Author Archives: Chris Dearden

Presidents Report – October 2018

Greetings from Wales.

My wife and I are currently touring UK and we have spent the last week in South Wales.

Lovely coastal scenery and some marvelous Norman Castles around the Pembrokeshire district.

You may not know that during WW2 Pembroke Dock housed the largest flying boat base in the world ,with many RAF Short Sunderlands based there right through until the late 1950s.

All that remains today are some of the military buildings and a small museum in the the former chapel. The last Sunderland that was recovered from Pembroke Dock is now on public display at the RAF museum in Hendon.

I also happened upon a genuine WW2 air traffic control tower a few miles down the road at a former RAF airfield called Carew Cheriton.

I did also visit the RAF Museum at Hendon earlier in my trip which I hope to bring a report on when I return home.


Please be reminded that tickets are now on sale for our annual Christmas dinner at the Public Schools Club on November 23rd.

Tickets are just $55 per person for a 3 course meal , a welcome drink plus coffee and tea.

There will also be lots of raffle prizes given away which is included in your ticket.

You will be able to pay by cash or credit card at the October meeting otherwise online directly to the club bank account. Payment will need to be made by November 16th.

Our guest speaker for October has changed at late notice.

I have been lucky enough to secure a very good replacement in Marta Najfeld.

Marta is a glider pilot who has held 3 world records in closed distance events and is currently a ground school instructor at Flight Training Adelaide.

Her talk is based on her Masters thesis about synthetic vision for aviation applications where direct vision for the pilot through windows is replaced with cameras. A very interesting concept. Come along and see what you think about it.

It is entitled “ Vision beyond sight”.

Blue skies,


‘Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man, Landing is the first ‘

John Birrell’s 70th Birthday


Fly-in / Drive-in at Clare Valley Aerodrome

Fran & John Birrell would like you to help John celebrate his milestone birthday.

If possible, please bring your aircraft or collectable car for a combined display.

Sausage sizzle, tea and coffee provided. 

The Clare Valley Flying Group will provide bar service as well.

No reply needed, only your valued attendance.

See Here for Calendar entry or download the invite here.

Presidents Report August 2018

Oshkosh, the biggest aviation spectacle on earth has just concluded and by all accounts, one of the best ever. Some aviation folk from Adelaide attended this year so I am hopeful we will get a first hand report at next week’s club meeting.

Closer to home we had 20+ attendees to Richard Young’s Sonex workshop visit at Virginia last week. Considering it is a scratch built project he has made remarkable progress in a relatively short space of time. He is on track for a projected first flight by years end. Thanks to Richard and his wife Di for hosting this event. Pictures of the event are on the club website.

At the last club meeting Barry Windle and Luke Bayly spoke about having nominated for the RAAUS board at the next election. During August all RAAUS members will receive a printed copy of Sport Pilot magazine, together with ballot papers. There are eight nominees for two board positions. You are entitled to make two votes. This is our best chance for sometime for South Australian members to get a voice on the board again, so I would urge you all to cast your vote.

Your council is currently reviewing the usage rate of the Club Sonex aircraft and I must say it has been rather disappointing recently. The original costing plan and hire rate was based 100 hours per year of flying. To date the aircraft has flown 122 hours in 2 years and 9 months which is less than 45 hours per year average and only 20 hours so far this year. At this rate of flying the club is effectively subsidising the hire of the aircraft for fixed costs like insurance, hangarage and maintenance, instead of what should have been a cost neutral plan. At the next meeting I would like to hear your comments and ideas about how to proceed forward with club aircraft ownership.

Our speaker for the next meeting is Larry Jones, CFI of the Strathalbyn Club whose talk is entitled “40 years of weight shift”.

For us 3 axis control pilots this is delving into a completely different side of aviation and I must say that having flown a trike it is very different to conventional aircraft. Come along and hear Larry expand on his experiences.

Blue skies,


In response to how he checked the weather, “I just whip out my blue card with a hole in it and read what it says: When colour of card matches colour of sky, FLY”.

-Gordon Baxter, Texas radio announcer and pilot.

Presidents Report July 2018

A quieter time of year aviationwise but there are still some lovely flying days to be found between the cold front activity passing through SA.

