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The 2024 Australian Air Rally - The FBO


TomPenDragon

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This is the place for long-form stories, like what the people who have been flying to Jandakot have been telling.  "Story" refers to tales told in any way - whether through pictures, in prose, and even in poetry.  Let me ask you to not post comments on the stories here - post them in The FBO.  Let's leave this space purely for the stories, so that we can read this as a novel, with interleaved and intertwined plot lines, as we go and when we're done.

 

Should any Storyteller wish to have a thread dedicated exclusively to their work about the Rally, feel free to do so.  Please call your thread, "The 2024 Australian Air Rally - (your title)" for consistency.

 

Since the Bendix, I have been impressed by the quality of the stories being told by our members here, and equally so about the variety of techniques being employed.  With the Route 66, I've been astounded by the sheer volume of content that we have been producing. 

 

Storytellers, here is your space,  Let's see how far we can take this!

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pilots gathering

nervous anticipation

awaiting the start

what's in store for us as we

traverse this vast Continent

 

"I created the Little Black Book to keep myself from getting killed..." -- Captain Elrey Borge Jeppesen

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23 minutes ago, ViperPilot2 said:

pilots gathering

nervous anticipation

awaiting the start

what's in store for us as we

traverse this vast Continent

 

 

What a wonderful way to kick off the Stories thread - Thank you, my friend!

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I'd like to take a moment to propose a Toast from all Participants to:

 

@Sirrus, who could not join us for this Challenge as he's recovering from a recent Surgical Procedure.

 

And to "AussieMan" (Pat), a fixture over at SOH, who passed away recently.

 

As we make our way across the vastness of Southern Australia, please keep these two in your Thoughts; Best Wishes to Sirrus for a full and speedy Recovery, and Condolences to all those in Pat's life.

 

Thanks!

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"I created the Little Black Book to keep myself from getting killed..." -- Captain Elrey Borge Jeppesen

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Adding my condolences and best wishes to Pat's family.

 

And just a quick update regarding the race.

 

I am still in Darwin supervising the repaint of my DHC1-B-2 Chipmunk.  Moderating a discussion of what type of roundels to paint on the wings of the Chipmunk.  As this is a 1956 Chipmunk, that is right on the cusp of when the switch was made from RAF Roundels to RAAF roundels.  Once I can get these blokes to agree and paint them on, should be on my way shortly to RAAF Pearce for a brief stop, then on to the starting point of the race.

 

Bothroundels.jpg.76c0240a4af777be12fd73102e17aa12.jpg

 

The real world issue that is slowing me down is because of the cold weather here in Washington USA.  Temperatures are below 20 degrees Farenheight (-7 degrees Celcius) and a pipe inside the drywall in our garage burst this morning.  We got the water shut off quickly and a capable neighbor is doing a quick fix now, and the plumber is due to show up on Wednesday.

 

Giving all of you a head start tomorrow(today), but rest assured that I will be along shortly as soon as possible.  With the cruise speed of 103 mph (166 km/h) I may never catch the leaders, but luckily this is not that kind of race.  Have fun Aviating until I catch up. 🙂

 

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Really sorry to hear that, Melo.  We've gor a friend in Washington who says that the weather is terrible.  Take your time, I'm sure Tao can procure you and the Chippie a quick ride to YPJT as soon as the roundels have been selected and affixed.  Best of luck and patience with the repairs!

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12 minutes ago, Melo965 said:

Adding my condolences and best wishes to Pat's family.

 

And just a quick update regarding the race.

 

I am still in Darwin supervising the repaint of my DHC1-B-2 Chipmunk.  Moderating a discussion of what type of roundels to paint on the wings of the Chipmunk.  As this is a 1956 Chipmunk, that is right on the cusp of when the switch was made from RAF Roundels to RAAF roundels.  Once I can get these blokes to agree and paint them on, should be on my way shortly to RAAF Pearce for a brief stop, then on to the starting point of the race.

