind of thing I guess I had in mind and I wouldn't mind a chat when I get a chance to sit down with the chart in front of me. @KRviator that also makes lots of sense. I might try one each way. On the fuel scenario, flying from Moruya puts me at the limit of my theoretical (conservative) endurance reaching Camden Haven if I have my 45min + 15% reserve going the longer way around. In reality if I get to a decent altitude and can lean her out I might use a lot less, but I'm being cautious with my lack of experience. WRT Scone, I was just going off the current notam but you've filled that info out nicely KR.

For a bit more background to my question and the discussion on my experience level: Canberra is pretty straight forward, but I've observed that the ERSA and other published info is one thing but the seemingly preferred or "normal" routes and procedures are another. at times. 

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22 minutes ago, Student Pilot said:

Victor one a good quick way around Sydney but having to try and get through Williamtown buggars that up. Go west young man

Never had a prob with Willy.

And see my comments about weekends.

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I must admit I've only been through there a dozen times or so, every time without exception they have made it hard, delayed and at one stage made me hold just north of Newcastle for 40 minutes till an inbound jet had landed. I don't travel that area now.

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The back lane behind Willy is a pleasant and interesting trip on a nice day.

Again, it is something you might want to do with an instructor first (round trip ex Taree or Cessnock or Maitland?) though it's not hard once you've done it. 

LL has now been raised to 2,500' (AMSL) north of Dungog.  It takes you up a lovely valley with Gloucester at its top end.

 

 

608959080_TheLAne.thumb.jpg.4e3c0ff3841597d219cb0d08e6e528bb.jpg

Edited by Garfly
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1 hour ago, Rodj said:

Thanks all! @Roscoe, your Camden scenario was the kind of thing I guess I had in mind and I wouldn't mind a chat when I get a chance to sit down with the chart in front of me. @KRviator that also makes lots of sense. I might try one each way. On the fuel scenario, flying from Moruya puts me at the limit of my theoretical (conservative) endurance reaching Camden Haven if I have my 45min + 15% reserve going the longer way around. In reality if I get to a decent altitude and can lean her out I might use a lot less, but I'm being cautious with my lack of experience. WRT Scone, I was just going off the current notam but you've filled that info out nicely KR.

For a bit more background to my question and the discussion on my experience level: Canberra is pretty straight forward, but I've observed that the ERSA and other published info is one thing but the seemingly preferred or "normal" routes and procedures are another. at times. 

Flight plan and ring them up it will be ok 

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3 hours ago, Garfly said:

The back lane behind Willy is a pleasant and interesting trip on a nice day.

Again, it is something you might want to do with an instructor first (round trip ex Taree or Cessnock or Maitland?) though it's not hard once you've done it. 

LL has now been raised to 2,500' (AMSL) north of Dungog.  It takes you up a lovely valley with Gloucester at its top end.

 

 

608959080_TheLAne.thumb.jpg.4e3c0ff3841597d219cb0d08e6e528bb.jpg

Only did it once - turbulence HORRIBLE combined with very narrow lane and high terrain - quite the work out. No plan to return any time in the future.

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