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Spare some outback/remote flying tips for a beginner?

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Spare some outback/remote flying tips for a beginner?

Old 15th Aug 2020, 06:51
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Victoria
Posts: 26
Spare some outback/remote flying tips for a beginner?

Gday all,

Been trying to search the forum for some outback/remote operations flying tips, but unfortunately have been unable to find anything. I am a low time CPL that is very keen into moving into that sort of work once the industry settles down, but unfortunately have been blessed (or cursed for that matter) with generally only flying out of Local Victorian Airstrips (Moorabbin, Tyabb etc.).

For someone of my calibre (who has zero experience operating out bush), what would be some trade tips for charter, mustering etc. that may be beneficial for me to start to get my head around, whilst i am bored in isolation.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated, as the more i can learn about the delicate operation of bush flying would be of great interest to me.

Anyhow i hope everyone is staying safe in these Covid times, and thank-you for any help.

Kind Regards,

Mach1Muppet is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 08:08
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Australia
Posts: 332
Never believe the customer that you are going to pick up when he tells you the strip is fine,"They use it all the time", unless you know the person well or he is a pilot. They will tell you anything just to get picked up. I have seen some goat tracks in my time. The same goes for weather advice.
Grogmonster is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 08:35
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: FNQ ... It's Permanent!
Posts: 3,615
Know where you are, and know where you're going. If not, stop and ask!
Capt Fathom is online now  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 09:27
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Vermont Hwy
Posts: 495
Originally Posted by Grogmonster View Post
Never believe the customer that you are going to pick up when he tells you the strip is fine,"They use it all the time", unless you know the person well or he is a pilot. They will tell you anything just to get picked up. I have seen some goat tracks in my time. The same goes for weather advice.

similar with weather. They’ll tell you it’s fine, meanwhile it’s terrible...

sometimes just say “yes” to the boss, even if it is a request to do something maybe not quite right or proper-
then go find a way to do the job safely and legally. If you can’t figure out a way then that’s when you’ve got to become tough enough to stand your ground.
Car RAMROD is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 09:43
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 822
Always have a plan B. Aviation is a fluid environment from the time you get a job.
It's an industry that's fraught with danger and many shady characters so learn from everything everyone says.
I look back after 40 years driving planes, I have a stack of log books and a stack of memories, the latter are priceless, stay safe so you too can say the same thing in years to come -)
machtuk is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 09:50
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Australia/India
Posts: 3,276
Contact Talia Ellis at the Birdsville Hotel.
Lead Balloon is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 10:43
  #7 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Victoria
Posts: 26
Thanks all for the priceless advice!

Would there be anything in terms of looking after the aircraft?(for example i was told by an instructor to always position the prop to where birds wont poo down the side of it into the prop hub)


Mach1Muppet is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 11:01
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Australia/India
Posts: 3,276
I can see you're worried about the important stuff. In that case:

- Don't argue with emus. Emus don't like pilots. If you mess with an emu, it will take revenge on your aircraft as soon as you leave the aerodrome.

- A dingo might take your baby. If you have to fly with a baby on board, protect it. Dingoes will chew your aircraft's tyres overnight, if they smell baby.

- Although there are no financial pressures in flying in the bush, the romantic temptations will be enormous. The lure of deeply satisfying threesomes with drop dead gorgeous and unquestioningly loving and supportive partners may detract from tomorrow's highly profitable flying operations. Be professional and resist: 'Park that' until you take your very generous holidays.

- Don't fly passengers or cargo to Bar Mitzvahs. Beetlejuice wouldn't; nor should you. This unwritten rule applies in the bush.

- Sometimes the airconditioning and communications infrastructure in the bush will under-perform at the same time. Just continue submitting on-line complaints.
Lead Balloon is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 11:12
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Victoria
Posts: 26
One of the best replies i have ever read lead baloon!
Mach1Muppet is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 11:16
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Australia/India
Posts: 3,276
You have a sense of humour. Great to see.

Probably the most important rule with which you need to comply is: Have a sense of humour and try to laugh as much as you can about the bullshit circumstances in which you may find yourself.

Safe flying and best of luck.

... and call Talia.
Lead Balloon is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 13:32
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Age: 74
Posts: 1,179
- Don't argue with emus. Emus don't like pilots. If you mess with an emu, it will take revenge on your aircraft as soon as you leave the aerodrome.
I got in before the emu had a chance. The body went under the wing and I presume the head took the long way over the top.
All I had to show for it was a small dent about 60cm back from the leading edge.

Learn how to read WAC - that is they are still available.
Learn to count sandhills and which State you are in by the direction the sandhills run.
Learn how to determine the length of an airstrip from the air.