 

Bothroundels.jpg.76c0240a4af777be12fd73102e17aa12.jpg

 

The real world issue that is slowing me down is because of the cold weather here in Washington USA.  Temperatures are below 20 degrees Farenheight (-7 degrees Celcius) and a pipe inside the drywall in our garage burst this morning.  We got the water shut off quickly and a capable neighbor is doing a quick fix now, and the plumber is due to show up on Wednesday.

 

Giving all of you a head start tomorrow(today), but rest assured that I will be along shortly as soon as possible.  With the cruise speed of 103 mph (166 km/h) I may never catch the leaders, but luckily this is not that kind of race.  Have fun Aviating until I catch up. 🙂

 

 

RW Issues take precedent. No worries at all. See you out there! 🙂

"I created the Little Black Book to keep myself from getting killed..." -- Captain Elrey Borge Jeppesen

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47 minutes ago, Melo965 said:

Temperatures are below 20 degrees Farenheight

10(F) here with a wind chill of -9(F), got up to 13(F) this afternoon;  not expected to be above freezing for at least the next week.   Making up for being near 60(F) all last week.

 

But all my errands are done, kitchen is well stocked, and I just sit here and read, watch TV, and try to get my Beech to Perth on time.

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9° F right now (0128z), with the Wind Chill down to -10° F. Third night in a row the Low will be -5° F or colder.

 

Par for the Course this time of Year here 'cause it's National Western Stock Show time and it's always bitterly cold.

 

Won't see Freezing or better until at least Tuesday.

"I created the Little Black Book to keep myself from getting killed..." -- Captain Elrey Borge Jeppesen

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49 minutes ago, TomPenDragon said:

A quick question for the Daily Update: Is anyone flying the race today?

 

Hopefully we'll see some action today. Hope we didn't chase anyone away...

"I created the Little Black Book to keep myself from getting killed..." -- Captain Elrey Borge Jeppesen

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The Daily Update

(Cue “She Sells Sanctuary”)

 

EP: “Hello and welcome to the Daily Update for Race Day, 15 January, 2024. I’m Elias Pacheco for Radio Chachapoya, back from a couple of days’ R&R prior to the race. Thank you to Thomas PenDragon for filling in for me. So let’s get started, shall we?

 

“The Spotters’ Guide can now be found online with the collection of Official race documents. The rally is now officially underway for all participants, so it’s time to reveal our Leaderboard:

 

GAAGLB115.thumb.jpg.04d6ba9af004a5024031d2920819a5ce.jpg

“It is in blank and zeroes because no one has recorded a time yet. This is about as quiet as I have ever seen the start of a sporting event. JGF has reached Australia on his epic journey and may be flying his final stint into Jandakot today. As far as I can tell, he’s the only participant flying.

 

“On the ground, one flier who is here is ViperPilot2, who is not only an entrant in the race, but is also the founder and head of Club Chachapoya. Good morning VP2! Thanks for giving us a little time this morning. Well… It’s race day. How are you feeling?”

 

VP2: “Feeling pretty good! Excited to get under way, and see what's out there!”

 

EP: “I must say, this is the quietest start to a race I’ve ever seen. Seems just like every other weekday morning since I arrived in Jandakot. What do you make of that?”

 

VP2: “Yeah, the Ramp has been quiet for sure! I hear a couple of Entrants came in last night and this morning; they deserve a day or two of R & R before heading back out.”

 

EP: “They most certainly do. Some folks have flown halfway around the world in their race planes to get here. Are you planning to start today? How many legs are you planning to do?”

 

VP2: “We'll probably start out tomorrow and take our time; one, maybe two Legs a day.”

 

EP: “Like many of the other particpants, I suspect. Now, I wish our listeners could see this. We are standing next to a Bell 222. The helicopter is painted midnight black, with a white underside, which given the shape of a standard Triple-Two would make for one mean-looking aircraft – imagine a killer whale’s extremely buff cousin. This one has been streamlined. The wheel sponsons have been flared and extended into… Better let her pilot tell it. VP2, tell us about this magnifcent, mean-looking machine.”

