Australian SportPilot Magazine - Edition #98 - December 2020

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Official Publication of Recreational Aviation Australia Inc.

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Page 20 IT’S A BOAT IT’S A PLANE Ever wondered what its like to fly a seaplane?

Page 40 STOL The rise of the bush plane

Page 48 MS FLIGHT SIM REVIEW We check out the new release

Page 64 RADIAL ENGINE We check out this new banger

Page 70 MILK RUN A quick trip to the red heart

Page 86 JABIRU DREAMING The Australian plane

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From the team at RAAus Page 47


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PILOT PROFILES Tales from our aviation community

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IN THE HANGAR Maintaining your aircraft


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WHAT’S HOT Product reviews for flyers

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FLIGHT TEST Aircraft reviews

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COCKPIT Readers’ magnificent flying machines


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Nicholas Heath Editor

For an industry that’s suffering its worst setback possibly ever this year with COVID-19, there’s a lot of GA activity around. Last weekend I jumped in the plane and flew it back from having a service to home base. It was the first really good weather day we had seen in ages. I was amazed at the amount of traffic at every small airport I crossed. The radio was buzzing. Comparing that to my flights in the early days of COVID-19, it feels like we’re back. Bigtime. I was testing the new autopilot (you can read about that upgrade in this edition) and it was just as well, because I was kept busy on the radio at times. From 6500 feet in a clear blue sky with good visibility, the horizon is around 100 miles away. That means you looking at over 7000 square miles of land and sea on a clear day. And the view was glorious. Green rolling hills, the bay and sea in the distance. A god’s eye view of the world and something that we get to enjoy as pilots. As the borders open, I can imagine that we’re going to see touring increase a lot. Of course, commercial traffic will be slow to return and we won’t see any significant increase in international traffic until this thing either goes away or we find a cure or vaccine. But for those of us with access to an aircraft and the license to fly, the whole of Australia will be there for us to tour and visit. This edition we will show you some of the places you can go and events coming up that you can fly in to. If you’ve got an event or a destination that can be flown in to, let us know so we can feature it in the digital space and the next edition. We got plenty of feedback from you on the last edition in the new format. The new larger format was well received and you told us which stories you wanted to see more of. We’ve incorporated that feedback into this edition and we will keep fine tuning the magazine to make sure it has what you want. This edition we also say goodbye to Michael Linke as CEO of RAAus. Having worked with Michael over the last year on SportPilot and digital content, I can say first-hand that as a CEO Michael is an intelligent and straightforward person to deal with. That’s actually high praise coming from me, because in our line of work that can be a rare combination. It is never going to be an easy job running the organisation that is both an advocate for recreational aviation and the regulator. Michael has managed to balance both of those roles. It’s a tough gig and I thank him for his efforts and wish him well in the future. This year has been challenging for all of us, especially for those of us in Victoria. We’re all looking forward to a break soon and from the team at SportPilot and on behalf of RAAus we wish you all the best for the new year, with clear skies and a following wind.




(03) 5273 4777 EDITOR

Nicholas Heath DEPUTY EDITOR

Sophia Blakebrough STORY CO-ORDINATOR

Tom Lyons


Ed Jones

RECREATIONAL AVIATION AUSTRALIA HEAD OFFICE PO Box 1265 Fyshwick, ACT, 2609 Unit 3, 1 Pirie Street Fyshwick, ACT, 2609 International: +61 (2) 6280 4700 National: (02) 6280 4700 Fax: +61 (2) 6280 4775 Email: ACN: 070 931 645 CEO


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LETTERS RE: BUSTING THE BERNOULLI MYTH Dear Editor, The explanation of how it is that an aeroplane wing develops lift in the article “Busting the Bernoulli Myth” (SportPilot Issue 97) strikes me as unnecessarily complicated. The business is easily explained by recourse to two principles. The first of these is understood by any young sailor recovering from the capsize of his dinghy who activates the venturi bailer in the floor of the vessel. The speed with which the water trapped on board is evacuated through the bailer increases as the boat’s velocity increases. The principle is this: any fluid that passes across a fixed surface reduces the pressure on that surface, and the faster it passes, the greater the reduction in pressure. I refer to this (wrongly, I know) as ‘the venturi effect’. The second principle derives from Newton’s discoveries. The velocity of a fluid relative to a fixed surface is a function of its direction. If you change the direction of flow and do nothing else, you accelerate the fluid and lower further the pressure on that surface. This is what the designer of an aeroplane’s wing does when he cambers the upper

surface. By forcing the air to change direction he causes a differential between the pressure on the top surface and that on the bottom which translates into lift. How do aeroplanes like the Pitts Special, which have symmetric aerofoils, develop lift? Again, the young dinghy sailor can help us. He uses his rudder to induce in the centreboard (a symmetric aerofoil) an angle of attack to the water through which the boat is moving. This produces a change in direction (with accompanying acceleration) of the water flowing over the windward side of the board which reduces the pressure on that side relative to that on the leeward side resulting in lift to windward. The pilot of the Pitts Special does the same. On take-off he or she holds the plane in ground effect until it reaches 100 knots whereupon a slight back pressure changing the angle of attack of the wings to the ambient air produces a spectacular climb. Sailor and pilot are each conscious of the fact that the angle so induced is critical. If he or she exceeds it the centreboard, the wings, will stall. Cheers, Michael Baker

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It’s a mad world. And I find it kind of funny, find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had. Those lines come from a song called Mad World by Tears for Fears and later covered by Gary Jules. It reminds me a little of aviation. We’re nearing the end of what is almost certainly one of the strangest years that many of us have ever lived through. Bushfires, floods, hail storms, a pandemic that has taken many lives and adversely affected many, many more. And of course, it has had a marked impact on aviation. When we stop and look at aviation, it is an interesting industry to be a part of. There is almost no direct demand for aviation in any part of the economy except for the part in which we participate – the fun part. With few exceptions, the demand for aviation is derived from the demand for other things. To better understand this, let’s examine some areas where aviation plays an important role. The most obvious use of aviation is for transport, be it for goods or people. When we ship something from point A to point B, we need to choose a mode of

transport. For those goods that are of high value or where time is of the essence, it makes sense to use aviation. We could opt for road, rail or sea, but all of these surface transport options take a lot longer. Aviation is much quicker and provides a huge efficiency dividend. Likewise, with the transport of people. We can also move ourselves by road, rail or sea. Indeed, there is another option to ‘transport’ people from one place to another that has been highlighted in recent times and that is to telecommute. Services such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams have boomed over the last year, as this alternative to travel has proven to be exceptionally useful when the movement of people is highly restricted.

Michael is the Chair of the Board for RAAus and has held this position for 7 years. He holds flying qualifications from RAAus and CASA and advocates for the broader industry in a number of different forums. Michael is an active pilot and owns a CTLS aircraft which he regularly flies throughout Australia.

Similarly, we can apply fertiliser and insecticides to crops using other means, but it makes economic sense to use aviation as it is much more efficient. With the fire season upon us, it makes sense to use aerial application to assist with bushfire control, as once again, it is much more efficient. Time sensitive goods such as the transport of medical goods and patients are a nobrainer. If you need to get medical supplies to a patient or a patient into critical care, then aviation is the solution of choice.

Photography: Avalon Airport



Understanding these drivers of demand helps to explain why aviation has suffered and what is going to happen from here on out. With the movement of people effectively stopped overnight, a huge part of aviation has suffered greatly. Whether people were travelling for business or pleasure is irrelevant, the demand for travel dried up and aviation suffered. Some parts of aviation experienced less of a decline where the demand didn’t dry up. Property holders in remote parts of Australia kept working on the land and when they got injured, COVID-19 didn’t stem their demand for medical attention. This meant services such as the RFDS were relatively unaffected compared to other uses of aviation. In some instances, online ordering of goods saw an increase and so demand for shipping may have risen. As incomes became more and more affected though, discretionary spending went down and so the demand for aviation in that area will likely also see a decline. The second reason to consider where demand for aviation comes from is because it highlights the importance of aviation in Australia. We are a wide, brown land with vast distances between capital cities and regional centres. Aviation is pivotal in keeping us connected as a country. If you consider the positive impacts of aviation on tourism, agriculture, medicine, the movement of goods, firefighting, rescue, powerline inspections and so on, you quickly begin to understand the productivity gains that come from having a healthy aviation industry. Some estimates put the cost of the 2019-20 bushfire season at over $100bn, with more than 46 million acres being burned. Imagine what those figures would have looked like in the absence of aerial assets contributing to the fight? Agriculture earns around $155bn per year or about 12 per cent of Australian GDP. If aviation gives just a one per cent productivity boost to this part of our economy, then that means it is responsible for about $1.5bn in that industry alone. Now consider the other parts of the economy we’ve already mentioned here as well as those we haven’t.The contributions of aviation to the broader economy are enormous and often overlooked. I wonder why that is. As an industry, I feel as though some of the blame rests with us.

In the few sentences above I have highlighted a multitude of reasons to care about aviation but more often than not, these reasons are not articulated and so people tend not to be concerned. We are all very focused on fixing regulations which is a fair thing to do and something we should not be ignoring. However, we also need to inform people of those industries that will be left reeling should aviation be allowed to decline beyond repair. Our farmers won’t have aero medical services available to them, but that won’t matter because the increase in costs of using ground-based methods to fertilise their crops and protect them from pests will make their goods uncompetitive. We’ll have foreign carriers importing our food. As our domestic airlines fade into obscurity, those tourists brought to Australian shores by international airlines will not be able to travel between major capitals. Those sightseeing tours of the Great Barrier Reef and the Kimberley’s won’t exist anymore. Tourism will die. And of course, if someone gets hurt or lost while hiking in the Blue Mountains there won’t be anyone to help find and extract them. This is an extreme example and perhaps a bit like Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling, but it is an accurate picture of those things that will suffer should aviation die in this country. The Ministers for Agriculture, Tourism, Health, Mining and so on all need to take notice. They will all hurt when aviation hurts. We seem to revel in our own misery in some ways and take every opportunity to drown in our own sorrow, lash out at others and generally participate in our own demise. It’s almost as though those dreams in which we’re dying are the best we’ve ever had. Instead we need to turn the conversation into a positive one – one that highlights the economic dependencies that other industries have and the benefits that aviation delivers. Aviation can and should dream big and we need to bring people along for the journey because without aviation there will be no journey to be on. Let’s help everyone understand just how important aviation is to Australia.




AS A NON-AVIATOR, WHAT HAS AVIATION TAUGHT ME? In July 2014 I joined RAAus as an aviation virgin. I of course had a keen interest in aviation, but like most Australians, my first exposure to RAAus was when I became involved. My first few weeks on the job saw a long line of long term RAAus members sharing their thoughts on what was wrong with RAAus, what needed fixing, changing and doing away with. I listened and I learned. What I lacked in knowledge about aviation, I made up with my knowledge and experience in running a medium-sized enterprise, interpersonal engagement and financial acumen. At the time I thought, I’ll learn the aviation side of the business, so I visited aero clubs, flight training schools and our members. I attended conferences, engaged with sector professionals and attended aviation events.

communication skills, community and interpersonal connections. Aviation creates people with well-rounded skills, adept and prepared for a host of careers. I listened and I learned. Even though my touch point for aviation was six and a half years and I brought with me 30 years of other experience, I am leaving with so many more skills; skills that aviation taught me. Talk less, listen more. As many of our members are in the cockpit, something they do is talk less and listen more. You listen internally to your breathing, your heart rate, your fitness to fly. You listen externally to your aircraft, you understand its ‘hum’ and you are alert to changes in the hum. Changes that indicate differing air pressure, differing wind direction and from time to time a problem with how the engine is performing.

Michael Linke has been the CEO of RAAus since July 2015. A keen aviation enthusiast with over 30 years’ experience in management, Michael is passionate about seeing RAAus continue to flourish.

Today, some six and a half years later I’ve learned a lot about aviation. When I say aviation, I don’t mean stick and rudder skills, or how to perform a leak down test. I mean the idea of aviation. I listened and I learned. Today, some six and a half years later I’ve learned a lot about aviation. When I say aviation, I don’t mean stick and rudder skills, or how to perform a leak down test. I mean the idea of aviation. Anyone who thinks aviation is simply about flying a plane or following a checklist to get from A to B, or looking at a schematic of an engine to fault find is kidding themselves. Aviation involves decision making, leadership, critical thinking, people management and crisis management. Aviation develops self-esteem,


This is a real skill that can be transferred to the ground when interacting with others. From time to time as we engage, our focus is on our point of view and all we can think about is what we are going to say next. It is often better to simply sit quietly and listen. I did this many a time at a member’s forum. The more views I could hear, the more points of difference I could understand, the easier it was for me to make decisions, or plan a course of action.

Think globally, act locally. Community is sacrosanct at RAAus. Our entire movement was borne out of a community of like


minded individuals doing what they loved: building and flying aircraft. From those humble beginnings we have grown to a community of over 10,000. I was fortunate enough to meet a lot of our members in a variety of locations. They are too numerous to name, but a few will give context. I’ve had breakfast at White Gum in

We are all battling to make ends meet, to keep flying as simple as possible and enjoy the things we love. That is the acting globally. At RAAus I have always worked to keep costs down, maintain our simple rule set and essentially get out of the way of our members to allow you to do what you love most; go flying.

At RAAus I have always worked to keep costs down, maintain our simple rule set and essentially get out of the way of our members to allow you to do what you love most; go flying. York. Attended a funeral in Townsville. Flown in a Drifter at Clifton. Seen the Tamar River from above and walked the banks of the Derwent and Mighty Murray. Circled the Glass House Mountains in a Savannah. Hosted meetings at Skittle Alley in Aldinga and Lethbridge. Sat down to lunch in Loxton, Evans Head, Old Station and Gawler. Spent an afternoon and evening with members at Narromine, Parkes, Cessnock, Wedderburn, Avalon, Holbrook, Dubbo, Bindoon, Busselton and Bunbury.

I listened and I learned. Aviation has taught me a lot. Thank you to the team who have made RAAus a second home for so long. Thank you to the Board.

Everywhere, community is paramount. And our community deals with and faces the same issues from Bunbury to Cairns. Broome to Yarrawonga.

The more I learned about aviation, the less I knew. I think we should all live our lives unleashing the wonder that lies before us.

And thank you to our members. I have always been welcomed and made to feel at home, wherever I found myself. I will cherish these six and a half years. I’ll leave you with one final thought though…


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RAAus Chair Michael Monke (left) and new RAAus CEO Matt Boutell

Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) welcomes Matt Bouttell (Right) as the incoming CEO, starting early in the New Year. Matt brings a wealth of aviation knowledge gained through 30-years of working in a varied, aviation focused career. He has a reputation for being an easy-going and approachable leader with a proven ability to work across the myriad of stakeholders in our industry.


Well done to all those bright sparks who spotted last edition’s mystery engine twist. It was in fact a RC engine representing the Continental R-670 in a R/C Stearman PT-17 and the first person to spot this was Paul Saccani This edition we’ve found you a doozy. Think you know? Drop us a line at First correct entry wins the glory of having their name in edition 99!


Matt started his aviation career in the early 90’s as an apprentice aircraft maintenance engineer working on large jets before moving into airline flight operations. At the same time, Matt worked towards gaining his private pilot license which he helped to fund by working for his local flying school conducting maintenance on their aircraft fleet. Progressing into more senior roles Matt‘s career focused on Air Traffic Management both locally and internationally as well as Corporate Affairs before gaining valuable experience working for the regulator where he Chaired many of the RAPACs across the country and was also the Secretariat for the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel. Matt has been a member of RAAus for almost 10 years, flying a family members’ Jabiru around the NSW Snowy Mountains. He is part owner in a 1977 Grumman Tiger and flies regularly out of Canberra. Matt says ‘I’m very much looking forward to leading RAAus in a Post-COVID world to further shape the aviation landscape in Australia. I’m incredibly humbled that the Chair and Board have afforded me the opportunity to lead the small but highly dedicated team at RAAus. And I truly hope that with the border restrictions easing that I’ll be able to start the new year by engaging with our members as regularly as possible.’ Michael Monck, Chair of the RAAus Board added, “With Matt coming on board to guide our team we will be well positioned to lead RAAus into some great new opportunities. We’ve tackled a great deal of challenges in years gone by and with Matt bringing in a wealth of experience across the business, flying and maintenance aspects of our sector we couldn’t be handing over the reins to a better qualified person.”



German gyrocopter manufacturers AutoGyro have unveiled their latest model to the world, hoping to fill the space in their product line for an easily accessible, entrylevel gyrocopter. The new MTOclassic is based on the 2010 model of the perennially popular MTOsport series, aimed at giving those new to flying gyros a costeffective option for owning their own machine. The MTOclassic features a tandem seat, dual-control open cockpit and is powered by a Rotax 912 ULS or optional Rotax 914T. “We were getting feedback that people wanted a more

rugged, entry-level machine.” says Neil Farr of AutoGyro Australia about the stripped down, no-nonsense new gyro. More suited to the unpaved runways that dot this country than its higher-end siblings, the MTOclassic is sure to grab the attention of rural pilots, farmers and those just looking for an affordable option. “I think especially here in Australia it will have a good following”. With the first aircraft set to hit Australian shores by the first half of 2021, it will be interesting to see how Aussie pilots react to what is essentially the revival of a much-loved old favourite.



RAAus will be announcing a national marketing and media campaign to attract new members and get more people into aviation. This program will be available to all schools. Furthermore, schools in Victoria, who have been more affected than most, will have additional support opportunities as part of this national program. The program is designed to attract new students to flight training schools and will assist students meeting the costs of entry into aviation.


To boost the event sector of our community, RAAus has established an event support fund of $60,000. As COVID-19 restrictions ease and events are starting to be planned, RAAus would like to offer event organisers financial support to encourage RAAus members to attend events. Grants of up to $5,000 will be available until 30 June 2021. Detailed guidelines and the application process are available on the RAAus website.


WestFly 2020 was held over two days on September 18th and 19th. It was blue skies and calm weather in the days leading up to the event, but unfortunately Saturday came with strong winds and a small amount of rain. Those that decided to make the trip out still had a fantastic time, with warbirds, a 737 and the WA Police Air Wing all on display. A very successful failure!

RAAus has responded to calls from many members to increase the level of our coverage. To this end we are pleased to advise all members that policy coverage has increased from $10,000,000 to $20,000,000. Passenger liability cover remains the same at $250,000. RAAus recognises the difficult year everyone has had and that is why we have continued to work to keep member’s costs down. Not with standing the insurance costs, RAAus will not be increasing fees in the current financial year.




RAAus is pleased to announce the outcome of their 20202021 Scholarship round. A total of 61 Scholarships were awarded. RAAus would like to thank Airservices and OzRunways for their ongoing support of our scholarship program. RAAus received a record 143 applications with funding allowing 61 scholarships to be awarded. Winners have until 30 June 2022 to use their funds given the delays due to COVID-19. RAAus would like to thank everyone for applying and offer our congratulations to all scholarship winners. We look forward to following your flying journey.


