Perth Australia visit

Perth Australia Visit

April, 2007

I went to Australia on business. I never thought I'd make that trip, and was quite anxious to soak it all in.

I don't remember exactly where these snow-covered lakes were, but I do know it was cold there.

This is typical of the Singapore airport. That was the nicest airport I've ever seen, although there were roaming teams of armed guards who liked to wake up folks sleeping in chairs to check their passports and ask where they were going.

I took this picture after arriving at my hotel. This beach is just out the back door. I took several hundred pictures in a half hour, and eventually I did get a few good ones. The hotel was the Rendezvous Observation City hotel.

This is cricket, obviously. The goal is apprently to knock down the white posts behind the batter, and the batter's goal is to swat the ball before it does that. There are other nuances, I'm sure.

This is what the money looks like, which is similar to British money, except a British 2 pound piece is larger than the one pound piece, unlike this one. The aussie dollar is was worth a little less than the US dollar when I was there.

Little Creatures was a favorite ale while I was there. I drank my share. Fosters is another.

The next morning I got a few more pictures. I discovered this beach is a surfer magnet. It was difficult to get a picture without a surfer in it.

The plant life was different, that's for sure.

This is the edge of a "football" field, which is basically rugby. Soccer is still soccer.

Tree bark.

More tree bark.

Graham Hewitt from the CorvAircraft list contacted me before I arrived in Australia, and picked me up Saturday morning for a tour of Jandakot airport, a hotbed of SAA (EAA) activity, and the busiest secondary airport in the country. Here's a freshly built airplane undergoing a little maintenance after a takeoff/landing incident, as I recall.

I think this was a one-off design, if I remember correctly.

This one's an original Australian design, similar to a KR1 but bigger, and obviously called the Maverick.

This is an RV instrument panel under construction. The panel was designed by a local, molds made, and now several folks have instrument panels like this. Very classy, and lots of well-deserved pride in the work they were doing. I didn't see any sloppy workmanship here.

This is a "sport ute", or sport utility vehicle. This style is a typical commercial version with a custom body on the back. There were some full-size trucks as well, but these things were the mainstay of the service business. They're a lot easier to manuever, and more importantly, much easier on the wallet when it comes time to buy fuel.

Another RV under construction.

This is a Falco. This is the first time I'd seen one of these, and I was very impressed with the construction methods, the structural integrity, and the sheer number of parts!

Curved parts are laminated from what appears to be 1/8" (3mm) strips.

Graham (left) talks to the Falco builder (I think).

This is a Nord 3202, a 1950's French military trainer owned by Burt, who has a nice collection of nice airplanes. Looks like "grasshopper" gear to me!

More interesting plant life.

This is Graham's RV-6. Graham's build several airplanes, and is now building a Pietenpol, despite being in his 80's, I believe.

He took me for a very nice ride up the coast in the RV. This is Perth Harbor, where the Americas Cup yacht race is held.

The large hotel near the center of the picture is where I stayed, right on the beach. You can see a footpath that goes down the beach something like 22 miles. There's a constant stream of runners, walkers, and bikers on it.

Here's a shot out east of Perth, somewhere between Jandakot and Serpentine airports, I think.

We dropped in to a grass strip where one of Graham's flying buddies lives. This is his boomerang collection.

This Stinson was perfect, and was rebuilt here. The owner flew it to all the big flyins after the restoration, and promptly won a lot of first place awards.

This Tiger Moth was also pretty nice!

This is Serpentine airport, which is very similar to mine, with a 2600' x 40' runway. But it has 99 hangars and probably twice that many airplanes, unlike mine which has about 20 airplanes.

This rotating beacon was purchased surplus from a much larger airport. I'm told it's blinding at night.

Since there's no fuel station on the airport, the fuel truck visits every few weeks, and delivers right to the hangars. Graham's fuel system is gravity feed, so therefore doesn't rely on electricity. He pumps it up to the header tank, and gravity puts it in the plane for him.

This is a recently minted homebuilt "Flitzer", out for taxi tests prior to first flight. It was getting the "once over" from several SAA chapter members.

Late in the day most of the folks on the airport Gathered around out in front of the main hangar to talk and watch the planes fly by, while the Flitzer played around on the grass strip.

After that, we called it a day. Thanks Graham, for a great introduction to Aussie experimental flying.

The next day wasn't fit for flying, obviously. This is the view out my hotel window, at around noon. You can barely see the waves in the ocean on the left becaues of the heavy rain, just down from the parking lot. The wind was blowing so hard I thought my glass patio door was going to cave in and break. I wasn't sure if I should be hiding in the bathroom, or holding the glass up against the force of the wind. I chose to try to shore it up, which may not have been smart, but it worked.

Here's a sportier "sport ute". Not bad at all, and I'll bet it gets pretty good fuel mileage.

This was a TV show detailing the "patenting" of pigs in Europe by Monsanto. Interesting stuff, and the source of much consternation among the pig farmers.

