50 Tales of Flight Turns Four

Owen Zupp - Monday, March 06, 2017

50 Tales of Flight by Owen Zupp

With all that went on this week, something other than an F-35 nearly slipped past the radar.

My book and eBook '50 Tales of Flight' - From Biplanes to Boeings, marked its fourth anniversary of publication. In that time the cover has changed and the content refined as I learned more about the writing process. So much has happened and so much has been written since, but I am still proud of that book as it marked so many 'firsts' for me personally. It still receives wonderful reviews and seems to be appreciated right around the world.

To everyone that has read and enjoyed '50 Tales of Flight', thanks so much for your support.

Cheers,

Owen

Solo Flight. Australia. Day Fifteen. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Tuesday, June 25, 2013






Solo Flight. Australia.


Day Fifteen.






Today sees me changing plans, but still endeavouring to make it to the Darling Downs township of Toowoomba. However, the weather has some other plans in store for this solo flight. 


There's an old saying in aviation that it's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air, wishing you were on the ground. Today's events stand testament to the old adage.

My original plan to depart Mittagong for Toowoomba started to look awry on Thursday evening. The weather charts and forecasts suggested low cloud and rain along the NSW coast and as far inland as my planned port of call, Tamworth. It was equally apparent that the further inland one went, the better the conditions were for flying.

So before dawn this morning I reviewed all of the information one more time and decided to head directly inland from Mittagong to Taralga and then track north on the other side of the Great Dividing Range. An early decision is generally a good decision, so I set about notifying the good folks that I had intended seeing and rearranged my charts for a trek westward. Meanwhile, the sun was having a great deal of trouble showing it's face through the fog and cumulus clouds beyond.

It was time for another cuppa and a disappointing call to my mate who had organised something special for me at Oakey in conjunction with Army Aviation. Such is the nature of visual flight and the SAFE execution of this solo flight has always been the priority. When the fog abated, I waited a little longer to ensure that the intended route wasn't concealed by a vast white blanket. Finally, I was underway.

My decision seemed to be vindicated as the weather provided few hurdles as I overflew Bathurst and Mudgee, though it was evident that there was weather afoot. Small clouds were growing rapidly, regular 'bouts of bumps' indicated increasingly unstable air and out to my right the horizon was disappearing amidst cloud and haze. My route ahead was still clear towards Gunnedah, but beyond the skies were growing darker.


I had planned to refuel in Gunnedah and used the opportunity on the ground to review the weather situation. Toowoomba had overcast at only a few hundred feet, so my destination was now out of the equation. The possibility of creeping a further hundred miles north to Inverell was tempting, but conditions were definitely deteriorating. Even the direction from which I had arrived was filling with towering clouds and low rumbles were to be heard from a number of directions.

Safe on the ground, I decided to stay that way. To continue on would have taken me towards rising terraIn and lowering weather; a rather unhealthy mix. So I tied down the Jabiru, made the necessary phone calls and headed into town.

Now in the comfort of a motel room I can regroup and re-plan. With the passage of the weather, the scheduled arrival in Bundaberg on Sunday is seemingly not an issue and I can't wait to show off the Jabiru to everyone on my arrival at the airport. Tomorrow's departure will now be simply an issue of timing.

Whatever the operation, safety MUST always be the priority. My solo flight has observed this philosophy thus far and will continue to on the home stretch. So hopefully tomorrow will bring finer weather and the sight of Toowoomba ahead.

'til then, stay safe.

Cheers



Day sixteen of the flight will see me finally make it to the Queensland Darling Downs and a very special moment on this solo flight around Australia.  Make sure you check back here for more blogs in the coming days. Or subscribe to my newsletter for the ‘alert’. Thanks again and I'll see you all soon.


Cheers,

Owen.


The full story of this solo flight will be the subject of my upcoming book.

Subscribe to learn more and be amongst the first to read it.





                                                                 

Solo Flight. Australia. Day Fourteen. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Tuesday, June 18, 2013






Solo Flight. Australia.


Day Fourteen.