At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, RAAus advised via E-News that aircraft registration cards would no longer be issued. During 2010, RAAus issued a bulletin to make the fitment of a registration card to the aircraft mandatory. This bulletin is no longer enforced. RAAus provides four reminders via email and text message regarding the expiration of aircraft registration. A registration certificate is supplied through email to the aircraft nominated registrant. Members can log into the portal and enter an aircraft registration number to retrieve information on the registration currency. Another alternative to the issue of a registration card is the use of the Hours and Maintenance (HAM) Record. The HAM is available to aircraft owners in the member portal.

OZRUNWAYS LAUNCHES 10TH BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY OzRunways turns 10 this December and while it may be their birthday, they’ll be the ones giving out the presents! The ever-popular Electronic Flight Bag app is launching their “Decade of Flight” competition this month, with great prizes up for grabs like a “take a mate” MHR voucher, a SkyEcho ADSB-in & -out device and 10 x OzRunways Premium 12-month subscriptions. To enter, head to the OzRunways website and follow the prompts to answer the question:

My favourite OzRunways tip/trick to share with friends is… “We wouldn’t be here without your support,” the company said in a statement regarding the competition, “We are proud to have been with you when planning, on perfect flights and in emergencies, and debriefs safely back on the ground. Thank you for trusting us as your co-pilot for over a decade.” The company’s 10th birthday coincides with the release of version 10 of the app, a functional and visual update to make flying even easier for its users.

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As the Covid situation improves, events are starting to re-appear on the calendars. We’re all looking forward to getting to them! Most events will be subject to the Covid conditions at the time and many will have restrictions, so check before you go. If you or your club has an event you would like to advertise, please send the relevant information to

13th December 2020 Burnett Flyers Breakfast Fly-In

3rd-4th April 2021 Holbrook Easter Fly-In

Grab a delicious breakfast and meet with aviation enthusiasts at the Burnett Flyers’ December Breakfast Fly-In. Located at Murgon Airfield, New South Wales (YMRG), the Burnett Flyers are a friendly club, always ready to welcome new flyers and chat about anything aviation. Breakfast Fly-In is $15. Please call 07 4168 6248 or email

8th-14th March 2021 Women of Aviation Worldwide Week

6th – 7th March 2021 Temora Airforce Centenary Showcase

Get closer to the action as you witness a themed selection of Australia’s ex-military flying history come alive at the Temora Airforce Centenary Showcase. Enjoy a full day of entertainment for all generations, including – flying displays demonstrating the aircraft’s capabilities; informative commentary and music; interviews with pilots and veterans; children’s activities; engineering workshop tour and our pilot meet and greet. Tickets for this event must be pre-purchased.

A global aviation awareness week for girls of all ages observed to mark the anniversary of the world’s first female pilot license (March 8, 1910). The week is a call to address gender imbalance in the air and space industry. Individuals and groups will be organizing local activities such as community events, factory & school open door events, museum special programs and much more to remember the industry's female pioneers, celebrate today’s women of aviation, and introduce girls of all ages to the multiple facets of the industry, so look out for events near you!

13th-14th March 2021 Hunter Valley Airshow

This blockbuster weekend of full-throttle family entertainment has something for everyone including hair raising aerobatics, historical warbirds, amusement rides, markets, beer & wine garden, delicious street food and so much more. Plus, you can take to the sky in a helicopter or adventure flight, take part in the paper aeroplane competition, jump in the virtual cockpit of a fighter jet or just sit back and watch the non-stop airborne spectacular taking place over Cessnock Airport, New South Wales.

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The annual Holbrook Easter Fly-In is back again in 2021 after being forced to cancel 2020’s celebration. Taking place over two days, the fly-in will feature forums, meals and entertainment, as well as ample opportunity to meet fellow aviators and chat about all things flying. Underwing camping is available, as is a shuttle bus to other local accommodation options. At the conclusion of the Sunday night, the popular Fly-In trophies will be awarded for Best RAAus Aircraft, People’s Choice Award and the Longest Distance Travelled Award.

8th-10th April 2021 AusFly Fly-In

AusFly is a relaxed, traditional Aussie fly-in event where aircraft owners, pilots, builders, industry supporters and enthusiasts come along and soak up the true spirit of Australian general aviation. Held at Narromine Airport, New South Wales (YNRM), AusFly will feature static and flying aircraft displays, educational sessions and industry exhibitors, as well as food and entertainment for the whole family. A gold coin donation on entry, AusFly is the perfect event for aviation enthusiasts of every kind!

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COMPILED: Scott Pigdon / Tom Lyons


We’re back on Facebook! Like and Follow @ sportpilotmagazine on Facebook to get more updates between editions, including Member photos and stories, more articles, plus digital content such as videos, recommended channels to follow, interesting things on the web and more! If you’re a current member, you’ll also have exclusive member-only links from Facebook to see more RAAus content on the RAAus Member Portal. Once you’ve followed us, you still have two more tasks! First, send in your photos, stories, videos, questions and anything else you’d like to share. Second, let us know what you’d like to see! A live interview with a personality you’d like to hear from? Reviewing a plane or a product? A bit of showand-tell with member planes, toys and stories? Email us: Like/Follow @sportpilotmagazine

EAA’S HOMEBUILDERS WEEK On January 26-30, 2021, experts from every corner of the homebuilt aircraft community will bring their knowledge and information to builders everywhere through free and interactive webinars, all thanks to EAA’s Homebuilders Week! Live presentations will be hosted on EAA’s webinar platform, which can be easily attended with any compatible computer or smart device. Sessions include Construction Basics, Design Selection, Avionics Options, Flying your Homebuilt and much more.


Registration for webinars are required and spaces are limited. Head to to register.



Husband, father of four, airman, racer, engineer, fabricator…and he’s designed some of the most amazing aircraft we’ve ever seen. If you ever heard of a red STOL aircraft in the US called ‘Draco’, you might have heard the designer/builder/owner Mike Patey had an accident last year. The bad news is Draco is now resting in piece. The good news is Mike is now mid-build of Scrappy, a 13 litre 780ci STOL tail dragger, which is his old plane Draco….on steroids. Mike actively logs his progress, design thoughts, testing and his flight trips – His vlogs are amazing, interesting and award-winning. This

year, Mike has been talking through the design, engineering, fabrication and testing of an incredible Garmin digital display, plus he’s more recently fired up the engine for the first time (and Mike doesn’t hold back, this engine is more like a roar than a purr). Mike talks through carbon fibre and materials, design and engineering feats, challenges, issues and why he makes certain decisions. Plus, he’s an honest dude – when he mucks up, he talks through it and reassesses, and he’s big on online Q & A with his followers around the globe. If you’ve ever seen the ‘Best Tugs’ logo lying around on a dragger-styled plane tug,

you’re already familiar with Mike’s work. The UTAH man is a big deal on the US and international plane scene and his social channels are creating a buzz. Nothing is too much for Mike, it’s about learning, pushing boundaries and having the best. To get a quick feel on what Mike’s like: He’s the kind of guy that pulls his turbo prop taildragger up to an open hanger, swings the rear around and reverses into the hanger in one clean sweep… a bit of a cowboy, but he’s all about having fun and learning. Follow Mike’s progress on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram

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A Decade of Flight OzRunways turns 10 this December. Thank you for trusting us as your co-pilot for over a decade. We are proud to have been with you when planning, on perfect flights and in emergencies, and debriefs safely back on the ground. In a decade of firsts we brought Electronic Flight Bags to Australia, saved pilots time and money, saved lives with our tracking system and revolutionised weather briefings with SmartBrief. And we are not done yet, in our decennial year we’re moving ahead to keep making OzRunways better, with: » Easier to use interface » More situational awareness tools » Specialised EMS functionality » Integrated commercial solutions » And much more! It may be our birthday, but we’ll be the ones giving out the presents because we wouldn’t be here without your support. Keep an eye on your inbox, social media and our website for more details soon!

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RAAus invites members to the 2020 AGM. As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, RAAus has deferred our 2020 AGM. The AGM will be held from: 2.00pm Saturday 27 February 2021. The meeting will be held at: RAAus Head Office Unit 3 of 1 Pirie Street, Fyshwick ACT 2609 The meeting will also be live broadcasted to RAAus members. Attendance at the meeting, will be subject to any health restrictions in place at the time of the meeting. Members are advised to monitor the RAAus website for more details closer to the date. Members can appoint a proxy if they wish. Members are also invited to submit resolutions for consideration. The closing date for resolutions is: 5:00pm AEDT Thursday 4 February 2021. This closing date allows RAAus to then notify all members of any resolution within the required 21 days of the meeting. Resolutions received after 5:00pm on Thursday 4 February will not be considered. Resolutions can be emailed to or posted to: RAAus PO Box 1265, FYSHWICK ACT 2609


Opening of the meeting

Receipt of apologies and proxies

Confirmation of quorum

Declaration of the result of the election

Minutes of last Annual General Meeting

Business arising out of the minutes of the last Annual General Meeting

Presentation of Annual Reports

Chairman (see annual report)

Audited Financial Reports (see annual report)

CEO (see annual report)

Close of Annual General Meeting

Following the AGM, a member’s question and answer forum may be held.





PLANE EVER WONDERED WHAT ITS LIKE TO FLY A SEAPLANE? SO DID WE. NICHOLAS HEATH GETS HIS FEET WET DOWN THE SHALLOW END. Planes are fun. Boats are fun. Why not combine them and have twice as much fun? My only experience of seaplanes was a single flight in the Fiji Islands on a beaver float plane. Good fun, but you’re well removed from the water and someone else was flying it. The dream for most of us is to be able to cruise the waterways, dropping in on crystal clear waters and parking on the sand for a spot of lunch and some fishing.





How do you become a seaplane pilot? David Geers is the president of the Seaplane Pilots Association of Australia. I asked him about his path in to Seaplanes. “When I was young, I travelled around Australia by car. After that I thought I would never do it that way again. So, my dream was to become a seaplane pilot, buy a seaplane and fly it around Australia. Which is what I eventually did.” Flying a seaplane isn’t quite the same as a traditional aircraft. In the air, everything is pretty much standard. It’s the take-offs and landing that provide the challenge. Who would have thought that you would be considering tide flows, boat traffic and channel markers as part of your pre-landing checks? According to David ‘I like to do several passes over an unfamiliar landing site. The first is to check for power lines and traffic – then a lower pass for posts or sand bars”. That’s the sort of thing that you don’t normally need to worry about at an airport. In a seaplane you also need to think about the fact that you don’t have brakes and if the wind is blowing or the water is moving, so will you. So, why a seaplane? Unlike say Canada, which has thousands of lakes, Australia is drier. So, a lot less lakes. What we do have is thousands and thousands of miles of coastline, waterways and inlets – ideal for seaplane activities. The most popular seaplane in Australia is the SeaRey. There’s over 500 flying around the world and more than 40 in Australia. It’s a two-seater, using your choice of Rotax engines – but typically a 912, with a fabric

Super Petrel taking off


covered wing. The body was traditionally fibreglass, but you can now get a carbon fibre version too. That gives you a hundred horsepower, a cruising speed around 90 knots at 20 litres an hour. The SeaRey is amphibious – it floats and it has retractable wheels for land based operations. In 2015, a fella named Michael Smith flew a SeaRey right around the globe, setting the record for small seaplanes while he did it. So, they have some runs on the board. A new SeaRey might cost you from $140k, but there are plenty of used ones popping up from half that.

“ Flying a seaplane isn’t quite the same as a traditional aircraft.” At the other end of the spectrum is the IconA5 – one of a new breed of seaplanes. While it is sold in the LSA category, with our 650kg current limit for RAAus seaplanes in Australia (you get an extra 50kg in the amphibious category) that is only a 145 Kg useful load by my calculation. Bring on the category weight increase! Then there’s the price. A fully optioned unit will run to $360,000 USD. That’s well north of half a million in Aussie dollars. But you can’t help admire the thing. From its sleek lines to its folding wings. I remember when Cirrus launched the SR22 and we all thought “no-one will pay that” and now they are the dominant selling light-single. I suspect the Icon A5 is showing us the future. It certainly looks futuristic. The auto like interior, the folding wings, the clean lines all show a well thought out design. They will even sell you a custom trailer, so you can fold the wings up and tow it home. According to Jerry Meyer, Marketing Director of Icon Aircraft “We’re extremely proud of what we’ve built with the A5, but this is just the beginning of ICON’s journey to revolutionize and grow adventure flying”. Somewhere between the two lies the Super Petrel. This Brazilian aircraft is unusual in being a biplane. Like the other aircraft here, it’s using a Rotax engine. It has a surprisingly high useable load and cruises around 95 knots. It’s other claim to fame is that you can land it wheels down in water and other than a very rapid stop, nothing happens. There’s even a video of someone doing it on their Facebook page. I think it would scare


SeaRey at rest (Image Kyle Gardner)



Image: Kyle Gardner


































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the hell out of you. Still, a lot of seaplane accidents happen because people have the wheels down for water landing. So, this is a good safety feature. There’s something very attractive about the biplane/pusher configuration. It makes for a very short wing span, which could be good for navigating obstacles and avoiding dipping a wing tip on taxi. Kyle Gardner built and has flown over a hundred and fifty hours in a SeaRey around his home base in Tasmania. I asked Kyle about the differences in flying a seaplane to a traditional Landplane and Kyle explained “flying a seaplane is all about attitude. When you take off, yes you firewall the throttle like a traditional plane, but you pull full back on the stick to get the nose up and try to get the aircraft out of the hole. As you come up on the plane, you need to establish the correct attitude again. Too far back and you’ll dig in. Too far forward and you can bury the nose and end up on your head. Landing is the same. After flare just gently touch the water, then hold that altitude all the way until you are back to being a boat again.” For anyone who has flown a tail wheel aircraft, that need to manage

LAKE BOGA SPLASH-IN If you want to get up close and personal with a bunch of seaplanes, the Lake Boga splash-in (yes, those quirky seaplane people don’t have fly-ins) is coinciding with the 100th Anniversary celebrations for the RAAF. During WW2, Lake Boga on the Murray near Swan Hill, was an important seaplane base and home of the famous Black-cat Catalina

the aircraft carefully during all aspects of landing and take-off will be familiar. Once back on the water, you’re basically a water craft and subject to the law and environment around you. Another thing to consider when operating a seaplane is maintenance. Water, particularly salt water, isn’t your airframe and engines friend. Builders like Kyle can reduce the risk of corrosion by applying corrosionprevention as they build the aircraft. Obviously, inspections are going to have to be thorough for signs of corrosion. Like any corrosion, once you find it, you need to deal with it. Australia has over 25,000 kilometres of coastline. If you include the islands, inlets, lake, bays and rivers that number stretches to over 60,000 km. That’s a whole lot of potential territory to reach and enjoy. If you’re keen to learn more, The Australian Seaplane Pilots Association is a great place to start. Visit

21 flying boats. They’ve got a Catalina on MAR display and a rather good collection of 2021 RAAF memorabilia and equipment. If you don’t have an amphibious aircraft, Swan Hill airport is just down the road and you can read about it in this issues article called “The Milk Run”.







It is not unusual to be apprehensive about an audit. However, there is a big difference between trying your best to have everything compliant, and really hoping auditors don’t discover something you know may not be compliant. I remember participating in a defensive driving course many years back and following some basic theory the instructor asked; “How many believe that you are a better than average driver?” Sixteen of 20 participants raised their hands. Of the first three practical exercises, only two people passed. Simply mentioning the words compliance audit will send many into a spin. But with appropriate training, maintenance of procedural systems and record maintenance, the spin will not be terminal. Compliance is about meeting the minimum standards, but that is no reason why the minimum requirements should not be exceeded.

“ Simply mentioning the words compliance audit will send many into a spin. But with appropriate training, maintenance of procedural systems and record maintenance, the spin will not be terminal.” Back to the defensive driving example, what is average? As a licensed driver, it should be assumed that all have met the minimum standard competencies. So, whilst it is all somewhat subjective, in a competent group there will be three, broadly segregated categories – below average, average, and better than average – but all are deemed competent. Aviation safety means the state of an aviation system or organisation in


which risks associated with aviation activities, related to, or in direct support of the operation of aircraft, are reduced and controlled to an acceptable level. It encompasses the theory, practice, investigation, the categorisation of failures, and the prevention of such failures through regulation, education, and training. An operational audit is the type of audit where the review is mainly focused on the key processes, procedures, systems, as well as internal control in which the main objective is to improve productivity, as well as efficiency and effectiveness of the operation and operational processes. The audit is about confirming that you are doing what you say you are doing – complying with the approved processes. Being approved as a Recreational Aviation Flight Training School and Chief Flying Instructor is an endorsement of compliance to the minimum standards for an FTS and CFI. So, the FTS was compliant when the approval/s were issued. But what is the process of ensuring that these compliances are maintained? Welcome to an operational audit. On many occasions (not just about aviation), I have heard comments in response to an impending operational compliance audit as just more bureaucratic red tape. Pause and consider, what is Red Tape? The following quote provides a good summation: “Red tape is an idiom referring to regulations or conformity to formal rules or standards which are claimed to be excessive, rigid, or redundant, or to bureaucracy claimed to hinder or prevent action or decision-making. It is usually applied to governments, corporations, and other large organizations.” So, what can you do to help yourself?

IF IN DOUBT – ASK: • Evidence to show that the attempt to comply was genuine, will promote discussion to improve the system, if you demonstrated intent • If you are not confident about an FTS audit (it will come) now is the time to contact the Ops Team and start the improvement process to ensure you are confident if the auditor were to arrive unannounced – maybe tomorrow.


DO NOT: Assume the auditor is out to find fault. It is a sharing process Cruise along in the hope there will not be an audit. It will come! Procrastinate – start now and bring ALL records up to date

DO: Ask questions, an audit is not one-way information. Maintain good student records – the records belong to the student. The FTS is the custodian of the student’s student records. Review the RAAus FTS requirements Use checklists for currency and critical dates. Checklists are used in the cockpit, so we do not forget! The use of these should not limited to the cockpit checklists. A single office checklist can be used to include and highlight anniversaries, instructor checks, instructor renewals, medicals, aircraft registration, RAAus membership, etc.

Our FTS recently had an audit and as CFI, I think we went well overall. There were some discussion items, a couple of highlights being differences in records of authorisations – but for me, this is the continuous improvement process. Operate on the basis that the FTS audit is tomorrow and keep all records complete and up to date on the day. Set yourself a target today. Do not aim to just simply meet the minimum standard, aim to be in the ‘better than average’ group. Focus on continuous improvement. By doing this, the benchmark will become higher and the reputation of RAAus will be elevated.

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NEIL SCHAEFER TRAINING DEVELOPMENT Training for success. Neil Shaefer explores the importance of flight training and the ways we learn.

arms for anyone who has the yearning for accessible flight and realising your flying dream starts with flight training.

The concept of training is nothing new for any of us. We’ve either had to do it through our educational schooling, our jobs or chose to do it to learn something new or to improve ourselves. Sometimes we even have to turn the tables and become the trainer, whether it’s with children, colleagues or those lovable creatures we allow into our homes!

