Monday, July 22, 2013

Maybe.... soon.... perhaps....

Pilatus recently announced their new design - a twin jet SVJ (Super Versatile Jet). Within an hour of the announcement, I had drawn this image and distributed it to the CEO and a few other friends.... Took them by surprise somewhat.

Anyway, the rumour is that we're being courted by Pilatus to purchase one or two of these beauties.... they won't be available until 2017, but don't let that disappoint. If they (Pilatus) can deliver the performance they promise - I don't see why they won't -  this will be a spectacular performer.....

Can't wait!

Between storms

After a recent flight to Coober Pedy to rescue a crew with a broken aeroplane, I was refuelling when it struck me that the lighting was changing very quickly, but was pretty spectacular.... Sadly, I didn't have my Nikon with me, so the phone had to suffice. Nevertheless, you get the idea I'm sure. It was a pretty special time.

Mt Ive Clinic

Another clinic, this one at Mt Ive in the Gawler Ranges to the west of Port Augusta. This is a working sheep station that has a healthy tourist programme as well, so we often drop in the find there are a bunch of interested people hanging over the fence and keen to talk. Of course, as the pilot, I'm therefore the tour guide while the doctor and nurse are busy seeing the customers.. er.. patients.

Recently I was there again, and spoke with a photographer who happened to be there writing an article about Mt Ive. He agreed to send me some copies of his photos, and I offered to give him an inspection" pass on departure to get a good view of the aircraft.....

Clinic at Cadney Park

This is my first update for quite a while, so a great deal has happened and I have a few photos to add. Here's a shot of us leaving from a clinic we conducted at Cadney Park in central South Australia. We go there probably less than once a month as we only normally see the people working at the roadhouse. On this occasion, I noticed a couple of people hanging around, one of whom had a brace of Nikons hanging from his neck, so I went over to chat with them while the doctor and nurse were seeing to the patients.

As it happened, the chap was a QANTAS A380 captain, at the time on leave as the fleet was currently grounded. We chatted about the PC12 for a while, and I showed him over the old girl. Sadly, I didn't have an NG that day or I could have shown him all the LCD screens we have in the latest version. Nevertheless, he seemed to be suitably impressed.

He mentioned that he would hang around for our departure and get a few photos, so I offered to give him a photo pass on departure if he promised to send me some photos. He readily agreed, so that's how I got these shots. He did a great job to get the detail. Check out the gravel being kicked up by the wheels.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bulgunnia filming

Recently, I had the chance to return to an outback airstrip to visit with one of the patients I'd retrieved after he came off his motorbike. Additionally, we had a UK film crew there with us, filming the night operations as part of a documentary on the RFDS. This is one of the photos taken that evening by a photographer from Adelaide who was brought along to get some new "stock" photos for brochures and publicity.

Note the dusty conditions we operate in sometimes. Remember that this is a six million dollar aircraft, and we routinely operate from dusty, unimproved strips. Perfect aeroplane for the perfect job....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Departure photo

This photo was taken as I departed Port Augusta on the final leg of my delivery flight to Adelaide. I think it shows the aircraft off pretty well, even though the PC12 is not the most photogenic of aircraft.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some stats...

Just to prove I have some spare time now I'm home.... here are some stats from the trip.

Total distance (great circle) - 11,203.3 km (6053.4 nautical miles).
Fuel used - 7,835 litres
Engine oil added - NONE
Flying time - 41.2 hours
Days away - 14
Days enroute - 7
Number of photos taken 645 - glad they're all digital!
Number of sharks fed - NONE - just the way I like it!
Number of unserviceabilities - only one that persisted. THIS IS A GREAT AEROPLANE!

Home at last....

Finally made it home to Port Augusta. Left Broome for Alice Springs to drop Chris off. Worst weather for the entrie trip, and we had to make an ILS approach for real! Got visual at 2 miles so all was good, and we arrived at the base to be greeted by a few hardy individuals, who also had some afternoon tea ready for us. A quick munch, flight plan, refuel, and I was off to Pt Augusta for a similar welcome. It was great to see the family again after all this time away - it feels like MONTHS. Also good to see my co-workers there to greet me. Very heartening to know they missed me - or was it just the aeroplane they wanted to see?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yet another map!

This is what we did today.... Bali to Broome. Shortest day yet, only because the bird wanted a rest....

