YFTP&M, Airborne, Apolo, Aircreation and REVO. Most models of all.

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Megafauna Flyaway 2012

Megafauna 2012...

            All Megafauna travellers were safely home from the 2012 Goolwa Trip, 25/3/2012 to 1/4/2012! We could now “claim” the weather!! For an eight day trip to the Southern coast of Australia we had been very lucky, because, apart from some thermal activity in the Western District of Victoria on the first afternoon, and dodging some localised rain storms on the last morning as we flew out of Hay, the weather couldn’t have been better!

            With two two-stroke trikes, two drifters, an X-air, thirteen XT-912 four-stroke trikes, a Lightwing, three Cessna 150’s, three Jabiru’s, a Piper Warrior, a Carbon Sting, a Cessna 182, a Piper Arrow, a Pipistrel Virus and a 21 passenger bus with trailer in tow, the entourage left Hangar 19 YYWG in exceptional weather, and flew across a recently flooded landscape to St Arnaud for lunch, The bus was diverted around flooded roadways, so took longer than anticipated on an already dog-legged route. There is no simple direct route from Yarrawonga to St Arnaud, trust me! As more and more of the varying aircraft landed, local cars turned up to meet and greet us as well. Eventually lunch was created in the shade, on the back of the little, and very welcome terminal/toilet building. People fuelled themselves with soup, sandwiches, tea/coffee etc. then flew on to Horsham for the night where the bus picked groups up and deposited them at our motel. Doug Brook and his young son met us in their Jabiru at St Arnaud, then joined us for dinner at Horsham, where old friends caught up on the year’s “doings”.

            On Monday we flew a short leg to Naracoorte and were bussed out to the Naracoorte Caves, where we had organised lunch at the Cave Café followed by an escorted tour of one of the caves. Noisy, friendly chatter was the ceaseless background to our meals and long into the evening.

            Tuesday took us firstly over limestone country, then over the Koorong to Meningie. It was perfect weather and very picturesque. The locals were pleased to have water in the Koorong, and the Murray river flushing into the sea. I can now cross flying over Mr. Percival’s home, in the book “Storm Boy” by Colin Thiele, off my own “Bucket List”. Friends from Goolwa flew out in an RV to escort us back into their home airport, where we used the refuelling facilities, and filled the parking area. Natalie and John welcomed to their motel which was to be our base for three nights, and we all settled in, with a continuous cacophony of “catch-up” and “did-you-see-that” dialogues into the evening… and they say women can talk!!!

            On Wednesday we had a chartered train ride to Victor Harbor, and returned on one of two diesel trains that clickety-clacked across the countryside. Jen and Anne were on a mission, and visited all three quilting shops in Victor Harbor and one in Goolwa the following day. Lots of Megafaunas dollars were spent in the two towns during our Lay-days. On Thursday.

            On Thursday most of the aircraft flew to Kangaroo Island or as the Crow eaters call it KI. The flight across the water was spectacular and along the way we all watched a fire bombing aircraft do its thing on a test burn off. KI had not change in over 20 years. However they now have power and they are not afraid to use it. The lights at the airport were on all day and night. The flight back to Aldinga was even better. Kel, Jenny, and Peter flew in Formation back across the water and along the coast. One of the big wind generators had blown up, and there was debris everywhere. Aldinga was a great place for lunch and it was good to watch aircraft doing circuits on all three runway at the same time. “Not for me”. Kel, Jenny, and Peter again flew in formation back the Goolwa under a beautiful blue sky. Another great day was had by all.

            Friday, we departed Goolwa and headed for Wentworth for the night. Light misty cloud was the order of the morning. However it didn’t take long for the cloud to burn off. Landscape change as we flew further inland. We were heading for Loxton for lunch. About 11nm out Peter made his inbound call and was greeted be the voice for the Air Ambulance pilot who was about to descend at the same time. He had picked us up on TCAS. We had a good chat on the way into Loxton and we advised the pilot of the number and position of all our aircraft. Loxton has had an up-grade of their facilities. The last time we were at Loxton there was what looked like a bus shelter for a club house, but one of the old hangars had fallen on it so it was not offering too much shelter. Today Loxton boasts a flashy new clubhouse and aircraft parking area, with a number of new hangars as well. After lunch we headed for Wentworth in some quit bumpy condition. The wind at Wentworth was crosswind on all runways, which made for some interesting landings. We had a great evening with the Glider fly-off in the main conference room. This year’s winning was Marion Robinson who out flew the other 53 gliders buy two metres.

            Saturday was the group fly to Hay. All the water that had started flowing at Yarrawonga and just north was now at Balranald, and what a sight it was. There was no stopping this flood water it just roll on over the plans and through houses and sheds. Mother nature’s vacuum cleaner. The farmer will be happy for a few years with the ground water replenished. After arriving at Hay our group split up and some went to sheer outback and others went shopping. It was a lazy afternoon.

            Sunday, the group started to head off on their way home. Some aircraft departed to the north, and others went west, but the main body of aircraft headed back to Yarrawonga before heading home. Departing Hay was getting interesting as a thunder storm started heading our way. It made for some magnificent photo opportunities along the way with the cloud formation and rain showers over the Hay plans. Arriving back at Yarrawonga sounded the end of another fantastic Megafauna fly-away. Yes once we were on the ground Peter claimed the weather for the trip.

Thanks to everyone who was on the trip for making it such a good one. A special thanks to Chris and Steve at Goolwa for their help and for asking me to plan a trip there.