Well, looks like flying is finished for Outback Overflight. We had been hoping to do a Sydney Harbor scenic flight today, but the winds are 28G35 kts with 'severe turbulence' below 5000 feet over the Sydney basin. In addition, the winds are out of 330 degrees magnetic, which means Sydney Kingsford-Smith YSSY is using 34R and 34L. When they do that, Sydney Center does not approve scenic flights over the harbor north of the airport, as the traffic pattern intrudes into that space. So...ah well. I'm disappointed, but not all that disappointed - to be honest, I'm tired, and the main part of the trip was a smashing success!

I figured I should close Outback Overflight with some facts and figures.

The Route: The route of the trip was as follows: YSCN YBTH YSDU YTGM YLRE YNTN YKMB YBRL YPTN YCOO YPKU YDBY YBRM YHLC YPTG46 YBAS YWMC YBHI YSWL YGTH YSDU YBTH YSCN. It was not only direct legs, though - we made several days of flights to custom waypoints for scenic purposes. As a result, while those airports constitute a route of approximately 4800 nautical miles, the actual trip was closer to 5300.

Consumables: For the airplane? Hm. SDN consumed as near as I can tell 596 gallons (2256 liters) of avgas and 3 quarts of oil. As for her passengers? In the plane, let's see - I think 6.5 liters of bottled water, two packages of Monte Carlo biscuits by Arnott's, two packages of Tim Tams, a packet of Lemon Crisps, a bag of Cherry Ripes (my pax likes them), a bag of Red Skins, two packets of Raspberry Tartlets, and a container of Extra spearmint chewing gum. That was what was consumed in the airplane. Oh, and eight muesli bars and three Quest bars.

Other stats: 22 takeoffs and (thankfully) 22 landings. 48.5 flight hours. Two different aircraft flown (I also got a half hour in a Bristell BRM RG with a 6-cylinder Jabiru engine).

Squawks: (Squawks are maintenance issues on aircraft) - Six. They include:

  • INOP EGT sensor on cylinder 5
  • INOP fuel sender, right tank
  • COM2 intermittently would refuse to send/receive audio to the panel, although it claimed it was working otherwise
  • GPS2 would, some days, just refuse to ever get GPS lock
  • The nose gear strut rolled a seal at Cooinda YCOO, requiring a bodge at Kununurra YPKU and a repair at Broome YBRM
  • The starter motor refused to engage at Dubbo YSDU, requiring removal and repair

Money: Uh, never mind that. A lot, if you're me. But totally worth it. (if you want a sense of scale, the list rate just for renting VH-SDN was $AUD 345 per hour - I got a bit of a break on that rate, but even so.)

Also: 2 tour boat cruises. 2 museums. 2 zoo parks. 3 coasts of Australia touched (East at Sydney, the Gulf of Carpentaria in the North, and the Indian Ocean West coast at Broome). Photos taken > 500, I think. GoPro video taken: I still have no idea because I can't get the damn thing to connect to my Mac, so I have to wait to get home to get to a card reader. Not that much, I think, the batteries on these things just suck and we didn't have a way to remotely power it.

Time: It will end up being a couple days over a month in Australia.


The kids on Facebook found a way to get other people to do silly or otherwise slightly harmful things. It began with things like can you eat an entire spoonful of cinnamon as "the cinnamon challenge", which normally results in near-immediate vomiting. The general gist is to try to get people to do Jackass-style unpleasant things with a camera recording the results, with the "challenge" results being uploaded to social media. The "gallon of milk challenge" and the "two bananas and a Sprite" challenge followed, with the same results. There are other challenges which are not guaranteed to cause emesis but are simply disgusting, such as eating a can of some kind of Icelandic rotting fish which can be smelled a county away when opened.

But hospitals are now seeing at least two fatalities and many instances of severe injury in the latest craze, referred to as "the fire challenege", which consists of dousing a portion of your body in lighter fluid or isopropyl alcohol and then setting yourself on fire. Most attempt some precaution such as standing near a running shower in order to extinguish the flames, but in the case of one fatality the young man planned simply to let himself burn and the flames go out naturally.

I remember my mother using the "if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you"? line on my older brother in the distant regions of my childhood. Unfortunately, society has now "advanced" to the point where substituting "lit themselves on fire and uploaded the results" in that sentence is answered "yes".

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