Sunday, March 23, 2008

Been there, Done That! - Natfly 2008

The RA-Aus annual fly-in was held at Narromine over Easter from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Quite a large party of club members set off on Thursday 20th. PW and Wayne Jackson took the ‘Little Jabi’, Mike Hogan and Griffo set off in the ‘Big Jabi’. Phil C and Steve Schneider set off in Phil’s Jabiru and Doug Brooke and Alan Dickerson followed on the next day in Doug's J170. There was much battering between the members of the party as to which planes would carry whose tent and sleeping bags etc. There were loading issues to be considered. We also took the swags belonging to the aero club Tecnam crew as well as some parting gifts of more sleeping bags from Tony and Peter Brand. Tony and Peter were heading off on the Friday in the Eurofox.

It was a case of follow the leader as the group headed off to Griffith. Everyone kept pretty much in sight of everyone else until we passed the Murray and headed into deepest darkest New South Wales. It wasn’t so much dark as dusty. Everyone arrived at Griffith within minutes of each other. The planes and crew were refueled after the 2 and a half hour flight. Then it was on to Narromine. An uneventful leg until us and a whole heap of other aircraft all arrived at the same time. Fun and games for a few minutes.

But everyone arrived safe and sound and all the aircraft were parked next to each other. Tents were erected and camp set up before the intrepid party headed to the gliding club for a drink. In the spirit of sharing our cash around we also had a drink at the aero club, but as they were more expensive we returned to the gliding club for dinner. Those of us who dined at the gliding club ate at a civilized time. Those who ordered at the aero club had to wait 3 and a half hours to get their meal.

Friday came after for some a very restless night and a long wait for a shower. We did all the stalls and looked at all the planes. Doug and Alan arrived. Tony and Peter arrived. The Tecnam went home. I was decided that we had seen everything we wanted to see and that perhaps we’d come a bit early. So it was agreed to cut short the trip and head home on Saturday rather than Sunday. As an aside some people rediscovered how uncomfortable it is sleeping in a tent on drought baked grass and were very happy to head off one day early.

Dinner on Friday was again at the gliding club. This time it was a little bit slower as we were joined by a number extra people who were pissed off with the lack of service at the aero club.

The weather had changed overnight with a number of passing showers in the Narromine area. But everyone made it out eventually. A few miles south and it was clear as a bell with tail winds all the way home. Again we stopped at Griffith for fuel and pies and pasties. Five planes made the trip back to Horsham on Saturday.

A nice weekend all round apart from the lack of sleep, the flapping tent, the arc light shining all night etc. We didn’t need to go for three days. We didn’t even need to head off on Thursday. We probably could have made it a two day trip. Up on Saturday and back on Sunday. We still would have got to see all the things we wanted too. The aircraft traffic on Friday wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be. I think everyone thought they would arrive on Thursday to miss the chaos on Friday. But all that happened was that the chaos was one day early.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and may no represent the opinions of other members of the party. Others may fill in more detail if the wish. The editor would appreciate some other reports.

Anyway every one was back by Saturday evening sleeping in comfortable beds.

No comments: