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Bundaberg - Maroochydore 26 January

We had the same pilot for the flight back to Bundaberg from Lady Elliot.  Flemming sat in front as he had for the flight out. This time, apart from a staff member going on leave, we were the only passengers.  Once we reached cruising level, the pilot let Flemming take over the controls. Flies like a Cessna: easy. The Britten Norman Islander is a particularly noisy plane. I missed our Bose headsets with active noise reduction and had to keep my fingers to my ears for the whole of the half-hour flight.

Ray was at Bundaberg to meet us as planned and it wasn't long before we were in the air again for the one-hour flight to Maroochydore. We flew VFR at a cruising level  of  9500 ft.  The clouds were broken for the descent to Maroochydore so Flemming called up air traffic control and, with no fuss at all was able to join IFR for a VOR/DME approach. Quite a bit of crosswind (15 knots) for the landing at runway 18 in Maroochydore, but as is common, it got a lot calmer close to the ground.

There was a very warm welcome reception for us on arrival. Earthrounder Gary Burns marshalled us to the tie-down position at Maroochy Aeroclub, where we were also greeted by the President and Treasurer of the club.  The club had the best stocked bar of any I have seen!  We enjoyed pilot chat over a glass of wine or beer before Gary drove us back to his house for lunch that his wife Kaye had waiting for us. Their house is beautifully situated by a river leading to the bay. In order to accommodate the three of us in our own rooms, two of their three sons had to give up their rooms for us. Thank you, boys!

After lunch, Gary took us on a tour to Point Cartwright and Buddina beach which have great surfing beaches - but certainly not for beginners like Flemming.  Gary also took us to see a Lancair IV turboprop   in the final stages of construction.  This is the same kind of plane that Gary built in his garage and flew round the world, except that this one is a turboprop and therefore much faster, whereas Gary's was a turbo-charged piston engine Lancair IV.  Gary and Alex acquired 13 speed records in their class while they flew the Lancair IV around the world. These Lancair IV's are quite probably the fastest single engine planes in existence with a cruising speed of about 330 knots for the 750 hp turboprop and 280 knots for the turbocharged piston version. Makes our speedy, old Mooney with numerous aerodynamic speed mods look like a very slow bird. But we can at least beat them on the fuel burn: 8 GPH only at 150 knots.

Gary and Kaye invited his Earthrounder co-pilot Alex Schenk, his wife and wife's sister to join us for dinner that evening.  We discovered that Kaye is a gourmet cook - she prepared a superb Italian meal for us - and that Gary is an connoisseur of wines - he treated us to a selection of some of the finest Australian red we have ever tasted.


Maroochy Aeroclub. Gary and Kaye Burns

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Gary Burns received us at the Maroochy Aeroclub

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Angela admiring the sleek lines of an almost finished Lancair IV turboprop

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Ray, Flemming and Gary Burns at Point Cartwright

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Earthrounder dinner in Buddina: Ray, Flemming, Angela, Gary Burns and Alex Schenk

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