2nd March, final day back to Perth.
Port Perie overnight with a taxi at 9 am will allow us to do the last 1200+nm to Jandakot, Perth. We had refueled the night before so it was a simple task of taking the a/c from the old WW2 T2 hangar, load baggage and fire up. Departing to the west with the sun in our 5 o’clock position (remember that the sun is in the North here) we climb out to 7000ft on route to Ceduna. This place (Ceduna) has a BP carnet fueling system so very simple and quick DIY fueling task. Again we are airborne climbing to 7000ft, this time I get a text saying divert its raining at Forrest. Australia has 3G phone network virtually all over so we can text ahead, look at the iNet and get wx reports easily. Tom and I take a look at the clouds and see if we track North 25 miles we can go around the storm, this we did arriving at Forrest shortly after it passed leaving what was a 45’c desert last week flooded. Today its just 16’c. Next leg is to Kalgoolie some 298 nm westwards, again a quick refueling via BP and onwards to Jandakot arriving at 5:30pm. Our job done the #AwesomeGlobalStars home after a succesful show with many outstanding reviews via social media. Thanks for following. All the best, Mark and Tom.
1st March, Sunday.
Today is last day for the show. Briefing by phone, allows a slightly later start to the day. Packing bags, check the a/c, take to the flight line, sign cards and then fly. Todays show goes well bringing cheers from the crowds for the heart and especially the pyro run. After flight we go straignt to the hangar, refuel and load the bags in time for a mid PM departure along with a JetStar thingy. We need to get one leg done of the trip thus enabling arrival in Perth on Monday.
Todays show is at 13:15, weather is a high overcast but no wind. Finally we manage to get some cameras mounted and they work. In cockpit and external. The weather allows for a very smooth flight, we position perfectly and all goes well. One more show to do on Sunday and we start the trip to Perth.
27th February, the evening show.
The Global Stars World debut of the pyro run. A the end of the formation and solo acts we line up on the armed launch points, at 100 meters out leader call “light um up” (from the film Fury) with that a barrage of Roman Candles are fired into the air leaving a column of smoke. we then weave through these smoke pylons aka Red Bull style. As we fly past we are acutely aware of red projectiles passing the cockpit. We flew just at sunset for greatest effect however this is not critical.
26th February, getting in the groove.
It’s a well oiled machine now, eat, sleep, fly, eat, sleep, fly…. well there is a bit more to it than that really. Post flight refuelling, smoke oil, engine oil all to check and put the a/c in the hangar. Breakfast on route to the a/f is at the Lara Hotel. We are staying in apartments in the centre of Geelong, easy access to sea front walks and the towns shops and bars. The timings of our display slots have allowed a fair amount of time off site, however there are lots to see in the expo centre and static displays. Tomorrow (Friday 27th) our display slot is at 19:48. Yes it is a day long air show with WW1 a/c from New Zealand along with the modern jet fighters. The night show is one of the best in the World, certainly nothing in Europe can match it. Maybe Sun n fun, Lakeland USA or Oshkosh can equal.
25th February, lots of noise.
Today there seems to be more jet noise around, some firing of decoy flares. The #globalstars are up at 15:57 for a full 15 mins show. Basically the show is 4 parts. 4 mins close formation, 4 mins unlimited gyroscopic flying, 4 mins formation and then the “pyro pylon run”. This is new to the “Awesome Global Stars team” basically we light up 5 pyrotechnic “Roman Candles” shooting red stars skywards every second. This creates a column of smoke, we then zig zag through the smoke pylons. Fridays show is planned at 19:30 for a very visual effect. It’s not all about flying, Dieter arranged the exclusive use of the indoor Karting track for all of the teams. 28 pilots jostling for 1st place. Pictures from the show follow.
24th February, day off, well till 16:00 that is 🙂
Today was the first day being able to catch up with sleep and we sure did. 9AM waking for a lazy breakfast along the sea front in Geelong. At 16:00 we head off to the a/p to fly a full dress rehearsal with the pyros this time.Aiiriving at the a/p we find Mellisa Pemberton, Skip Stewart and Jurgis Kairys taxing out for a practice display. We are looking forward to our pyro practice as we are doing is genuinely a World first. More on that later.
23rd February, briefings, chatting with other pilots.
Lots of “admin” stuff to do, meeting the show organisers, ring master and his team, pyros manager, pilots from USA, Lithuania and locals. We get a 11AM show slot for the media presentation. Just as Tommy leads us to the skies a squall with no rain blows thru changing wind direction by 70 and gusts of 33kts on crowd… happy days hey, just like UK blowing a hoolie. We manage very well in the gusty conditions with praise from the flight safety committee and especially touching comments from ground handlers who have done the show since conception.
22nd February, final leg into Avalon.