Today sees me undertake some media engagements at my old home base, Bankstown. Then I will be off for a scenic flight around the beautiful city of Sydney. 


The day started with a very thick fog; one of those 'can't see the back fence' fogs. I was immediately appreciative that this had not been the case on Wednesday when I'd needed to depart early in the morning. Today was a more relaxed start to the day, only needing to be at Sydney's Bankstown Airport by midday and then a scenic run back past the city to Mittagong for one more night at home.
 
I flew the familiar route north to Bankstown, the home of my early flying days and even paused to dawdle in the nearby 'training area'. Here I had taught and been taught the skills of piloting and my mind captured glimpses of my Dad emphasising one point or another. Instinctively, I looked back inside the cockpit to check my heading and height; just in case he was still watching from above the clouds.
 
My arrival into Bankstown was 'shortened up' to provide adequate spacing from another aircraft and I tracked overhead the airport to join the circuit late downwind. Wheeling back to the right I lined up to land on the very familiar black strip of tar known as "two-niner right". On the ground and heading for my parking space, I was very pleased to see the smiling faces of friends who had dropped by to say hello. There were a variety of photographers there as well as representatives of the South Eastern Section of the RFDS. These folks kindly presented me with a wonderful model of a Flying Doctor 'King Air' which has already taken pride of place in my study.
 
After a chat and some more photos, I was on my way again, this time encircling Sydney to the north before cutting to the coast. Letting down to 500 feet to fly the coastal corridor known as 'Victor One' is always extremely scenic. The alternating foreground of cliffs and beaches are set to the backdrop of one of the world's most picturesque cities. Below, folks waved from their boats while a couple of helicopters were operating just to the south of the great city's harbour entrance.  Further along I skirted past Kingsford Smith Airport and the beachside town of Cronulla, before returning to coastal bushland of the National Park.
 
Clear of the corridor I climbed back up and past Stanwell Park where Lawrence Hargrave had performed his ground-breaking work on flight using his box-kites over a century ago. Further south I clipped inside Wollongong and completed the short journey home to Mittagong. Once on the ground, I readied the aircraft for tomorrow morning and the final run back to Bundaberg for Sunday's conclusion to this solo flight. Today was relatively short when compared to some of the magical days in the west and centre, but it was rich in wonderful images. With only a little flying left before Sunday, it is hard to believe that this incredible journey is nearing its end. Check back and follow it to the finish line. And then, I wonder what comes next?
 
Cheers



Day fifteen of the flight will take me north across the border to Toowoomba after a change in plans. But will I make it to the Queensland Darling Downs after all? Make sure you check back here for more blogs in the coming days. Or subscribe to my newsletter for the ‘alert’. Thanks again and I'll see you all soon.


Cheers,

Owen.


The full story of this solo flight will be the subject of my upcoming book.

Subscribe to learn more and be amongst the first to read it.





                                                                 

Spitfire 944 and so much more. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Tuesday, June 11, 2013






Spitfire 944


and so much more.





Sometimes you stumble upon something truly special.

Some years ago it was a movie by Brian Terwilliger, titled “One Six Right”.

Yesterday it was a film titled, “Spitfire 944” by William Lorton and John Savage.

I don’t wish to give too much away, as I encourage you to watch this award-winning short film below. However, I have to say that in my writing experiences, it is the smallest stories that have struck me most deeply. It is the personal tales behind the global events and the human condition within in the chaos. “Spitfire 944” is no exception.

Take the time to watch this amazing story and then reflect upon its magic.
 

 






What struck the deepest chord? For me, it was the reunion of youthful memories with the dignity of an old warrior. They were a generation from a golden age cast into dreadful times. They not only persevered and overcame, but they went on to live full lives and build upon the sacrifices that had been made.


Personally, I recalled an afternoon twenty years ago, sitting in a motel room and watching a video tape I had just purchased. Within it there was a glimpse, a flash. My wife saw it first and then we rewound and re-queued the tape. And there he was, staring back at me from his youth in black and white. My father, a young fighter pilot, leaning over a map and nodding in agreement with his commanding officer as they briefed for a mission over hostile territory. It is a moment that I will never forget.


