Cancelled – Michael Smith Lecture – Retracing the Great Air Race Flightpath

To mark the centenary of the Smith brothers arrival in Adelaide on 23 March, join Michael Smith, named Adventurer of the Year 2016 by Australian Geographic, as he entertains you with stories from his latest adventure where he retraced the original Great Air Race flight path.

Held at the State Library of South Australia, Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building (Ground floor) 6pm-7pm Monday 23 March. Details also on the Calendar.

This is a free lecture, but bookings are essential. See the State Library of South Australia for details and booking form.

RAAF Centenary Air Pilgrimage – seeking expressions of interest

The Red Thunder Centennial Air Pilgrimage to the Avalon Airshow 2021 is planned to celebrate 100 years of the Royal Australian Air Force and culminate with flying into Avalon Airshow 2021, the biggest Airshow Australia has ever held!

We’re looking for 100 aircraft, to celebrate 100 years, flown by pilots that are motivated to showcase Australian aviation through our country towns bearing significant military history. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to fly with like-minded aviation enthusiasts in celebration of this aviation milestone and to both showcase at and enjoy the Avalon Airshow 2021.

Current plans are to congregate on Monday 22nd of February and commence a pilgrimage through a series of towns, to arrive at Avalon (main) on Thursday the 25th of February and be on ‘static-display’ till the airshow’s end on Sunday the 28th of February 2021. Staging fields are yet to be confirmed and will be announced at the earliest opportunity.

To ensure your invitation to this very limited opportunity, please register your interest on the Red Thunder Website.  We look forward to bringing you further details of staging airfields and final commitment procedures, as they come to hand.

Presidents Report – March 2020

Last meeting we enjoyed a very interesting and enthusiastic speaker in antique aircraft owner Tim Brownridge. Tim owns a DH82 Tiger Moth and a Stinson SR9E Reliant.

After the talk Tim invited me to fly with him in his Stinson a few days later, which I very quickly accepted.

The following are my personal observations of flying a machine such as this. I met Tim at his hangar at Callington and the first thing I noticed about the Stinson is its size. This is no regular GA aircraft. It is LARGE. At 42 foot wingspan, 1816kg all up weight and a 350HP Wright Whirlwind 7 cylinder radial engine (same as used on the Southern Cross), it has a commanding presence. It has a very elegant double taper fabric covered Gull wing which is something never seen on today’s aircraft. You have to climb a ladder to get into the cabin and once seated I estimate you are sitting nearly 9 feet above the ground.

The interior is gorgeous. Plush burgundy leather seats and side panels, a simulated woodgrain instrument panel and circular wooden steering wheels, very reminiscent of the luxury motor vehicles of the same era (1937). It can carry 5 persons all up, plus a large baggage compartment and 400 litres of fuel. Cruise is a surprisingly fast 115 kts at 70 litres per hour fuel consumption. This puts the endurance just short of 6 hours and with that payload makes it a very capable aircraft. Given this design is 85 years old makes it exceptional.

It is a fairly conventional cockpit layout with several interesting exceptions. Heel brakes are used which are not often seen these days. The elevator trim is a rotary handle in the cabin ceiling. Electric engine start is by a foot operated switch on the floor between the rudder pedals. Fuel quantity gauges are in each wing root up by your ears like a Piper Cub. The magneto switches and the electric flap switch are either side of the throttle and look very similar. Tim has confessed to accidentally turning off the engine when intending to lower the flaps! There is also a very nifty 24 hour analogue clock which takes a bit familiarity to interpret. And when it gets hot the cabin windows can be wound down, just like in a car!

Aircraft handling is entirely conventional albeit a little heavy as one would expect of an aircraft this size. I expected a wing drop during the stall, given the high taper of the wingtips. Yet it was very benign with only the tiniest of right wing drop. Visibility into turns is somewhat restricted given the high wing and the leading edge out in front of the pilot. It felt very solid and stable on approach at 70kts and touchdown was soft given the forgiving nature of the undercarriage design. The flare is commenced earlier than normal GA aircraft remembering how high you are seated above the ground. The only “gotcha” is the tailwheel. It is fully castoring and not lockable so you have to be on your rudder pedals quickly after landing to keep it straight, particularly in a crosswind.

