Less than two weeks until I depart for Outback Overflight, flying out of LAX to SYD. I'm getting a bit verklempt about the trip, as is my usual habit when approaching something that requires effort and organization.

Problems that remain, in sum. Well…

  • I was supposed to have 10 hours on the Cessna 182 before reaching .au. Looks like I won't. Maybe 6-6.5 if I'm lucky. The 182 I have access to over here has been unavailable for a freaking *month* due to being 'down for inspection.' Ugh.
  • Corollary to above - I have not much experience using the G1000 for in-flight navigation. I need more, and I probably won't get it. I'll have to rely on old-school nav (which is much more work) and getting in some practice before leaving on the tour, in .au.
  • I still don't have my Australian Certificate of Validation and Permission to Fly in my hands. Things are better than they were; I got an email from the person at CLARC (the Australian Licensing and Registration bureaucracy) in which she said they were going to issue the CoV. But it takes a week, so that should happen early next week, and then I hope they get it right and mail it to the local Australian address I supplied. Also, I still don't know about my security card, which probably can't even get approved until after I've arrived and have a local passport stamp. So, uh. I dunno. We'll see.
  • I haven't flown in a month or so. This is too long. See the above re: the plane being unavailable.
  • I've *never* flown 4-5 hr legs before, and this trip is two weeks of nothing but those. :-P
Anyway, you get the point. This isn't an actual capability problem, it's an experience shortfall. I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't intellectually think I was up to the challenge - not least because one of my close friends is placing his life in my hands, as he's coming along as my pax - but without experience doing this stuff, it looms much higher.

Other than that…I think I've acquired all the gear and clothes I'll need. I haven't yet tried packing it all in the bags I'm planning to take, but I'm going to do that this weekend, which leaves me a week to figure out a different solution if they don't fit.

I managed to get a seat upgrade for the LAX->SYD leg, which is good. They're taking (all my) miles in exchange for an upgrade to business class, so I should arrive in not-as-terrible-as-if-I-flew-coach shape. I will still have to cope with 14-hr delta jet lag within 2-3 days to have any hope of this working, though.

I guess most of my nerves stem from the fact that this is a scheduled trip. I'm tagging along with a tour organized by a local company. While this is good, in that it means I don't have to make any lodging/meal/fueling/itinerary arrangements, it means that if anything goes wrong and I get separated from the tour group (airplane issues, weather issues, anything really) I'm sort of out of luck and back on my own resources somewhere in the outback. Generally, there are a whole huge number of failure points where the trip could go significantly awry, and most of them are 'single point' failures or Criticality-One in NASA-speak…there's no fallback, really.

The good news is that most of these failure points aren't threats to life limb and safety. :-) They mostly just involve the risk of ending up off-script, off-schedule and off-itinerary somewhere in the middle of nowhere. On the plus side, if that happens, I'll probably have an airplane. So worst case - I lose the tour - I end up being forced to do an improv wander flight through Australia. It'll make a cool story if that happens…

Two weeks.