We're having a strange February in South Australia this year. Normally we'd be having hot spells lasting a week or two full of scorching hot blue sky days up to 115degF, dominated by strong northerly winds that've crossed 2000 miles of outback desert, cooling down to a balmy 90 degrees at night.
As I write this, it's raining and blowing a cold 35kt southerly. Straight off the southern ocean, feels like it's come from Antarctica. Real bedsocks weather.
Looks like it'll be cool-ish with the odd rain shower for most of the rest of the week. What happened to Summer?
Anyhow, it hasn't been all bad. Yesterday was 91degF, with moderate noreasters and a layer of high overcast preventing those of us under bubble canopies from cooking.
So I took my next door neighbor for his first RV ride. He's a radiologist who experimented briefly with an aviation career change after obtaining a commercial license in Cessna 182s and moving to Broome for a year. But that didn't pan out, so now he's back in Adelaide after not having flown for over six months. Perhaps Broome wasn't the right place...
Our destination was Antechamber Bay on Kangaroo Island. There's a small winery cellar door restaurant there, and the owners maintain a 2200ft grass airstrip roughly 16/34 specifically so that visiting pilots can fly in for lunch. Just make sure you phone ahead to give them time to clear the sheep away, and watch out for the power lines on approach when landing to the North. http://g.co/maps/enxr2
We were joined by Bas (the OzRunways iPad app guy) and his wife. Another couple we didn't know arrived in a 172 about half an hour after us.
It's a lovely, rustic, isolated spot. The restaurant has long tables on a verandah outside, where they'll serve you a terrific cold platter of meats, preserved vegetables, cheeses and salads, washed down with a made-on-the-premises lemon and lime juice drink for the pilots (just a touch of fizz, fruits grown on the trees out the back), or a reasonably competent wine list for everyone else.
If you bring your swim trunks it's about a hundred yards walk to a beautiful sandy beach with views of the cliffs of the mainland.
Properly sated, we bought a few bottles of wine for the baggage compartment and departed for a 25 minute jaunt to Aldinga for afternoon coffee and a brownie. Well-- 25 mins for those of us in the RV-6, Bas in his SportStar took a bit longer
I tried to show my neighbor what a wheel landing looked like at Aldinga, and totally ballsed it up. I only ace them about 2/3rds of the time, they're not second-nature yet.
Aldinga has been having trouble with a handfull of the neighbors. There's a NOTAM hidden away under YMMM on Air Services' website warning of an ERSA amendment about right-hand circuits on the south-facing runways for noise abatement reasons. Apparently the fact that the airfield has been there for 40 years doesn't give it any priority in these matters, the local government will bend to the will of half a dozen sea-changers. Bah.
Departing Aldinga, I asked Adelaide Approach for a clearance to go through the class-C up the coast to Parafield (if slots are available they usually clear you at 500' along the beach, which is a lot of fun at 140 knots). I had to wait at Marino Lighthouse to make room for a departing Qantas 767 and Virgin 737, then ATC figured i was sick of waiting and cleared us to climb to 4000 and go inland to overfly the downtown area while another Qantas 737 passed underneath.
The Parafield TAF in the morning said that a cold front with winds and showers would be arriving at 1900 local time. I think it hit at 1905, while I was enjoying an apr?s-fly drink in my neighbor's kitchen. Wonderful day, should be more of it.
I can't finish the writeup without my neighbor's RV grin at Antechamber Bay
We can't work out whether his favorite bit was his first experience of the RV-6's aileron response ("Wow, that feels nice and solid!"), or overtaking the SportStar after leaving Kangaroo Island.