On behalf of AOPA Australia I had the pleasure of attending the Mount Gambier Oz Runways Fly-in held over the weekend 15 through to 17 February. This well attended event brought in 17 visiting aircraft, particularly from the Hamilton, Warrnambool, Portland areas. Bas Sheffers, along with Ellen and Chantelle flew in from Adelaide in their Cirrus SR20 VH-EFB. I was very fortunate in being able to get to Mount Gambier from Moorabbin, in a 2018 model Cirrus SR22 VH-MSI, courtesy of the Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania Cirrus Distributor Stuart Simmons. This luxury certainly was a relief after the joys of an early morning flight to Melbourne.
After about a one and half hour flight, arrival was timed perfectly for a delicious lunch provided by the Mount Gambier Aero Club. Around 2:30 was time for the Oz Runways seminars. Chantelle took the new users class while Ellen and Rowan conducted the experienced user class. This informative session provided lots of useful tips and how to exploit the features of the Oz Runways application.
Before heading into town to freshen up for dinner back at the club house, I had a chance to have a look at a pair of Air Tractor 802 VH-ODH and VH-ODW, operated by Aerotech which were on standby for firefighting duties. I met their crew Paul, Will and Lachlan who were on the balcony at the Mount Gambier Aero Club when I first arrived. I learned later that the Mount Gambier Aero Club operates as a South Australia Country Fire Service Incident Management Centre. The Aerotech crew provided an informative chat on what they do along with an opportunity to look at an Air Tractor which is a serious bit of kit.
After a pleasant dinner it was time for the second raffle, the first was drawn just before the Oz Runways seminars. Prizes were 200 litres of Avgas donated by Stark Aviation, AOPA Australia subscription and six bottles of wine donated by Herbert Vineyards. To increase the Mount Gambier Aero Club coffers, David Herbert of Herbert Vineyard fame ensured reasonable winning bids were received for 2 lots of 200 litres of Avgas from Stark Aviation and an Oz Runways subscription. The prize winners for the AOPA Australia subscription was dominated by Warrnambool aviators, Errol Stewart (Mooney 201 VH-KKF) and John and Jenny Malin (Cessna 182T VH-VMR, Evektor Sportstar 245494).
The next morning started with a hearty Mount Gambier Aero Club breakfast. Then it was another luxurious flight in the SR22 back to Moorabbin. This took just over an hour due to some nice tailwinds with the ground speed clocking up to 210 knots. For the well organised and attended event I extend my thanks to Paul Goodman, David Headlam, Bob Rowe and the Mount Gambier Aero Club volunteers who ensured this event was a success.