Nor shall I forget the first time that I saw “Spitfire 944”.





                                                                 

Unapproved Aerobatics. A Chilling Reminder. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Monday, June 10, 2013



(A Cirrus SR-22. Image Source: Wiki)



The Fatal Roll.




 

 

This chilling animation is from YouTube and apparently produced by the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association form flight data collected from the wreckage of a CR22. There is a lot of aviation content on the internet these days but this one carries a particularly relevant message for all pilots. Please watch this and then read on....

 

                               


 

The NTSB report relates that the two occupants aged 23 and 34 were killed attempting aerobatics in the Cirrus SR-22T. A witness reported seeing the aircraft pitch up from level flight to a 30-degree nose up attitude before rolling inverted, reversing the roll and then impacting the ground in a steep nose-down attitude.

Flying from the right-hand seat, the 34 year old commercially-rated pilot, had flown a series of steep turns, low passes and one roll at low-level that which he was able to successfully execute. The aircraft was not approved for aerobatics. At times this flight took the two occupants down to a height of only 40 feet above ground level.

This accident raises numerous points for discussion, but not judgement. I’m interested in your comments.

Please watch the animation one more time....

 

                               

 

 


                                                                 

Solo Flight. Australia. Day Thirteen. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Sunday, June 09, 2013






Solo Flight. Australia.


Day Thirteen.






Today sees me visiting the HARS museum at Wollongong before heading back to Canberra for the postponed air-to-air photo shoot over the nation's capital.The full amazing story will be retold in my upcoming book, "Solo Flight".


After a fantastic day off with my family, it was back to the skies today.

The little Jabiru had rested the night in the hangar at Mittagong and was soon refuelled and ready to fly on its first short flight of today. A mere hop to the east, the flight was a terrific opportunity to see the rolling green hills of the Southern Highlands before sliding down the escarpment and onwards to the Illawarra Regional Airport at Wollongong. There I was met by Sandy Howard, a retired QANTAS 747 Captain who now flies everything from Tiger Moths to Super Constellations.


However, of particular interest today was his ‘middle of the field’ steed; the de Havilland Australia (DHA) Drover. This three-engined tailwheel transport aircraft of yesteryear bears real relevance to this solo flight. Firstly, the Drover was one of the aircraft used some years ago by the RFDS. Also, designed to meet the needs of the Australian outback, the Drover and the Jabiru share a proud Australian heritage and the opportunity to photograph them together was fantastic. The Drover is operated at Wollongong by the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) and their hangar makes an aviation enthusiast like myself feel like a kid in a candy store.





With the photography completed, it was time for a one hour flight across more lush pastures on the way to Canberra. Approaching the nation’s capital, Lake George is not so lush anymore and the massive lake where I skipped rocks as a child is now virtually empty. Beyond lay some hills and the picturesque setting of Canberra, where I was met by ‘The Canberra Times’ and my great friends at ‘Australian Aviation’ magazine.


The team at ‘AA’ make writing for the magazine a truly enjoyable experience and the chance to catch up with them and have a chat was fantastic. Shortly afterwards I was airborne again, this time in company with a Nanchang ‘camera ship’ and Paul Sadler and his reliable lens pointing back at me. Although my eyes were firmly fixed on the Nanchang, the landmarks of Canberra passed beneath to provide a wonderful backdrop to the photo-shoot. Parliament House, Black Mountain Tower and the Australian War Memorial all live in very close quarters as we wheeled around overhead.


Photo session complete, Paul gave me the ‘thumbs up’ and he set course for Canberra, while I was cleared straight to Mittagong by the very accommodating Canberra Air Traffic Controllers. Once again I overflew Lake George and out to my right sat a sea of mammoth blades rotating in their endeavour of converting wind to power. The familiar journey north along the Hume Highway was a great chance to relax and enjoy what had been an eventful day. On landing at Mittagong, there were again a number of folks to greet me. Amongst their number was the Mayor of the Wingecarribee Shire who very generously presented me with a cheque for $500 to the RFDS.


Donations have now almost broken the $8,000 barrier and our sights are firmly on the $10,000 target. Please ‘chip in’ and bring our ultimate goal that bit closer. And don’t forget that the signed Ricky Ponting shirt only has a couple of days to run, so place a bid and help the RFDS.


Until tomorrow, stay safe.



Day fourteen of the flight will take me over very familiar territory. After some media engagements at my old home base, I will be off for a scenic flight around the beautiful city of Sydney. Make sure you check back here for more blogs in the coming days. Or subscribe to my newsletter for the ‘alert’. Thanks again and I'll see you all soon.


Cheers,

Owen.


The full story of this solo flight will be the subject of my upcoming book.

Subscribe to learn more and be amongst the first to read it.





                                                                 

Solo Flight. Australia. Day Twelve. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Tuesday, June 04, 2013






Solo Flight. Australia.


Day Twelve.






Today sees me head north towards the nation's capital, Canberra. However, the weather had a hand to deal on this occasion. The full amazing story will be retold in my upcoming book, "Solo Flight".


The anticipation of being home for a night or two definitely got the better of me last night and I was like a kid before Christmas. When the day dawned, the clear skies had given way to haze and a high overcast. Shepparton had proved a great port of call. The service at Gawne Aviation and the activity around the airfield reminded me what grass roots aviation is really about.

Folks were keen to chat about the flight and the Jabiru and lend a hand positioning her to start the engine. Shepparton had been a whistle stop overnight, but the hospitality of Steve at the Big 4 Parklands and everyone else that I met made the stay very enjoyable.

After take off I climbed overhead for one last look before setting course for Wangaratta and on to my first stop, Temora. The haze obscured much of the view for the first time on this trip, so I cut the corner and headed for Wagga Wagga. It was here that my father first learnt to fly before the RAAF took him on as a pilot and also where I was posted flying air freight 40 years after that. Temora lay only a little further north.

On arrival Steve Moxley was there to say "G'day" and film the Jabiru in action. Temora is also home to a spectacular aviation museum. (See Title Image) Here the aircraft are not showpieces, but living, breathing and flying examples of our history. Within the museum a display of the RAAF in Korea features images of my Dad's damaged fighter jet. The shop even had copies of my book, "Down to Earth".

I called the team at Canberra regarding the photo shoot, but the weather was drab and unsuitable. Nevertheless, at that stage it was still fine for flight, just not photography. As such I left Temora bound for Canberra. Unfortunately, as Yass approached, the cloud and visibility got lower while the hills got higher. Not a good combination in aviation. I reluctantly decided to divert directly to Goulburn where the skies seemed to be a bit lighter.

This was a difficult but prudent decision and that is what safe flying is all about. My friends at 'The Canberra Times' were very understanding and I still plan to  visit Canberra later this week. Safely on the ground at Goulburn, I regrouped and reorganised my charts. I wiped off the swarm of splattered bugs that had reappeared and wandered around Goulburn Airport, taking some photos.

When I started the engine this time I knew it was taking me home for a few nights and I couldn't wait! The cloud in the west was hurrying the end of daylight as I prepared to land at Mittagong. I was amazed to see around 40 cars parked at the airfield. Family, friends and media had gathered, but my gorgeous wife and kids were the highlight with a big 'Welcome Home Daddy' sign. Amidst the throng, over $2,000 dollars was raised for the RFDS today. Thank you to you all for your generosity. In all the excitement I had to remind myself that the flight is not yet over, but then this was not just another night on the road. For the moment, I was home.

The next few days will see a combination of rest days and flights to the likes of Sydney, Wollongong and hopefully Canberra. On Friday the journey will continue northward to the ultimate finish line; Bundaberg on Sunday May 23rd.

It's been a special day, but there's more to come.

