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

Owen Zupp - Thursday, May 16, 2013






Solo Flight. Australia.


Day Five.






Today revisits my flight from the coastal beauty of Broome across the Pilbara and down to historic Murchison Station. Eight enchanting hours of flight that didn't end when the aircraft was tied down for the night. For the full amazing story contact me about the upcoming book, "Solo Flight".


What a day it was. The best of scenery and cause for reflection, all squeezed into one long, magnificent day.

As I departed Broome, The brilliant dawn illuminated the pristine white beaches and the crystal waters. I stowed my charts and followed the coast, navigating by keeping Australia on my left and the Indian Ocean to my right. The sheer ease of following the coastline was relaxing and picturesque in a different way to my previous day across the Kimberleys.

I refueled at Port Hedland where I had once diverted in a somewhat larger 737 years ago. Nothing much had changed although the control tower now stands empty and ghost-like. As it's Mother’s Day, only a lone brave soul was to be found at work on his aircraft, although he hurried home when I reminded him of the significance of today.

From Port Hedland I left the coast to cross the beautiful rich reds of the Pilbara with its jagged black ranges. All at once I sighted a white blanket drifting across the landscape. Far from a blanket it must have been an acre of birds flying in close and impressive formation. The red scenery rolled on until gradually the greenery of the coast began to rejoin me from my right hand side.

Carnarvon provided another stop to replenish the aircraft and myself to the backdrop of 6 air force scarlet-red PC-9 trainers. A chat with the refueller another interview with the local press and I was on my way again to Kalbarri and historic Murchison Station. The miles ticked over and the wind strength picked up creating quite a bit of turbulence as I approached my destination. Buffeted and bullied by the gusty air I made my approach to land in rather difficult circumstances. Allowing for a strong crosswind, my arrival must have provided some entertainment for the Skywest airliner waiting to depart, because it sure kept me entertained. A wave from the airline crew and it was the end of nearly eight hours of flight time for me today.

I secured the Jabiru against the elements and climbed aboard the truck that was to take me to historic Murchison Station. The late afternoon provided some moving moments by a graveside, wonderful company and a much-needed meal. The graves were those of pioneer aviators and compatriots of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, their deaths were amongst the first in Australian commercial aviation. A I stood there in silence, the crash site was only metres away, although the scrub has long since grown over it. But more of that tomorrow, for now I sit in my old world shearing quarters, void of internet connection and a fading battery on this laptop. I doubt the blog will make it to the newspaper in time, but nevertheless, this beautiful isolation is all part of my solo flight around Australia.



Day six will take me further along Australia's west coast to the State's capital Perth and a much needed rest day and a special rendezvous. Make sure you check back here for the next blog in the coming days. Or subscribe to my newsletter for the ‘alert’. Thanks again and I'll see you all soon.


Cheers,

Owen.


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

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





                                                                 

Solo Flight. Australia. Day Two. By Owen Zupp

Owen Zupp - Thursday, May 09, 2013




Solo Flight. Australia.


Day Two.






Today revisits the second leg of my journey around Australia through the words I wrote that evening at Barkly Homestead. For the full amazing story contact me about the upcoming book, "Solo Flight".


Yet another perfect day. The air was smooth, the sky clear and a tailwind as well. Having left Longreach, I flew over Winton, another significant town in the early days of QANTAS. From there it was overhead Julia Creek and Cloncurry where the seeds of the RFDS were sown. At each town I loitered a minute to wave my wings to the folks below.

Arriving at Mount Isa I was met by RFDS pilots Martin Hurst and Mike Flood. Lisa Vokes from operations was there too and as it turns out, we're related!  A few words with ABC radio, some cake with the RFDS and I was airborne again.

The Jabiru performed faultlessly; fast and economically. Perched at 4,500 feet, I gained an appreciation of how much rain had fallen in outback Queensland recently. I've never seen it so rich and green.

Beyond Isa it was over Cammoweal and onwards to the Northern Territory. The aircraft touched down on the gravel airstrip at Barkly Homestead before it was a short 'drive' up a dirt track to the bowser and parking area. I stayed at Barkly over 20 years ago as I drove to a flying job in Kununurra with my Dad, who has since passed. Back then, we sat up until l 3am, just talking. Good times and now I'm here again, only 2 rooms away. A little older and a lot less hair.

With the aircraft secure for the night in the caravan park, it was off to my room to drink about 10 litres of water. It's still pretty warm in these parts of the country.

So another great day of flying. Fantastic scenery slid beneath the aircraft and my eyes did their best to take the vastness in. A dawn departure tomorrow and I can hardly wait. It is a privilege to live in this great land; I'm overwhelmed at how fortunate I am to be seeing it from above as I fly solo around Australia.



Day three will take me to the 'Top End' of Australia.  Make sure you check back here for the next blog in the coming days. Or subscribe to my newsletter for the ‘alert’. Thanks again and I'll see you all soon.

Cheers,

Owen.



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

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






                                                              

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