Morning Glory Cloud

Morning Glory Cloud
Morning Glory over Massacre Inlet (photo: Diane Davey)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All great things must come to an end - and what a great one this was!

What an amazing weekend! It was well worth the wait – even if it was for a whole month! When I signed off the maintenance release to do the test flight on Friday, I noticed that it was a month to the day that I had landed in Tocumwal. After having the 50 hour service, which included the maintenance on magneto, I took it through it’s paces to make sure it was right to go for some of the inhospitable Victorian terrain down to the coast.
It’s funny that out of the whole trip, the hilly, woody  ‘tiger country’ between Kyneton and the coast, was the bit I was least confident flying over (with Bacchus Marsh right in the middle of it, funny enough).  I flew over some rough ground during the trip, but most of it was flat – and there always seemed to be a reasonable spot to land in if I needed to (relatively speaking). This was going to be rough – and hilly, with very few options should something go wrong, not to mention the airspace!  If you’re wondering why my track on the spot tracking is not so direct, it’s because of me avoiding airspace into Melbourne & Avalon and avoiding the roughest terrain.  I wasn’t playing with clouds (much) – really!
I got into Bacchus Marsh  from Tocumwal on Friday. I had planned on taking Phil for a fly in the still evening air and golden light, but Friday peak hour traffic killed that idea. It was going to have to wait for Saturday.  We ended up having dinner in a pub in Bacchus Marsh. The hearty country pub meal (steak, of course) got me back into the mood of the whole trip. One thing I’ve found you can rely on across this great country is a decent steak in a country pub!  Phil and my last meal together at the start of the trip was a steak  in a pub in Cobar, so it really felt right - and tasted great!
I woke up on Saturday morning like a kid at Christmas. It took all I had to contain my excitement of flying down to the coast. I was thrilled that Phil would be coming with me. I think that as he missed out on the coastal flights of the northern end, it was only fair that he would not miss out on the southern coast.
Climbing out of Bacchus Marsh with the help of a good thermal, we were off. The flight down to the coast was nice and smooth, with visibility limited to about 15km with some murk. There was no mistaking the coast when we started getting closer. The water was a deep crystal blue , with  a clear white band of surf marking the coast beyond the low cliff edge. As we got closer to the coast, we could see the remaining  bits of the 12 Apostles and the Great Ocean Road. It was spectacular.
After taking several photographs, we headed back to Bacchus Marsh, secured the plane, caught up with some gliding friends and drove home.
 I woke up early again this morning, knowing that that today, I would be returning the plane to it’s home base at Wahring, marking the official end of the trip. As I took off from Bacchus and headed north, I was reminded of the start of the journey, almost  exactly 2 months ago. It seemed like a lifetime ago. The air was so smooth that I was flying hands off – like the Falke was just happy and knew were to go.  As I flew north, I missed that feeling of heading out into the unknown, going north until I ran out of land to fly over. Hmmm....
 I’m still wondering what you follow something like this up with... but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.  It really was such an amazing trip! Thank you everyone for sharing it with me through this blog! I'll keep you posted on what I come up with - let me know if you have any suggestions ; )
Phil and I headed for the south coast

A little bit of 'cloud bursting' on the way

The coast! The coast!

Heading for what's left of the 12 Apostles

I can't believe I've flown all this way!

Landing at Bacchus with engine off. Love where the prop stopped.

What a great flight!

Getting ready for the last little bit

Me with the best support crew in the world

I did it! I did it!

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