The night stop passed uneventfully. Having just 650nm to go meeting an arrival slot of 16:30 it was a leisurely start taking of at 10:30 however with a time zone change of 2:30 hrs perhaps not so late for teh body. Next stop is Port Pirie north of Adilaid. Yet again not a single person was seen. From here we route direct to Avalon to arrive just as a heavy rain and electrical storm arrives. This leaves us sitting in the planes for 30 mins while it clears. Dieter and Kade arrive a few hour after the storm passes. team all on site 🙂 Taxing past a few F18’s we put the planes to bed.
21st February, early start and cross country
Rude a’clock waking to head to Jandakot, chuck bags into the planes and go trying to beat the a/p opening times and the official “Radio hassle” of the Southern Hemispheria bussiest a/p in the World. We miss the 8am deadline by 11 mins thus making clearances an issue as the controllers can’t understand Tommy 🙂 Creaping out under teh Perth CTZ gradualing climbing the further away we get leveling of at 9,500ft in the cooler air. Flight is to Esperance a 30nm longer trip just to show Tom the sights. We refueled at Esparance and not a soul was seen. All refueling is self service via a BP card or credit card everywhere. Next stop is Forrest in the Nullabore desert. Crusing at FL095 looking at the vast expanse of red/ brown desert wondering why and who would live on Mars! We meet dieter and Kade at Forrest where teh manager requests a flyby, dueling obliging its 220kts past ten apron and pull up into a big barrel roll before landing. Refuel and a pee break its time to set of to Ceduna for the night stop after 900nm flown.
20th February, maintenance and preparation day.
Today was prep for the great outback travels. Oil changes on both the Extra 330LX, Tommys flies lead in the LX and I fly the new Extra 330SC. In the afternoon we had one last practice of the coast of Rockingham, upon our return the phone rang and unlike the UK the caller thanked us for the free display. Tomorrow we set of in the morning at 8AM (00:00 UTC saturday) with first stop Esperance and then the Nullabore desert landing at Forrest. I’ve chosen this route which is an additional 30nm so we can see the various National parks on route and especially the Kau park with its salt “ponds”. arh, I saw my first Kangaroo today as we left the airfield 🙂
19th February, Installing “dotty smoke”
Today we installed the signature Global Stars dotty smoke system, this synchronizes all aircraft in the team pulsing the smoke adding to the dynamism of the show. 0.6 seconds on 0.6 seconds off, this can be altered to any timings desired. All rather clever. It was then time to go out and test the system with a display practice again down at Murray Field, returning to Jandakot approx 4pm to refuel, refilling smoke oil, brief the guys at Heliwest for the photo sorte flying over the Indian Ocean. The shots I’ve already seen taken by Brett Watson are just stunning, hopefully I will be able to post some tomorrow evening. Tomorrow is the first oil change on the factory new Extra 330SC I’m flying. The evening was taken up with flight planning with the team for the trip across the Nullabore desert, along the great Bight and into Ceduna for a night stop then onto Avalon arriving Sunday PM.
18th February, 35’c and flying South
Skies cleared to mostly all blue and temperatures rose to the norm for this time of year, 35’c. What do mad dogs and English men do? Yes, go out in the midday sun 🙂 We headed out south again to Murray field for practice. We last practiced in the UK at freezing temperatures where performance is considerably better. It takes a little while to acclimatise to the higher density altitudes caused by the heat. At the end of the day we had the opportunity to grab some pictures on the way back from practice, just 30 minuets before sunset over Cockburn Sound, Rockingham, WA.
17th February, Flying to Murray Field for practice.
Dieter takes us to the hangars at Jandakot YPJT one of the busiest GA airports in the World with approaching 500,000 movements a year. Certainly you need to be concise and sharp with radio and traffic procedures operating from two parallel runways and one cross runway. Perth International is just a short distance away to the North.
We prepare the Awesome Extras to fly to Murray field 25 nm to the south for training in free airspace.
Arrival Perth, 16th February.
The flight time from Dubai is 10 1/2 hours. Immigration and customs pass flawless, none of these massive ques like you experience coming the other way and going thru New York for example. A short wait in baggage and we are out into the clear fresh air and bright skies of Perth. Some 26 hours after starting our journey we are at Dieters house on the Indian ocean. Time to relax a bit and settle in.
15th February Departing Heathrow, London.
It was a 4AM start for myself, Tom leaving Yorkshire at 2AM. It was quite eairy to see the A1, M25 roads so free of traffic, it was like some major disaster as to why no one was about. A civilised breakfast at LHR then boarding the A380 to Dubai with Emirates was very pleasant. The latest modern airliner manufactures have made a huge effort in cabin noise reduction and seat comfort as opposed to the “Ryan-dont-care” seats. Arrival in Dubai 7 hours later. Flying down the Gulf you could see countless flame stacks on various platforms, such a waste of gas with the associated pollution.