601 is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 16:14
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Richmond NSW
Posts: 1,288
You may be surprised to find how quickly birds can build a nest on top of a warm engine.
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Old 15th Aug 2020, 16:57
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Europe
Posts: 529
It's amazing how many people choose to fly along roads, railway lines, power lines, gas pipes and any similar landmarks. If you decide to do the same, better stay to the right, have your lights on and don't forget that someone else might have decided to fly alongside the same landmark but in the opposite direction.

On an uncontrolled strip, it's advisable to always do a low pass to check runway condition before landing. The overhead join may also be beneficial to see other traffic and be seen by it.

Get into the habit of covering the pitot even on short stopovers. Insects can get in there very quickly.

Mind where you leave a parked aircraft and make sure that it's either well held in place by the brakes or by chocks or tie-down ropes. It's surprising how even a slight slope can cause an aircraft to run away and end up in some trees or bushes, possibly with some unpleasant damage.

Always treat your propeller as live. To put it mildly, preventative maintenance in this kind of establishments often has scope for improvement, so there's hardly a guarantee that any periodic checks have been done by anyone other than the pilots - and very few pilots do the live magneto check frequently and/or properly (although it's not difficult). Did I also mention the fuel and oil caps?

After all, have a great time. Granted, most aim to move onto something bigger and better-paid in the long-term run, but flying a light aircraft in the middle of nowhere is a wonderful experience and one day you will miss some parts of it. Some other parts - not so much though. Best of luck!
PilotLZ is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 18:15
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: 500 miles from Chaikhosi, Yogistan
Posts: 3,776
If you're a VFR bush pilot, never accept more than one of:
  • Min Fuel
  • Darkness
  • Bad Weather
compressor stall is online now  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 20:50
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 159
Triple check ahead you have fuel where you’re going. If it’s drums, only trust they’re good if you know the person when confirming over the phone.

havick is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2020, 23:38
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Great South East, tired and retired
Posts: 3,081
Factor a short-stay motel into your costings - an oh-dark-thirty departure to a country town, wait all day for the customer to come back (not much room to sleep in a lightie) and then a race back before dark / dinner / pubs close. A mighty long day, and you are bone tired before taking off for the return trip.

But find a motel that will let you use the room for a nap, watch TV, refresher shower and gone after 6 hours. Works wonders.

Not all emus hate aircraft - in the Blue Mountains, Peter Piggott (of Uncle Pete's Toys, famous in the 80s and 90s) had a pet emu, Cheepie. This emu would have her head in the window of the chopper while the engine was still running down, friendly and loved a tickle behind the head.
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Old 16th Aug 2020, 00:55
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 1,676
In the outback areas I used to fly, I figured it would take up to 3 days for someone to get to me if I crashed. I reckon that in most of the outback you can force land and walk away, buy you need to prepare to be found and for the wait.
2. Water. Everyone in the outback carries water in cars, the aeroplane should be no exception.
3. First aid / survival equipment.
4. Sat phone if you can.
5. In remote Australia you need you mobile to be on the dreaded Telstra, unless its Nth SA where Optus is better.

Always ring ahead. Never assume that fuel will be avaiulable. Most remote places only get a small number of AV GAs deliveries per year. Like the Blues Brothers, you might want fuel just before the truck arrives. If you are flying to stations call and ask if they need anything. The old Elders rule was to always take the newspapers and fresh bread. In the era of freezers, fresh bread is not so important, but the newspapers of the day and / or cut flowers are always apptreciated. Maybe some fresh fruit.

GPS works 99% of the time, but there are GPS black spots in remote areas. There will also come the day, when you get directions on the back of an envelope from a guy at a pub. The GPS is limited use then. Don't plan on simply following the magenta line. Navigation in the outback is a different beast. Its about broad position based on large features and being good about time and heading.

Don't expect winsocks. if you cant pick up wind clues from other features, then you shouldn't be there. Many times, details of airstrips will be given to you by non-pilots. You need to make your own assessment of all runways.

Old Akro is offline  
Old 16th Aug 2020, 01:16
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: adelaide, Australia
Posts: 457
If your flying in the bush landing on ALA's/ remote strips etc always take some spares with you. Spare spark plug or two, and socket set to change, Landing light ,duct tape, zip ties etc. Water for you, couple of litres of oil, Know how to hand start your engine and carry out minor repairs. It is a long way for help to arrive. Never leave the aircraft unattended if cattle are near bye or Camels if overnighting unless you can barricade it away safely. They love using it to scratch on and can easily destroy the flying surfaces.
As above get reliable info on strip condition and fuel availability. Get reacquainted with direct reckoning / WAC charts for navigating as a back up. Watch the weather constantly. Dirt strips can turn into a quagmire quickly with a heavy downpour out bush.
mostlytossas is offline  
Old 16th Aug 2020, 01:33
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Gunbalanya NT
Posts: 1
A few comments I thought that would help an inexperienced GA pilot yesterday and tomorrow.