It Broke!!

Arrived in Broome, Australia. Can't describe how good it felt to see the mainland at last, and the air is so fresh! Only problem is that after clearing customs and refuelling both the aeroplane and ourselves, we started up to head off to Alice Springs, and the fuel gauge for the right tank failed, along with my PDU (right side flight instruments). The problem is that if we took off, besides being illegal, it would have been difficult to confirm that the fuel flows were symmetrical and the aircraft could get out of balance and become difficult to handle. Having said that, once the approval is given by CASA, we will continue, prudently checking the aileron trim regularly and keeping the fuel balanced. There should be no problems with fuel load as we have six hours plus at normal power settings, and only a 2.5 hour trip to Alice Springs to drop Chris off. I can then fly to Pt Augusta in a similar time, having refuelled again to full tanks - job's right!

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The map

For those waiting to see the map, here it is. Day 6 in small scale.

Dinner and a show

The hotel we are staying at in Bali is HUGE. There are over 200 rooms, lots of staff, and the dining area is an outdoor theatre, where we watched traditional dancers while we munched on our only meal for the day. I don't know much about the story, and the music was a little difficult to follow, but overall, it was an experience I'll remember for some time.


We're finally in the southern hemisphere! Having landed in Bali, we are now about to set out on the last international leg of our trip to bring this PC12 home to Australia. Here is my favourite aeroplane on the ground at Bali. Uneventful trip - except for dodging a few towering cumulus and watching the lightning strikes on the radar.

This photo shows the weather as we arrived in Singapore. Relatively low clouds and plenty of rain in them, but we had no difficulty getting in at all. As for getting out, we had a 15 minute delay as we waited for the storm to pass and then we were off. No dramas there, but very busy airspace and tight corridors.

This could easily have been the same A380 that took us to Zurich only a week before.

Tropical paradise.... one of the hundreds of islands we flew over whilst en-route to  Bali.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Here's the map of progress so far. Now in Phuket, Tailand for a day off to recharge our batteries and wash some clothes.

And finally in Phuket - here's a photo of the beach just across the road from our hotel. Even though it was quite a nice day, the beach was pretty much deserted as you can see, and this was at 3:00pm! There were a couple of fishing boats just offshore, and a few people (out of shot) surfing, but probably less than 20 people in or within 100m of the water. I don't understand really, because it was quite warm at the time.

Interesting wiring job.... I think they are just telephone wires (at least I HOPE that's all they are), but this sort of thing is very common around the area. Just about ALL streets have a similar sight, and there are also very often loose and broken wires just hanging down.... where's Telstra when you need them?

Ok.... so sometimes I'm a tourist! Here's a nice looking temple that I saw not far from the hotel. These sort of buildings are very common in the area also.

No stamina..

Chris is having a little difficulty with the workload and time-zones. He's had a couple of short naps whilst en-route. I personally can't see how he can be comfortable right next to the cargo door. It's always cold when I open it to get the stretcher loader down!

The yellow/orange bag next to his head is the liferaft, and the grey box on top is our survival gear in case we had to ditch. We're planning on bringing this stuff back intact and unopened. Just a personal preference....

Leaving Chennai

The visibility over here is pretty bad right now, with the high humidity and pollution etc. This photo shows some of the terrain, and villages we flew over. There are a great number of small villages dotted all over the countryside, seemingly within a mile of so of each other.

Still going...

Each  day has been around 6 or 7 hours flying, and we've covered a lot of ground (and water), but we keep on going of course. Each day also brings its challenges and excitement, but overall I have to say it's an experience I would like to repeat some day. Let's just hope we need some more aeroplanes moved around....


Here's a photo of FVE parked at Hyderabad airport. Not a very good photo, but we can't take photos from the apron without getting trouble from the security people. Lots of soldiers and other security types here, and soooo many people to refuel! I counted eight people around the aircraft as we refuelled, one head refueller, his apprentice, a couple more presumably training, 2 line guys to put chocks in and cones at the wingtips, and of course our handler and the customs guy. All very friendly and helpful, but a little overwhelming.

Leaving Muscat

Here's a quick shot of the terrain as we left Muscat. Plenty of buildings, and lots of sand. Very warm too - at 35 degrees and 95 percent humidity, life in the cockpit prior to start was a little warm to say the least.