Scone to Gold Coast (Coolangatta, Queensland)
Grahame drove us to the airfield in the morning, and we were met there by his son Matthew and wife and also another Graham from yesterday – he is also a radio “ham” and he had travelled from Newcastle (NSW) to meet up with us. It’s probably a two-hour drive at least from Newcastle so we were very impressed.
Checked out Romeo Tango and managed to use the self-fuelling facility which accepted credit cards. No need to fill Romeo Tango right up as this would be a relatively short flight of two hours or so. I had filed the flight plan on my mobile just before refuelling so it was time to go. Said goodbye to Steve, who had been such a good companion along the way from the UK, then started up, taxied out and took off towards the south-east before turning onto track. There was some cloud to go through on the climbout but I remained visual as long as possible so that I could keep an eye on the hilly terrain. As I continued the climb I contacted the Brisbane controller and then reported level at 7000 feet.
As it turned out, 7000 feet was not the correct choice for the flight as the cloud tops were just above that, and I kept going in and out of them. But there was little point in requesting a higher level for a short flight such as this. Did get some good views but the Mooney felt strangely empty without Steve.
The approach into Gold Coast was visual but there was jet traffic and I was asked to expedite my landing as there was a following airliner. Gold Coast is quite busy with holiday traffic as it is a resort town with beautiful beaches. There was no rush to get out of the plane on arrival and I spent some time re-arranging things for what I expected would be the next day’s flight to Lord Howe Island.
I decided to refuel rather than waste time doing this in the morning. I telephoned a refuelling company and this turned out to be another lucky day for me. The telephone was answered by “Liz” who said there was normally a call-out fee on Sundays but she was there to refuel a regular customer and would attend to me also. Not only that, but she was a handler as well and could handle my departure from Australia, arranging with customs and immigration so that I would not fall foul of any regulations. To round it all off, she made a few calls, found a suitable hotel, and then drove me into town and dropped me off at the hotel. What a gem!
Used the evening to update the blog by a few days but, as I did so, I had the TV on in the background so that I could pick up on any weather details. Guess what? There was a “Severe Weather Warning” for parts of New South Wales and also Lord Howe Island. Damaging winds and surf were expected. It looked as though I would be here for more than one night, but I decided to make a final check in the morning.
Flight Data: 313 nautical miles in 2 hours 3 minutes.