Despite 45 degree heat and strong winds the SFC Air Force was not deterred and set off from Bankstown on Saturday in the early morning. Three aircraft and 11 people from the club headed off in a Saratoga, Cirrus SR22 and a Bonanza A36. Each pilot chose their own route with some going via Dubbo or Cobar to refuel before heading to the “back of Bourke” at Byrock.
Grant the pilot of the Saratoga, a SFC CPL grad, arrived at Byrock first and conducted a PSL before circling round to land. There was a reasonable cross wind and quite a lot of turbulence near the dirt/gravel runway so Grant was able to give a great PIREP for the later arrivals.
After landing in Byrock we felt like Christmas turkeys in the fan forced oven so after a quick drink in the famous Mulga pub we were directed by locals to a very historically significant watering hole. Apparently, the Byrock area had a Aboriginal watering hole that had been used by the traditional owners for thousands of years and had rich significance in their stories.
The group wandered down the track along the old volcanic rock and scrub which had stone carvings in the rock where apparently the aboriginals sharpened their tools/weapons. The extreme heat removed everyone’s apprehension about jumping in the watering hole and the water provided a welcome relief from the extremes of the Australian outback.
The evening saw the SFC aviators congregate in the pub for games of darts, pool and fun conversations with the locals.
Once the dinner of fine local steaks and burgers had been consumed the group retired outside where the air had cooled and a beautiful full moon had emerged.
Fearing an even hotter day on the Sunday the aviators woke early and had a traditional country breakfast before heading to the airport/ALA. After a thorough pre-flight followed by a bushman’s run-up check on the red gravel runways the three aircraft slowly took their turn to run down the red runway with a short field takeoff technique. All safely away the SFC air force benefited from a 58kt westerly wind that saw each aircraft consistently achieving over a 200 kt ground speed back to Bankstown which made for a rocket trip back.
There were SIGMETs for the Sydney area with severe turbulence and mountain waves so we stayed up high +9,000ft, with permission from ATC achieved to stay in controlled airspace, to avoid the weather.
Despite some turbulent conditions and a 15kt crosswind all aircraft arrived safely back to Bankstown by mid morning on Sunday with most preparing plans to head to the beach.
The SFC fly away to the Mulga Pub at Byrock highlighted some of the hidden gems around country NSW only easily visited by general aviation.
We originally had 14 aircraft registered for the Mulga/Byrock fly away but the majority had to pull out due to the heat and winds. However, club members can take real comfort in the fact that there will be a significant amount of other fly aways organised for 2021.
Stay tuned also for information on our “SFC 2021 Air Safaris” to Queensland now that the borders are open!