Recreational flying and all the other associated activities around it are fun, but serious fun. For most of us that’s why we do it – sure it may lead us down paths we never dreamt of, but if it isn’t fun then we probably won’t go there or will even give up early in our journey. Doing something enjoyable is a great platform to enable learning. Childhood educators and psychologists have spent years dissecting human behaviour at all levels to understand what engages us to learn. It’s no surprise that if it’s fun, then we already are off to a flying start. This is often coined as the law of effect, if you have a positive experience you’ll progress; if you don’t, you won’t!

I don’t know about you, but for many years I looked at training as a grind – an imposed set of drills and disciplines backed up by lecturing rants and justification that required endurance and persistence. Sound familiar? Just ask your kids most days how they enjoyed their day at school! I realised after many years of corporate training coupled with my sporting pursuits, that there were two important ingredients that were often missing. I sometimes would stumble on a great coach or mentor who I just “clicked” with and not only did I progress, but I became more enthusiastic to learn, more motivated and more driven. So what were these rare attributes that seemed to make all the difference in my learning and success, these tenets of wisdom that accelerated me to my goals? Motivational speakers often say that there is only one true type of motivation and that’s self-motivation. Inspiration on the other hand can come in many forms: a picture, a YouTube clip or that annoying flying dream that just won’t go away. RAAus latest promotional video on YouTube is a call to


In the principles and methods of instruction we talk further about the laws of learning, one of the important ones is the law of readiness. Is the student ready to learn this new skill? What is their motivation? Have I understood what I need to invest and how have I prioritised resources to make this happen? Surprisingly, many people today still think flying is too hard, or they’re not smart enough; it’s a perception at RAAus we are focussed on reshaping.

“ Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” There are other powerful motivators to learning, such as money, success, security, self-esteem and fear. However, unless our hearts are in it, we often only learn what we need to pass and our retention is also less

Neil Schaefer has been involved in General and Sport Aviation for over 45 years. A qualified instructor, examiner, accident investigator, auditor and SAFA Senior Safety Officer, Neil has had a vast range of experience in the aviation world. Currently serving as the Head of Training Development, Neil previously spent 4 years running an RAAus flight school and worked 7 years as Assistant Operations Manager at RAAus.


likely to be anchored in long-term memory. As the saying goes, you may long forget what was said but you seldom forget how something or someone made you feel. Of course, teachers can force feed learning through repetition (some of us can still remember our times tables) and this still is a component of learning in flying today. Circuits…don’t talk to me about circuits! Rote learning is based on repetition of the exercise and our brain adapts to this form of teaching but so often it doesn’t understand the why in what we do or how it actually works. This is really important in aviation, if you don’t know the why, then it is easy to step away from the

Like most things this is not a simple task and requires our key authority holders to be on board. Instructor standardisation, proficiency checks, appropriate resources and continuing development process are just a few of the attributes RAAus has a responsibility to manage to ensure effective training delivery for our members. Being abreast of the range of training resources and platforms that are constantly evolving in our industry is also paramount to future success. Challenges such as COVID-19 have forced RAAus to review the delivery of services to ensure continued participation and development in aviation training. While online resources can never be a substitute for the real

“ Surprisingly, many people today still think flying is too hard, or they’re not smart enough; it’s a perception at RAAus we are focussed on reshaping.” disciplines you learnt in your training. Facilitated learning, where you couple your motivation to the right level of information you receive is a far more effective method to enhance understanding and embedded learning and this is the model that is often used successfully in flying. The mantra of See one, Do one, Learn one underpins the direct, monitor, coach principle which focuses on the visual and tactile observation, then practice and repetition in any exercise which helps the pilot progress through their training.

thing, the very nature of visual learning in flight training creates an opportunity for video tutorials and simulation technologies to assist in the advancement of pilots in their training.Progressive training schools are investing in tools such as these to enhance their value proposition for students. RAAus has developed strategic partnerships with organisations such as Bob Tait Theory and GoFly Online to provide access to learning resources in addition to those already available through RAAus directly and other aviation agencies.

RAAus has developed a revised focus on training initiatives for our members in 2020 and we are delivering these on a number of fronts in flight training, safety initiatives and airworthiness and maintenance programs. Training has always been one of the fundamental building blocks to accessing recreational flight since the creation of Civil Aviation Order 95.25 way back in the ‘80s and not surprisingly, has delivered the most substantial safety outcomes in our 30-year history, but now we are incorporating dedicated resources to deliver training enhancements, in flight training, airworthiness knowledge and skills to further assist safety outcomes and member knowledge and understanding.

The use of simulation tools for flight training is wellestablished in the aviation industry but hasn’t been explored in the recreational sector to any great degree. However, this is about to change. One of the development projects for 2020-21 is to scope and develop simulation training tools for RAAus pilots and significant groundwork has already been completed in this area. So, if there is one truism in aviation, it is that you never stop learning and fortunately this creates a vast opportunity for RAAus and our members to continue this never-ending journey together. So, what’s your next learning opportunity?





Following National Safety Month, here are a few reminders that are always useful to revisit. There is plenty more – from safety products to useful stories and tips – read on at

ARE YOU BECOMING COMPLACENT? Before we continue, stop and ask yourself, are you becoming complacent in your flying? The danger surrounding complacency is that it often goes undetected until being faced with a close call, an incident, or an accident. So how can we recognise it before it catches us off guard? 1. Use checklists 2. Practice emergency procedures 3. Conduct a risk assessment 4. Know your personal minimums 5. Fly every flight as accurately as possible 6. Treat every flight as though you have an instructor on board 7. Don’t let comfort result in becoming complacent 8. Continue to challenge yourself 9. Remember that even the most experienced pilots have accidents

VFR INTO IMC VFR into IMC refers to a flight conducted under visual flight rules (VFR) operating below VFR minimum conditions where visual references may be lost by the pilot. This includes operating in and around cloud, fog, rain or smoke.

Cody has been with RAAus for 2 ½ years as Innovation and Improvement Executive. He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Transport Safety Investigation, Diploma in Aviation, Diploma in Business, Commercial Pilot Licence and a Multi-engine instrument rating. Cody is passionate about all aspects of aviation, with experience in skydiving and charter operations (Fiji/NZ), gliding, aerobatics and warbirds.

Top tips to avoid VFR into IMC • Conduct thorough pre-flight weather planning prior to flight and obtain updated reports where possible • Avoid pressure to continue with a flight if conditions are marginal • Avoid the potential for complacency by not conducting thorough planning when flying a familiar route • Have an alternate destination in case weather conditions deteriorate • Make the decision to turn around early, even if you are close to your destination • Check that conditions are not closing in around and behind you • If conditions continue to deteriorate, carry out a precautionary landing in a suitable location. • If you find yourself above cloud, do not hesitate to contact air traffic control for directions or assistance (admitting you have made a mistake is better than not making it home).



“ There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots” - E. Hamilton Lee

In the event you do inadvertently enter IMC – Do not panic. Maintain a scan on your instruments and avoid becoming fixated on any one instrument. Make a gentle turn back out of the cloud (in the direction of lowest terrain) and request assistance from air traffic control if available.

COMPLACENCY SELF-CHECK • When was the last time you practiced forced landings? • Do you know the V-speeds of your aircraft and when each should be flown (Vs, Vso, Vx, Vy, Vne)? • Are you confident you can instinctively, quickly and accurately respond with the correct actions following an unexpected engine failure? • Have you started to normalise risks in your daily operations? • Have your personal minimums faded? • When was the last time you conducted a dual training flight to improve your skills? • Are you conducting a specialised activity without appropriate training or endorsements leaving you unaware of potential risks (farm spotting, bush flying, mustering, low level)? • Are you accepting standards other than what you know is your best? • Not flying accurate altitudes? • Not maintaining accurate speeds on take-off and approach? • Is your confidence exceeding your ability? • If you had an instructor on board, would you be conducting each flight in the same manner, accepting the same standards?

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AIRWORTHINESS AND MAINTENANCE INSPECT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT – BECAUSE IT DOES! Daily inspections are a crucial part of flight operations and are required by Recreational Aviation Australia before the first flight of the day. A correctly performed daily inspection by a trained pilot follows a standard procedure and permits detection of conditions that render an aircraft un-airworthy. However, some complacency, a theme discussed during safety month this year, and a lack of understanding of the standard procedure may prevent it from being effective among less experienced pilots. There is a difference between the daily inspection and the pre-flight inspection, also known as the walk around. A daily inspection must be carried out using approved maintenance data (manufacturer’s daily inspection checklist) which must be recorded before the first flight of each day. For subsequent flights that day, the pilot in command must carry out a pre-flight inspection or carry out another daily inspection should it be deemed necessary. A pre-flight inspection is usually an abbreviated form of the daily inspection. The daily inspection must consist of making checks set out in the aircraft flight manual. These inspections are not intended to be a hindrance or to be rushed through. They have been designed to identify issues on the ground, so they are not any issues in the air. A 2010 study conducted by NASA analysed data of US accidents between 1988 and 2004, and they found inadequate inspection practices to be a contributing factor in 54 loss of control accidents among general aviation operations. Back at home, several

occurrences are reported to RAAus where a daily inspection, carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s checklist, may have prevented the aircraft from landing elsewhere other than back at the airstrip. Several manufacturers require the engine cowls to be removed to enable a thorough inspection of the engine. Removing the cowls enables inspection for cracks, fuel and coolant hose integrity and to ensure nothing is chaffing on the exhaust. Many occurrences may have been prevented should the checklist have been followed, and a thorough daily inspection carried out. RAAus Airworthiness Notice AN2708101 requires that all engine cooling hoses/ clamps are inspected at each daily inspection and may be a difficult task to complete with the cowling on.

Jared Smith is Head of Airworthiness and Maintenance at RAAus. He holds a Graduate Certificate of Aviation, Bachelor of Technology (Aviation) and Business Management, a CPL, an instructor rating and L2 maintenance authority. Jared has been with RAAus for the past five years, initially working as the Assistant Technical Manager for three years.

Many factors influence the outcome of a daily inspection – weather, time pressures, stress, and fatigue, to name a few. Being aware of these factors and actions to mitigate their effects is paramount to completing the procedure correctly. A daily inspection may appear to be a simple task, but it is more than glancing at a checklist and wiggling flight controls. These inspections require an understanding of normal and abnormal conditions. For the flight, it is the start of the aeronautical decision-making process. If unsure of what a checklist item refers to or whether the item is airworthy or not, enlist the help of a Level 2 Maintenance Authority Holder or CFI for assistance. The daily inspection is a systematic and thorough look at the aircraft in accordance with the manufacturers approved checklist. It does not matter where your inspection



begins, as long as all areas of the checklist are covered. If your aircraft does not have a manufacturer’s checklist, you may use the schedule in the RAAus Technical Manual or CASA schedule 5. Whilst compiling this article, I came across a very recent story for an Aero Club Newsletter. This is also very timely considering the recent aircraft hibernation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aircraft in this story is a light twin aircraft; however, it is still extremely relevant to any RAAus machine. Thanks to Rob Parker for allowing us to share their story.

Excerpt from Aero Club Newsletter Words: Rob Parker

Having already completed a daily inspection and signed the maintenance release, I thought I was good to go. Wrong! One of the engine throttle levers had seized. I asked the engineers to look at the aircraft. When they removed the right-hand engine cowling, they found the seized throttle cable, and when they removed the left-hand engine cowling, a bird escaped and flew away. The bird's nest in the back of the engine certainly was not visible from the front air intake of the engine cowling and was also not visible from the rear of the engine cowling when I looked up through the open cowl flaps. It's a great reminder to have an extra thorough look over your aircraft before taking her skyward. So, I thought about what could have happened once I became airborne with the nest embedded in the engine. It would have overheated, and I may have had to perform an inflight engine shutdown. Not a big deal, as I have another engine to take me to an airport, paddock or road and perform a landing and walk away. What about an inflight fire? This aircraft, like many light twin-engine aircraft, does not have engine fire suppression (fire bottles). If the uncontained fire burns through the main wing spar, then it will most likely be a fatal event. The wing will separate from the aircraft, and you will soon be following the wing to the ground at an uncomfortable rate of knots. All of this drama because of something that you couldn’t see. Please be safe, please have an extra special look over your aircraft before flying. Please pay for a maintenance professional to take a closer look at your aircraft if you are in doubt about anything.





Continuous improvement and professional development – what do these buzzwords mean for aviation? Are they relevant to RAAus and its pilots? Buzzwords have a tendency to make eyes roll and sometimes people start to turn off when we talk about these things, but let’s think about the intent behind the buzzwords. What does continuous improvement and professional development really mean and more importantly, what does it mean for RAAus members and the organisation? A quick Google search provides a number of definitions from a variety of sources, which you can read at the end of this article, but let’s get into the really important bit, which is us and our willingness to commit, no matter what aviation interaction we have.

FOR PILOTS As a pilot, I am always looking for ways to improve what I do. From being aware and thoughtful about completing the pre-flight with fresh eyes, to a commitment to flying more accurately, to focussing on improving different parts of my flying, committing to using checklists, being consistent in my flying, I aim to improve my flying every time I take to the skies. This doesn’t mean I am not having fun, I approach my personal flying as an opportunity to escape the ground and my work, but at the same time, an opportunity to improve or focus on a specific area. As an example, it is easy to accept completing a circuit and being within 100 feet of the

required height. This is known as practical drift and we soon decide 100 feet is good enough. However, in real terms, if we are 100 feet too high and another pilot is 100 feet too low, we now have 200 feet of height difference in the circuit, which I am sure we all agree, is not acceptable. Likewise, for checklists, not all items may apply to all aircraft, or some simpler aircraft don’t have all the items required to be checked. So, pilots “do away with” the checklist, because it doesn’t apply. Then when they fly a more complicated aircraft, they don’t use a checklist and miss

Jill Bailey has been Head of Flight Operations for over 10 years. Jill holds a CASA PPL (A), has RAAus Pilot Examiner and Instructor Training Approvals, was a former RAAus CFI and has been an instructor with RAAus for over 15 years. Jill and her husband Norm previously owned a music store for 20 years and built a Jabiru taildragger kit which they flew all over Australia.

“ If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward.” - Mikhail Gorbachev something critical, usually at a critical phase of flight such as landing or take off, with possibly catastrophic consequences. This is known as “normalisation of deviance” and has been talked about in other Pilot Talk articles. There are also plenty of good articles online about this. So, by challenging ourselves, did I fly that circuit as accurately as I could, holding heights accurately (+/- 50 feet)? Have I used trim to ensure my approach speed is consistent? Am I making sure the aircraft is balanced at all times? Have I set the RPM exactly? Do I have the best mental picture of where other aircraft are and where they will be in 10 minutes? Have I interacted professionally with other pilots on the radio? I am ensuring opportunities for improvement and development exist?



FOR INSTRUCTORS As the teachers of the next generation of pilots and a major influencer of behaviour and culture, instructors embody the need for continuous improvement and professional development. And these opportunities can come from a variety of sources. While businesses talk about processes for improvement and professionals such as doctors, dentists and accountants must undertake a certain number of hours of professional development, instructors must often chart their own course in order to improve. Reading accident and incident reports and analysing what could have been done differently by the pilot, the maintainer, the aircraft owner or even the instructor who trained the pilot, offers an opportunity to improve.

sits for another weekend, especially on those perfect spring weekends we have been having recently. Areas for improvement include following best practice for refuelling, for paperwork, thinking outside the usual areas to check our PLB is registered and the battery is current. These are commitments we can make to continuously improve and develop as well, as pilots and aircraft owners. Are those tyres or brake pads getting down, do we commit to making sure they are replaced in a reasonable time or do we just let them go for another month? These are commitments to continuous improvement and development, whether we realise it or not.


Taking part in RAAus professional development seminars, online webinars and reading and reviewing textbooks on aviation subjects offer opportunities to improve. Taking opportunities to test yourself, whether via online quizzes, at club meetings or safety briefings, if we don’t seize every opportunity to improve as instructors, we are selling ourselves short and not creating the best version of ourselves for students and other instructors. Welcoming opportunities to fly with others and giving yourself permission to learn from others, no matter what their background or experience level, can provide amazing opportunities for improvement. I have learnt so much during the conduct of assessments and renewals of Instructors, CFIs and Examiners. If this is done with the right attitude, it should be a process of collaboration and professional interaction that improves both participants.

RAAus is definitely committed to continuous improvement, if not the organisation would not be able to strive for new member benefits like the MTOW increase, access to controlled airspace for members, meeting our Part 149 obligations and more. By constantly and non-judgmentally reviewing our actions, our successes and most importantly our failures, we learn and improve as an organisation. By surveying our members about what we do and how we do it, we acknowledge areas which cause members to grit their teeth or roll their eyes. We commit to doing our best to remove these areas, where possible. We try never to impose requirements on our members that don’t achieve continuous improvement or have a greater good at the outcome.


Some of these stories are mine, some are gathered from the experiences of other members, aircraft owners, from audits conducted on RAAus schools and more. There are so many opportunities for improvement and development, it can be overwhelming. Reporting accidents, so others can learn, watching YouTube videos from pilots who have had accidents, reading accident reports, thinking about possible lessons to learn, these are commitments to continuous improvement and professional development I have made. So, beyond the buzzwords, what can you do to commit?

As an aircraft owner, I have made a personal commitment to making sure all Service Bulletins, Alerts and Advisories are researched and more importantly, I haven’t put off completing these because it is inconvenient or I am in a hurry to go flying. A great way to ensure you don’t forget this important information is by subscribing to the relevant manufacturer alerts and bulletins via their websites. This is a big commitment, because it can mean the aircraft




THE FINAL WORD So, should we commit to continuous improvement and professional development? I would say yes, if we are serious about our flying (even if it is for fun we can still be serious about something), we should be committed to these things, as pilots, as aircraft owners, as maintainers, as an organisation. Take a step on your journey of improvement and development today, take a fresh look at what you do in aviation and how you can make this better.



• Seeking of small improvements in processes and products, with the objective of increasing quality and reducing waste.

• The process of improving and increasing capabilities of staff through access to education and training opportunities in the workplace, through outside organization, or through watching others perform the job. Professional development helps build and maintain morale of staff members, and is thought to attract higher quality staff to an organization. Also called staff development.

• An ongoing effort to make incremental improvements to products, services or processes over time. Processes are constantly audited and modified based on their sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness. • Not about the things you do well - that's work. It’s is about removing the things that get in the way of your work. The headaches, the things that slow you down, that’s what continuous improvement is all about.

• Includes a wide variety of specialised training, formal education, or advanced professional learning intended to help administrators, teachers, and other educators improve their professional knowledge, competence, skill, and effectiveness .

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Although sport aviation was allowed during the COVID-19 winter of 2020, lockdowns across the country meant many aircraft went unused. Returning to the sky has to be more than a Sunday afternoon spurof-the-moment decision. Air transport operators already know this. Incidents involving engine shutdowns, partial power loss and unreliable airspeed indication have been recorded in aircraft recently taken out of long-term storage. It’s as though these complex machines are waking up grumpy after a long sleep.

