Forrest to Adelaide (SA)


Awoke fairly early and took a short stroll away from the cabin. It was a beautiful morning and the scrub desert surroundings were very peaceful, with little evidence of any life except for the odd bird. It certainly would be difficult to survive out here – this is the winter season, but the heat in the summer would be unbearable.

I’d had some problems with the Flight Director and Auto-Pilot yesterday but decided to carry on rather than return to Perth. The Artificial Horizon had given problems earlier in our journey and Perth had been an opportunity to have it looked at. The Flight Centre at Jandakot had arranged for an instrument company to look at it and it had been pronounced healthy. I had telephoned Darrel at the Flight Centre yesterday after we arrived at Forrest and he had made several suggestions, one of which was to check that no connectors had come loose underneath the instrument panel. So I went to the hangar where it had been put yesterday and got my head under the panel. After a few contortions, managed to find a loose connector and secured it in place. Switched on the avionics and checked the Flight Director – bingo, everything OK.

Decided to fly today’s leg from Forrest to Adelaide at 5000 feet, which would give a good view of the ground below. We had breakfast, paid the bill for the overnight stay and fuel, and said goodbye to Lyn and Darrell. Fired up the Mooney, listened in on the radio but there was probably nothing within a hundred miles. Nevertheless, made the radio calls and took off towards the west , before turning eastwards and passing by the airfield for a last photo opportunity.

The flight conditions were good, and the scenery just as interesting as earlier flights. We crossed a section of the Great Australian Bight, crossing out from the land near the point where the coastline changes from cliffs to sand beaches. Quite a sudden change and the beaches looked empty and inviting with surf rolling in.

We had chosen to avoid Adelaide’s main airport in favour of Parafield, the general aviation field just a few miles to the south. It is close to military areas as well, and the controllers gave us plenty of advice on headings in order to avoid infringing any of these areas. It was a visual approach and we were soon on the ground. As we unpacked the plane, another pilot, Mooney owner, came up and spoke to us after seeing the British registration. This was Gary, and he couldn’t have been more helpful, giving us advice and offering us a lift into the city. Not only that but, as he drove us in, he arranged a hotel for the night and dropped us off there. I had had an email from yet another Mooney family, Ray and his son Marc, and had replied but hadn’t found the time to arrange a meeting. I mentioned this to Gary and, of course, he knew both Ray and Marc (such is the brotherhood of Mooney owners). If you read this, Ray, I am truly sorry that time was so short and we didn’t manage to meet.

We planned to stay in Adelaide for two nights, and that night explored the area not far from the hotel where Gary had suggested that we would find good eating. And we did – we found a good Argentinian steak house and rounded off the day with an excellent meal without (entirely) breaking the bank. Thanks for the advice Gary.

Flight Data: 604 nautical miles in 3 hours 50 minutes.