Monday, November 09, 2015

Scenic Flight - Rockhampton, Yeppoon / Emu Park and Great Keppel Island

Regular followers of Air Queensland.blogspot may recall I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill and challenges of RA-Aus Flying Training with Pro-Sky Maryborough at the port city of Gladstone in 2013 / 2014, and eventually awarded a Pilots Certificate.

During my time learning to fly, I met a number of other student pilots, and among them was a very enthusiastic young man (Heinrich) who was described on an occasion by our Chief Flying Instructor (CFI), as an inspiring Commercial Pilot with a high level of competency.

Since completing RA-Aus Flying Training, I have not advanced my certification any further (hoping to change that in 2016) unlike Heinrich who has since completed further instructions with the Rockhampton Aero Club to obtain a Private Pilots License (PPL).

Taking advantage of Heinrich's certification to pilot light, single engine Cessna's - we hired Cessna 172S (SkyHawk SP) VH-ZDX from the Rockhampton Aero Club on a slightly overcast day in late October for a scenic flight over Rockhampton, Yeppoon / Emu Park and Great Keppel Island.

With pre-flight checks complete and communication established with the Control Tower, we taxied for RWY 33 and departed in a northerly direction toward Yeppoon / Emu Park and Great Keppel Island. Although dry because of low rainfall in recent months, the landscape was still beautiful to observe from above with this changing remarkably after crossing the coast.

As can be viewed in some photo's below, the water encompassing Great Keppel Island and surrounding islands was picturesque.

After enjoying the sights of the islands, Heinrich changed course to track us back toward the coast, more specifically, to make a landing at Emu Park Airfield. I remember thinking to myself ... 'a short field landing, this will be fun'.

Making a perfect touch-down, our time on the ground was brief. Taxiing to the end of the grass strip, Heinrich reconfigured the plane for a 'short field take-off', this involved applying full throttle and brakes simultaneously.  

Once airborne again, I commented to Heinrich how impressed I was with his handling of a short field take-off and landing, especially considering we only thought of it while taking in the sights of Great Keppel Island.

With time nearly up, we were now heading back toward Rockhampton and listening to Heinrich's communication with the Control Tower was interesting. Actually ... educational !

Observing how flat much of the surrounding landscape is, it was easy to understand why Rockhampton is prone to flooding after substantial rainfall. The recently completed and somewhat higher highway (A1) leading into and out-of Rockhampton on the southern side will serve a good purpose.

Aligned for a landing on RWY 33, this provided an opportunity to take more photo's. Again, I was impressed with Heinrich's piloting skills.