 

VP2: “Well, it's a Bell 222A. We call her, ‘The Lady’. The 'accents' give the 222 a bit more stability and maneuverability.”

 

EP: “A 222A… Is your Lady fast? How fast can she go?”

 

VP2: “She's about as speedy as most Helicopters that are similar in size and performance; she can hold her own pretty well!”

 

EP: “Ha! I’ll just bet she can. You know, there’s been some talk on the ramp the past couple of weeks about some people in the smaller towns around Perth and along the route saying that they’ve heard something like a loud Dingo howl, right before a large helicopter flies by extremely fast. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”

 

VP2: “Oh, I couldn't say anything about that... I've never heard a Dingo howl before. What's that sound like?”

 

EP: “Ahh, much like a wolf, I’d suspect. So, are you planning on staying in Australia for a while?”

 

VP2: “Oh, for a little bit. Our... 'co-sponsor' asked us to come down and Compete while we do a little... 'survey' Work.”

 

EP: “Most interesting. Well, I’ll let you get to it. VP2, thank you very much for your time this morning. Should we coincide at one of the waypoints along the route, I’d like to sit down over a cup of coffee and talk with you more about the Club: how it started, how did you organize this event, where it’s going – I know I’m putting you on the spot here in front of our audience, but would you be willing to do that?”

 

VP2: “If our paths cross again, it'd be a pleasure! You stay safe out there!”

 

EP: “You too, sir. And this concludes today’s Daily Update. This is Elias Pacheco for Radio Chachapoya, signing off. To echo the words of ViperPilot2, whether you’re one of our listeners or one of the race participants, stay safe out there. Bye bye.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, taoftedal said:

 

I arrived a little late but am already digging in!  Oz Coffee & Lamingtons!

 

Oz_Treats.jpg.d8ea9e93a7c52cb4a60b0704c3fa5ce9.jpg

 

They offer a 'Flat White", or a 'Long Black', both made from Espresso... Don't they have just a 'regular' cup of Coffee?

 

Good thing I stashed a couple bags of Arbuckles in the Victuals case! I'm not much of a Coconut fan, but those Lamingtons are tasty!

"I created the Little Black Book to keep myself from getting killed..." -- Captain Elrey Borge Jeppesen

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A couple of test flights showed the fastest ground speed to be achieved right down on the treetops with the mixture set rather richer than stoichiometric. On the other hand, endurance is best at stoichio and improves with altitude, although beyond a point it's with a corresponding more severe reduction in airspeed and so groundspeed. At some (undetermined) altitude, the reduction in speed may outweigh the improved endurance and result in a reduced range. I imagine endurance could be improved further by also retarding the throttle but the Arrow is so SLOW! On the other hand, when trimmed correctly it's stable enough for 4× sim rate. The autopilot was not used at all throughout the flight. By the time we'd overflown Caiguna, I was confident enough to try a short period of 8×. We survived...

 

The intention is to land and stop only at the original overnight waypoints, hence the concern about endurance. I screwed up our original plan, intending to fly Jandakot to Norseman via Wave Rock and completely ignoring the obligatory Katanning.

 

There were many more test flights made over the weekend. Read on.

 

***   ***

 

I'd originally opted for 3000 feet, giving us around 5 hr 30 min at about 133 kias. I didn't want to climb too much because over a such a flat continent, any higher would leave me feeling that we were over the sea. A few hills would be nice. While Australia's highest point is around 7000', I don't think there's much on the whole three-million-square-mile continent that rises above 3000 feet. The senior continent has experienced long erosion I suppose. The world's oldest rocks on the macro scale are in Canada, but WA is home to metamorphic sedimentary rocks containing the oldest grains. A land made of its own ancestors. The site, Jack Hills, is also where the oldest evidence of life was found but at 600 miles north of Perth, it was a long way out of our way.