Cheers for now,



Day thirteen will see me visiting the HARS museum at Wollongong before heading back to Canberra for the postponed air-to-air photo shoot. Make sure you check back here for more blogs in the coming days. Or subscribe to my newsletter for the ‘alert’. Thanks again and I'll see you all soon.


Cheers,

Owen.


The full story of this solo flight will be the subject of my upcoming book.

Subscribe to learn more and be amongst the first to read it.





                                                                 

Solo Flight. Australia. Day Eleven. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Friday, May 31, 2013






Solo Flight. Australia.


Day Eleven.






Today sees me head north to the Australian mainland. I will visit Point Cook, the spiritual home of the RAAF and have a chat with the guys from PCDU before passing the site of Australia's first powered flight. The full amazing story will be retold in my upcoming book, "Solo Flight".


The morning in Launceston dawned crisp, clear and cold....but without the forecast fog. I caught a cab out to the airport and made my way through the RFDS facility to where the Jabiru awaited. On the way across the tarmac I passed the RFDS Beech Super King Air at the ready as the hangar awaited the Open Day that was soon to get underway. Not far away stood the original 'Holyman's' hangar. A
pioneer of the Australian airline industry, Holyman's ultimately grew into the great 'Australian National Airways' or A.N.A., before merging with Ansett in 1957.
 
In the present tense, I wiped down the Jabiru which had become covered in dew overnight. I chatted with a kindly local chopper pilot and he pointed out some tricks of the trade for my flight to Point Cook. The daily ritual was then interrupted briefly to chat with Macca on the ABC about the flight around Australia so far and update him on the weather in Launceston. Formalities complete, I started the Jabiru and I set about departing, once the fog cleared on the inside of my windscreen.
 
I taxied to the far end of the airport and while it offered more runway than I necessarily needed, it gave the engine the opportunity to warm up nicely. Airborne and in the left turn after take-off, the Jetstar A320 called inbound to Launceston and it was crewed by none other than my old mate 'Vern'. (...not his real name, but that's a very long story) Vern and I had been junior instructors together at the Royal Aero Club of NSW and have been mates ever since. In fact, we're the godparents of each others kids. Now here we were passing each other in the Tamar Valley with a closing speed of over 500/kmh...... the majority of that speed can be credited to the A320.
 
Beyond the Batman Bridge, I followed the coastline and then began island hopping to the mainland via Flinders Island. Overcast conditions over the northern reaches of Bass Strait had me fly down to 2,500 over water. Not ideal, but the trusty Jabiru didn't let me down as Wilson's Promontory appeared ahead. Back over land with my feet still dry, I made my way across to Frankston over more rich green fields that would not look out of place on a postcard from Ireland. From Frankston it was coastal tracking around Port Phillip Bay. Melbourne was still trapped in the haze that follows a fog, but fortunately my destination was clear.
 
Point Cook airfield passed beneath the nose of the Jabiru and I followed an aircraft flying circuits to land into the South. I was met by Tom, the Airport Manager who gave me the prime parking spot at the base of the Control Tower. From there we visited the parade ground and  stood on the spot where my father received his wings nearly sixty years ago. It was a moving moment for me as I know how significant that event was in his life. From a humble, rural upbringing, aviation afforded him a life of which he had never dreamed of as a boy.
 
RAAF Museum Director, David Gardiner OAM, then showed me around the various sections of the Museum. From the construction of Bristol Boxkite replica to the meticulous restoration of a combat veteran 'Mosquito', air force history was everywhere. From there we toured the Museum and the display hangar and at every turn there seemed to be something to fascinate me. I will definitely be coming back to Point Cook when time is not an issue, but today, the sun was starting to getting low on the horizon.
 
There was time for a chat with the podcast team from 'Plane Crazy Down Under' and some photos with folks that  had kindly come out to see me. Then it was time to bid farewell and head for Shepparton. This short flight skipped past the sites of Houdini and Duigan's significant 'first flights'. Even today, the area is rich with airfields and the scent of aviation.
 
