The other day I was sitting at my desk working away and I couldn’t help but glance outside at an absolutely perfect clear blue sky. About every few minutes I could hear the buzz of a plane doing circuits out a Moorabbin and it drove me crazy just wanting to get up in the air!
At about 11am I looked across at Roselyn and said, “I’m done for the day, let’s go for a fly.” It didn’t take her long to agree to an orbit around Melbourne CBD followed by a flight around Port Phillip Bay.
I called up the aero club, booked HAB (an Arrow) in about one hours time while Roselyn called a friend up to ask if she would like to come with us. We all met at the club and after pre-flight checks climbed aboard and it wasn’t long before we were winging our way towards the CBD.
One of the reasons why I wanted to do an orbit around the CBD was that we would be entering controlled airspace. I actually love being in controlled airspace as I find that it’s like having someone really look after you the whole way. It’s also nice to get some regular practice in dealing with the air traffic controllers so you can continue to make their life easier on future navigations.
What did surprise me was the plane that was in front of us do a call saying that they were at “Albert Park” when in reality they were at Caulfield. I thought that was stretching things just a little too far.
After the orbit around the city we were given our frequency change clearance, headed over towards Point Cook and made our CTAF calls. Surprisingly, there wasn’t very much traffic up so I had a chance to enjoy the view. It was magnificent looking across the bay and I was absolutely convinced that I’d made the right decision to go for a fly.
We headed towards Werribee South which is an entry point for Avalon and some more controlled airspace. See, I’m a glutton for punishment! I requested an airways clearance and there was a little delay in the tower responding which caused me to start an orbit to keep outside controlled airspace. After completing about a quarter of a turn we were given clearance and flew directly over the top of Avalon, reported our position (as requested) and turned due south to Barwon Heads.
Roselyn and our friend were both loving the flight for the view and I was loving it for the flying.....and yes, the view was good as well. We were given permission to change frequencies at Barwon Heads and then flew towards the Port Phillip Heads and on up the bay across stunning coastline.
As we came towards Carrum (it’s an entry point for Moorabbin) I was going to do my inbound radio call to the tower when another plane radioed in that they were at Carrum 1,500 feet just like us. I couldn’t see them anywhere so I headed for an orbit over the bay so that the tower and the other plane could more clearly see us.....and me them!
About 2 minutes later I saw the other plane. It had been behind us and they must have made their Carrum call miles away from the entry point. I decided to give this guy plenty of room as people who make bad radio calls like that may also do other unpredictable things in the air. I slowed HAB right up and after my radio call headed in on 35 left for a long final.
I dropped the landing gear and was rewarded with two green lights....hmmmm.....not good! I waited and the third light still didn’t come on. In the meantime I’m actually now on finals. My passengers were oblivious about the problem and only asked me what was going after I stomped left then right on the rudder and wobbled the wings. It was a wonderful feeling seeing that third light come on as I was just about to make the decision to do a go around. We landed without further incident and all was good.....and my passengers only found out why I was swinging the plane around when we were on the ground.
It was a great flight and I gained a lot of really good experience in controlled airspace, CTAF calls, dealing with other planes who make strange positional radio calls and finally shaking out some landing gear. So next time you look outside and see a beautiful day why not go for a fly.