Amberley RAAF base fly-in

Archerfield – aviation museum

In February 2019 on a beautiful Sunday morning a group from the aero club flew from Redcliffe over to Archerfield where we met some fellow aviators from the Royal Queensland Aero Club for a flight to the RAAF base at Amberley. I went as a passenger in MSF with Mike, Bryan Galvin and Ashleigh Hodge, one of our recently graduated CPL pilots. On the way we passed by Lake Samsonvale.

It was a pleasant flight over The Gap and past the TV Towers and we were soon on final approach for landing on RWY10L at Archerfield.

We landed and taxied over to the art deco passenger terminal that was designed in the ‘30’s and built in 1941. The oak-panelled entry and ticket desk and carpeted observation lounge have been restored to much the same as they would have looked when hatted and gloved passengers passed through in flying’s glamour days.

We were 16 aircraft in all and after a group preflight briefing and allocation of departure sequence based on fastest first we climbed back into MSF and taxied out to the runway.

It’s only a 6 minute flight from Archerfield to Amberley in a Cirrus but a very rare one. Normally the RAAF don’t allow civilian aircraft to land there but the guys at the Royal Qld Aero Club knew someone who helped them obtain permission.

Being one of the faster planes we were number 3 in the queue. One after the other we took off from RWY10R, the shorter of the two sealed runways at Archerfield, and turned right, heading west and climbing to 1500ft for the short hop.

We flew over the top of Ipswich and over the middle of the base, turned downwind, base and final for RWY15. It is a 3km long, wide runway so we were asked to land about 1/3 of the way down instead of at the piano keys so we could reach the parking area at the other end quickly and vacate the runway for those following.  The aim point for touchdown was where the colour of the runway changes from white to black. The aviation museum is in the far distance on the right. It is open to the general public.

The Amberley aerodrome chart is below. We landed from the north onto RWY 15, complete with Instrument Landing System, then taxied via Taxiway A and J to the southern end.

On arrival we parked near the aviation heritage museum that was open for the day and we were invited to wander around and inspect the aircraft and machinery on display. This is a Pratt and Whitney engine from an F1-11. Each plane had two of these.

There was a CA-12 Boomerang that was designed and manufactured during WW2 in Australia. It was an amazing achievement taking only 16.5 weeks from the drawing board to initial test flight.

There were a number of impressive engines on display. This one’s a Lycoming T55 jet engine. 

A barista van and sausage sizzle were there for those who’d missed out on breakfast along with ice creams as the temperature rose to about 30 degrees.

By 1pm it was time to head home. Once again a preflight briefing was held, this time by an RAAF chap, and luckily the wind had backed allowing us to taxi to the nearby threshold of RWY04. We took off to the north east and headed back to Redcliffe over Lake Manchester and the Samford Valley.

As always we debriefed in the club house after landing.

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