A flight to Coffs Harbour

I’ve been trying to gain experience with IFR and IMC so flew ROC down to Coffs Harbour just before Christmas 2017 to visit my sister Liz.  The Stradbroke Island aero club hosts a breakfast on the third Saturday of every month and that was what it was so before heading to Coffs I did a 20 minute VFR flight over Moreton Bay to Straddie with some other aero club members from Redcliffe. About 30 aircraft attended the breakfast, varying in size from single person ultra lights to six seaters.


Parked at Dunwich

After an hour or so the others headed back to Redcliffe and I took off IFR to Coffs Harbour via the Gold Coast. There was a bit of traffic at the Gold Coast so ATC sent me inland into IMC. I hadn’t reckoned on that so hadn’t calculated a lowest safe for that track. I told the controller so and he let me track direct to Coffs and climb. I emerged from the clouds not far from Mt Warning.

Clouds near Mt Warning

Emerging from the clouds

The clouds gradually cleared as I headed south. First Evans Head emerged between the clouds.

Evans through the clouds

Evans Head

Then I passed Yamba and Iluka straddling the Clarence River.

Iluka and Yamba and Clarence River

Iluka and Yamba

At Coffs I was met by Liz and two of her grandchildren who inspected ROC thoroughly and seemed to give it thumbs up, even if it “only fits 4 people”.


On the ground at Coffs

It was a good day to practice IFR with patches of cloud so about 30 minutes of IMC during the 90 minute flight. I tied down the ROC and we headed off to Bellingen to stay the night. During the night there was a very strong wind and I was a bit concerned about ROC’s welfare but I had tied it down firmly and it was none the worse for wear when we returned on Sunday morning for the return flight.

After preflighting and submitting my flight notification I had to taxi all the way to the far end of the very long runway for takeoff. I thought the kids would get bored and depart but no, they waited and apparently thought my takeoff was pretty good – but not as impressive as the sky diving plane that took off with its door missing!

Homewards was IFR again but this time inland, via Casino and Kyogle


Near Kyogle

I then passed over the Border Ranges with Mt Lindsay and Mt Barney then on to and over Beaudesert, Springfield Lakes, Lake Manchester and the ranges west of Brisbane.

Mt Lindsay and Mt Barney

Passing Mt Lindsay and Mt Barney

It was another great day for flying IFR with about 30 minutes of IMC and the other 60 minutes clear blue skies.


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