Indeed it is a perfect time of year to consider flying north to the outback or Queensland. The summer rains have now flowed down to Lake Eyre and it now contains a considerable amount of water that has transformed the desert landscape. And from the air is the best way to see it. If you have not done this flight before, I can thoroughly recommend it.

Closer to home, we had 2 groups of club members tour the Parafield tower facilities during June.

Parafield is South Australia’s oldest airport and still the busiest with some 200,000 movements per annum. Granted it is nearly all GA aircraft doing training, but still an impressive number. The tower is manned 10 hours per day usually by 4 controllers, one for each runway circuit, left and right, one ground controller and one supervisor. When the weather is nice and the circuit is full it is certainly a busy and demanding task for ATC.

This time of year is when preparations are being made for the worlds greatest flyin, Oshkosh in Wisconsin, USA. A seven day celebration of all things aviation all in one place. More than 10,000 aircraft parked on one airfield is a sight to behold. If you have any kind of interest in aviation then Oshkosh is a must for your bucket list.

Many of you are recipients of Geoff Hennig’s emails showing what is happening in the South Australian general aviation scene. He just recently put out information about the plight of our most famous South Australian aircraft, The Vickers Vimy flown from England to Australia in 1919 by Sir Ross and Keith Smith. This aircraft has been languishing in the Adelaide airport long term carpark since the current terminal opened more than 10 years ago. With the announcement of terminal extensions the Vimy needs to be preserved within the new terminal development for all to see. As the centenary of this famous flight approaches please support this initiative by writing to your local member.

At next week’s club meeting our guest speaker is club member Richard Young.  Richard will be talking about building aircraft the hard way, scratch building from plans. Most builders these days take advantage of kits to reduce the building time, but there are still some purists out there who enjoy the original way aeroplanes were built- from scratch.

Richard will give us some insight into the extra work and techniques required in scratch building his Sonex aircraft.

This will lead nicely into the workshop visit Richard is hosting on 21st July, 2pm at Lot 52, Park Rd Virginia. Please let me know if you wish to come along.

Also next week, Barry Windle will update us on the RAAUS board nominations.

Until then, fly safe and stay warm.

Blue Skies,


Basic Flying Rules:
Try to stay in the middle of the air.
Do not go near the edges of it. The edges of air can be recognised by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea and trees.
It is much more difficult to fly there.              WW2 Undergraduate Pilot Training Sign

Presidents Report June 2018

A few items to report on this month. I have just returned from a 2 week interstate driving holiday where I visited several aviation museums around South Eastern Australia including the RAAF Museum at Point Cook, Victoria.  You may recall this museum was originally on our itinerary for the Club Flyaway in April which we were unable to fly to due poor weather that Saturday.

It was certainly worth a visit. It has been fully refurbished since I last visited many years ago.

The exhibits in the 2 main hangars are well presented and laid out. The RAAF bomber hangar was a highlight. The only place possibly in the world when one can see an F111, F4 and Canberra side by side.

Some aircraft are maintained in airworthy condition and small flying displays are put on 3 times per week. A very nice Harvard demo was produced on the day I visited that included meet the pilot with question time.

The museum is open 7 days a week and best of all entry is free.

I have posted some photos of Pt Cook and the other museums I visited on the club website.

Ted King reported that the Lightning Bug has now flown for the first time with several follow up flights. He says the aircraft is extremely sensitive, especially in roll and quick.

Ted will give a report of his experiences at next weeks club meeting.

This month we have 2 visits to Parafield Tower organised at 10am on the 19th and 26th June. Numbers have been capped at 10 persons per visit due limited space in the Tower. The first visit on 19th June is fully subscribed and we have just 3 places left for 26th June. Please let me know if you want to come along. Also, both visits will be followed by lunch at the Roulettes tavern on Kings Rd right next to Parafield Airport. Could you let me know if you are NOT coming to the lunch afterwards as it will help with organising the booking.

Bob Scrymgour is organising a road trip to the Jamestown Airshow in October from 20th-22nd. It includes overnight stays in Caltowie and Peterborough and visits to museums as well as the airshow. Bob is interested in hearing from you if you want to join the group in your own car or if you don’t drive and are looking for seat. Details on the website.