Overall, a delightful experience which I feel very privileged to have had. Thanks Tim.

Last week we had about 15 turn up at Lyndon Wright’s workshop in McClaren Vale to view his dual projects of a Savannah LSA and a 1968 Porsche 911 restoration. Both were very nicely done, a testament to Lyndon’s engineering skills. Both projects are nearing completion but the Savannah has been taking a back seat for the last 18 months as Lyndon concentrates on getting the Porsche on the road first. He has a thing about older German technology so he has chosen to paint the Savannah to represent a WW2 era German observation plane.

At this months meeting we have as our speaker Captain Steve Burnard. Steve is recently retired from a long career with Dragonair (now known as Cathay Dragon) in Hong Kong. The bulk of his flying would have been from Hong Kong into various mainland Chinese airports which from experience I know were always interesting and challenging. He also operated into Kathmandu in Nepal which is renowned as one of the worlds more difficult jet airports. Come and hear his reminiscences entitled “Cathay Dragon Tales”.

Blue Skies,


Experience is the knowledge that enables you to recognise a mistake when you make it again.

Smith Centenary Celebration Group – Bulletin 6

Less than 4 weeks to go

Thanks to all people who have contacted us. I hope we have responded adequately in each case, but please be in contact as above if you need more information or want to tell us something. And tell us via the contact form if you do not want to receive this information.

Please look at It is a pretty basic website but for the next few months has been given over to news about the flight.

Welcome to all people who are receiving, for the first time, information about the Smith Centenary Celebration Flight Darwin to Adelaide by light, ultralight and historic aircraft, March 8-22 2020. If you are not sure what is happening go to and look at the current media information and final itinerary  and also General information booklet for non-aviators. If you would like a copy of this in printed from, send your postal address.

Everyone should look at the Pilot Handbook , assembled by technical advisor Anthony Coleiro. He has done an excellent job, and many thank to everyone who has helped.

Even more vital at this stage is the run sheet, Many details have to be added: could local stopping places please read what has been written about them and send corrections and extra information. It will be continually updated until the end of the flight.

The most constant question is ‘how many aircraft are participating’? We have started an Excel file listing those who have recently said they are taking part, either for the whole journey or for part of the journey.

Please, if you intend to fly in the event, even if only one section, advise us via the website contact form or phone. This is not binding: the whole event is based on voluntary participation, and expressions of intention to fly are not a contract! You can withdraw at any time. But expressing your intentions does give everyone an idea of what will happen.

Technically, participants are responsible for arranging their won accommodation but a booking sheet to assist the process will be available this week.

Please spread the word! We have emailed all flying clubs and aircraft historical groups we can find, we continually bombard the aviation press and other media with information, but still many people have not heard of what is happening. Go to this page for helpful material. Media people, phone 0403 615 134 to get any additional information needed.

One thing that has occurred is a recent publication, The Even More Forgotten Air Race,  re the 1969 England-Australia air race. This huge event is almost forgotten and one of the bi-products of planning for this year’s event is a quickly prepared booklet, available online in  single pages and print your own booklet . We hope that many people who have connections to the 1969 race will be able to take part in the current event even if just by visiting a stopping point. And we hope that our event will result in the discovery and dissemination of more historical material.

Finally, here is the basic itinerary: Mark your participation in your diary, now! Remember that the run sheet gives far more detail.

