Last month we had the club fly away weekend to Swan Hill. I flew there with my wife, Dominie, and in addition we had six other aircraft and a total of fourteen participants. I was very encouraged to see such a good turnout. Aircraft arrived individually from three different airports on the Saturday afternoon. Apart from a hiccup with the Swan Hill Aero Club refuelling carnet card it all went smoothly and all seven aircraft were secured for the night in front of the clubhouse. A lesson learnt for those who rely only on credit/carnet cards. There will always be a time when they will fail so carrying enough cash to pay for a tank of fuel will save the day.
We checked into our motels and the convened for an early dinner at the local Italian restaurant in the main street. We then walked to the Pioneer village to see their nightly spectacular laser light show. A good feature of Swan Hill is that it is quite compact and everything is easily accessible on foot. An important consideration when you arrive by air.
Following breakfast the next morning we were bused out to Lake Boga museum about 10kms south of Swan Hill. This is a very pretty spot with an almost circular permanent lake about 3kms in diameter. During WW2 it became a secret maintenance depot for the RAAF’s fleet of flying boats, mainly PBY Catalinas. It certainly is an unusual place for flying boat activity, being so far inland.
Local enthusiasts have done a wonderful job in restoring a Catalina to static display along with many other relics from the wartime era. There is even a bunker containing a communications station with all the equipment therein maintained in serviceable condition. Since my last visit to the museum a very nice cafe has been added where one can enjoy a lovely lakeside lunch.
On the trip back to Adelaide we called into Nhill, another former wartime RAAF training base which now has it’s own museum. They have a Wirraway and Tiger Moth in flying condition on display along with an Avro Anson undergoing static restoration. Another enthusiastic group of volunteers run this museum which is worth a visit. It is also a handy spot to drop to refuel or grab a coffee when flying home from the eastern states.
Be reminded that club meetings for the next 3 months will be at The Edinburgh Hotel, High Street Bar, 7 High St. Mitcham. Meals will continue to be ordered online with a choice of 5 mains. See below for details.
The speaker for May is member Mike Holtby, who will give us some reminiscings of his RAF career in the 1950s. He flew some very interesting early jet fighters including the Meteor, Vampire and Sabre. I look forward to hearing his assessment of them.
In June we have Steve Johnson, local DH82 pilot, who will speak about ownership and operation of the ubiquitous Tiger Moth.
In July we will have RAAus Operation Staff giving a briefing and Q and A session.
2019 celebrates the centenary of the Smith brothers epic England to Australia flight in under 30 days. In August aviation historian Mike Miln will speak to us about that flight.
On Sunday April 14th the club had another Bunnings BBQ fundraiser at Kent Town. We managed to raise another $630 for the club bringing the total raised in three BBQs to nearly $1500. I thank the volunteers, especially Greg, and those who gave up half a day to help out. I commend it to other members to volunteer for future events. It is good fun, you meet interesting people and it helps raise the club profile to the general public as well as raising funds to keep our club financial.
In life you are either a passenger or a pilot, it’s your choice-Unknown