STORAGE Unused aircraft fare better in dry climates than humid maritime climates because dry air provides less opportunity for corrosion, mould growth and fuel contamination. Over the long term however, dry air is more likely to dehydrate rubber and plastic seals. Aircraft should ideally be parked or stored on a flat surface with the nose pointing in the direction of the prevailing winds to limit the effect of wind gusts on the aircraft. Wheels should be chocked and the pilot’s operating handbook or aircraft maintenance manual should be your guide on whether parking brakes should be engaged or left off.

This is also a potential safety issue for sport and general aviation aircraft. Despite the vast difference in complexity between these and commercial aircraft, some of the same precautions need to be taken to prevent engines, airframes and avionics from dangerous deterioration.

Pitot heads must be covered with tightly sealing conspicuously tagged covers. Poorly fitting covers could allow moisture or insects into the pitot static system while giving the impression that it has been protected.


Aircraft should be electrically grounded to protect their avionics from static electricity build-up or (the admittedly unlikely possibility of) lightning strike.

In aircraft as with people, there are two ways to avoid waking up with a headache. They are comfortable storage and considerate awakening.


CASA Airworthiness Bulletin 85-021 Issue 1 – 29 March 2017 has useful information on preservation of


unused piston engines that you can use in conjunction with the manufacturer’s recommendations, which should be your first reference. Airworthiness Bulletin 85-121 says aircraft piston engines last longest with regular use and maintenance. Corrosion and contamination can begin within a few days for aircraft stored in humid coastal locations, but engines stored in more favourable conditions can go several weeks between flights without ill effects. The bulletin says some preservation measures do more harm than good to aircraft piston engines. “Engine ground running is not a substitute for regular flying; in fact, the practice of ground running will tend to aggravate rather than minimise the corrosion condition,” the bulletin says, arguing that short lowpower engine ground runs do not heat the engine enough to vaporise water in the oil and therefore promote, rather than inhibit, condensation. The practice of pulling engines through by hand merely wipes the protective film of oil from an engine’s cylinders, cams and followers, increasing the potential for corrosion and causing increased wear when the engine is started again.

AWAKENING The consequences of several months’ hibernation on the ground may include: • Low tyre pressures • Low battery voltage • Fluid leaks and/or low levels

While you’re running checklists, don’t forget yourself. It’s been a hard few months for many of us and emotional and financial strain will have had effects. CASA’s Fit to Fly page has this personal/ planning checklist: Physical health: If unwell, do not fly. Exercise heightened caution if taking prescription or retail medications. Obey directions on medication packaging. Seek DAME advice if in doubt. Mental health: Assess effects of financial or emotional stress caused by lockdown on your decision-making ability, fatigue level and fitness to fly. Data sources: Check EFBs and maps are up-to-date. Licence document: Check to ensure your proficiency checks and flight reviews are valid or you meet CASA’s exemption rules. Medical certificate: Check your certificate is appropriate for your flight and, if it has expired, that you are meeting the exemption rules. Currency: Make sure you meet your currency requirements or any CASA exemptions. Competency: Make your first flight back something you would be comfortable with. Avoid making it overly complex. If needed, brush up on your skills by engaging with your local flying instructor. Rehearse your flight: Mental practice or ‘chair flying’ has been shown to sharpen skills and responses.

• Corrosion • Insects/nests, especially in pitot/static ports • Rodent damage to wiring • Bird nests

Weather: Don’t make things harder and more hazardous by making your first flight on a day when the weather is challenging, you can wait a little longer. Familiarise yourself with forecasts at the Bureau of Meteorology - Knowledge Centre.

• Dust on airframe and windows • Expired emergency and first aid kit items. Each of these should be checked and remedied, if necessary, before you fly the aircraft.

Alternates: Check you meet all applicable alternate requirements (fuel, weather, lighting, navaids). If your flight is across state borders, check this is legal (information about state and territory border closures is available via






Imagine a typical landing scenario; decent but steady headwind, cool temperatures and a runway just about on sea-level. For most pilots, touching down safely would be a walk in the park. But what if the runway was just 287cm long? Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) flying is a fascinating area of aviation, opening up a dizzying array of opportunities to recreational pilots. Mastering STOL can enable you to land off-airport, exploring the rugged beauty of Australia on a level that very few ever get the chance to. Landing on beaches, next to rivers, atop mountain plateaus and many other untouched areas of the country, it’s easy to see why STOL attracts the most adventurous of pilots. STOL flying has exploded in popularity recently, as footage from around the world has been shared online of pilots taking off and landing in roughly the length or their aircraft. In Valdez, Alaska in 2018, Dan Reynolds set the world record for shortest landing with a distance of just 9’5” (287cm). To put that in perspective, that’s about one tenth of a cricket pitch, three quarters length of a Volkswagen Beetle or just slightly longer than the arm span of NBA superstar, Shaquille O’Neal. It’s an incredible feat, and one that STOL flyers have put countless hours of R&D into, attempting to create the perfect STOL aircraft. “It’s real fun and it’s a good challenge,” said STOL enthusiast and owner of Wings out West, Dan Compton. Wings Out West is Dan’s flight school near Dubbo, New South Wales. The business specialises in bush flying, STOL, low level and survival flying for those seeking a challenge or some adventure. Dan’s students learn the basic aspects of bush flying from day one, allowing them to gain a full appreciation for STOL and the opportunity to master the necessary techniques. So, what makes an ideal STOL plane? To break it down let’s look at the two essential parts of STOL separately; take-off and landing.



When taking off, there are two things STOL flyers are looking to achieve; maximising power-to-weight ratio and, of course, maximising lift. Combined, these factors improve acceleration on the runway and provide a high rate of climb. Theoretically, any aircraft can achieve a short take-off by simply adding power, but when limited to RAAus’ single engine and weight regulations, just installing a huge engine won’t quite cut it. Most STOL aircraft have relatively stock-standard Rotax, Lycoming or Jabiru engines, while focusing on making the rest of the aircraft as light as practically possible to improve that ratio. Wing design is also vital in maximising lift. STOL aircraft typically have larger wings and are equipped with additional devices such as larger-thanaverage flaps and leading-edge slats to boost the lift coefficient. Additionally, STOL aircraft must be configured in a way that provides a high angle of attack at or near the ground, in order to provide maximum lift in as little time as possible. As such, STOL aircraft are often in taildragger configuration with a long main gear to raise the nose, however tricycle configuration is also possible with a strongly upswept rear fuselage to minimise the chance of a tail strike when lifting off quickly. On take-off, STOL pilots look to build up acceleration quickly before maximising the angle of attack. In a taildragger, a pilot will lift the tail to zero the angle of attack, allowing them to gain some acceleration before pulling back quickly and potentially adding some flap, dropping the tail down again and returning the plane to its high angle of attack. This ‘pops’ the aircraft off the ground, allowing the pilot to level out and accelerate again while still in ground effect, before pulling up to the best angle of climb and completing a short take-off.


When landing, one factor rules all; stall speed. Being able to fly at extremely low speeds is essential to a successful short landing, and so STOL pilots use various factors to allow this. Again, wing design is a major factor, with large flaps and leading-edge slats all helping to lower the stall speed. Vortex generators are also used. These are small vanes attached to the leading edge of a wing that cause vortexes, delaying flow separation and stalling. Thanks to these design characteristics, typical STOL planes boast stall speeds as low as 20kts. While low stall speeds are important, landing at stall is not the ideal scenario for most STOL pilots outside a competition setting. Instead, most bush pilots will set up a steep landing with high drag, coming in slow, but still comfortably above stall. Intentionally entering a forward slip is also a possibility, helping to increase drag. Coming in with this vertical motion, a lot of the energy is then transferred into the ground (aided by strong suspension) and not along the runway, allowing the pilot to stop short. Ground effect also comes into play during landings. Aided by the lowered stall speed, STOL pilots are able to “float” gently into landing with extreme control, landing almost vertically in the correct conditions. Despite this, it’s not all about take-off and landing. Most STOL aircraft are first and foremost bush aircraft, and so designs reflect the need to land in obstaclerich areas and carry a decent payload. Theoretically, fantastic STOL capabilities could be achieved with massive, glider-like wingspans and ultralight airframes, but in the real world, these designs are highly impractical. Pilots flying an aircraft like this might find their STOL capabilities are useless if a landing area is quite narrow, with obstacles either side. They might also find that landing off-airport is simply no fun if they can’t bring along camping gear in fear of the additional weight.


“ STOL flying is about freedom, adventure and challenging yourself to perfect your craft. It’s about seeking out experiences that lay out of reach of most people, and even most pilots. It’s about achieving a level of confidence in take-off and landing situations that can prepare you for emergencies when flying other aircraft.”



“ Landing on beaches, next to rivers, atop mountain plateaus and many other untouched areas of the country, it’s easy to see why STOL attracts the most adventurous of pilots.” As a result, almost all STOL planes are highwing, allowing for improved clearance and better views of the ground. Many STOL aircraft are also rag and tube designs, as due to their operating off-airport, they are far more susceptible to damage than runway-only aircraft. Having a canvas skin means that if the aircraft fuselage is punctured, a simple bit of tape can be used to patch it up and allows a pilot to get home. Large, low-pressure tundra tyres and increased suspension also become a must when landing off-airport, helping to cushion landings and improve movement along rough and uneven terrain.


When analysing STOL aircraft like the Zenith CH701 or the multitude of Piper Cub clones, it becomes clear that while being able to land on a cricket pitch with plenty of room to spare is truly incredible, STOL is so much more than that. STOL flying is about freedom, adventure and challenging yourself to perfect your craft. It’s about seeking out experiences that lay out of reach of most people, and even most pilots. It’s about achieving a level of confidence in take-off and landing situations that can prepare you for emergencies when flying other aircraft. Once mastered, STOL flying can take pilots to some incredible places. “Bush flying allows you to use a plane to actually go where you want to go. When you’re just flying airport to airport and you have to get taxis or hire cars, it can be difficult to actually get to the places you want to be. With bush flying though, you can fly right to the place you want to go, provided you have permission. Flying becomes a truly useful form of transport,” said Dan from Wings Out West. Dan also spoke of the immense sense of accomplishment felt each time he lands somewhere new; “Every spot’s a little bit different. You’ve got to use your head, check it out and make sure it’s safe for you to get in there,” he said.


So, how do you get into STOL? Dan stressed the importance of training and practice before attempting STOL on or off-airport. “It is something you do need to learn. There are a few schools popping up like ours across the country, and there are also groups [like the Bush Flyers Down Under Facebook group and Oz STOL] that are very welcoming. It’s important to learn, either through group support or going out and finding the right instructor,” he said.

It’s easy to view many STOL aircraft as silly, weirdlooking or even downright ugly, but the sheer utility of these amazing machines reflects their true beauty. These are machines are perfectly designed to serve a very particular purpose, and to do so with extreme effectiveness. Parked next to a Sling, a Cub might look like a Mazda next to a Maserati, but if you’re looking to get out and see this country in all its glory, there’s only one option I’d pick.

Although it’s not compulsory, Dan also recommends gaining a low-level endorsement to really get a sense for what bush flying is all about; “It’s a good awareness tool for operating below 500ft, which is exactly what bush flying is. It just helps to gain that awareness about managing your safety, finding powerlines and other potential hazards.”


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SO YOU’VE HAD A CLOSE CALL? Often the experience is something you’ll never forget and you have learned from it. Why not share your story so that others can learn from it too? If we publish it, we’ll give you $500. Email Articles should be between 450 and 1000 words. If we publish your story, we will not include your name if you ask us not to. If you have video footage, feel free to submit this with your close call.

Please do not submit articles regarding events that are the subject of a current official investigation. Submissions may be edited for clarity, length and reader focus.




Words: Michael Baker

Some years ago when I was engaged in formulating theories about how the universe operates, a friend versed in science explained to me the immense debt we owe to Sir Isaac Newton in the revelation that velocity is not the same as speed. While speed is a scalar quantity, velocity is a function of direction, a vector quantity. A body moving in a circle, such as a weight on the end of a string in the hands of a child or an artificial satellite as it circles the Earth, is constantly accelerating because of its constantly changing direction. The acceleration of gravity experienced by the free-falling parachutist (only moderated by air resistance) is a function of the circular motion of the planet. If I’m driving my car down the freeway at 110km per hour and enter a corner, the speed shown on my speedometer may remain the same but my car’s velocity actually increases. If I’m diving my plane (let’s assume with dive brakes!) at 100 knots and pull the stick back, the ASI may show 100 but the plane’s velocity actually increases substantially, shown by the increased gravitational forces on me and on the aircraft. Aerobatic pilots use an accelerometer to show the g loads caused by changes of velocity. Founder of the Sydney Aerobatic School, Noel Kruse, believes an accelerometer should be in every aeroplane. His series of free online Flybetter books also deserves the attention of every student pilot.

There’s some sobering reading in a Department of Defence paper published in March 1993 covering 50 years of aircraft accident investigations involving service aircraft. The paper exposes the perils of rolling an aircraft as it’s pulled out of a dive; “The downwards moving aileron increases the bending loads and reduces the nose-up torsion loads while the upwards moving aileron has the opposite effect”. The action may cause the loss of a wing. A moment’s thought on the definition of velocity brings the realisation that rolling the plane about its longitudinal axis adds a second component to the plane’s acceleration out of a dive (around its horizontal axis). The paper goes on to explain that the “Simultaneous application of elevator and aileron is not a standard design case and should be avoided, particularly at high speed when high g loadings are comparatively easy to achieve. If unavoidable…the pilot needs to be conscious of the fact that the aircraft's placarded g limits are reduced by some, frequently undefined, amount”. All of this may have little relevance to pilots of recreational aircraft whose steeds are more likely to stall than to exceed g limits in the hands of a clumsy pilot. However, it provides food for thought for anyone who may need to recover control after turning too steeply some 2,500 ft AGL and nudging Vne in the subsequent dive - something that I experienced some years ago!


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The first thing about the new 2020 Microsoft Flight Simulator is this: It’s big. 127 gigabytes of big. So, the first thing was a download. Overnight. And some of the next day. I then got distracted with other things and by the time I got back to it, there was an update. 114 gigabytes. Great. A day later we were ready to launch.



And then the complexity of the thing hit me. I have an old joystick and pedals which I had used to play some flight sims before. But getting them to work with MSFS20 meant painfully logging each input. Finally, several hours later, we were ready to take to the virtual air. It’s beginning to feel like real world aviation already. MSFS20 has a rather nice training program that allows a complete beginner to get in to the air. I decided to try these as it was as good a starting point as any. The default setting is for Sedona airport in Arizona. I’d visited Sedona a few years ago and it is a beautiful desert place, with red, rocky cliffs – a bit like the Macdonell Ranges near Alice Springs. According to the new age types, it sits on the apex of several lay lines. That’s attracted a bunch of hippies which means you can get all the organic free-trade coffee and crystals you need. There are nice people and it’s a great place to fly.



The introductory flights are exactly what you’d get in a trial instruction flight. But the striking thing for me is how photo-realistic the detail is and just how close the feeling is to sitting in a real plane cockpit. There’s a friendly (read; annoying) instructor who cheerfully takes you through the controls and basic manoeuvres. Mostly what these demonstrated was that my joystick/ rudder setup needed tweaking because the slightest control movement would flip the aircraft. Sometime later…we resumed.

“ The striking thing for me is how photo-realistic the detail is and just how close the feeling is to sitting in a real plane cockpit.” So, how does this stack up against real flight? Obviously, it’s not the same. But if you squint your eyes a bit it looks a whole lot like the real thing. What’s most impressive is that you find yourself doing the things you should be doing in a real aircraft – panel scan, downwind checks, flap positioning. All the things you do in the real aircraft, you do here.

Psychologists have researched learning a lot. Did you know that just thinking about something can improve your motor learning? I’m not sure whether to be more surprised that it is true, than that someone decided to publish a paper on it, but there you go. Airlines and the Air Force have long realised that simulation is a valid learning tool. Simulators have been around since before the Second World War. That conflict suddenly created the need for thousands of trained pilots and simulation is seen as a safe and effective way to enhance traditional, hands-on training. That took some time to penetrate both the market and regulators, but now most general aviation schools provide simulation time as a part of their syllabus. Of course, military and airline simulators are very sophisticated, with physical representations of the aircraft and even motion simulation, which is beyond the reach of a private pilot, right? Well, actually, no. If you want to, you can build an entire virtual cockpit and even a motion simulator which quite a few people have already done. We’re talking professional quality simulators here, but if the research is to be believed, you don’t need all of that to get most of the benefit. It’s probably just more fun.



Back to the simulator. With the basic controls under my belt, it was time to get a bit closer to home. One small problem is that MSFS20 is brand new. So, all of the nice add-ons and packs that give you detailed local scenery and other planes haven’t been completed yet. There are quite a few third-party software companies that make a very handy living producing custom landscapes and aircraft for flight sims. There are even people making a killing with custom weather. If only I’d known that being a virtual cloud designer was a career option! It turns out that one of the largest suppliers of Microsoft Flight Simulators add-ons is based right here in Australia. Orbx grew from a passionate enthusiast’s hobby in to a multimillion-dollar business that spans the globe by producing add-ons for flight sims. For the new MSFS, they’ve updated and improved the Sydney terrain as their first offering. In off-the-shelf trim, MSFS version of Sydney is fairly barren. No bridge is the most obvious visual cue to anyone familiar with Sydney. I loaded up the new Sydney scenery from Orbx, who provide a tool that does it for you and decided that the best plane for Sydney Harbour would be the Icon A5 Amphibious Airplane. It would also give me a chance to try out the Icon – at least in the virtual sense. With a sunny day selected and right above the harbour as my launch point, I started the program. And boom, there I was over Sydney. Now, it’s not perfect but it is very, very good. I’ve flown over Sydney many times and spent plenty of time on the harbour.

After a pleasant cruise around the harbour, I thought it might be a good idea to land near the bridge. Following the manufacturers numbers, I eased down to a graceful landing and went splat. A rude message indicated I had exceeded my abilities. Just as well, it wasn’t real life. I guess that is why we practice on a simulator.



The Melbourne Monolith

“ What’s most impressive is that you find yourself doing the things you should be doing in a real aircraft – panel scan, downwind checks, flap positioning. All the things you do in the real aircraft, you do here.” I had to pay a quick visit to my old home-town of Melbourne to check out a known glitch. Microsoft Flight Simulator uses Bing maps for terrain. Somebody has made a small keyboard error in Bing that resulted in a 212-storey skyscraper appearing in Melbourne’s northern suburb of Fawkner. This has made Melbourne something of a drawcard for flight sim enthusiasts around the world who want to see the towering monolith before it gets removed by an update. After a quick rundown the Yarra for old-times’ sake, I landed at the old RAAF base in Point Cook, because, well, why wouldn’t you?



This got me to thinking about how you could benefit from a flight simulator this good and here’s some great ways to use a simulation like this to improve your flying.




