I had my first flying lesson in 1963, flying from an all-weather gravel airfield in the north-west of New South Wales (NSW). My instructor was an ex-RAAF pilot who had flown in the South Pacific during WWII and who had been shot down on several occasions. He was a brilliant instructor and near perfect pilot. Teaching in a noisy environment like a light aeroplane is never easy and way back then we did not use headsets to improve communication. It was this instructor who imparted to me the essentials of flying safely and the ability to fly consistently while enjoying the commanding view from the aeroplane.
Flying a light aeroplane is not much like flying in an airliner. You remain much closer to the ground and able to see what is below you in substantial detail. And Australia provides an enormous number of fabulous views. I have flown over the enormous remains of long dead volcanoes, flown low towards cliffs that drop vertically to a valley floor a thousand feet or more. I have flown past Sydney via the light aircraft lane which requires that the aircraft be lower than 500′ above the ocean. As you pass Sydney heads you can see right up the length of the harbour, to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I have flown west at night into the inky blackness where, once you clear the Blue Mountains there is virtually nothing to see, not even lights except for the occasional town. I have flown north from Sydney, up the coast of NSW, where you are never out of sight of towns at night, with the dark land on your left and the Pacific Ocean on your right.
For me, flying is something that begs to be shared with any who would share it and that is what I will try to do in this blog.