Chris Moore has submitted an entry into the Stratco “What’s in your Shed?” competition which could win a cash prize for the club.  Of course he talks about Dr. Dan’s Shed and the Club Sonex project that was built in it. I don’t think there will be too many others who have done that!

So please put in your vote and we may win some money for the club. Click on this link to go to their site and vote.

Every so often we hear of a proposal that threatens the enjoyment and safety of our sport. We have just been informed of a proposal to build a giant solar cell farm immediately off the southern end of Murray Bridge Airfield. It appears that no consideration has been given to the effect of the project on operations at the airfield. We will discuss this proposal at next weeks meeting and I will hear your views with the intention to give the Club’s perspective on the proposal to the developer.

Our guest speaker for June is Paul Kerrison, a senior flying instructor at Flight Training Adelaide. He will give us an overview of his experiences working at one of the largest flying schools in Australia.

Remember to book your meal. See you next Wednesday.

Blue Skies,


The only time an aircraft has too much fuel is when it is on fire – Charles Kingsford-Smith

Presidents Report May 2018

Last month we held the club Fly Victoria event visiting various destinations around Victoria. There were four aircraft and eight people involved.

It was not a very auspicious start with the first of the severe winter fronts arriving over southern Australia on our planned departure day of April 14th.

First stop was going to be at RAAF Base Pt. Cook near Melbourne to visit the RAAF museum, one of the best aviation museums in the country but it was not to be.

It rained cats and dogs all day with winds gusting up to 50 knots.

Plan B was invoked the next morning when the wind and rain had subsided sufficiently to consider committing aviation. This involved tracking from Adelaide direct to Benalla and all meet there for a lunchtime BBQ hosted by the Benalla aviation museum. During WW2 Benalla was a large military flying training school with over 100 Tiger Moths based there.

The museum is housed in an original wartime Bellman hangar and focuses on military training aircraft and the Air Training Cadets. Three of their aircraft are maintained in airworthy condition and it is possible to book an adventure flight.

We also browsed around the various glider hangars operated by the Gliding Club of Victoria.

That night four of us sampled the joys of sleeping in the ex military barracks, basic but a steal at just $30 per night!

Seen on the wall of the military barracks at Benalla

The next day was a short hop northwards to Yarrawonga then on to Swan Hill. Although the wind had completely subsided by now we were left with fog, which eventually lifted to low cloud. This enabled a departure about an hour late.

At Yarrawonga we were treated to morning tea at Hangar 19, owned by Peter and Anne McLean. They operate a flying school concentrating on weight shift aircraft training and a very comprehensive aviation shop selling everything from aviation oil to GPS systems.

We departed for Swan Hill with steadily improving weather as we headed west. After arrival we organised a minibus to drive us to the Lake Boga military museum. Lake Boga was a secret seaplane maintenance base during WW2. The museum contains a fully restored Catalina flying boat as well as lots of other military paraphernalia.

In the evening we enjoyed an Italian meal followed by a trip to the Swan Hill Pioneer Village to take in the new laser light show. Very impressive.

The last day was beautiful weatherwise, and some of us took the opportunity to drop into Nhill on the way home. Another WW2 training base, now houses a museum showcasing an Avro Anson restoration. There is also a Tiger Moth and just last week a Wirraway arrived to add to the public display.

It is great to see local volunteers everywhere collect what had become farmers “junk” postwar and restore it to its former glory to be preserved for generations to come.

Chris Dearden and Barbara Jansen took lots of photographs during the trip and they are posted along with a report on the club website.




Last week, on Anzac day I had the privilege of flying in a three ship Tiger Moth formation over Adelaide city. It is not often one gets a view over the city at 1000’ from a vintage aircraft.






Next weeks guest speaker is a member we do not see a lot of these days but is still active in the aviation community. Harold Walton, a flight test engineer and flying instructor has put together a talk about his days as a flight test engineer during the introduction of the F111 into RAAF service. To my knowledge he is the only civilian to have completed the RAAF F111 conversion course. It should be very interesting.

Blue Skies,