Microsoft Flight Simulator has Air Traffic Control that will respond to your request. To be honest, I am still learning this feature, but what I saw amazed me. Better still, you can turn on live traffic. What that means is the live feed of traffic is taken in real time, so both the aircraft around you and the air traffic control features are taken from real life. Unfortunately, as this was at the height of COVID-19, there weren’t many aircraft about. When things get back to normal, I’m sure it will be one of the coolest features to play with.

3 The ability to practice a flight before you make it is a great feature of a simulator, but especially when you are visiting an unfamiliar airport. I travel to Broken Hill a bit, so I thought I would check out just how well represented this airport was. The answer is very, very well represented, even in the standard early flight simulator release. I arrived overhead, made my calls, joined mid-downwind and landed, then taxied about a bit. It’s not the same, but close enough to the real thing. Take off was almost like being there, except it wasn’t 38 degrees like normal in the cockpit. The ability to familiarise yourself with an airport and surrounds before arriving can’t be overestimated. It’s one of the busiest times in the cockpit and familiarity with the circuit takes all the guesswork out. So big points there to the simulator.



We are all searching for the perfect circuit – on the numbers, perfect turns, well-timed calls, traffic management to a tee. You won’t achieve perfection ever, but you can edge closer with practice and the MSFS helps you with that by really re-enforcing your procedures and cementing that with practice.



I don’t ever want to find myself upside down, with an engine failure in cloud. But I’d sure like to know what to do if it happened. MSFS lets you try any scenario and provides you with a real enough environment to get the heart beating. Want to try a landing with no rudder? Here’s your chance to test it out. When did you last practice your engine failure drill? A simulator lets you refresh your memory without putting you at risk and costing you air time.

Broken Hill Airport



In short, Microsoft Flight Simulator is an amazing technical achievement. So amazing, that you can’t actually run it at its full potential on existing computers. It’s been designed to take advantage of the upgrades that will come over the next decade. Testing was run on a i7-8700k processor, running Windows 10 65bit, with 32gb ram and a GeForce 1080ti video card – which allowed medium detail and a reasonable frame rate. You wouldn’t want to run it on much less than that for a good result.

So, would I put my money in to Microsoft flight Simulator and a joystick/rudder combo now? Actually, I did. For a few hundred dollars you can rack up unlimited hours of simulator experience and have quite a lot of fun, but you will need a reasonably powerful computer. You can test out aircraft you will never fly, and travel air routes you might never otherwise see. Better still, it might just make you a better pilot.




Words: Tom Lyons Photography: Greg Foster & Dept. of Defence

Air Force Pilot. It’s a job title just about every kid has dreamed of, up there with astronaut, movie star and superhero. It’s a select few that get to actually do it and fewer still get the opportunity to join the Roulettes; the Royal Australian Air Force’s prestigious aerobatics team. Flight Lieutenant, Aimee Heal is one of those few and it all started flying Jabirus around Bundaberg, QLD. 56

Currently posted at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria, Aimee’s job as Roulette Seven has taken her across the country and internationally, performing at airshows, major events and military functions. After grabbing a coffee in preparation for night flying training later that evening, Aimee sat down with SportPilot Magazine to tell us about her journey in aviation. Aimee’s first flight was unlike most. Where the typical pilot tells of wonder and awe, Aimee recalls being mostly terrified. Only about 4 years old, her dad had taken her for a joy flight in a helicopter at Agrotrend,


an annual agricultural show in her hometown of Bundaberg, Queensland. “I just remember being really petrified. I was so scared because the helicopter had no doors!” Aimee said, recalling the experience. Afraid she was going to fall out, Aimee couldn’t wait to be back on the ground. It wasn’t long though before she was determined to give it a second try. A couple years later at the same show, Aimee asked her dad to take her up again. This time, the aviation bug had bitten her. “I remember coming back and

mornings before school, Aimee was always on track to do her first solo as soon as she was old enough. “You can’t ever forget your first solo,” said Aimee, reminiscing on that exhilarating moment. “I remember being out at the club on school holidays and my instructor saying, ‘Okay, stop here. I’m going to let you go solo now. I’ll get out here and you can go and do a circuit on your own’”. Heart pounding and adrenaline pumping, she set off down the runway for the first time by herself. In the air, Aimee remembers looking over at

“ I had really supportive parents and people around me that never questioned that I could achieve what I wanted to achieve.” dad saying ‘Wow, that was completely different to last time’,” she recalls, having pressed up against the side of the helicopter to see as much as she possibly could. Any fears she previously had were gone, and Aimee was set on becoming a pilot.

the empty seat beside her thinking, “Oh well, I’ve got to land it now. I have no choice in the matter!”. Confident but nervous, she completed the circuit and brought the J170 in for a smooth landing, cementing her career direction once and for all.

Having been enamoured with aviation ever since that flight, Aimee took the opportunity to visit the local aero club for the first time in grade 6. Established in 1935, the Bundaberg Aero Club has inspired countless would-be pilots to chase their aviation dreams in its 85-year history and Aimee was quick to join its ranks. Flying Jabiru J170s around Bundaberg in the early

Continuing to fly with the aero club throughout high school, Aimee considered a few different career pathways before settling on the Air Force. “I actually applied for an aviation degree through Griffith University, as well as my application to the Australian Defence Force Academy,” she recalls, but she was focused primarily on what would get her working in the



cockpit the quickest. “I knew the expense of getting a Commercial Pilot’s Licence through civilian means. I didn’t really know, but with the Air Force it seemed you could apply and they’d pay for training and everything,” she said. Of course, stories from her grandfather who served in the Air Force during World War II might have also had an influence on her decision. Upon finishing high school, Aimee was accepted into ADFA and headed to Canberra to begin her military training. The first night in Canberra, Aimee remembers feeling nervous, unsure if she’d made the right decision. “I told myself I wanted to get through the first six-week block, after that I could say I gave it a good shot. But the first six weeks came and went, then the first year… and here I am 11 years in!”. After three years at ADFA, Aimee graduated with a Bachelor of Science under her belt and went on to pilot course. During her time training at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia, Aimee flew in formation for the first time. Having complete responsibility for herself, with other pilots trusting and relying on her, she likened the momentous feeling to that first solo in the Jabiru J170. “It’s the most awesome confidence booster when you have yourself


to rely on and you fulfill what you set out to do,” Aimee said. In July 2013, Aimee graduated from pilot course, once and for all completing her dream of becoming an Air Force Pilot. Since graduating pilot’s course, Aimee’s career has been a whirlwind of different RAAF bases, operations and aircraft. Originally posted to RAAF Base Townsville, Queensland to fly the King Air 350 in a light transport role for 12 months, Aimee then took the opportunity to join No. 33 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Here, she was tasked with flying the Airbus KC-30A, a Multi Role Tanker Transport plane responsible for aerial refuelling and long-range transport. After four years flying all over the world and working with countless coalition partners, Aimee was ready for a new challenge. At the start of 2020, Aimee became the newest member of the Roulettes, transferring from the massive KC-30A to the aerobatic Pilatus PC-21. Now posted at RAAF Base East Sale, Aimee’s role as Roulette Seven is unique. Whilst the other Roulettes members are flight instructors during the week, Roulette Seven


is responsible for co-ordinating and preparing the team for their range of events; anything from ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day to airshows, motorsport events and countless others.

will someone learning,” she said. “Being able to give someone that sense of joy and confidence to be able to take-off, fly and come back in a high-performance aircraft like the PC-21, it’s just awesome”.

Flying as low as 250ft, hitting speeds of up to 370kts and experiencing up to 6 times the force of gravity, flying with the Roulettes is a far cry from Aimee’s days in Bundaberg yet she still carries the same mindset as she did at the aero club. “It’s about the sphere of influence,” she explains. “I had really supportive parents

It’s been an incredible journey for Flight Lieutenant Aimee Heal. From that first helicopter ride to her first solo at Bundaberg, her entry into the Air Force to her joining the Roulettes, Aimee has taken every challenge head on. “I’ve flown the largest aircraft in the Air Force and the smallest aircraft in the Air Force. There’s

“ I remember being out at the club on school holidays and my instructor saying, ‘Okay, stop here. I’m going to let you go solo now. I’ll get out here and you can go and do a circuit on your own’.” and people around me that never questioned that I could achieve what I wanted to achieve”. From her first solo to Roulette Seven, Aimee’s always known the value of having a supportive group of friends and family. A quiet year thanks to restrictions and lockdowns, Aimee and the 2020 team managed to fly at Tyabb Airshow and a handful of other events before things began to drop off. All sights are set on Avalon though, with the 2021 airshow set to culminate in centenary celebrations for the RAAF, no doubt featuring the Roulettes in all their glory. The future is clear for Aimee. From her spot as Roulette Seven, she intends to follow Roulettes One through Six in becoming an instructor. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I think by teaching someone else how to fly, it will improve my skills just as much as it

been hard times and there’s been easy times, but the experiences I have gained being in the military is second to none. It’s been phenomenal,” she said

Favourite place you’ve flown to: Northern Western Australia. The land out there and the contrast is just amazingly beautiful. Dream place you’d like to fly to: I would love to go to Antarctica. Hearing some of my friends’ trips to Antarctica is just amazing. Favourite aircraft you’ve flown: The KC-30, because I got to take my family out flying with me and let them experience refuelling in the flesh. Dream aircraft to fly: A hot air balloon!



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LEARNING TO FLY IN THE 50’s RECOLLECTIONS FROM BARRY WRENFORD I joined The Royal Aero Club of NSW (RAC) in 1955 when 19 yrs old, after starting a new job. My boss was just learning to fly at the Royal Aero Club of NSW, and his morning tea arrivals at work involved describing his adventures of the day in the Tiger Moths, which was enough to get me enthused. I was earning £12 per week, and the dual rates on the Tiger was £3.18.6 per hour and solo it was £2.18.6. Being winter, all the flying gear had to be purchased from ex-military disposal stores; the kapok filled Sidcot suit, fur lined flying boots, gloves, goggles and helmet fitted with the Gosport tube, for connecting to the instructor in the front seat ahead of me. Even fitted out with all this, some of the early morning winter flights were somewhat of an ordeal. To state that the cockpit was windy is an understatement, and the exposed face felt as if knives were cutting into it until all became numb. The reprieve often came when one gained a thousand feet or so, when suddenly the air warmed up several degrees as one flew through the inversion. Taxiing the Tiger was an art. There was no way that you could see directly


ahead because you were in the rear cockpit and the whole front of the aircraft was in the way. All taxiing involved weaving the aircraft and alternately looking out to the left and the right side. The steering was by a steerable flat tail skid, which had limited purchase on harder surfaces. In cross wind situations judicious bursts of power needed to be applied to blast the rudder surfaces just to get the aircraft pointing in the right direction. Most instructors were old RAAF pilots, working out their frustrations on the Tigerschmitts as they called them, and some had strange ideas on how to blood their students. One of these was Nick Belloff, probably a European allied fighter pilot missing his Spitfire. My fourth instructional flight was with him for medium turns. Briefings were just that – brief. Fitting the Sutton harness involved four straps for the lap and shoulder with just rows of holes along them. The idea was to join the holes up by placing a pin through suitable ones and locking it in place. Well,


Well, the lesson was learnt, and I never flew again with a loose harness! I said nothing to Nick afterwards, and surprising to me now, I continued flying for a lifetime of enjoyment in things with wings.

the first attempt seemed a bit tight, so I selected the next set of holes which was quite comfortably loose. Then up to 5,000ft, which in retrospect was a bit high just for medium turns, and with much shouted communications through the hard to hear Gosport tubes the task was achieved. Then Nick asked me if I was strapped in, which I affirmed and he said, “taking over”! He then dived the Tiger to pick up speed, pulled the nose above the horizon, then proceeded to roll the aircraft on to its back. When inverted, he pushed the stick forwards and I found myself falling out of the seat trying to hang on with fingernails to the cockpit sides and not succeeding. I then fell against the harness with them biting into my shoulders. I was suspended with my head well above the windscreen, being blasted by the direct slipstream with the aircraft in an inverted glide. The sensation of hanging partly outside the aircraft over 5000ft of nothingness, swinging in the cradle of the harness, with the seat cushion rocking on my backside, cannot be described. I had thought that I was a goner, and without a parachute. When Nick had his bit of fun for the day, he rolled back upright. I fell back into the cockpit, and Nick said “handing over”, and then proceeded to berate me for my sloppy flying with my shaking hands, and probably laughing his head off.

Students were taught all the mysteries of oiling, fuelling, dewatering the fuel tanks, checking the aircraft, and starting and swinging the prop. In those days you helped everyone else in these tasks, and when a visiting pilot and aircraft came, you all piled in and did the same for him. I remember one bushie coming in, probably an early taildragger Cessna, and after filling the tanks we drained off three bottles of water from them. I doubt that he had ever done a water check! On weekends you stayed for much of the day, and when not flying, the main entertainment was watching and criticising everyone else’s circuits and bounces. Mostly the bounces, which could be spectacular at times. Starting the Tigers was a procedure of hand priming, blowing out the excess fuel by pulling the prop backwards with the throttle wide, setting the throttle for idle, and hand pulling the prop forwards to start. No starter motor or brakes. We had a nervous lady trainee pilot who forgot the last vital setting, and the engine started full throttle. The Tiger leaped its chocks, and our pilot froze in the cockpit. The prop swinger was alternately chased by the aircraft, then in turn had to chase it. He could only end up by grabbing the wingtip which caused it revolve and collide with the hangar door, where it stopped with the spinner drilling a hole on the corrugated iron until someone raced up and closed the throttle. Surprisingly, there was no damage to the aircraft! Spin training. That sadistic Nick Belloff once again! “I have the stick, you have the rudders - keep the wings level with the rudders!” He slowed the Tiger to just above the stall and sneaked a little nudge of the stick to the right. So, I applied left rudder, and lo, it came level, but momentum carried it a bit past it, so I applied a touch of right rudder to correct it. However, the roll overshot again even more. So more opposite rudder, then heaps of rudder to correct this, and suddenly the Tiger flicked right on to its back, with me beneath, and continued to roll while becoming vertical. The ground became a disorientating rotating blur spinning insanely around the Tiger’s nose. “Opposite rudder, ease the stick forwards”, and suddenly the world around became sane again. That first spin is never forgotten!



Engine restarts in flight. No starter! One points the nose down vertically for an airstart, and then is told to push the nose over further until one is slightly inverted, hanging with the wings behind and just empty air below. 130kts and the prop jerks around a couple of times then blurs into life, and then one returns to level flight.

“ To state that the cockpit was windy is an understatement, and the exposed face felt as if knives were cutting into it until all became numb.” Low Flying. Down to the low flying paddock near Bringelly, flying below treetop level. Phil Coney demonstrating the apparent skidding in the turns. He went on enjoying this for a while, and then he said, “you can see how dangerous this is” and with exhilaration and adrenaline pumping, I replied with an enthusiastic “YEEEAAAAHH!” The dual cross country was 3.5 hrs in the Auster RSM with Nick Belloff, my old nemesis. Then my solo cross country was in the luxury of the canopied Tiger RSH, where at least I didn’t have to anchor the maps and flight plan down to prevent it all blowing away. When the training was finally completed, one had the usual flight test with Bob Jarvis who was the DCA examiner in those days. This was passed OK, and then there was a verbal examination where 50 questions had to be answered correctly. Well, he kept asking questions, with me giving the occasional wrong answer, until I managed to get 50 of them right, and then I had my license!


The Tower. The controllers were the lord and masters of the aerodrome. Light signals were the method of communication. Green for take-off and landing, red for stop, go around or orbit if another aircraft was in front, or had not cleared the landing area. Flashing white was the dreaded call to report to the tower for a dressing down after some infringement. I remember one day in my early solo flights I elected to land on the short gravel strip that then ran beside, and in full view of the tower. I was fixated so hard on the landing that I failed to notice that there were aircraft parked near this strip. Well the miracle occurred, and I did a three-point greaser on the gravel. I was so proud of the achievement until the white light started flashing, and I got a dressing down for showing off and landing in close proximity to parked aircraft! With a steerable tailskid only, Tigers were a bit vague in directional control on the ground, and a groundloop could have been very expensive. After nine years with the Royal Aero Club, a family to keep and a house to pay off, finances were a bit short for the increased costs of flying. I was longing to keep flying, so I thought to try out the gliding in those wood and fabric gliders being hauled up by cables from winches at Camden. However, as a power pilot I was welcomed with open arms as a much-needed voluntary tug pilot for their rather decrepit recently acquired underpowered Auster, and I ended up with the best of both flying worlds. I have retired from flying now, with the hard training and experience received through the Royal Aero Club and those dedicated ex-service Tigerschmitt instructors carrying me through a safe 63 years of flying, a hundred different aircraft types, and 14 years with Recreational Aviation Australia.


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YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND, RADIAL, RIGHT ROUND A MODERN TAKE ON THE RADIAL ENGINE Trick question: What does a three-wheel motorbike, a Formula Vee, a Porsche 356, a ’71 convertible VW Beetle, a VW Kombi Van and an X-Air have in common? We’ll give you a hint… it starts with ‘r’ and rhymes with schmadial…





We often speak of the radial engine design as a nostalgic reflection on aviation’s ‘once upon a time’, with loud start-up pops and bangs, some aerobatics and enough exposed metal to make you bite your bottom lip. But there’s been some recent modern developments that have the SportPilot team weak at the knees, and it’s a pack of Aussies leading the charge. Back in 1901, an American engineer known as Charles Matthews Manly developed the world’s first watercooled radial engine, adapted from the existing rotary engine, creating a 52 hp gasoline-fuelled revolutionary masterpiece. It was a bold new design…that failed to fly. Twice. In 1903-1904, Jacob Ellehammer applied some motorcycle science to a new engine design and developed the first air-cooled radial engine; a threecylinder model that led the way to five-cylinders a few years later, which then developed into a new world of combustion designs. Before the gas turbine engine was developed, radial designs were appealing due to their reliability and power. Offset pistons meant that each fire on the fourth stroke would counter the vibration and create a harmonic balance, making them inherently stable without too much need for dampeners and counterbalancing. Plus, more power meant more applications, paving the way for bigger aircraft like the B-25 Mitchell Bomber and the M3 and M4 tanks in WWII (which used diesel variants of the original design). The vertical engine shape created a larger tank

silhouette though, so the radial engine’s days were numbered as engineers put pencil to paper, attempting to create more streamlined machines. With our brief history lesson out of the way – and skipping just a few decades – along comes Nick Mebberson, a mechanical engineer from Bespoke Engineering out of little ol’ Adelaide. Bespoke Engineering design and develop componentry for aerospace, mining and motorsport applications. Nick has kept clear of the fuel fumes though, developing a modernised radial engine concept that might just tickle your tailwheel. Nick turned up at Harrop Casting Technologies in 2015 and met Loui Burke, a British businessman and fellow mechanical engineer operating in Adelaide. Nick presented a three-cylinder radial design that immediately had Loui’s business-savvy mind flapping around like elevators in a stiff breeze. “I was immediately interested. I just got it,” Loui said as he told us the story. “There’s nothing like this on the market, it’s a classic engine design with modernised technology and an endless list of configurations and applications. It’s powerful, beautiful and has the charm of a radial engine”. So, there it was. Nick and Loui joined forces and Radial Motion was born, all from an idea that had been rolling around in Nick’s head for more than 20 years. With good fortune beside them, the partners

“ There’s nothing like this on the market, it’s a classic engine design with modernised technology and an endless list of configurations and applications. It’s powerful, beautiful and has the charm of a radial engine.”