 

When I mentioned that I'd given her the wrong plan and that we didn't have the endurance at 3000' for the extra distance, defaid junior became quite eloquent, finally sending me off thoroughly chastised to find a new altitude high enough to give us a chance of landing on the correct field but still close enough to give us something to look at. Hours more test flying...

 

We were pushing it even at 6000 with this headwind and thought we might after all have to land on the road and call for that roadtrain found by @jgf ... By strange coincidence, steveo1kinevo's last upload to YT, KBLM-KFXE in a TBM940, had him diverting to KILM for fuel on account of unforecast headwinds over 100 kt.

 

000.thumb.jpg.be51b6ab20af241454955d2051353050.jpg

The TBM's PFD. 224° at 103 knots.

 

002.thumb.jpg.0888a84ebd272a30cb21de2934ec9b5f.jpg

Sightseeing while taxiing to the active.

 

003.thumb.jpg.14bfd7cf6898d0119c4f2e441ebfc0b6.jpg

Wheels up from YPJT 0056Z

 

So, at 6000 feet we headed out over woodland and suburbs. Somewhere over nowhere and trimmed hands off in superbly smooth air, the moon's waning crescent rose in my window.

 

004.thumb.jpg.12dd96112858effcc077450a560449df.jpg

Pale moon rising.

Trimmed hands-off.

 

005.thumb.jpg.40280613a599972ec6fa9a936094673e.jpg

Farewell seaside. Farewell Jandakot NDB.

 

As Jandakot's NDB winked out of existence gentle hills with forest gave way to flat fields with woodland and we returned to the blue and muted gold of high summer. Katanning was thoroughly camouflaged but I was prepared for deceit after the familiarisation flight from Perth and d j had done her usual magic:

 

"See those two strips of woodland? They're supposed to be in front of us..."

 

I turned.

 

006.thumb.jpg.652f7406c6eebd71720f9849189b4152.jpg

Twin woods at Katanning.

 

007.thumb.jpg.9ab6069aee3e8334542b33326012ea47.jpg

Overhead.

 

I kept flashing back to the Bendix, with a Bing Crosby demon singing in my head. It's beginning to look a lot like Kansas, everywhere we go.

 

Wrong Oz though.

 

d j was still disappointed-- we'd been looking forward to seeing Wave Rock en route to Norseman and I was curious about Lake Johnston. We both felt though, that to guarantee the endurance we'd have to be flying both higher and slower. I promised we'd return when the RtW got there. You can imagine the look that received.

 

008.jpg.8b565506cae9d20178f9d172fbf5d217.jpg

So much for the hands-off trim... bollixed that up forgetting to pause while dealing with the writeup.

 

At Norseman, named after a horse (yes, really), the airport had hard-standing parking and a large flattened area with no distinct runways, a bit of a swine to spot from any distance. There we found the beginning of the Eyre Highway, which was of interest for our plans later in the day...

 

009.thumb.jpg.24032d4533afccf5ac412480d2936272.jpg

Norseman, a minute early.

 

Beyond Norseman... nothing. Even the misplaced sheep station turned out to be fake. Balladonia, then, came as something of a relief. Our plan included a deviation of seven miles to the south, adding a minute or so to our planned time but both of us wanted to take a look at Australia's longest straight road. Eliminating what little navigation was required, the Eyre Highway here leads from just outside Balladonia directly to Caiguna Roadhouse in a single dead straight stretch of 90 miles. It's a definite candidate for the title of "Most Likely To Send A Driver To Sleep". We wondered how many such unplanned excursions had happened down there.

 

010.thumb.jpg.51221bbd95125f94665dfa2b357a0940.jpg

Balladonia. Overall 3m 49s early.

 

011.thumb.jpg.2b96e961e12eb44e96692663df211021.jpg

90 mile straight.

 

011a.jpg.ce9ecf088bec26624feb1669a8a0dc4c.jpg

 

It also eliminated what thought was required - I forgot to reset the chronometer so until Caiguna it showed the sum of 2 legs' time.

