Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Passenger number two

Last Sunday I took my friend Marc for a flight around the training area. We followed a similar flight plan as for my first passenger Xuan a week before. Which makes Marc my second passenger.

Unfortunately I had booked BUQ, a two-seater Cessna 152, so I could only take one passenger with me and Marc’s two young boys had to stay behind. They came to the aerodrome nevertheless and I gave them a tour of the plane. If you can call that a tour given the amount of space inside a 152. The highlight of the day was definitely an aerobatics demonstration given by Bob Taits in the afternoon to celebrate the opening of his new facilities at Redcliffe Aerodrome.

The picture above captures pretty well the moment Christian discovered the existence of the wing strut on the 152 the hard way, while Jonathan is all smiles with his head above the wing and in the clouds. Looking inside the plane was a lot of fun too since one can explain and demonstrate the effects of controls by simply turning and pushing the yoke and looking at the control surfaces move though the window.

The weather that day was very ordinary: low dark clouds with a base between 2000 and 3000ft and a strong south-easterly wind. I left with Marc and we taxied for runway 07 and waited for MSJ, the antiquated C172N from the Redcliffe Aero Club, to finish their pre take-off checks before moving to the holding point.

We maintained 1000ft all the way to Bribie Island, crossed the island at its southern end and made a left-hand turn to the North near Bald Point.

Once we were tracking parallel to the beach, we descended to 500ft. I can't remember seeing anyone in the water on that day, but there sure were quite a few 4WD on the beach. You can tell it's low tide when the beach is wide enough for one car to overtake the other.

A few minutes later we realised that a solid wall of rain had formed right ahead of us and was moving towards us, perpendicular to our proposed route. We made a turn to the west earlier than planned to avoid the rain and remain within VMC.

Soon after the sun returned and Marc took a beautiful picture of Pumicestone Channel. In the foreground is Roys Orchards, the northernmost limit of the training area in area D629C.

We then crossed the Bruce Highway, overflew Glass House Mountains township and turned North in order to check out Australia Zoo:

Then we headed to the Glass House Mountains: Mount Coochin in the foregound, then Mt Beerwah on the right and Mt Coonowrin on the left.

Time for the obligatory souvenir picture before heading back to Redcliffe...

...where we joined crosswind for 07...

... and landed with a crosswind. Actually, if you look at the yellow windsock on the left before the runway threshold you can see that, when the picture was taken, i.e. just after turning final, the wind was blowing straight down the runway. Just one minute later, it was definitely at an angle!

The landing was not too bad, at least the nose was aligned with the runway centerline and the wings were banked into the wind.

In summary, good flying, good company, two young persons introduced to aviation, great aerobatics display by Bob Taits and 1.2 hour of command time for the logbook.

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