Another incarnation of the sport ute. This one says 1 TONNE on the back.

I walked down the beach footpath a ways and took a few pictures on Sunday.

Tree bark.

This is a kind of papyrus plant that's just like one in my house. Mine's the only one I'd ever seen (other than the cutting that it came from over 20 years ago), and I was surprised to see one growing wild here.

This is what the beach normally looks like out my window.

The following weekend, Don Railton, who I met on my first day at work, took me back to Serpentine for a more in depth tour. Don's building a Long EZ, and is a member of the SAA chapter at Serpentine.

This first place we walked by was the airport office.

This big tank colects rainwater off the roof to provide water for the toilets, and probably other purposes as well. There's electricity on the field, but no runing water.

This is Allen Buzza's very nice KR2. It has a Lancair canopy on it. It's been subtantially rebuilt after the RR bubble canopy opened during takeoff, killing the lift on the right wing and resulting in a stall. This canopy opens at the rear, preventing that possibility.

On the workbench behind the plane, Allen's building a KR2S fuselage. I think it said it took him just a day or two to lay out all the parts. They are assembled here, just waiting to be epoxied into place.

Note the adjustable cleats that he'll use to locate the parts, while putting just the right amount of pressure on the glue joints.

This is cockpit of Allen's KR2. One unique feature (and there are many) is the Cessna 150 stall warning horn, scavenged for cheap from an aviation salvage yard. Also note retract gear locking lever between the sticks.

Note the fairing behind the gear, so when it's folded up the rear of the tire is faired.

This is a 10.5" Tailwind spinner. I like the looks of this.

Here's the business end of the stall warning gizmo.

Allens's business is sign making, you may have figured out. This is a simple way to open the canopy, inside or out.

Graham taxied by in his RV as I was visiting with Allen, headed up to do some aerobatics.

Three of these guys are building KRs at Serpentine.

Allen and his KR2.

This is reputed to be Australia's first homebuilt airplane, built in something like 1920 or so. The government wouldn't let him fly it, so it sat in a hangar for years until it was rescued, and restoration was undertaken.

So today was the day for more taxi tests in the Flitzer.

And this ancient Pietenpol was out for some exercise as well. This one was built by Bernie himself, a Scout, in February of 1932. This is another one of Burt's planes.

Watch the life cycle of this thing in the pictures below.

This is just bizarre, but the seeds are in here somewhere. All of these pictures were taken on the same tree.

Peter Gilbertson was out flying his BD5. He's also building a KR2.

I'm assuming this is a Ford Model A engine, as most original Piet's had in them.

Here's an interesting folding chock design, used to allow you to roll over it after hand proping and getting situated in the cockpit.

A better mousetrap!

Here's the inside of that Piet. This was bought from the EAA museum at OSH and shipped to OZ. It was built by Bernie himself.

A Pitts. There's lots of fun going on at Serpentine on any given nice flying day.

A Bucher Jungmann

Here's Peter's BD-5 panel.

Note canopy mechanism, hinged to slide and translate to the rear.

The dark spots on the engine access cover are adjacent to the turbo and exhaust.

This is Peter's hangar mate's BD-5, painted to match. They both painted their planes for an Australian documentary film.

Peter's plane is powered by a 1200cc 100hp Honda engine, which drives a prop shaft to the tail. Note POSA carb up top feeding the turbo.

Here's the KR2. Peter had some great ideas on this plane too, which is still undergoing construction.

Don and Peter.

Carbon fiber KR canopy, with latching mechanism.

The Flitzer's done with taxi tests, and is returning from the first flight with Bob Grimstead at the controls.

Bob and the builder celebrate with champagne. This plane is written up by Bob in the August 2008 issue of Kitplanes. The Flitzer is actually a modern British plans built design, designed to look like a plane from the 20's. Hopefully it handles better than one might guess from the ancient appearance.

Gordon Johanson has a similar BD-5, and they like to fly together.

Once again, the pilots and builders at Serpentine showed up near sunset to watch the parade over the airport late in the day. Peter and BD-Gordon do a 200 mph plus pass.

This is an example of residential outside wall construction.

The bricks are quite different from what I'm used to seeing in the US.

One thing I noticed in Perth is that curbs are low and rounded, so wheel damage is minimized, but they still get the job done.

Fuel prices in Aussie dollars, which were worth a tad less than US dollars at the time. These prices are in liters, which you'd multiply times 3.8 to get a US gallon.

This is a voluntary can recycling box in the parking lot of a popular store.

This is an effort at replanting.

This is a hotrod show I stumbled across at a wildlife preserve, oddly enough.

A "Dingo". Reminds me of the Sienfeld episode..."maybe a Dingo ate youaa baby!"

Your basic Koala bear.

Tree bark.

This is the modern way of ensuring that you turn the lights and AC off when you leave your hotel room. The power is only energized when you credit card "room key" is in the slot, so when you pull it out, theh lights go out.

Maybe I can come back again someday, and also visit New Zealand while I'm there...

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