 

After 80, the russet and ochre landscape of Caiguna faded into view. I'd intended to overfly the VOR but it doesn't show through the photoscenery and the FS9 geo-offset would in any case put it in the 'wrong' location. We overflew the crew almost five minutes ahead of the plan so could ease off the throttle a little and stretch the dwindling fuel for the remaining leg to Forrest.

 

d j asked if I'd finished writing my name in the sky and if so, could I give her 117 kias on 065° for 1 hour 19? 4 kt slower and 1° off. Sharp sense of humour aside, this is the best thing about having a nav who actually enjoys such problems. Making an adjustment over the complete distance between two waypoints seemed marginally less reprehensible than simply loitering before landing. 

 

If it's not appropriate, well, we don't really care. We're not after prizes so much as simply testing the accuracy of the planning & flying.

 

We waved to our crew, who ob(li)viously didn't see a thing.

 

012.thumb.jpg.2db410fc2e67e81fc41aa0a7b4a48110.jpg

Caiguna. Overall 4m 51s early.

 

Forrest at least was easy to spot, having runways mowed into the dark scrub. Bloody good thing too, as we were early again, making 1h 19m after passing TOD. The field was no longer ahead of us and it was only by chance that I spotted it off the port beam. We still had a minute in hand so didn't fret about the longer turn. Landing with the wind brought us in on a line that would in the real world have given us a great view of the railway halt, in the RW looking like the Fields of the Nephilim should be standing there. Railway but no halt in FS9...

 

013.thumb.jpg.295149597b30947585c3f2a358bf1dcf.jpg

Forrest, past top of descent.

 

014.thumb.jpg.ff558b9361f7547717a46e65eb47b550.jpg

Crabbing again.

 

015.thumb.jpg.a467c60ceb43b49f0a0233eb3cb4bd01.jpg

YFRT: wheels down at 0658Z

 

I think the real place has sand and eucalyptus. We wandered over to the terminal to have a word with the airport manager, with whom we'd booked one of six ex-met bureau bungalows for the night and found a sign by the office door saying "Airport Waiting Room". Directly underneath it was another stating "Communication Centre Staff Only". It left me feeling that they could go days without hearing from anyone.

 

They were good enough to waive the landing fee as we filled our tanks. We made a short trip down to Eucla on the coast (as if I wasn't stiff enough after so many hours) because d j wanted to see whales and I felt that all this sand was just wrong without some sea. No whales, no ice cream. When we got back to Forrest, management laid on a home-made supper. We ate on their verandah. Better than any restaurant.

 

017.jpg.28a11d5e39599cf2a5ab7ae4c644cac0.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, ViperPilot2 said:

They offer a 'Flat White", or a 'Long Black', both made from Espresso ...

 

True ... an espresso adventure.  Not sure which one it is ... I just pointed to the picture on the menu ... ☕ 

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4 hours ago, TomPenDragon said:

A quick question for the Daily Update: Is anyone flying the race today?

 

Yup. Story's posted.

 

For the PM, I need help with reporting the times:

 

YPJT to YKNG arrived 1 minute early so V = -1

YKNG to YNSM we flew the leg in 1 minute more than planned.

et c.

 

So V for YNSM = +1 or 0?

 

In terms of the maths, do individual waypoints even matter? It's been a long day, which started with a mouse running across the living room floor. WTH?? We arrived at YFRT 1 minute 44 sec early...

 

D

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Defaid, for the Timing PM that'd be YKNG -1, YNSM +1  I need the arrival waypoint, not the departure, and the spreadsheet does the maths for you.  Individual waypoints do matter - I can't record the next one until the previous one is filled in, or it screws up the sheet.  A clarification has been posted on the Official thread.

 

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Hopefully first leg tomorrow. Living room re-decorated today so computer, peripherals and hi-fi cables all had to come apart.

Major habitat loss for all the unique flora and fauna that had evolved under the desk and amongst the cables🐁 ☠️🪳🕷️

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