1 Darwin to Daly Waters Sunday
200 Main departure form Darwin Aviation Museum, 0900 to 1100. Brief official function 1000. Alternative departure point Emkaytee airfield, home of the Top End Flying Club. Options: stop at Katherine (Tindal RAAF), overfly Warlock Ponds (Elsey)
Alternatives for slow aircraft available: day 2 is very long!
2 Daly Waters to Cloncurry Monday
555 Stops – AACo stations Anthony Lagoon, Brunette Downs and Avon Downs
3 Cloncurry to Longreach Tuesday
270 Evening at QANTAS Heritage Museum
4 Longreach to Charleville Wednesday
235 Visits to local attractions and evening meal with interested people
5 Charleville to Caboolture Thursday
368 Visits to local attractions and evening meal with interested people
Day 6: Friday 13/3/20: full day at Caboolture, (TAVAS Museum) various options
7 Caboolture to Narromine Saturday
594 Via Bourke (otherwise 444 NM),
Day 8:   Sunday 15/3/20 day at Narromine: Various activities – Narromine Aviation Museum
9 Narromine to Wollongong (HARS) Monday 16/03/20 265 Via Richmond or Luskintyre, then V1 to HARS Albion Park. Landing at Rose Bay by seaplanes if practicable
Day 10: Tuesday 17/03/20 day at Historical Aircraft Restoration Society museum etc
10 HARS to Cootamundra Wednesday 18/03/20 203 via Temora to visit Australian Aviation Museum
Evening function being planned
11 Cootamundra to Benalla Thursday 19/3/20 250 Henty optional stop
12 Benalla to ‘Little River’ airstrips (full journey participants) or Lilydale Friday
Visit to Point Cook Museum
13 Melbourne airfields to Adelaide (Gawler) Saturday 21/03/20 445 Nhill as staging point fuel etc and visit Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre. Airmail philatelic display at Gawler.
14 Adelaide Sunday 22/03/20 Gawler to Aldinga fly-in to culminate flight. Short official function about 1200.
Day 15 Monday 23 March: Exactly 100 years since the arrival of the Smith Flight: visit to South Australian Aviation Museum and possible event eg at Adelaide airport if desired.

Presidents Report – February 2020

Having left the teens behind and entering a new decade we look forward to meeting again with friends and enjoying some exciting club events planned for this year.

Our regular monthly meetings resume on February 12th at the Feathers Hotel. Dinner beforehand can be ordered in the usual way through the club website.

Our speaker is Tim Brownridge, an owner of not one but two antique aircraft, a Tiger Moth and a Stinson Reliant, and is the secretary of the Antique Aircraft Association of Australia. He is formation qualified and took part in the recent Vimy Centenary flypast. He also captured a lot of inflight video which he edited into a superb short film of the event. His talk is entitled “Vintage aircraft ownership, why would you?’

Looking back over events that have happened since the last newsletter.

The club hosted their annual flyin BBQ at Murray Bridge on December 15th. It was well attended with 40 plus attendees and several arriving by air. My thanks goes to all those who helped out with setup, cooking and providing salads. Paul Baishont gave us an educational talk on Naips in the club hangar where I counted 27 people listening in. This seems a popular format in place of our normal December meeting so I would like to hear feedback to confirm that and we can continue. I would also like to hear what educational subjects you would like to hear about and I can find the appropriate presenters.

 On January 11th member Terry Wilson hosted a flyin to his property near Morgan in the Riverland. It was not expected to be a large affair but in the end there were 8 visiting aircraft including 3 from the Barossa Birdmen club at Truro Flats. Terry’s hangar has a basic but ingenious fitout that makes it possible to enjoy extended stays there. He provided a great lunch which was most appreciated.  But I think the best part was the camaraderie between all pilots when they gather together like this.

I do hope it will be possible to do flyins like Terry’s regularly.

There are numerous aviation events coming up which I would like to draw your attention to.

15th February there is a book launch of Rod Lovell’s book “Hero to Zero” at the South Australian Aviation Museum at 11am. Rob will also be our club meeting guest speaker in April.

Also on the 15th the Southern Districts Flying Club are hosting a CASA AvSafety Seminar at Strathalbyn.

22nd February we are hosting a workshop visit at McClaren Vale. After all the flurry of building activity last year I was concerned there were no more building projects out there. Member John Heather has located another project. Motor mechanic, Lyndon Wright is building a Savannah and as an added bonus is also restoring an old Porsche 911 in his workshop. He has agreed to us visiting from 1pm at 2 Hall St McClaren Vale. It might be a good opportunity to stock up with wine from the cellar doors whilst you are in the area. See attatched photos of his workshop.

26th February there is another CASA pilot safety seminar at the South Australian Aviation Museum. Entry is free, you just need to register on the CASA website.