“ You get 150 Australian Made horsepower for around $30,000, weighing in at about 75kg.” found additional support in the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Fund, dedicated to advancing the science of aeronautics in South Australia. Suddenly, the team had grown to 12 engineers and technicians, working over the last three years to help make the dream happen. In an industry very much caught up in rules and norms, the Radial Motion team has managed to break through with something truly revolutionary. It’s likely due to Nick – whose background is in machinery – always looking at the project as a machine and not simply an engine. When an engineer says “You can’t do that, we’ve always done it this way”, Nick responds with “Well, we’re going to do it differently”.

two-valve (2-inch intake & 1.5-inch exhaust) pushrod engine with a separate cam for each head (unlike a traditional radial), with an oversquare ratio of 99mm bore and 86.5mm stroke. The conrods fit to a common journal on the crank – unlike traditional radial engines post-1920s which have master and slave cranks. It runs a dry sump with multiple Gerotor scavenge pumps. Twin spark is standard. She can be fuel injected using a Motec ECUs or run with ITB’s or carbies. The heads are water or air/oil cooled for overall power of 130 NA or 150+hp boosted at 5,000 rpm. And she’ll take considerable boost, supercharger or turbo, for those daring to push her to the limit.

To those readers scratching around for their next AvGas fix, let’s get some numbers out of the way. Here goes… She’s a three-cylinder 120°/120°/120° radial, 2,000cc,

Instead, Nick’s team are using a common crank journal, like a V-twin, which makes for a ‘compact’ radial (the footprint is inside that of a VW Type 1). The cylinders



are in one plane which means that they get equal (air) cooling. The case is one-piece cast (billet in the prototype), which is simple and strong and will not fret like conventional 2-piece cases under high load. Access to camshafts and internals is easy without stripping the engine down. The crankshaft is one piece, 4340 steel. If you don’t already have the tissues out drying your eyes, wait until you hear about the engine applications so far: a three-wheel motorbike, a Porsche 356, a VW Kombi and an X-Air. They have a radial-powered Beetle in the Adelaide Tarmac Rally and in March 2021 they plan to put a radial in a Formula Vee and go for 150 Mph on the salt at Lake Gairdner. They’ve literally drag raced the motorbike on an airstrip with a 1940 Boeing 75 PT-17 (thanks to ex-RAAF and Cathay Pacific Captain, Jim Twiss). Automotive use of radial engines has been limited until now (if you’ve ever come across a 1935 Monaco-Trossi race car your jaw might hit the floor) but this engine has enough potential to make radials as ‘normal’ as snags on the BBQ at a weekend fly-in. But what about aviation? Well, the road configuration makes the most sense for testing, so some of the specifications will change for the aero option. The X-Air owned by Bespoke Engineering has just received a new set of skins from Wingtech and flown home to Aldinga (SA) from Rylstone, New South Wales, for testing. Flight testing is planned for 2021, with a target of 1,000 hours in the air and 1,000 + on the dyno. Fuel injection has a mechanical backup, and a planetary gearbox running a maximum 5,000 rpm


take-off and 4,000 rpm cruise for the first tests. It will run oil through the water galleries with a separate low-pressure pump for oil and air cooling, and there’s a new throttle body in testing. But the real kicker is this: you get 150 Australian Made horsepower for around $30,000, weighing in at about 75kg. The engine will be available as pre-built (and dyno tested) or a kit, which even a first-timer could assemble in a weekend, albeit with a few bottles of liquid-encouragement the weekend prior. What about spare parts, you ask? The engine utilises GM LS (V8) components: valves, springs, rockers, pistons, controls and common Bosche sensors. affordable and commonly available parts, and they’ve already been tested across millions of miles. A new set of rings is under $100, compared to the $1,000+ price tag for common four-cylinder engines operating in the same recreational aviation space. Plus, she’s fullycontained as an engine, so no leaky hoses! Nick had previously run his own S10 and knew about the pain. Another key part of Nick’s design is longevity. He has a pet hate for the automotive industry and their disposable engine designs. At 200,000 clicks, it’s ‘in the bin’ for many modern automotive engineers. Dissatisfied with this mindset, Nick looked for more life by designing all the wearable parts to be easily replaceable and 50+ year lifespan should be the absolute bare minimum. The engine is simple and easy to work on, has a high power-to-weight ratio, boasts an easy-fix approach and is built to last (built to ASTM F2339-19A).


The first engines, built for automotive applications, are scheduled to be available in the first half of 2021, so if you have a VW, off-road buggie, trike or 2-seater sport car and you’re looking for an engine solution, you might want to put your name on the list. Think in terms of the $25,000 mark and 80kg with cast iron liners and a fly wheel. If 2021 aviation testing goes well, the aero option won’t be far behind. Nick and Loui are putting in the infrastructure for 1000+ engines per year in their 1800sqm factory. Radial Motion are working with David Owen at Fleurieu Gyroplanes for a radial Gyro installations and Graham Smith of Aerofrom Australia for installation in an all metal 194s style round engine kit plane. They’ll be looking for other early adopters (land and air) and during 2021 there will be employment opportunities for engine builders and machinist’s (including for LAME/ L2+). It’s a good news story all-round. If you want to modify the application, the team at Radial Motion want it to be easy. “When you want to modify it, it should be a bit like Lego,” said Nick. “You shouldn’t be diving through obscure online forums looking for answers, it should be ‘You want 300hp? Here’s what you need!’”. Nick isn’t shying away from gyro-mustering

applications or anything else – he’s in pursuit of a wide range of applications, truly believing in his design. Since engine components are from GM’s Godfather engine, and the Radial Motion team’s mentality is ‘why not?’, we can still expect to see some interesting applications to come. The thrust line is in the middle, so future developments could include a V-Twin and bringing the thrust line higher than the centre, then suddenly 1400CC, 120+hp and 55-60kg options would make sense to replace with 2 strokes for drifters and motorbike applications. Excited, aren’t you? It’s an engine that’s powerful, fun, sounds awesome and will put a smile on your face. It’s a testament to Australian design and is bound to prick up the ears of any engine enthusiast. Sure, Australian manufacturing isn’t what it once was volume-wise, but to take a 100-year-old development and revolutionise its design, potentially changing the entire aviation (and automotive) industry…it just goes to show that Aussie ingenuity really is alive and well. Follow Radial Motion on social media @ radialmotion on Facebook & Instagram.





Location: South of Menindee




I fly from my home airport of Lethbridge in Victoria up to Broken Hill several times a year to work on publications for the regional tourism authority. Broken Hill is marketed as “Accessible Outback” and while it’s not as remote as much of the outback, the countryside is certainly red-centre in style. I do this trip so often, I have it saved in my OzRunways flight plans. This trip will be a clockwise loop Lethbridge > Mildura > Broken Hill > Swan Hill > Lethbridge, as we have to stop for a meeting in Swan Hill and we’ll need fuel and a bathroom by the time we get to Mildura. We’ll be taking one of the Tecnam p92’s from Golden Plains Aviation’s fleet at Lethbridge. After a weather check the day before and a re-check the morning of the flight, it appeared we would be facing a few clouds south of the ranges, then hoped it would clear up as we approached the Victorian-New South Wales border. North of that it looked good with scattered cloud at 3500 feet. When travelling anywhere, I like to get my flying done early, before the bumps set in, but that is especially so when heading inland as the bumps can get very nasty in the afternoon. For a lengthy trip away, we always do an extra thorough pre-flight check. So, I allow the best part of an hour for general ‘dicking around’ (that’s an official term), stowage and checks. There’s always something, and today it’s a tyre slightly under pressure. We filled it to the recommended pressure and made a note to keep an eye on it. With the tanks full, we did our engine checks and taxied for runway 28 Lethbridge, which is sealed. As we climbed out of Lethbridge there was still plenty of blue sky between the clouds, so we climbed up to 6500 feet and as we came adjacent to Ballarat, we levelled off and called in to Ballarat to let them know we were passing. Even from here we could see the clouds breaking up toward Bendigo and beyond. A tune-in to Melbourne Central, just to see what the grown-ups were doing kept us amused as we continued up past Bendigo, St Arnaud and Maryborough. After that, the country starts to change and you leave the green Greater Dividing Range and start to head in to the rolling sand country of NorthWest Victoria.


This is our longest leg at a little over 3 hours and there isn’t much to do other than have a snack and a drink and gaze at the scenery. Ed Jones is my co-pilot today. With two pilots on board, we share the workload. When one is flying, the other one is managing the radio and nav. It works well. When I’ve done the trip solo, I find myself just getting a little busy and tired at times. So, I’m glad to have Ed along, even if he eats enough for two. We commence our descent in to Mildura/Wentworth. I think of these as really two airports in the same area. Mildura is large, with a regular passenger service, terminal and security. Wentworth is a dirt strip with an easy 14-hour card reading fuel service, less traffic and there’s always the chance for a friendly chat. But this day we have to stop in Mildura to meet a client. So, Mildura Airport it is. The commercial traffic is clear, so there’s just a few training aircraft in the circuit. We join downwind and make a fuss-free landing. This is an 1800 metre, jet capable strip, so it feels like it goes on forever. Even though I landed a little longer to minimise the taxi, we have quite a bit of chugging along before turning off and parking at what is quite possibly the nicest parking area in the State. It has lush green lawns. Unfortunately, it’s still a long way from the GA gate. With ASIC cards proudly displayed and Hi-vis vests on (it’s an enforced thing at Mildura and Broken Hill) we head out the gate and into town via taxi.

With business concluded, it’s straight back to the aircraft, refuel and back onto runway 09 for Broken Hill. We fill up to the top for two good reasons. One, is that old adage about regretting the fuel you leave behind. The second is that the price of fuel in Broken Hill is high. I guess when you truck fuel to Broken Hill it’s going to add to the cost and it’s not like you can pop down to another airport to re-fuel.


“As soon as you cross the Murray River the countryside changes quite quickly to red earth, open plains and scrub. Get used to that, because that’s all you will see for the next 90 minutes as you chug along.” Broken Hill Living Desert and Sunset Sculptures is worth a visit.



As soon as you cross the Murray River the countryside changes quite quickly to red earth, open plains and scrub. Get used to that, because that’s all you will see for the next 90 minutes as you chug along. The Tecnam is good for 105’ish knots. We have a minor tail-wind today so we’re getting a few extra knots, but that’s about it. Still, I’d rather have it behind me than in the face. It’s now mid-afternoon and the thermals are picking up. We’re getting bounced pretty hard, even at 6500 feet. As we come in to Broken Hill there are willy-willies of red dust rising to 2500 feet and we have to dodge between them as we descend. The pattern is empty and the sky is clear. Other than a slightly swoopy final, courtesy of those afternoon thermals, we touch down at Broken Hill just a few minutes ahead of schedule with a fuel consumption for the trip of 23 litres per hour overall. We taxi to the parking area and tie down. We’re here for the night. A sweaty walk across a 34-degree apron which feels closer to 50 after leaving the cool south, and we arrive at the terminal which is almost a match for Mildura. If you haven’t flown to Broken Hill, then do. It’s one of the great trips. Scenic flights all the way and plenty to do on the ground. In this part of the world you’ll want a hire car and make sure it’s a 4WD. You can get a surprisingly good coffee at the Giddy Goat and Karaoke Night at the Palace Hotel – scene of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and the Broken Heel Drag Festival – is not something that will be easily forgotten. Trust me. Plus, there’s a fantastic miners memorial to visit and lots to fill in a week without even leaving town.

Is Mildura’s GA parking area the nicest you’ve ever seen?


Next day, we climb back into the plane, taxi to the fuel bowser and be thankful we topped up in Wentworth. Fuel ain’t cheap here. But it isn’t cheap anywhere remote. The sky is pure blue with a few puffs on the horizon. There’s always a dust tinge around here too when you look to the horizon. Perfect weather for flying. Being early, we will be up before the bumps. With almost no wind, we use the big black runway with tar, 23 and we’re airborne and climbing before we pass the taxiway ramp. Gotta love a mile of tar. This morning, we’re headed for Swan Hill for another bit of work. It’s 226 nautical miles, so call it two and a quarter hours.


The Palace Hotel, Broken Hill

It’s easy to forget as we trundle along at 5500 feet, with the arid landscape spread out below, that you are over a hundred kilometres from the nearest town and the only signs of civilisation below are roads and the occasional station homestead. There’s no phone coverage out here and even the radio is silent. That’s why on these trips I always pack a little more in the emergency kit. I like to have a couple of bottles of water for each person on board and a few muesli bars. A small medical and emergency kit that I bought online for under $50 goes in the flight bag. I have a few basic tools and these days I carry a spare, hand held radio. I always have a good fleecy jumper too. Outback NSW can have a 35-degree day followed by a freezing night. I hope I never, ever get any of these things out of the bag for real. But I am glad I have them onboard.

Passing 10 miles east of Pooncarie an hour later, I’m reminded that this is the only significant strip in the ERSA we’ll see on this leg. There’s lots of farm strips and you can’t help but look for alternates as you cross this country. Fuel is flowing at about 22 litres per hour, everything is in the green. With almost no landmarks, you have to watch your heading. The Tecnam is a great plane, but it does like to wander on heading a bit. Although, maybe it’s the pilot. We’ve got a slight headwind, so maybe an extra 5 minutes on the leg, but no problem. The landscape changes as we approach the mighty Murray River. The rolling red sand and dry grey lakes give way to irrigated orchards and vines. This leg puts us over a section of the river for the last 30 miles and experience has taught me to delay descent to the last minute because it will be bumpy on a warm day. Not just a little bumpy. Quite uncomfortable.



The Old Junction Mine, Broken Hill



As we descend over the Murray River later, our high approach has been worth it as we start to hit some very hard bumps. Our approach call is left unanswered and we look to have the place to ourselves. Swan Hill Airport is another lovely regional airstrip. It doesn’t have a regular service, so there’s not a large terminal. But it does have fuel and runway 26/08 is 1500 metres of bitumen. The wind has picked up and the windsock is straight out. Fortunately, it’s almost down runway 26, so we join. There’s no other active traffic, so we are able to land and back track without keeping anyone waiting. Swan Hill has my favourite airport feature: 24-hour card operated fuel. And the pricing is a bit friendlier than at Broken Hill. No surprises there. I happen to know that if you call Swan Hill Rental, they’ll leave a car at the airport for you. So, our wheels are there in the carpark when we arrive. I enjoy almost every town I visit, but Swan Hill is a favourite because of its position on the river and has really good food, courtesy of the local produce. Not that I’m food driven. Ok, yes. I am food driven. We’ve also overnighted here plenty, but today is the proverbial flying visit. So, we’re into town to a couple of locations, then back to the aircraft with a strong desire to get home and get the aircraft back in the hangar. It’s funny how you can’t wait to go flying, but you’re keen to get home, isn’t it?

of being mentally prepared to say “No, that’s not what I want to fly in”, and sticking to the decision. Fortunately, today isn’t one of those days. There’s light fluffballs well-spaced at 2500 feet, so we climb above them and make for home. Everything’s clear as we pass Bendigo and from Ballarat, we can see the wind farms north of Lethbridge, a great marker for navigation in our area. As we get close, I can see the sweep of Port Phillip Bay and Melbourne on the horizon. I don’t know why, but that last landing of a long trip always catches me a bit, so we’re careful to get everything sorted and stowed before we arrive overhead. With everything in order, we join for 28 Lethbridge. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of turning base on your home airfield after a long flight away. It’s a tired, but happy pair of pilots that set down at Lethbridge and taxi back to the hangar. The whole trip would be 760 Nautical miles, but I suspect our course was probably a few more miles than that. Time in the air was a little over 8 hours and fuel consumption averaged 23 litres per hour. The Tecnam p92 has been rock-solid and I never doubt the Rotax 912. It’s funny, but no sooner have we squared the aircraft away that I’m thinking about the next trip.

Departing Swan Hill, that headwind had built. Taking off, we swung south and established ourselves on course for Lethbridge. Anyone flying in this part of Victoria has to be ready to say “Nope, we ain’t going into that”, and find a nice airport with (hopefully) a nearby pub to camp the night in. We’d check ahead and the weather would be broken clouds at Lethbridge. As always on this leg, we set decision points adjacent to Bendigo and Ballarat. The weather can change quickly here. Sometimes an hour on the ground can even be enough to improve it. It’s a case Broken Hill Passenger Terminal is a cool haven.





ON THE STRAIGHT & NARROW FOLLOW NICK’S UPGRADE AND HOW IT IS TO FLY WITH AUTOPILOT I find myself covering a lot of ground these days when flying – that is, when I’m not limited by COVID-19. A typical journey now is more than 500 miles. That’s a lot of time aloft in your typical aircraft with around a hundred knots over ground. After years of flying mostly Tecnams, I made the decision to buy my own aircraft – preferably something a bit faster for those long legs. After a lengthy search, I settled on an RV6 because when they change the weight laws, I can register it as RA. It is fast (I plan for 147 kts) and it is light on the gas – about 28 litres an hour cruising. That’s actually giving me slightly better miles per gallon than the Tecnam.


One of the first trips I did in the new aircraft was Geelong (Lethbridge) to Brisbane and back via Canberra, with quite a few stops along the way. We had the luxury of two pilots on board, so we could share the flying. We tried to keep legs under 3 hours, but when you slide back in to the plane for that second leg of the day, it can be a little wearying. The year before I had flown a Tecnam single-handed from Geelong to Broken Hill and back facing stiff headwinds all the way. That made for a long, slow journey. There has to be a better way. And there is – Autopilot. But the Tecnam didn’t have it and neither did my brand-new, second-hand RV6. From the moment I bought it, we intended to add a few upgrades and autopilot was top of that list. The RV6 had a pretty good mixed panel. Lots of gauges for the steam enthusiast, but also a Dynon D10a there to give you EFIS in one panel for the pilot in


“With everything in the green, I leaned forward and pushed the AP button. The light came on to tell us it was working and…. nothing happened. In a good way. The aircraft just sat there like a Lycoming powered rock.” command. On the Brisbane trip we had discovered a few things. The compass in the Dynon had a tendency to wander. The elevation wasn’t corresponding with the true height by a couple of hundred feet at altitude and the fuel gauges were indicative at best. I had always flown with some sort of a fuel flow meter in the Tecnam, and I was surprised at how much I missed it. So, it was decided. At the next annual we would add an autopilot, add a fuel flow meter and sort out the wandering compass and altimeter. The next question was what sort of autopilot and servos. An autopilot consists of 2 major elements. The first is the brains of the outfit, that manage the direction and altitude of the aircraft. The Dynon D10a I had onboard already provided that and had the capability to be hooked up to the second part of the equation – the control servos. These servos act on the elevator and ailerons to control the height and direction of the aircraft. That seemed simple enough. I checked against the cost of other options and availability. The fact that Dynon make a pre-built kit for the RV6 kind of shut the door on them. So, a kit was ordered by Horsham Aviation to suit, along with a small autopilot panel. You can work the autopilot straight out of the D10a but it’s kind of clunky. The AP74 module gives you some dedicated buttons and a value knob to twiddle to avoid having to delve in to menus in flight.