Arriving at Shepparton the local paper was there to meet me, but there was still the post flight duties to attend to. Amazingly, I must have hit every insect between Point Cook and Shepparton as there were a lot to wipe off before the day was done.

'Til tomorrow, keep safe.
 



Day twelve will reunite me with some familiar terrain as I head north from Victoria towards the nation's capital of Canberra. Make sure you check back here for more blogs in the coming days. Or subscribe to my newsletter for the ‘alert’. Thanks again and I'll see you all soon.


Cheers,

Owen.


The full story of this solo flight will be the subject of my upcoming book.

Subscribe to learn more and be amongst the first to read it.





                                                                 

Solo Flight. Australia. Day Ten. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Tuesday, May 28, 2013






Solo Flight. Australia.


Day Ten.






Today I bid Adelaide adieu. I will revisit the home of my old airline, Ansett Australia before crossing the chilly waters of Bass Strait on my way to Tasmania; the island state. The full amazing story will be retold in my upcoming book, "Solo Flight".


From the heat of Darwin only a week ago, the Jabiru woke to find a coating of frost upon its wings and windscreen as the dawn broke at Adelaide's Parafield Airport. A clear morning had the temperatures way down in the single digits as I untied the aircraft for the days flying. ABC Radio in Adelaide started early as my phone chimed in at just after 6am with a quick interview and run down of the flight's progress thus far Once completed, I strapped in, warmed the engine and
readied to set course for the border.


Rich green hills and pastures radiated from the mighty Murray River as I worked my way towards the Victorian border and my first goal of Hamilton. The home of the once great airline Ansett, Hamilton is the site where the airline began as a  road-based transport business under the guidance of Reg Ansett. Today, a Fokker Universal aircraft sits in the original hangar, which has been re-located in town and houses museum pieces and memorabilia. I managed to get a lift into town and see the museum first hand. It was a trip down memory lane, though it's also a touch scary when your old uniform is considered a relic.


After this flying visit, it was time to don the life jacket again and take my solo flight to Tasmania. From Hamilton I tracked to Cape Otway and levelled the little Jabiru out at 7,500 feet for the trip across Bass Strait. As I bid the mainland farewell and set course for King Island, the view was stifled by some cloud building up ahead. Nevertheless, right on time King Island slid by below and I couldn't help but think of the legendary produce that comes from this little island and finds its way all around the nation. The island is almost picture-book in its beauty of emerald rolling hills and dramatic shorelines. From King Island, some more water and smaller islands were traversed until I made landfall near Smithton.


From there it was a left turn and a waltz along the top edge of Tasmania past Wynyard, Burnie and Devonport.  The coastline provided a wealth of lush green fields, to the backdrop of rising ranges to the distant south. Large vessels were at dock in the ports to the right, while the sea rolled on unbridled to my left. Soon the Tamar Valley loomed offering a hallway of blues and greens enroute to my destination. Ahead lay Launceston and my home for the night. The friendly air traffic controllers cleared me to miles out from the airport as little else was in the sky at the time.


Clear of the runway, the daily ritual of fuel, food and rest was set to begin. However, not before a visit to the local Aero Club and the good people at the RFDS. Then it was time for some chicken with King Island cheese. Tomorrow, I head north for the mainland and begin to inch closer to my ultimate destination of Bundaberg.


Cheers


Day eleven will see me head north to the Australian mainland. I will visit Point Cook, the spiritual home of the RAAF and have a chat with the guys from PCDU. Make sure you check back here for the next blog in the coming days. Or subscribe to my newsletter for the ‘alert’. Thanks again and I'll see you all soon.


Cheers,

Owen.


The full story of this solo flight will be the subject of my upcoming book.

Subscribe to learn more and be amongst the first to read it.





                                                                 

Solo Flight. Australia. Day Nine. By Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Sunday, May 26, 2013






Solo Flight. Australia.


Day Nine.






Today revisits my flight across the Spencer Gulf to the Yorke Peninsula and beyond to revisit two historic aviators. I will call Adelaide home for the night; the capital of South Australia and the location of a fighter jet with a personal connection. The full amazing story will be retold in my upcoming book, "Solo Flight".