A final walk around is one of the most important things you will do. This should be done the same way every time on a given aircraft. Don’t rush it and don’t get distracted. Ensuring chocks are removed, pitot covers removed, doors securely shut, fuel caps secured, oil caps secured. It won’t be the first or last time things get forgotten but the discipline of this 10-30 second procedure is extremely important. I don’t care if you are late or if wx is about to hit.

Checklist discipline. Use your checklist as much as you can. Even though small GA aircraft can be flown comfortably without a checklist, having the discipline of doing a Lineup checklist, climb checklist and a BEFORE LANDING CHECKLIST etc will save you one day. When you have been out flying all day and are about to land back home you might have already mentally checked out...perhaps racing some wx today and might be down low and nipping a tight base to get in... having the backup of a checklist and the discipline to do it will prevent a horrible day. This why companies have standard operating procedures to prevent pilots flying it their own way. If you fly it like your company has it written in their Ops manual and the way you should have been trained there’s no reason to fear inadequacy or worried about flying with you Chief Pilot at a moments notice. (Also a final check of “final flap, gear, prop full, landing clearance” at 400ft would work for most aircraft.

Check surrounding TAFS for other aerodromes that are in your vicinity. It will be nice knowing what the weather is doing should you have to divert or if you want a picture when wx is expecting to deteriorate.

Become proficient in energy management with operating aircraft on unsealed surfaces. If you are doing a 180 on a runway with loose stones you’re NOT going to want to pinch a brake and come to a standstill rev’ing the engine bringing stones up into the propellor. Your boss won’t be impressed and it’s a classic sign of inexperience being rough on the gear. This also applies to getting moving, obviously if you are heavy and perhaps you didn’t park in a nice spot to get rolling you will require some power to get moving. Use the power and keep moving, too little power will have you at a crawl and you’re better off to taxi with a ‘positive’ forward speed preventing sitting on small stones being sucked up into the propellor. You’d be surprised that a lot of the lessons learnt in a 152 apply the same to a B200 Kingair.

Just because other aircraft are going flying doesn’t mean you should be. If there is low cloud/fog and even if conditions might be improving by the minute, it is not professional to send it in the soup for a few seconds and getting above a cloud layer. It’s not legal for VFR pilots and VFR aircraft for a reason. There’s no award for saying you absolutely sent it in marginal weather in your 40 year old GA aircraft at the bar. Too many plaques on beaches...

Knowing duty times well will help you confidently manage what you can and cannot do. Flying commercially and knowing how much you can extend your duty on a given day will help your clients and yourself get home. Knowing how much rest you require before signing on the next day for an early flight is also important. Knowing if you can adjust your min sign on and min sign off times (legally) to work to your advantage will help you get the hours you want (night hours) (avaliable for charters/instructing) to fill your logbook.

Check if restricted areas are active

Check notams (head office/FIR/local)

Read those^ both again

When people make mistakes you would be surprised how much a group can learn as a whole when these items are talked about (no matter how embarrassing). When old mate next to you makes a big mistake it is important you analyse why it happened and what measures you have in place to ensure you are minimising that risk.
Freeotispriest2020 is offline  
Old 16th Aug 2020, 02:22
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Australia/India
Posts: 3,276
Know how to hand start your engine and carry out minor repairs.
FWIW, I posted this a while ago:
As with so many other areas of aviation, hand starting engines is one in which a detailed understanding of the specific fuel and ignition system fitted to the specific aircraft is essential for success and safety. ...

If your aircraft is fitted with e.g. an injected Conti and the only way to prime it is an electrical auxiliary pump, it's going to take an enormous amount of hand swinging to get that baby started if the battery's so dead that it won't run the aux pump to prime it. At hand swinging RPMs, the EDP isn't doing much at all. (The last time I hand started an IO520 the battery still had enough charge to run the aux pump slowly, but sufficiently to prime the injection system. [T]hey start easily when swung. Very - and dangerously - easily. But only when the F:A in the induction system and the spark are correct. Speaking of the spark....)

Some ignition systems use retard breakers in the magnetos and electric aids to starting, like "Shower of Sparks" vibrators and 'SlickStart' boosters. They have complicated wiring at and from the ignition switch. That wiring is different than if the magnetos each have just a mechanical impulse coupling. [Added: And some engines only have one magneto with a mechanical impulse coupling.] The electrically boosted ignition circuits are rarer these days - at least on 'traditional' GA piston engines - but not extinct. Trying to hand start one of those engines with a flat or low battery may be, at best, impossible, and at worst, deadly, no matter how competent you are at hand swinging in general. And note that the generic model of the same engine can have different magnetos and start systems. Not all e.g. IO520s have the same ignition systems.
In short: Deep systems knowledge of the specific aircraft you are flying is essential.
Lead Balloon is offline  

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