Shelley's Blog

  • Instructor Rating

    19 December, 2016

    In the current issue of Australian Flying Magazine (Jan/Feb 2017), I've written up the saga of my very recent journey through the Flight Instructor Rating. As is my style, it's a warts and all version, but it's my way of saying if you've ever toyed with the idea of doing the instructor rating, DO IT! You'll learn aerodynamic principles from the ground up, you'll add some finesse to those airborne skills, and it hands you a couple of months of golden opportunities to ask a thousand questions of your CFI.

    I don't even believe you need to be looking for a career as an instructor - though I bet you want to when you've done the course - it's just a sensational way to acquire more confidence as a commercially licensed pilot. Along the path of my flying career, I admit I have always loved the learning journey. The various ratings and endorsements have given my flying real challenges, often difficult targets and a great amount of satisfaction.

    For the instructor rating, I chose Curtis Aviation at Camden, in Sydney's south-west, under the incredibly  experienced teachings of CFI, Craig Marshall. I have three words:  Very Good Choice. I think I was a challenging student, but a few more months of therapy should sort Craig out.

    Here's a few pics to give you the idea.

  • Avoiding propeller damage

    8 August, 2016

    Here's an excellent article on avoiding propeller damage by Charles Gunter in the latest edition of Cirrus Aircraft newsletter. Even though written for Cirrus pilots, it's a worthwhile read for us all on how to look after that very expensive asset out the front of our aircraft.

    Mismanagement of power on the ground is something that catches out the unwary pilot, particularly during run-ups on dirt strips, but a loose top layer on a sealed surface can also create its own version of damage to your prop if you're using too high a power setting.  Read Charles' article here.


  • Vintage selection in Eden Valley

    5 April, 2016

    Hutton Vale FarmHutton Vale FarmI was contacted this week by the owners of Hutton Vale Farm, a beautiful 2000 acre property in the north-eastern hills of the Barossa's Eden Valley.

    Since I've got my work cut out for me trying to fly around and discover all the destinations that Australia has to offer, I love it when a new one is thrown onto my radar via an email. Here's a quick peek.

    I don't know about you, but I haven't given the Barossa nearly enough of my attention to date. Several years ago, I was guest speaker at the Saturday night dinner during the planned Barossa Airshow, so a few planeloads of us flew down and made a weekend out of it.

    We landed at Rowland Flat, a small grass strip in postcard surroundings, bordered on all sides by rows and rows of promising looking bunches of grapes.

    Anyway, the weather came in something shocking that Friday night (sideways rain, HAIL, disgusting winds) so the airshow was cancelled. In the interests of safety, we yanked on another hitch to the tie-down ropes and were forced to stay on for the weekend and weather the storm.

    We stayed, from memory, in Tanunda. I know we were surrounded by a dangerous number of fine wineries and what, seriously, are you supposed to do when they throw open their doors?

    Seems to me we'd better make time to visit Hutton Vale ...Seems to me we'd better make time to visit Hutton Vale ...

    All that was far too long ago, so I plan to visit the Angas family at Hutton Vale, and will happily report back my findings. Better still, no need to wait for me - why not fill your aircraft or the Kingswood with sunny company and head off to meet them yourself? If anyone beats me to it, let's know how you get on.

    Here's the door you'll need for more info:  They have a special aviator's package (find it on the website, under their Experiences heading) which includes the availability of a well maintained grass airstrip right at the accommodation, catering, loan car, and the promise of no shortage of companions who'll join you in a cold beer or a vat or two of their favourite vintage.

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