1st March We have received an invite to the annual Hutton Vale Flyin at Angaston hosted by the Aldinga Aero Club. It looks like a gourmets delight judging by the lunch selections! There is also wine tasting available for the non flyers. Details, including a landing strip brief, and who to contact are on the club website.

7th March we are doing another Bunnings Sausage sizzle fund raiser. This money goes towards covering the costs of 2 flying scholarships. We have enough helpers for this day but you are welcome to volunteer for the next one so please contact Greg Tabe if you can do a half day shift. We expect to do a fundraiser day every three months.

Please be reminded that 2020 annual membership fees fall due on January 1st. They have been set at $80, a small increase from the $75 we have had for several years now. They can be paid into the club bank account shown below. You may need to update the EFT bank details on your computer as the club changed it’s account from the NAB to the Bendigo Bank a few months ago. The old account is now closed and will not accept any payments. Alternatively, you can pay by cash or credit card (2% service charge) at the next club meeting.


Ensure that your dream consumes your life so that life does not consume your dream – Pioneer Aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Presidents Report – December 2019

Fifty seven Club members and their guests enjoyed a fun filled evening at the Feathers Hotel, Burnside for our annual Christmas dinner and awards night on 22nd November.

I was encouraged by the turnout in the end. Ten days earlier we had only 33 registered but a quick ring around by council members bolstered the numbers.

The were plenty of prizes (too many?) and give aways with one in two people present winning something.

The best aircraft award was a tough three way tussle between Chris Moore’s Lancair, Richard Young’s Sonex and John Heather’s Cruzer. The results could not have been closer with the winning aircraft scoring 12 points out of a possible 30 and the other two scoring 9 points each.

The winning aircraft was Richard Young’s scratch built Sonex, a six and a half year project.

All builders this year received a club plaque to acknowledge their efforts.

A special award of Life Membership was awarded to Chris Moore to formally recognise the fantastic support he has provided to the club as President and Secretary for many years. Thank you Chris.

It was also announced that starting in 2020, to try to bolster our membership, up to two scholarships of $1000 each, will be made available to full club members to assist in the cost of their flight training. Details will be published on the club website along with photos of the Christmas dinner.

Please be reminded there is NO formal club meeting at the Feathers Hotel in December or January. The next regular club meeting at the Feathers Hotel will be on February 12th.

Our final club event for the year will be our Christmas BBQ at Murray Bridge Airfield on December 15th. Fly in or drive in, your choice. Morning tea will served in the Windsock Lounge from 10am. For those interested, Paul Baishont will present a workshop on how to tackle NAIPS, in the club hangar from 11am. Lunch will follow back in the Windsock lounge from 12 noon. Cost is $10 per person. 37 people have registered with me so far. If you haven’t yet done so and would like to come along please email me as it will help with getting the catering right.

On January 11th 2020 member Terry Wilson has agreed to host an informal flyin at his private airstrip 2nm south east of Morgan in the Riverland. Please be aware this is a basic facility with no house on the property, just the strip and a hangar with power and water. So come for lunch or camp overnight but it will be a BYO everything. Food, drink, folding chairs would be the minimum. I would suggest not planning on a BBQ as a total fire ban on the day may prevent that.

His strip details are as follows:

  • Position is 2nm SE of Morgan on the east side of the Murray River.
  • Lat/Long: 34 03.2S / 139 42.1E
  • Track is 013 degrees, 65 nm from Murray Bridge.
  • Strip is 09/27, 950m long, unsealed, elevation 100’.
  • Parking is at the western end. No fuel available.

As a courtesy could you let me know if you plan to come along.

Please be reminded that 2020 annual membership fees fall due on January 1st. They have been set at $80, a small increase from the $75 we have had for several years now. They can be paid into the club bank account shown below. You may need to update the EFT bank details on your computer as the club changed it’s account from the NAB to the Bendigo Bank a few months ago. The old account is now closed and will not accept any payments. Additionally, Greg Tabe will be able to accept cash payment at the Club BBQ. Correct change would be appreciated.

It just remains for me to wish you and your families the very best for the festive season and safe flying.


