Red Baron Adventures at Jaspers

Red Baron Adventures from Bankstown presented an Emergency Manoeuvres Training day at the club last weekend. It included a sobering briefing by Matt debunking a lot of the myths out there about stalls and spins and unusual attitudes. This was followed by a BBQ lunch and flying in the afternoon. We learnt heaps, it was a great turnout and a fantastic, fun day. Find out more: and the upset recovery training:



Broken Hill and Back


A group of us from SCRFC flew to Broken Hill on the weekend for the 85th anniversary of the Royal Flying Doctors Service. Check out some great pics and story on the flying club facebook page here:

It was an epic! We flew in style in a C 172. Our first day flying was from Moruya over Canberra and Coottamundra with a break at Griffith and then continue over Ivanhoe to Broken Hill. We flew back via a fuel stop in Hay, a break at Temora and then back to Moruya. The country out there looked like a lunar surface and the most amazing sight was the Wall of China a 40km wall of sand in the middle of the desert! What a fantastic thing to do- let’s start planning the next one……..

Here are some more pics.




My Solo Sunday

Hello dear reader, I have wonderful news!

On Sunday I flew my first solo;  I was a pilot for the first time.

Three things and quite a few lessons launched me out of short final gloom and into the joy of the solo circuit.

  • Booster cushions – it’s so much easier to fly now that I can see the nose of the aeroplane; I have a reference point.
  • Flying lesson with the instruments covered up – this was such a revelation! I actually fly better if I trust my senses first and then check the instruments second.
  • A decent run of magnificent flying weather – yay!

Solo Sunday started early in a very foggy paddock with the girls trying to jump start an aeroplane. Then it was Tweety’s turn to pre- flight and away we went.

I was so pumped to fly that morning. We’d had a wonderful weekend of flying and on that day  we were doing more circuit emergencies. After several glide approach circuits, my instructor suggested we make the next circuit a full stop, and after an uneventful landing we taxied to the cross-strip where she asked me if I would like to go ‘round by myself.

My heart skipped a beat and I answered nervously ‘Yes, I think I can do that’. I felt ready and I knew she wouldn’t send me solo if she wasn’t confident to do so. She sealed the deal by saying that it had been all me when we’d been flying our lessons on the weekend. So, I figured I just needed to keep doing exactly what I’d been doing.

Alex passed on final precious words of instruction and encouragement reminding me of the difference one less person in the aircraft would make and that I could go around if necessary and that she would be waiting at the windsock with the radio. A final check, a smile and a wave and she stepped out.

And just like that, there we were – me and a little yellow aeroplane called Tweety in the middle of a runway in a paddock at Jasper’s Brush on a clear Sunday morning about to launch into the sky and soar like a bird with just me at the controls.

Who would’ve thought it……?

Tweety and I taxied to the end of runway 24 and turned our faces into the wind. I said a quiet prayer and cast my gaze over the instruments and switches. All was in order. A deep breath; a rolling call for circuits; full throttle; right rudder and we were off……. Wooooohoooo, I love that take-off feeling!

Tweety rolled out happily and rather quickly – we were at 60 knots before I knew it! I turned to comment to Alex about this, and then remembered that she wasn’t there. The space next to me seemed huge and strange in its emptiness and I thought best not to dwell on it!

We hit 1000ft before the downwind turn, we were hootin’! As the parallel runway came into view, it was all so familiar. Downwind checks, radio call, turn onto base, establish on final, approach looking good, over the fence and a surprising little bounce on landing.  I think I flew on autopilot; not quite believing I was doing it. I taxied off the runway to smiles and congratulations.

My first solo circuit was over so quickly!

One and half years since my first flight, after pushing past many obstacles, knowing absolutely nothing about aviation or aerodynamics, I’ve  finally achieved my goal to fly solo. It has been a major accomplishment for me challenging me at every level, taking me to extreme highs and lows. Learning to fly has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

None of this is achieved alone. Without my instructors this dream would not have been realised. They are a thoroughly passionate team dedicated to helping people achieve their aviation dreams and goals. They have encouraged, inspired, motivated and persisted in believing in me – to Alex, Liz and Andy, thank you so very much.

And to my dearest, gorgeous Gregory John – what can I say? Without you, I would never have embarked on this dream. Thank you for taking me on this crazy adventure with you. There go we; by the grace of God. And the adventure has only just begun. :)

Kirsten xx

A Tale of Two Compasses

Our aeroplane, Tweety, has two compasses. One is a magnetic compass and one is a directional gyro.


To understand them better I did some study to refresh my memory on the subject of direction from the navs course. I’ve written it down because maybe if I can explain it, I can understand it :)

Direction – true, magnetic and compass

As a pilot I need to know where I am and where I’m going. And I need to be able to let other pilots know where I am. Direction and expression of direction is based on geographic and magnetic poles of the Earth.

True Direction – geographic poles

Early astronomers named direction as north, south, east and west according to how these points related geographically. This is what we find on our maps and charts.

Magnetic Direction – magnetic poles

The earth acts like a large magnet in space. It’s constantly moving in a circle slowly around and close to, the geographic poles.

