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Wednesday, September 4, 2013: Day 11 - Bali-Ayers Rock, Australia
We set our alarm for 0445 so we could be at the Bali International terminal by 0600 for an 0701 departure (I am not sure were the 0701 came from.) On arrival at the terminal our passports were collected by the handler, and then we were escorted 090413 Mike Laver preflights N50ET at Denpasarthrough security and through a door that said "do not enter" which led us straight onto the tarmac. We were then driven to bay 15 were our MU-2--looking very insignificant--sat amongst the large jets. (Photo right: Mike preflights N50ET at the Bali International Airport). Within minutes our passports arrived stamped, and we were cleared out of Indonesia. Bali Tower gave us start up and push back clearance, shortly after we were given the option of push back or taxi. We departed off runway 09 at 0646 for an early departure to Broome, Australia. Baseops filed us at 25,000 feet and 292 knots, giving us a fuel burn of 68 gallons per hour total with a 5 knot headwind.

As we passed south into the Brisbane FIR, our position report came with a weak HF signal, but I had no problem understanding every word. The last time I flew an MU-2 in Australian airspace was 24 years ago, and its exciting to be back again. We are now flying over a very calm Indian Ocean with a slight headwind which is about to turn into a tailwind for the remainder of the day. We made our approach into Broome on a beautiful morning and taxied to parking.

We waited for customs for about 30 minutes. When I phoned the customs office they indicated that they had not been advised of our arrival, and at that time I knew that I had messed up somewhere. After the custom agents arrived I knew we were in trouble, but they were very respectful and professional. The bottom line is that I had omitted to give the appropriate notification of our arrival to customs. After a discussion with their supervisor we were free to go with an appropriate warning.

090413 Ayers Rock from aloftAfter departing Broome we were overflying the desert--country that I had flown over so many times years ago--not a cloud in the sky and headwinds that we do not deserve. It's amazing that after all these years, the landscape and features look so familiar to me. But after 24 years I have gone from a chart, protractor, compass, E6B, rule, and pencil to dual onboard GPS. We have now crossed over the Western Australia and Northern Territory border just 135 miles from Ayres Rock, which is the largest monolith in the world.

We arrive at Ayres Rock airport, making a sweep around the massive rock (photo left)--which is incredible--and then back to land at the airportWe were greeted by the airport authority who was looking for a parking fee which was promptly paid. We fueled up and headed to the hotel for the evening.