“That’s not flying, that’s just falling with style”- Woody from Toy Story, with regard to Buzz Lightyear, 1996

SACSA Scholarship Scheme

Commencing January 2020

  • All applicants must commit to 2 years full membership of the club.
  • Applicants must apply to the Club council in writing outlining reasons for the application.
  • Up to $2000 annually available to be used for up to 2 successful applicants. $1000 each.
  • Successful applicants must remain an SACSA member while the scholarship is used.
  • Intended to help cover costs in renewing or obtaining a GA RPL or RAAUS RPC.
  • Available for flying training costs only.
  • Scholarship will be paid out upon presentation of invoices for training until funds are exhausted.
  • One scholarship only per member.
  • Council decision as to who is successful remains final but does not preclude a reapplication.

For more details or to submit your application – Click here to email Chris Moore

Presidents Report – November 2019

On October 20th we celebrated a significant aviation centenary in South Australia. One hundred years ago Adelaide born brothers Sir Ross and Keith Smith successfully flew the first flight from England to Australia in under 30 days.

To recognise that amazing achievement a formation of 5 vintage aircraft departed Aldinga airfield, tracked up the coast and overflew all the significant places in Adelaide that related to the Smith brothers, as a tribute.

The role of substitute Vimy was played by Harvey McBain’s newly restored DH84 Dragon which led the formation. In left and right echelon position were 2 DH82 Tiger Moths flown by Tim Brownbridge and Steve Johnson. In line astern were 2 DHC-1 Chipmunks flown by Marc Michel and Jim Whalley.

I flew in Steve Johnson’s Tiger Moth as back up lead and navigator. The weather on the day was perfect and Adelaide ATC were most accommodating. The highlight was descending to 500 feet over Adelaide Airport and the Vimy memorial. A lot of video and photos were taken, some of which is already on our website. More will emerge in the coming weeks.

A lot of work goes into these events and thanks must go to Daryl Hill who organised all the clearances with CASA, and did the radio work from the lead aircraft. On the ground we had volunteers from our own club, the Honourable Company of Air Pilots, the Royal Aeronautical Society, The South Australian Aviation Museum and the Aldinga Aero Club.  These folk assisted in car parking and crowd management at Aldinga and cooked up a delicious sausage sizzle for our return. At Adelaide Airport other volunteers assisted in managing the crowds who witnessed the flyover and got to go behind the glass walls for a rare up close viewing of the original Vimy Aircraft.

One of the legacies of this centenary year is raising public awareness of the historical significance of this flight. As astronaut Andy Thomas said, “it was the 1919 equivalent of man landing on the moon.”

As a result we will now see the Vimy moved from it’s current remote display hangar into a much more visible display area inside the new Adelaide Airport terminal extensions by 2021.

As most of you are aware we are having our Christmas dinner and awards night on Friday November 22nd and the Feathers Hotel. This means there is no regular November meeting. It will be a great night, with lots of prizes and fun. Tickets are available at $60 per person for a 3 course meal. Special dietary needs can be catered for. Greg Tabe is looking after ticket sales and payment may be made online to the club bank account. See below. Be sure to include your name on the transaction, and email Greg for any special dietary needs. Tickets must be ordered and paid for by midday on November 18th. Tickets may be collected on the night from Greg. Make sure you hang on to your tickets as they are numbered for the raffle draw. We expect to have enough prizes for one person in three to win.

There will be the award for the best club aircraft to have been completed and flown for the first time in the last 12 months. This year there are 4 contenders, the first time in club history I believe this has happened. Three of the 4 aircraft gathered at Murray Bridge airfield on Saturday where they were scrutinised by the dozen or so members present. They were Chris Moore’s Lancair 200, Richard Young’s scratch built Sonex, and John Heather’s Zenith Cruzer. Missing was Steve Biele’s Arion Lightning. They are each fantastic achievements in their own right and each is very different from the others, so the council will have a difficult task in choosing the outright winner.

I will also be announcing some new initiatives your club council has been working on for 2020.

So please, I encourage you to bring your partner along and support this event.

Blue Skies,


It’s a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realise that one’s safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract. – Astronaut Alan Shepard Jr.