‘Magnetic’ poles are measured using a free swinging magnet and described by the angle they have away from true North.

The difference in magnetic and geographic poles is measured in degrees east or west. This measurement is called a variance and is indicated on maps and charts by isoganals.

The variance is constantly changing. That’s why it’s important to use current charts with up to date isoganals.

Directions on our maps are true directions but directions in our aircraft are shown by a magnetic compass.

So we need to convert true directions to magnetic directions and then we can use our magnetic compass to steer ourselves.

Depending on the direction East or West, the conversion is:

Direction (T) minus Variation (E) = Direction (M)

Direction (T) plus Variation (W) = Direction (M)

A good way to remember this is to think:

‘East is Least and West is Best’


  • Draw a line between two points on a map
  • Measure the distance in NM
  • Add or subtract the variance shown by the isoganals to convert true direction to magnetic direction

Compass Direction

The magnetic compass in our airplane is affected by electrical, magnetic and metallic interference. This can cause the compass to line up in a direction different from magnetic north.

This is called a deviation.

Engineers adjust the magnetic compass (the compass is ‘swung’) to minimise the deviation.

The deviation is measured again and a deviation correction card is kept in the cockpit so the pilot can check it.

In practise, deviation can be ignored if it’s small.

Variance, however, can never be ignored. In Australia, variation can be from 5° west to 15° east. Ignoring variation can result in a significant navigational error.

Tweety's Instruments

Two Magnetic Compasses?

A pilot uses a compass to establish a heading.

A magnetic compass will be affected by the slope of the Earth’s magnetic field (called the ‘dip’). This will cause it to read incorrectly when the aircraft is in a bank or during acceleration. It will work well when flying straight and level.

A directional gyro (or heading indicator) is a gyroscopic flight instrument not affected by the ‘dip’ when the aircraft is banking or during acceleration. It should be set every 15 minutes using the heading shown on the magnetic compass.


South Coast Recreational Flying Club Navigation Course notes

Ground Training Manual by Jan and Val Dyson- Holland


Fly high; Fly safe,



Tweety’s Homecoming

In a whirlwind couple of weeks, we’ve been from Dalmeny in the south for a week of R+R followed by a road trip to Leeton (via Temora) in the west.

We had opportunity to fly at Moruya Airstrip in their club’s Gazelle while we were away. What a joy – we surely live on the most beautiful coastline! And what a great little aeroplane.

I was also able to get a flying fix in a Foxbat with Lizzie when we called in briefly at the air show in Temora. Coastline is replaced by patchwork paddocks as far as the eye can see out there – very different, equally amazing! The show itself was quiet and we wondered about the wisdom of having it on the Easter weekend?

A few days at home and the weather looked good enough to bring Tweety back from Mornington Peninsula. Greg and Andy flew down to Melbourne last Wednesday on a commercial bird and trained, planed and automobiled it to Tyabb Airfield – former home of Tweety Bird. To Jack and the team at Peninsula Aero Club – many thanks for all your help :)

Weather was good to fly the Little Yellow Bird home on Thursday. After a circuit and some final adjustments, they cleared Sale tower and were off. They stopped briefly for refuel (she carries just over 50 litres) at Bairnsdale and Merimbula  and then back to Jaspers by the late afternoon.

We excitedly followed their progress all day through SAR times and sms messages and were able to be there when Tweety flew in on runway 24 at Jaspers Brush – what a moment, one I won’t forget in a hurry:)  Greg and Andy literally fell out of the doors when they arrived – they were pretzeled in the shape of  a Tweety Bird seat lol – she’s not built for long distance travel.The flight took about five and half hours.

What an amazing experience. I still can’t believe she is ours! To Andy, Alex and Liz – many thanks, you dudes – you guys are the best :) :)

Tweety on the ground at Jaspers!


Wecome home Tweety

Oh Happy Day!

Oh happy day – we have just bought our first aeroplane – yay!!!!!

She is a Skyfox Gazelle CA25N with a 912A  Rotax engine and has just retired from being on-line at Peninsula Aero Club Flying School.

We flew a gazelle in Moruya, a  very forgiving aeroplane for newbie pilots – just a lovely little aeroplane to fly – cruise speed of 70 KIAS and very easy to handle.

The wings fold back for trailering  and the doors can be taken off completely,  if you want to that is. And the visibility in these aeroplanes is amazing.

It hardly seems real, we almost can’t believe it  - what a privilege and what a responsibility ! And what fun :)

Here are some pics of Tweety from the aero club –  isn’t she a beaut? I’ll keep you posted on our next phase of the adventure – bringing Tweety Bird home!


A Passion to Fly

And guess what? Greg wasn’t the only one romancing the air on the weekend. Let me explain…..

We first met Michelle at the beginning of last year in the first of our brain straining, ground school lessons. She has been pursuing her passion and dream to fly for a couple of years and we were privileged to see her take to the air on her first solo flight on the weekend – yay!! A lovely lady indeed and well deserving of her pilots wings.

Taxi-ing back in the Bantam


Well done Michelle :) )))) Fly high; Fly safe.


Michelle and Liz