A great evening was had with the good folks of the Lions and RFDS at Port Lincoln. A homestyle BBQ and good conversation provided me with a wonderful night before retiring to my cabin nearby at the Port Lincoln Caravan Park. And I slept very deeply once again.
 
Another clear morning greeted me and I wasted very little time in readying the Jabiru. I rugged up in a 'flotation jacket' with a 'life jacket' over the top as the first leg would see me cross the Spencer Gulf. Once airborne, I climbed to a safe altitude of 6,500 feet over Port Lincoln before bidding farewell to the Eyre Peninsula and island hopping across the Gulf. From my elevated vantage point I could see the lie of the land wonderfully and the waters ahead. It was not long before I had skipped over Thistle Island and beyond Wedge Island to cross the coast of the Yorke Peninsula.
 
From there it was a simple left turn and onto Minlaton. This small town is home to the pioneering aviator, Harry Butler. A winner of the Air Force Cross in World War One, Harry brought aviation home with him after the Armistice. He captured the imagination with his mail flight from Adeliade to Minlaton, which saw him cross the Gulf with inflated tyre tubes for a life jacket. He became synonymous with his little scarlet Bristol monoplane, the 'Red Devil'. Now, 90 years later I am standing in a glass display room that proudly houses that very aeroplane. The history is so tangible as I stand beside the little aircraft and clamber atop a ladder to peer into the cramped cockpit. The challenges Harry would have faced so typifies the pioneering spirit of aviation in Australia.
 
I was treated to a lovely lunch that was accompanied by a musical ballad recently written about Captain Harry Butler.  In such a fine setting, surrounded by citizens, councilors and descendants of the pioneer it was easy to lose track of time. Although I did have schedule to keep, the people of Minlaton could not let me go before they had 'passed the hat' for the RFDS. Thank you so much for your generosity.
 
It was to be a day of great aviators as I next set course along the Yorke Peninsula to overfly the childhood homestead of Sir Hubert Wilkins. A man of many talents, Wilkins is often overlooked in Australian history. A decorated wartime photographer, arctic explorer, aviator and submariner. In fact, before Kingsford Smith, Wilkins was the owner of the Fokker Tri-Motor which flew into folklore as the Southern Cross. Sometimes forgotten, Wilkins was revered in the US for his exploits, such that on his death an American submarine was tasked navigate to the North Pole, surface and spread the great man's ashes. Yet as I circle over his humble homestead in rural South Australia, the polar caps are literally a world away.
 
After a silent tribute, I wind my way back to Adelaide over the quilt-like agriculture reaching as far as the eye can see. Occasionally broken by an elevated range or a settlement, the patchwork seemingly blankets this entire region until I rejoin the coast once more. Cruising to Outer Harbour, RAAF Base Edinburgh sits out to my left and Adelaide, the city of churches, is just off the nose. Once again the ritual is followed and the Jabiru touches down, taxies in and is tied down for the night. I was met there by Bas Scheffers of 'OzRunways' fame and an old twin-jet sitting quietly near the airfield perimeter. Remarkably it was a Gloster Meteor jet and furthermore, one that my father had flown half a century before.

For me, I get to enjoy a meal with Kirrily's cousins before returning to Parafield where the team at Flight Training Adelaide have kindly provided my lodgings for the night. Undoubtedly it will be another restful night on the back of a big day. Yet perhaps amongst those dreams will be glimpses of polar caps and 'Red Devils'. I for one will not be disappointed if that is the case.
 
Goodnight.



Day ten will bid Adelaide adieu. I will revisit the home of my old airline, Ansett Australia before crossing the chilly waters of Bass Strait on my way to Tasmania; the island state. Make sure you check back here for the next blog in the coming days. Or subscribe to my newsletter for the ‘alert’. Thanks again and I'll see you all soon.


Cheers,

Owen.


The full story of this solo flight will be the subject of my upcoming book.

Subscribe to learn more and be amongst the first to read it.





                                                                 

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