I thought I’d include some photos taken during my first 100 hours of flying in my Sonex. My longest trip is only as far as Narromine, a distance of 365nautical miles, but I have covered a very large part of the state of Victoria on shorter journeys. The photos are not great quality, many taken with my phone from a bouncing aircraft, but do give a small sample of the views available. Click on the photos for a larger image.
This is Lake Eppelock, north of Kyneton. It has been pretty full for the past couple of years, but I can recall doing a trip from Sunbury to Echuca in my Skyfox about 4 years ago. The lake was to be a very large landmark on the journey, but I was unable to find it, even though I knew I was on course from other landmarks. It finally dawned on me that it was almost completely empty.
Swan Hill May 2013
This was just a navigation exercise – to Swan Hill via Bendigo and back via Echuca. The airfield at Swan Hill was almost deserted, but it did house this Big Bird crop sprayer; the toughest looking biplane you’re ever likely to see.
Near Swan Hill is Lake Boga, which during World War II was a flying boat base. The museum there features a Catalina and an underground communications bunker.
Mount Noorat June 2013
This was taken on a trip to Colac and the Western District. Mount Noorat is a little unusual in being a multi-crater volcano, easily seen from the air. It also features in a famous Australian book. Alan Marshall, who wrote “I Can Jump Puddles” lived in the area, and the mount featured in one of his adventures. It doesn’t look much from the air but is very impressive at ground level.
This flight was just to gain experience on longer flights. I had never done more than a 2 or 3 hours flying in a day, and Kyneton to Mildura and return is further than 1/2 way to Queensland. It was useful in that I found that I needed to improve the seat padding. Mildura was the largest airfield that I had flown into. The little Sonex felt very puny on that large tarmac. Soon after I took the photo the ag. pilot started up his engine and I had to move the Sonex to avoid getting blown away.
A runway big enough to land a 737 looks awfully big from a Sonex.
Dodging rain squalls on the Mildura to Kyneton trip
Mount Gambier September 2013
I did a trip to Mount Gambier to visit Sonex builder John Lerwill. While there I did a short sight-seeing flight. I have fond memories of Mount Gambier from racing motorbikes at the local track, MacNamara Park, from the late 60’s to the mid 80’s. It was all run on a shoestring by the local club, but it was always fun. Unfortunately I didn’t get into photo taking mode until I reached the Grampians on the way home.
I like to think that this is Bunjil, the great ancestor spirit, keeping an eye on me as I fly past, and he doesn’t look happy! This doesn’t really fit with the dreamtime story, but it definitely looks like a giant face guarding the Southern end of the range.
Just a little further on are fields of canola and this string of lakes near Willaura.
Ballarat and Lake Wendouree – getting close to home.