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Thursday, September 5, 2013: Day 12 - Ayers Rock to Latrobe Valley, Australia
090513 Mike Laver preflights as tour copters returnWe rose this morning at 0600 to a perfect Northern Territory morning. With a short ride to the Ayers Rock airport, we were able to depart 10 minutes ahead of schedule. I was amazed that there were only two private GA aircraft at Ayers Rock. We saw 4 charter helicopters and one single-engine charter aircraft that were catering to the tourists in the Uluru (Ayres Rock)-Kata Tjuta (Mount Olga) National Park. I am thinking that user fees have made it hard for the private owner to now use their aircraft in Australia. (Photo left:  Mike preflights N50ET prior to departure at YAYE.)

At FL250 we are finally starting to get a tailwind; currently we have 26 knots which is to be about 60 knots when we get close to Melbourne--just in time to start our descent. Today we have a long 1150 nm leg. I have the power pulled back giving us 290 knots true airspeed and burning 66 gallons per hour. From the airspeed/fuel burn tests I did on N50ET 260 knots true airspeed gave me the greatest range, not taking into consideration the090513 On base leg at Latrobe Valley wind components. Having the ability to talk to Melbourne Control on VHF is a great improvement from my days of flying in Australia when most communications were on HF.

As we cross the corner of the state of New South Wales and into Victoria, we have a 25 knot tailwind component and the temp is ISA +7 degrees; N50ET really enjoys the cooler temps. Going into Latrobe Valley (photo right) it was 8,000 feet overcast so no instrument approach was needed. As I landed at the Latrobe Valley Airport, I recall 45 years ago Mr. John Willis (my flight instructor) telling me to pull off the runway and onto the taxiway and stop. He jumped out of the aircraft and said, "Mike you are too dangerous; you better go by yourself."  That was my first solo.