Destination Khancoban, Australia
Dates 1999-02-12 to 1999-02-14
Transport light aircraft
Purpose holiday

A condensed version of the following was published in the LFS newsletter, February 1999, Number 38. GFPT is the General Flying Progress Test, and will allow me to fly with passengers in the Lilydale training area. PPL is the Private Pilots License, and will allow me to fly anywhere within Australia. BZA and BZC are call signs of the respective aircraft.

On Friday the 12th of November, I arrived at Lilydale airport at 1pm. As there were relatively few pilots and relatively many passengers on this fly-away, this flyaway was going to be unusual in that I would be flying the piper warrior, BZA, the entire length of the trip with my mother and brother as passengers instead of sharing the flying time with other student pilots.

When I arrived, I was rather concerned about the weather as it was raining. Jeremy, my instructor, said that this shouldn't be a problem due to the high cloud base. We couldn't take off straight away, as we had to wait for my passengers, who weren't told to come until 3:30pm. During this wait, I became anxious when I heard that there were thunderstorms coming as I thought that we may not be able to leave in time. Eventually everyone was ready, and Jeremy said "we will see what the weather is like when we are up there". Fortunately, it was OK. Later on, we found the weather to be ideal at Khancoban.

For my first 2 hour flight (I don't yet have my GFPT), it was tiring and difficult for me to keep on the assigned altitude and heading. Every-time I looked down at the map, I would immediately glance up at the instruments and realize that I had dropped up to 500ft in height and rotated up to 30 degrees off course. Gradually I started to get the hang of looking at my map without straying to far off course, but I still need to be better before I can get my PPL…

The next day (Saturday) at Khancoban, we had a bus tour around the area and got a chance to inspect some of the hyro-power stations. This was very interesting, especially when Roger managed to get us a tour inside the power station that is normally closed off to the the public. We were able to go right down to almost the very bottom of the power station and see the insides of a shaft with the turbine removed.

Sunday morning we (my family) went on a walk around Khancoban. We had been told that the path was easy to find and easy to walk. This may have been the case if you walked around it anti-clockwise, however we walked around it clockwise. Almost immediately we got stuck on a dead end track - not a good start. We went back and found the correct track and proceeded to climb the hill, up the same way as the transmission lines.

It was here where the path split up into two directions and we decided to go clockwise around the circuit. We proceeded to climb the hill and got some very good photos in the process. Eventually we started walking back down the hill on the other side. We started getting concerned as we had run out of drink, and still there was no sign of were the track turned back. In addition, we ended up following the transmission lines away from Khancoban, in the boiling hot sun, and we were descending below the top of the hills which we should have been crossing to get back.

Eventually we come across a main road, and had to walk along it all the way back to Khancoban (over 10km). The net result? We walked over 14km instead of 4km as advertised. We still don't know where the track was meant to go though, and would be interested to know where we went wrong.

Sunday afternoon, prior to the plane trip back home, I suddenly remembered that on the way down, we had off loaded most of our luggage on to another plane (the Navajo). I reminded Jeremy of this, and he said if if we left immediately we might catch it before they took off. When we got there though, it was already gone, and BZC had just completed its startup checks and was about to taxi to leave when Jeremy off loaded our luggage on to them.

Overall, the trip was very enjoyable, and hopefully will help me in my progress to get my GFPT and eventually PPL.