Author Archives: Chris Dearden

Presidents Report March 2019

Greetings from New Zealand.

Dominie and I are currently touring New Zealand visiting friends and tapping into the Kiwi aviation scene wherever possible.

We arrived in Wellington 2 weeks ago just in time to attend the Wings over Wairarappa (WOW) Airshow at Hood aerodrome, Masterson, about 90 minutes drive northeast of Wellington.

The weekend weather forecast was not shaping up well with heavy rain predicted, especially for the Sunday. People with Sunday tickets were offered the chance to swap them for Saturday so there was quite a large turnout.

As it transpired the wind and rain mostly held off on Saturday so the show went ahead. There were some disappointments with the B52 Stratofortress fly past failing to materialize due to unserviceability in Australia.

The RNZAF came to the rescue at the last minute putting on a creditable P3K Orion display.

The air force also displayed their C130 Hercules, T6C Texan 2 trainer and various helicopters.

The highlight for me were the multiple WW1 reproduction aircraft taking to the air in large numbers, more than a dozen at a time , engaging in mock dog fights. Nowhere else in the world can you see this.

There were Sopwith Pups, Camels, Triplanes and Snipes, Albatross D2s and D5s, Fokker Triplanes and D7, DH4, SE5As and BE2Cs.

Many of these are fitted with their original engines so they are completely authentic. The rotary engined Sopwiths and the Mercedes engined Albatross sound amazing. Most of these aircraft are flown without the benefit of wheel brakes or tailwheels, as per the original, necessitating wing walkers whilst on the ground.

All of these aircraft come from the The Vintage Aviator Limited (TVAL), a company set up by film director Sir Peter Jackson at Hood aerodrome.

The Red Stars, a 9 ship Yak 52 civilian formation display team, did a very creditable display including a 9 aircraft loop, the only civilian team anywhere in the world currently doing this.

The night Airshow highlight were 2 Grob 109b motor gliders fitted with LED lights and pyrotechnics which are discharged during a synchronized display set to music. This team came all the way from UK again, having had their 2017 WOW display cancelled due weather.

As it turned out that was the last display we saw as Sunday was a complete washout.

We moved onto Christchurch in the South Island, visiting aviation friends. By now the weather was much improved and were invited to fly in their Bell 206 Jetranger Helicopter for lunch in Hokitika on the West coast. To the unfamiliar this involves a 1 hour through the valleys of the Southern Alps surrounded by mountains up to 10000 feet! Truly spectacular!

I even had a go at flying the helicopter on the way back to Christchurch.

They are extremely sensitive with minute control inputs needed. Also, they cannot be trimmed out so they must be flown 100% of the time.

Yesterday I jumped into something more familiar being my friend’s RV6.

We tracked south across the Canterbury plain to Timaru and Ashburton.

The folk at the Timaru Aero Club were very friendly and chatty.

At Ashbuton, a former RNZAF wartime training base, we visited the Aviation museum. A very nice smaller museum of about 25 aircraft well restored and presented.

This week I also hope to get to the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre near Gore in the deep south of the island. Here they specialize in all types of De Havilland restorations.

I will arrive home just in time for the club’s AGM next week.

Please come along to vote on the changes to the constitution. If you can’t make it then the committee can accept proxies right up until the meeting starts.

Don’t forget that 2019 membership fees of $75 are due if you have not yet paid. They can be paid online or by cash or cheque at the next meeting.

Our guest speaker for March is our own Rob Wintulich. He will give us a report on the Scout Jamboree  air activities at Tailem Bend in January.

Blue skies,


Assorted Hardware – Free, Yes Free! (+postage)

Photo for illustration purposes – even Ian doesn’t know whats in the boxes yet…

Ian Shaughnessy has saved a collection of hardware (nuts, bolts, rivets, clamps etc.) from being thrown out and would like to give them away to builders who need them.

Give away. Plus postage.

Still unpacking boxes, so he may have what you want.

Click here to Email Ian to see if he has the ones you are after before you buy the ones with the gold thread and silly postage from the usual overseas suspects.

Items found and listed so far include

Nuts, and Bolts

  • MS35207-226
  • MS24693526
  • MS24693527
  • NAS 1801-3-2
  • MS35207-264
  • NAS263-3-12
  • NAS623-3-4
  • MS21059-L3
  • MS21042-L3
  • NAS1153-5
  • NAS623-3-5
  • NAS623-3-8


  • MS20426AD4-6
  • MS20426AD4-7
  • MS20470AD3-6
  • MS20425AD6-15
  • MS20426AD3-7


  • MS21919WCJ10   Blue
  • MS21919WDGE   Black
  • MS21919BG11     Black
  • MS219118WOG12 Black
  • MS21919WDG22   Black
  • MS21919WDG5   Black

Presidents Report February 2019

I hope you have all had relaxing holidays and an enjoyable start to the new year.
Our last club event for 2018 was the Flyin BBQ at Murray Bridge on December 16th.
We had 30+ persons roll up along with several aircraft including Greg Tabe’s brand new Bristel, looking very sharp in it’s yellow, black and white livery and leather seats.

There was also a decent turnout in beautiful weather conditions for the annual American River flyin on Kangaroo Island last week. I saw about 20 aircraft there including the aircraft of club members Chris Moore, Greg Robertson, Ted King, Chris Dearden, Steve Nelson and Geoff Constantine.
Your club council has already had their first meeting for 2019 last week and have started event planning for 2019.

To get things started let’s have a look at what is coming up in the near future.

On February 9 the Southern Districts Flying Club are hosting a CASA Safety seminar at Strathalbyn.

On February 15-17 Oz runways are hosting another seminar at the Mt Gambier Aero Club Flyin following their successful event in Clare last year. Details can be found here or the club calendar.

The biennial Avalon Airshow is on again this year, less than four weeks away on 1-3rd March. If you have not yet seen this show you need to get it on your bucket list as it is the largest airshow in the southern hemisphere. A combined civil, military and industry trade show, there is something for everyone. The Friday night airshow is very special if you have never seen a night airshow. Details here.

Following positive feedback from last years event the council decided that we would revisit Swan Hill for a simple fly away weekend on 6-7 April. The distance is not far and there are plenty of good accommodation options. We would arrive early Saturday afternoon, enjoy an early dinner together before going to the Pioneer Settlement for the evening “Heartbeat of the Murray” laser light show.

Following breakfast on Sunday (and a sleep in due to daylight saving ending) we would head out to visit the very attractive Lake Boga and the Flying Boat Museum. After that we would be dropped at the airport to fly home or via Nhill to check out the aircraft museum there. You just need to let me know if you are coming and book your own hotel accommodation.

Guest speakers lined up for the next three months are:
February 13th : Paul Baishont “Navigating the ATC system”.
March 13th AGM : Rob Wintulich “Scout Jamboree air activities at Tailem Bend”.
April 10th : Ziggy Kusiak “Aviation and your health”.

Please be reminded that the 2019 membership fees are now due. The cost is $75 each which can be paid at the February club meeting or directly into the club’s bank account. If you choose the latter option please remember to add your surname in the comments box. Don’t forget also if you introduce a new member who subsequently joins, you will receive a $25 refund on your membership fee.

The club AGM is held in March and nominations are now open for members to join the council. Some council members have held positions for a long time so we would welcome new blood and a fresh perspective. Also, if you have any agenda items for the AGM please send them to the secretary, Chris Moore.

Blue skies,


To invent an aeroplane is nothing, to build one is something, to fly one is everything.
-Otto Lilienthal, Pioneer aircraft builder

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,