Dynon servo

At the same time, I asked Horsham Aviation for some suggestions on a fuel flow instrument and they said the JP Instruments FS450 would suit. It was something they had fitted to a lot of aircraft and it was reliable. That was exactly the unit I was accustomed to from the Tecnam, so I readily agreed. It also came with a purpose designed harness for my engine. Fitting all that on the panel wasn’t too hard. Especially as Horsham Aviation did all the work. We shifted the skid indicator and snuck the autopilot control panel right under the D10A. By displaying the voltage on the D10a, we effectively negated the need for a separate ammeter, which freed up a hole to drop the FS450 fuel flow meter in to.

Dynon AP74 AP panel



Being the first flight after a service, we did an extra thorough pre-flight and warm up. The sky had just a few clouds as we lined up on Horsham 180. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, Horsham is actually a very useful airstrip with 2 sealed strips and fuel by card 24/7. My kind of airport. When running back and forth to Mildura in a Cessna 206 for work, we would normally use Horsham as fuel stop when we needed a top up. That was back in the days when fuel by card 24/7 was a rarity and Horsham had one of the first setups. So, I was pretty familiar with the area.

Fitting the autopilot servos was straightforward, but did require the removal and re-attachment of some pieces for access. The aileron servo sits right behind the seats and the elevator servo sits further back in the empennage. Fortunately, this was Horsham Aviation’s problem, not mine. During the install we discovered the issue with the D10a’s wandering compass was a faulty remote compass unit, which was replaced. The altitude issue was just a question of some fine tuning. As you could imagine, I was pretty keen to get in to the air and try it. The hop back from Horsham to home base at Lethbridge, outside of Geelong – a little under an hour, would be the ideal opportunity.


As always, the RV6 surprised me with its eagerness to climb and accelerate and we passed 100 knots climbing out before the end of the strip. I wasn’t trying anything clever on my first try, so we climbed as usual to 3500 and set course for Geelong. With everything in the green, I leaned forward and pushed the AP button. The light came on to tell us it was working and…. nothing happened. In a good way. The aircraft just sat there like a Lycoming powered rock. Altitude steady. Direction steady. Working as advertised. So far, so good. We took the opportunity to lean out and measure our fuel flow with the new FS450 – 28 litres an hour on the knocker. That new fuel flow meter will pay for itself in about 150 hours. We were cruising at 146 knots TAS, giving us 154 over ground with a bit of tail wind assistance. Then we just sat back and enjoyed the serenity for a few minutes. But we couldn’t help ourselves. So, we used the height button to lift our altitude to 5500 feet. The Dynon D10a will actually tell you if it wants more power fed in, but I had pre-empted that with a couple of hundred extra revs. At 500 feet we levelled off, accelerated, dropped the revs back and continued, with a bonus 4 knots overground and a slightly smoother ride for our trouble.


At just under 160 knots over ground, Horsham to Geelong is a quick trip, so no sooner had we done that, the landmarks for home started to come in to view and we had to think about descending. After 10 minutes, we commenced our descent. The little RV6 loves to accelerate going downhill and we had to bring the throttle back a long way to stay in the arc – even in a cruise descent. There’s nothing quite as sweet as lining up on your home airstrip after a trip away, and we dropped on to the wonderful stretch of bitumen we now have at Lethbridge feeling very pleased with ourselves. Everything had worked as advertised, but we still needed more time getting used to the setup. The true test would come in the next few weeks when we head up to Broken Hill again and then across in to Southern Queensland. So, what did all that cost? There’s no getting away from the fact that an aircraft is an expensive hole in the sky in to which one pours money, so rational thought has to be left at the hangar door. The Dynon AP74

controller panel costs $815. Then the servos and wiring added a further $1375 per axis, plus installing and testing which we did as part of the annual service. The FS450 fuel monitoring system was a further $1200 plus installation. Of course, we bought when the Australian Dollar was at an all time low, so you might do a little better now. Was it worth it? Yeah, it was. After the first leg up to Broken Hill (2 hours, 40 minutes or so) flying solo, I knew we had made the right decision.

“ I climbed out of the aircraft and realised I was feeling pretty good. Rested even. Compare that to days when I was feeling like a wrung-out sponge after two hops in the Tecnam for almost 5 hours aloft and it was a different world.”



On the journey I set the autopilot at 6500ft and tracking straight for Broken Hill. I leaned out the engine and optimised for cruise. Then I got to do all those things that you struggle with as single pilot. I was ahead of the radio frequencies. I was checking the nav and realising the AP was doing a much better job of holding straight and true than I ever did. I scanned my instruments more frequently. Sometimes I just looked out the window, confident that when I looked back in the cockpit, we would be bang on course. I varied my course ever so slightly to avoid flying over the top of Mildura – it’s a busy airport. It was as simple as selecting track and gently winding the knob a half turn to the right. On arrival at Broken Hill – a fabulous airport if you happen to be out that way – I climbed out of the aircraft and realised I was feeling pretty good. Rested even. Compare that to days when I was feeling like a wrung-out sponge after two hops in the Tecnam for almost 5 hours aloft and it was a different world. And that is probably where the value in the AP setup lies for me. If you’re just doing short hops, then an autopilot will probably just deprive you of the joy of flying. Ditto for anyone just buzzing around for the sheer joy of it. But for me, it makes sense. If I can be ahead of the aircraft, on top of the navs and comms and arrive refreshed, it’s well worth it. I wouldn’t be frightened to climb back in to the aircraft and do another leg like that back to back and still be fresh enough to attend a meeting on arrival.

FS450 Fuel flow meter records fuel used and what’s left.

So, what next? In the long term, the panel will get a major upgrade. But the depleted state of the wallet means that’s a way off. This aircraft was very basic when we bought it. Interior trim consists of seat cushions. It would be nice to freshen those up and maybe add some creature comforts Note: This is not a sponsored story. These upgrades were purchased and paid for out of my own pocket and the opinions are mine alone. Horsham Aviation is an advertiser in our magazine and also a distributor for Dynon Avionics in Australia.


All Carbon Fibre No Corrosion

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Dexter Burkill — 0428 686 396 (Denman) Sean Griffin — 0499 030 659 (The Oaks)


600kg MTOW

Factory Built LSA No Loose Rivets... EVER

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ROTAX 912 ULS, 912iS or 914 STOL Performance 134kt TAS CRUISE (18L/Hr) STALL as low as 27kts One of the strongest Nose Wheels around on an LSA Mains Landing Gear soaks up rough strips Exceptional Brakes

100L Wing Tanks




GARMIN D2 AIR Garmin’s line of aviator watches has been around for a while, but none have been as sleek, stylish and sophisticated as the new D2 Air. Built for the modern pilot, the D2 Air is packed with tools to help with all phases of flight. A bright AMOLED display gives you access to METAR & TAF weather reports, nearby airport information, flight logging and Garmin’s Pulse Ox oximeter. These are just some of the features available in the light, slimline new watch. The D2 Air can be pre-loaded with a worldwide navigation database containing NAVAIDs and Intersections, a waypoint info page, direct-to navigation, a three-axis compass with a Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) and an altimeter with adjustable barometric settings. Utilising Garmin Pilot flight plan transfer, the D2 Air can receive flight plans for easy access right there on your wrist. Speed, time, distance, elevation and fuel timing alerts are also available during flight, with up to 5 days’ battery life to ensure you’re never caught out. All the handy features of a typical smartwatch are also included. Receive smart notifications for incoming calls, texts and calendar reminders, and download music from Spotify, Deezer or Amazon Music to enjoy offline without your phone and pay without hassle with Garmin Pay. Garmin D2 Air: AUD $799.00

DYMO RHINO 4200 INDUSTRIAL LABEL MAKER For anyone that’s gone through a build or upgraded their dash, the pain of unlabelled wires is all too real. To counter this pain, you may have tried using a label maker, but traditional-style labels often lose their stick and can be hard to apply seamlessly to a small wire. If this is you, the Dymo Rhino 4200 Industrial Label Maker will make a world of difference. Designed specifically for the electrical and datacom industries, the Dymo Rhino 4200 has the ability to print onto heat shrink tubing, which can then be fitted over your wire and shrunk tightly into place using a heat gun, soldering iron or even a candle! Gone are the days of fumbling around, trying to stick labels on tiny wires or coming back to a project later and finding they’ve curled up and fallen off thanks to heat, moisture or UV light. The Dymo Rhino 4200 has a full QWERTY keyboard and a large, back-lit display making it simple to create and print labels in no time. It also has the ability to save ‘favourites’, letting you quickly jump to the format or symbol you need each time you turn it on. Dymo Rhino 4200 Industrial Label Maker: AU$134



software. It’s easy to use, you shouldn’t mistake that for simplicity; the Alpha A2 is jam-packed full of revolutionary technology designed to save both your plane and your back.

BEST TUGS ALPHA A2 When flying is convenient, you will fly more. That’s the idea that drives the team at Best Tugs, makers of high-quality aircraft tugs out of Utah, USA. The Alpha A2, the latest addition to the Best Tugs product line, is yet another example of this motto in action.

The Alpha A2’s auto throttle technology allows the tug to make up to 30 adjustments a second, ensuring a constant speed, even on slopes and uneven surfaces. Auto brakes engage as soon as the throttle is released, guaranteeing your plane remains in place. Pulse width modulation allows the A2 to provide full torque and power even at the slowest pace, while the on-board computer is optimized for your specific plane, maximising maneuverability and minimising damage.

A classic dragger-style tug, the A2 is capable of moving planes up to 2600lbs (1180kg) thanks to its industrial strength hardware and state-of-the-art

The Alpha A2 will make you see your hangar differently, giving you the ability to tuck your plane away in the tightest corners and free up considerable space.



Have you ever wanted a taste of the high life without the exorbitant price tag of flying First Class? Well, you’re in luck! For the first time ever, Qantas is offering up a curated selection of luxury items usually reserved for First Class passengers. Magnificent wines and comfortable pyjamas are just some of the items offered in the bundle, allowing you to relax and indulge like the high-flyer you truly are – not to mention the endless bragging rights that come with owning these exclusive items! Perfect for high-flyers, luxury lovers and Qantas enthusiasts, the First Class Pack includes a bottle of red & white wine from the Qantas First Class range, two sets of Qantas First pyjamas & slippers and two Qantas First amenity kits. Oh, and don’t forget the packet of delicious First Class smoked almonds too! First Class Experience at Home Pack: AU$279.00

Qantas has played an enormous role in our country’s history, so to mark the 100-year anniversary of the iconic ‘Flying Kangaroo’, the Australian flag carrier has released a fantastic collection of eleven $1 coins in partnership with the Royal Australian Mint. Each coin in the collection, presented in display cards, tells the story of a significant moment in Qantas’ history. From the Avro 504 to the Airbus A380, the collection depicts some of the airline’s most iconic aircraft, people and symbols of the century. Also included in the collection is a special copper coloured $1 coin honouring the origins of Qantas’ Flying Kangaroo symbol, which was inspired by the original Australian Penny. The collection is housed in a beautifully finished box, a perfect gift for history buffs, coin collectors and aviation enthusiasts. Centenary 11 Piece $1 Coin Collection: AU$166



Topaz! FLY HIGHER, FASTER, FURTHER A superb aircraft to fly. Dealerships now available.

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Summer is here and while the clear, sunny days are perfect for flying, they can also be hard on the eyes. Full window tinting can be expensive, but fortunately the team at Plane Tint have developed a cost-effective solution. Handmade in the USA, the Plane Tint Universal Tint Panel is a simple, slimline panel designed to fit to the windows or canopies of just about any aircraft you can think of. Easy to apply, remove and store away, the panel provides up to 99% UVA and UVB protection, offering great visibility while protecting you from heat, glare and sunburn. Available in three sizes, the Universal Tint Panels use micro-suction cup technology that ensures a strong seal on any shaped surface. Suction cups also ensure that no adhesive or residue is left on the surface when removing the panel, leaving your windows free of annoying, sticky marks. If you’re planning on getting up in the air this summer, the Universal Tint Panel from Plane Tint will help block out the harsh Aussie sun while maintaining the incredible view of the world around you. Universal Tint Panel: USD $29.99


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JABIRU DREAMING IS THIS AUSTRALIA’S ANSWER TO THE CESSNA? When buying an aircraft, there’s likely to be a few ‘must-haves’ on your list. A high cruise speed? A spacious and comfortable cabin? A fuel-efficient design? Each pilot is bound to have their own set of criteria specific to their flying needs. When attempting to juggle these factors, aircraft manufacturers often have to compromise. For one Aussie factory though, ‘compromise’ doesn’t seem to be a word in their vocabulary.



“ Jabirus are a product of their environment; they’re uniquely Australian planes.”



Jabiru Aircraft have been a staple of Australian skies since the company’s inception in 1988. Designed and built in Bundaberg, Queensland, Jabirus are a product of their environment; they’re uniquely Australian planes. The J230 in particular is an aircraft that naturally lends itself to touring and exploring the vast Australian continent. Available to the public since the early 2000s, the J230 has seen multiple incarnations, the most recent of which is the J230-D. So, what exactly makes the J230 – and the ‘D’ variant specifically – so well-suited to travel? The J230 is a high-wing, tricycle gear aircraft built from composite materials, making it light for its size. This allows the J230 – a plane comfortably among the largest of RAAus registerable aircraft – to just slide under MTOW restrictions at 600kg exactly. A huge 135L fuel tank, an endurance of 5.6hrs and a whopping range of 675nm (1250km) ensures that the J230 has the capacity to go cross country without frequent stops.


Jabiru aircraft are unique in that the airframe and the engines are both made in-house at Jabiru. It’s a rare thing, but it means that Jabiru has complete control, allowing them to design engines that perfectly complement their aircraft, and vice versa. Built for speed, the J230’s standard engine is the Jabiru 3300A. Now in its ‘fourth generation’, the 3300A is a flat-six, 4-stroke engine producing 120hp and giving the J230 a cruise speed of around 120kts. The 3300A is also known for its versatility, able to take Avgas 100/130 or Mogas 95 octane and above, eliminating any worries about landing at an airstrip and not being able to fill up. While a more than respectable aircraft mechanically, it’s inside the cabin that makes the J230 a truly strong competitor in the air touring market. It’s spacious, with a width of 1120mm (44 inch) and a height of 1020mm (43 inch) providing comfort for long trips. The defining feature of the J230 though is the huge baggage capacity. The J230 shares the same airframe as the 4-seater J430, simply without the back seats. This makes for significantly larger cargo space than just about any other aircraft in the category. Furthermore, the J230 features a third door – a leftover from the 4-seater variant – allowing much easier loading and unloading when on the ground. For those wanting to camp under-wing or pack for an extended adventure, the ability to load and unload with ease is sure to grab attention.


For those wanting to camp under-wing or pack for an extended adventure, the ability to load and unload with ease is sure to get your attention. On the dash, the J230 is quite versatile, with four instrument package options from the factory. Ranging from a glass/steam mix featuring a Dynon Skyview SE 7” with an optional Garmin GPS to a fully-glass Dynon Skyview Classic 10” & SE 7” package, there’s something to suit everyone’s personal preferences. Of course, the J230 is available as a kit build also, so installing your own specific set of instruments isn’t going to be a hassle. The ‘D’ variant of the J230 features a few handy updates thanks to customer feedback. Most notably, the tail of the J230-D is thicker, more swept and an aerofoil shape as opposed to the flat tail of previous generations. With the new tail, Jabiru have managed to improve the responsiveness of the rudder, a common complaint amongst owners of older Jabiru models. A thinner centre console and adjustments to the instrument panel have provided additional space in the cabin for extra comfort, allowing more knee room in particular. The J230-D also features a J160-style control stick, a single stick with two ‘horns’ that allows for better grip and handling for both pilots and instructors.



While proving itself to be a strong choice for air touring, no aircraft is perfect. Despite the large cabin, the J230-D is somewhat limited in usable weight, with just a 230kg limit. Keeping the 135L fuel tank in mind, little room is left for a crew of two and luggage when looking to fuel up for long trips. Additionally, fixed seats mean that some pilots may need cushions or other tools to help reach the rudders and improve visibility over the dash. “It’s a win-win really,” said Warren McIlwraith, a J320-D owner who frequently makes trips from Caboolture, Queensland to Tooradin, Victoria to visit family. “The airframe has been proven bulletproof over the years and the new Gen 4 engine is superb,” he said. Speaking of the comfort, speed and fuel efficiency of the plane, Warren mentioned the


luggage space and as one of the best aspects of his aircraft. Having also completed trips to Roma, Parkes and Birdsville with sights set on crossing the border again once restrictions are eased, Warren is always keen to jump in the J230-D for a new adventure. “It’s proved to be a magnificent traveller,” said Warren. Building fast, efficient and comfortable aircraft with plenty of cargo space, it would be impossible not to draw a comparison between Jabiru and Cessna before them. The company is dedicated to producing simple, no frills planes that are fast, reliable and spacious, lending themselves to the air touring side of the aviation world. It was this same philosophy that once led Cessna to become one of the largest names in aviation. Could Jabiru be on the same path?





Jabiru 3300A








120kts (222kmh)


45kts (84kmh)









When it comes to cross-country flying, you want an aircraft that has speed, stamina and comfort. The Jabiru J230-D ticks all those boxes, leaving a lasting impression as an aircraft you can see yourself adventuring in. It’s an aeroplane that allows you to achieve that dream of exploring the country, and to do so with ease. An Aussie-built plane for Aussie adventurers, you’d be hard pressed to find a better fit. Find out more about the Jabiru J230-D at





A TASTE OF ITALIAN CLASS Words: Jean-Marie Urlacher & Tom Lyons

The Alpi Pioneer 300, equipped with the Rotax 912 ULS, is what happens when beautiful Italian design meets powerful Austrian engineering. A successful blend of tradition and modernity, Alpi Aviation has developed an original option for private owners and aeroclubs by offering an affordable, economical, high-performance travel aircraft. There’s an old Italian proverb that says, “In the small barrel, there is good wine.”. In other words: things don't have to be big to be good. It’s an expression that seems to perfectly suit the Alpi Pioneer 300 912 ULS. It is both a small bottle, as a small two-seater, and a good vintage, because it is full of assets: style, piloting pleasure, performance, economy and safety. The formula offered by Alpi Aviation is unique and makes it difficult to categorize this aircraft into a light aviation market box. If Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, the 18th century Enlightenment naturalist famous for his classification of species, had to deal with the Pioneer 300, he would have been hard-pressed to give it a single label. Of course, according to the Darwinian theory of aeronautical evolution, one can hang it up with its ancestors - the Asso V Champion, the Sequoia Falco F8L by Stelio Frati, the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 - or bring it closer to his siblings - of which the Pioneer 200, 400 and 330 Acro are part

“The P300 is first and foremost a travel machine”.



“The proportions are elegant and catch the eye of the pilot sensitive to the charms of Italian lines.�

TRADITION & MODERNITY The aircraft which has just landed on runway 20 at Gap-Tallard (LFNA) does not go unnoticed. Beautiful line, superb wing terminated by long flight feathers inclined outwards which are its impressive carbon winglets, undercarriage retracting to the narrow-gauge Messerschmitt 109 style, plush fuselage with soft curves, aerodynamic engine cover, a sliding, rounded canopy reminiscent of the Navion and wide fin ridge. The proportions are elegant and catch the eye of the pilot sensitive to the charms of Italian lines. Engine stopped; we approach the bird. Nothing is more tempting than to stroke its feathers and, again, a nice surprise: the composite finish is impeccable. This machine seems straight from the factory and made worthy of a certified device; and yet, it is a wooden plane, offered as a kit, CS-23 certified and flying under the CNSK regime. More than one pilot would be surprised. The wings and fuselage are mostly made of wood, but covered with a carbon-glass skin to improve aerodynamics and enhance the quality. Only the control surfaces are canvas to gain in mass. The two half-wings are fixed to the fuselage in a metal sleeve and can be removed. As the tricycle gear is completely attached to the fuselage, the aircraft can remain on its wheels for transport: practical. The sliding canopy gives access to an impeccably finished cabin, which again gives that impression of a factory-built aircraft. Tasteful upholstery, garnet leather on the cap, the handle, the seats and the armrests.


The dash is simple, elegant and effective. An AvMap Ultra EFIS fits snug between an analogue altimeter, ASI, VSI and Turn & Slip, all directly in front of the left-hand seat, while a large AvMap EKP V provides all necessary navigation data from directly over the centre console. Other options are available from Dynon and Garmin and, being a kit build, opportunities are effectively endless.

THE RIGHT POWER The Pioneer 300 is the happy result of a marriage between tradition and modernity. Happy, because the traditional wooden structure has the advantage of flexibility in turbulence, ease of repair and a low construction price. Modernity is displayed in its avionics and motorization. The P300 offers a comfortable safety envelope and low fuel consumption for high cruising speed. With all this equipment, the Pioneer 300 has a maximum take-off weight of 600kg. Two tanks are installed in the wings, of 40L each. Gaining access to the cockpit is a fairly simple process, sliding back the canopy and stepping up onto the wing. Forward visibility when taxiing in the bubble canopy is very good and steerability precise with Beringer brakes and wheels. There is enough storage space on board to accommodate the maps and documentation required for the flight. The riding position is correct, the seat adjustable forwards and backwards only.

EASY AND HEALTHY Thanks to the temperature and pressure sensors and the pre-positioning of the throttle lever suggested by the computer, the Rotax starts with a quarter of a turn. The


aircraft has redundant systems but is highly dependent on electricity. It is equipped with two generators. A small one for starting and, when it goes up to 2500 rpm, the second one starts churning. There are two electric pumps for the fuel system as well. We fly with one pump activated, take off and land with both. A notch of shutter, power up. Axle holding is easy, facilitated by good steerability and visibility to the front. 60kt rotation. The Pioneer 300 took off quickly, it took us less than 200m without wind. The windshield pillar forces the rider to tilt their head to pick sides and break out of the three-quarter front blind spot, but you get used to it quickly and a natural stance sets in. The P300 is first and foremost a travel machine. We went up to 7,500 ft for some handling exercises. The rigid controls make piloting pleasant and precise and the aircraft remains homogeneous on all three axes. We quickly have it in hand. After 100kt in acceleration, the forces on the stick harden. The aircraft is equipped with electric trims on the 3 axes, comfortable. A few stall tests give the P300 good behaviour at low speeds. It's a healthy plane. Nose low, the P300 accelerates quickly and we are quickly in the yellow arc, on our way to the Vne if we are not careful. Landing is easy and without surprises. We were stopped before exiting the taxiway in less than 400m, without getting on the brakes. The undercarriage of the main wheels is a space without pipes or fittings, all in fibre and specially dedicated to the wheel. The aircraft will not be afraid of grass or greasy runways, small hatch fairings on the other hand will easily take gravel impacts. The landing gear is a robust part with a simple and reassuring mechanism. The nose wheel is retractable but does not retract completely; it protects the passenger compartment in the event of retracted gear or forced landing.


This construction step is the biggest step to take. One would dream clubs of amateur builders merge with flying clubs to allow new fleets to emerge. Do your flying clubs have a few retired pilots who would like to embark on building a club funded aircraft? Does your mechanic have free time? Silvio Vio, the French importer of the brand, and Eddy Dockendorf, the Luxembourg importer, estimate the kit construction time at around 750 hours. That is to say, six months at the rate of four hours a day. A beautiful plane and an interesting potential project, the P300 will not pose any difficulty on the piloting side. It is a beautiful plane that flies well.

A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY The Pioneer 300 is a fantastic machine in its own right, but it also sits in the middle of a family of extremely wellmade, beautiful looking aircraft. The lighter Pioneer 200 is a neat little training aircraft, equipped with an 80hp engine and a fixed-gear tricycle undercarriage. In line with the streamlined Italian designs of it’s larger siblings, the P200 is the kind of training aircraft that students dream about having their photo taken in front of after their first solo. For those looking beyond the RA category but are enamoured with the sleek, elegant design of the P300, fear not. Alpi also offer the Pioneer 400, a 4-seater variant boasting a similar design and fitted with the new 140hp Rotax 915iS. Capable of cruising at 130kt with a fuel consumption rate of 20L/h, the Pioneer 400 boasts a range of 900nm, establishing itself as a premier option for air touring. Alpi Aviation are currently looking for an Australian sales agent. If you’ve ever considered getting into aircraft sales, the Pioneer range might just be your golden ticket. More than 1000 Pioneers across the family are already flying, a testament to the wonderful design of this piece of Italian class.

The Pioneer 300 is a pleasant surprise. It is attractive both in substance and in form. But who is this machine for? Certainly, the market is for individuals who want to travel without any hesitation and for certain flying clubs who would dare to take the construction step. It can perform two-seater or advanced school travel missions with its variable pitch, retractable gear and modern avionics. All this for an affordable hourly cost (the plane consumes UL91 or auto gasoline).





LEGAL EAGLE Words: Tom Lyons

After coming across the Milholland Legal Eagle overseas, Darren Crompton decided to do some research back home as to whether this high-wing, strut-braced ultralight was available in Australia too. On Gumtree of all places, Darren came across a ‘kit’ (more so just a collection of materials) for sale in Queensland and decided to buy it. After shipping the materials down to Victoria in 2016, Darren embarked on a 2-year journey building the only Legal Eagle in Australia to this day. Starting from scratch and building out the back of a yoga studio he used to own, Darren welded the chromoly tubing himself and built the spruce wings. He elected to use Oratex UL600 fabric for the coverings. “I love using the Oratex, it is just so easy to work with,” said Darren. Oratex is a heat shrink fabric, applied simply by gluing both the ribs and the fabric. Using a heat gun, it shrinks the fabric down into place “as tight as a drum”. Oratex comes pre-coloured, so there’s no need for painting or UV protection.


The Legal Eagle is powered by a 45hp, 1200cc Hummel ½ VW engine. Darren had the 2-cylinder, horizontally opposed engine shipped from the US and couldn’t be happier with his choice. “I’m thrilled with it… it motors along quite nicely,” he said. The engine powers a dual-blade Performance Propellers USA 56” x 24” prop and is fed by dual fuel tanks in the wings (a deviation from the original plans), giving the Legal Eagle an endurance of around 4 hours – more than capable of doing considerable touring. On the dash, Darren went for a simplistic, lightweight approach using a mix of traditional steam gauges and a phone mount to allow for a variety of aviation apps. To simplify things further (and reduce weight), Darren plans to upgrade the panel to a permanently mounted tablet.


Over the years, Darren has continued to make adjustments, changes and upgrades to his aircraft. Fitting tundra tyres and creating a more rounded tail are just some of the changes from the original plans, making the Legal Eagle more reminiscent of a small-scale Cub. Completing the build in 2018, the Legal Eagle now lives in Leongatha, Victoria, where Darren enjoys flying along the Gippsland coast. Only doing relatively short flights, Darren is planning some larger trips coming into the warmer months. “As to where I don’t know yet, but it’s definitely on the cards,” said Darren. As a sophisticated little ultralight, it’s amazing that Darren’s is the only one of its kind in Australian skies. See Darren’s Legal Eagle build in detail at



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250 Airframe Hours, 250 Engine Hours, 601HD Zenair Zodiac 601 HD Andrew Niblett 0408 801 900 $24000




170 Airframe Hours,170 Engine Hours, J230D Gen. 4 Jabiru J230D Gen. 4 Factory Built Delivered November 2017 Low hours (170) private owner, always hangared. Nil accidents Suit new aircraft buyer. As new condition. Ideal touring aircraft, inc. Dynon Auto Pilot. Warren McIlwraith 0427 183 232 $115000



Looking to purchase a Kitfox , AAK Hornet or similar. Happy to look at other options, something that can handle off field landings would be great.Please call James 0434020616

A unique opportunity to secure a aeroplane hanger at the Cowra airport with access to the run way. This hanger (industrial shed) is 20m2 x 11.5m2 with an internal parking area inside of 117m2. Raine & Horne Cowra 0418 208 021 $299000




708 Airframe Hours, 708 Engine Hours, SP470 Jabiru SP470, airframe hours 708, engine hours 708 with 417 since top end overhaul. Fitted with 4x cylinder temp gauges and runs good temps since overhaul. Brett Thompson propeller, heel operated brakes, 65 ltr fuel, full rudder and a pleasure to fly Russell Kennedy 0427 627 477 $27000

70 Airframe Hours, nil Engine Hours, VM1C Superbly presented Esqual carbon excellent build quality and paint finish Approx. 70hrs TTIS Eng and AF, 912 Rotax 100 hp including Geo Pilot Plus Avmap GPS, Garmin fuel flow & transponder, Xcom radio, Constant speed propeller, Contact Joe 0428399001, Dean 0408 548 651 $85000

285 Airframe Hours, 285 Engine Hours, Tardis (Taylor craft copy) Built 1993 by Tony Tiffin, Taylor craft copy.2.2ltr Subaru 130HP Engine, tail dragger, beautiful to fly.Cruise at 85kts at 4200rpm, burning less than 10 ltrs of fuel per hour. Brand new toe brake set up, brand new Bolly 3 blade carbon magnum Jeremy steiner 0400 462 531 $33000

DRIFTER A-503 25-0301

1388.6 Airframe Hours, nil Engine Hours, Drifter A-503 This aircraft was refurbished by Wayne Fisher and used a trainer. I am the third owner since that time. Am not putting enough hours on it each year so a reluctant sale. Comes with extras Will 0402300482 $15500



2000 Airframe Hours, 15 Engine Hours, LSA 55/3J Factory built Jabiru in good condition. Airframe 2000 Hrs, Engine 15 Hrs. Always hangared, easy and fun to fly. Cruise 100 kts, 13 lph, 65 litre tank. All AD’s complied with. Includes full set of covers, tie downs and Garmin GPS incl. access.John Price 0400 865 868 $26500


460 Airframe Hours, 460 Engine Hours, B22 2000 b22 Bantam great fun and easy flying with very forgiving controls. Great STOL aircraft and great visibility. Simple enjoyable flying factory build in NZ with all parts easily available. Robert Bassingthwaighte 0428 549 731 $15000

1250 Airframe Hours, 1539 Engine Hours, Golf P96 Tecnam Golf P96 Warren Maudsley 0427 631 251 $55000

Rotax 912S 100 HP wanted for Evektor SportStar 2004 model. Half life time and hours engine preferred. i.e. 7 - 8 years and 1000 hours left. Contact Bobby Liew on 0439 911 688. Price negotiable around $11000


XT 912

602 Airframe Hours, 603 Engine Hours, XT 912 The trike has been in Canberra and Tumut for 11 years. Aircraft documents are sparse. However good reliable trike in good order and condition. Peter Wilson 0418 278 012 $26000


skyfox/kitfox etc. folding wing tailwheel with or without enclosed Australia wide Hayden Walshe 0448 518 754

JABIRU 170C 2009

800 Airframe Hours, 800 Engine Hours, J170C Fastidiously maintained aircraft always hangared, engine upgraded with 7/16 through bolts and valve relief pistons and top overhaul at 408 hours. Flown by retired professional pilot.Dynon D10A Garmin 495 GPS autopilot MGL fuel flow/remaining indicator LAME maintained. Garry Head 0411 133 548 $55000


1,700 Airframe Hours, 1,700 hours Engine Hours, 160D Syndicate Jabiru 24-4941 160D for sale located at Aldinga S.A. 2007 factory build, 1,700 hours air frame and motor. Regularly serviced by L2. Syndicate members plan to dissolve syndicate so plane needs to be sold. Douglas Ransom 0438 822 165 $24900


145 Airframe Hours, 145 Engine Hours, Standard X-Air Standard in excellent condition, always hangared, 145 hour on airframe and engine Anthony Forshaw 0438 235 111 $19500

725 Airframe Hours, 425 Engine Hours, SP500 PRICE REDUCED By $5000! Not negotiable! Owner MUST SELL to make room for new aircraft! An Excellent Jabiru SP500 with 6 cylinder 120 Hp engine at a Bargain Price! Ric Attard 0412 959 575 $25000


Aerostar R40S Festival, any condition. Russell Grundy 0439 612 614


Flying Flea HM20 Ultralight William Price 0459 021 886 $15000

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Alice Springs Aero Club - See NT from above Photography: Alice Springs Aero Club

The two new Coffs Harbour Aero Club Jabiru J170s Photograph: Coffs Harbour Aero Club

THIS EDITION IN PICTURES While we endeavour to show you the latest images from the RAAus community. COVID has made this task a little tricky. So here a few of our favourite images past and present.

Wynyard Aero Club - Two Foxbats chilling together on a quiet afternoon Photograph: Greta Kingston

Ella Ross receiving her wings from instructor Brett Preisig Photograph: Michelle Ross

Adelaide Soaring Club Photograph: Adelaide Soaring Club

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CLUB DIRECTORY Part of the attraction of Recreational Aviation Australia is our vibrant club movement. Mainly spread across our regional areas our clubs offer members a great way to connect, share stories, learn, and reminisce. Many of our affiliated clubs offer weekend events and fly-ins, so they are a great way to stay connected with members spread across a wide distance. See our list of affiliated clubs and make contact to get involved, with over 40 affiliated clubs across Australia, there is sure to be one near you NEW SOUTH WALES

Coffs Harbour & District Aero Club

Hastings District Flying Club

Rod Davison

Holbrook Ultralight Club

Bryan Gabriel

Parkes Aero Club

Brett Preisig

Sydney Recreational Flying Club

Greg Davies

Beau Thornton

Burdekin Aero Club

Brian Richardson

Burnett Flyers Inc

Ralph Percy

Darling Downs Sport Aircraft Association

Trevor Bange

Karl Faeth


SOUTH AUSTRALIA Adelaide Soaring Club TASMANIA Billi Kicks

Wynyard Aero Club

VICTORIA Ballarat Aero Club

Keith Jeffs

Cobden Aero Club

Bill Woodmason

Horsham Flying Club

Steven Schneider


Greenside Recreational Flyers Club

Michael Donsen

Narrogin Flying Club

Rod Slater









Bunbury Aero Club


Try flying with our friendly team at SportAviation...


0427 534 122 87 Babingtons Road PO Box 44, Tocumwal, NSW 2714 AU

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FINAL APPROACH Words: Nicholas Heath

How many people does it take to change a light bulb? In Victoria at least, the answer is one registered electrician. Or face a $10 fine. Likewise, in Queensland, you will be in trouble if your bikini fabric doesn’t exceed 6 square inches. Also, in that state your taxi has to be able to fit a bale of hay in the boot. And did you know it’s also illegal to touch an electric wire causing death? These and many other silly laws are still on the books. Meantime, we can’t seem to get laws we need on to the books. Why is that? First of all, because by the time we think we need a new law or rule, it will already be well past the time we needed it. So, we’re behind from the start. But

I’m also very keen to see RAAus pilots allowed better access to controlled airspace and airports – with, I add, the caveat that they are trained and endorsed to do so. mostly it’s because the work required to enact a law (or remove a stupid law) is substantial. It will often require years of work. Even then, we can see that some silly laws get passed. Or maybe they just seem silly out of the context they were enacted in. Actually, scratch that. Fining someone for electrocuting themselves will never make any sense. Laws need to change because society and our circumstance change. The problem is that the need to change a law can come a long way before it gets changed. Process and due diligence alone make up a large part of that. Changing the laws and rules takes time. So why am I babbling on about laws? It’s because like a lot of people, I’m very keen for the new rules and regulations regarding MTOW of RAAus registered aircraft lifting to (proposed) 760kg. I’m also very keen to see RAAus pilots allowed better access to controlled airspace and

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airports – with, I add, the caveat that they are trained and endorsed to do so. And like everyone else, I’d like it to happen sooner or later. But I understand why it takes as long as it does. If you’re ever unlucky enough to have to attend risk management and safety training – there’s 3 days of my life I’m never getting back – one of the things you are taught is to assess risks by likelihood and impact. When it comes to impact, anything involving aircraft has the potential to be lethal. Not just to the pilot, but to passengers and other people. And likelihood? Despite everyone’s best endeavours, aviation accidents happen. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that any lawmaker is going to thoroughly vet every aspect of a change like this before they approve a change. It doesn’t help when we aren’t in agreement as a community. I’ve heard people in the RA industry say that the increased weight is a bad thing. That it will only result in a bunch of old aircraft transferring to the register. In the short term that may be true. I myself have a Vans RV6 that I am keen to move to RA, so I might be biased and impatient. It’s got just over 500 hours on it. So, I wouldn’t describe it as ‘old’. In the longer term, those 150kg’s are going to enable us to build stronger, safer aircraft. It would mean existing aircraft like the Jabiru 230 in this issue can have a very meaningful useful load. And that has to be a good thing. I’ve also heard people saying we should be shooting for 1500kgs in the first go. While I admire their fervour, the reality is that was probably just a whole lot more risk than anyone in authority is going to accept in one step. Politics is the art of the possible and we all need to sing with one voice if we’re going to get these things through. Having spent time on expert panels, consultancy groups and various boards, I know that to those outside the room the wheels can seem take a long time to turn, but inside the organisations it’s usually flat out getting it done. The important thing with changes like these is that they are done right. On that basis I can be a little patient and wait


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