Flying to lunch at the Gold Coast

On Sunday 19th February 2023 the Redcliffe Aero Club arranged a flyaway to the Gold Coast for lunch. It involved landing at the international airport in “Class C” airspace, something I hadn’t done for a few years. It’s not that difficult but I had to “swot up” a bit on the procedures and radio calls before we went. Nils, a friend from Canada, who inspired me to obtain my PPL many years ago, was in town so I invited him along, and invited Harpur to join us, in MSF. A couple of days before departure Sam Keenan the organiser asked whether we had room for one more so after a quick check of the weight and balance I let Garry Ayre know that he could join us too. Garry recently completed his restricted pilot licence and is now starting to attempt his PPL so is keen to learn more about flying cross country. With our combined weights I could just squeeze in 180 litres of fuel and remain under maximum take off weight.

It turned out to be a perfect day with scattered clouds at about 4000ft and light winds. We took off at 10:30 and tracked via Woorim to Tangalooma then Pt Lookout and across Straddie. I obtained a transponder code from Brisbane Centre and then tracked over water to Q1 where I had to call up Gold Coast Tower. They sent us to Robina Town Centre and then vectored us south into the controlled airspace to join a left downwind for RWY32. We followed a QANTAS 737 in, being careful to leave enough room to avoid wake turbulence. On the ground we taxied to the GA apron and shut down. Sam Keenan appeared shortly after and parked right behind us. Just before we were about to leave the airport to find an Uber the ARO appeared in his 4WD and told us we couldn’t park where we had and made us move to the grass at the northern end of the apron. Not a problem.

Soon we were in our Uber on the way to Sibllings Restaurant at Kirra Beach. Paul and Michele were already there, having flown down in one of the C172’s along with Carol as passenger. Luc turned up in a short while, having walked and swum all the way from the airport. He’d arrived quite a bit earlier.

A lovely casual lunch lasted from 12 until 2 when we called another Uber and headed back to the airport. This time I’d planned to fly inland and called up Gold Coast Clearance Delivery to obtain my airways clearance to Redcliffe via Mount Warning. They told me that I’d have to contact Brisbane Approach on 123.6 after takeoff. Next was the taxi clearance from Gold Coast Ground that took us to holding point Hotel for RWY16. The wind had changed you see so we could take off to the south, making our track to Mt Warning straightforward. We did our run ups at holding point Hotel and then taxied to the holding point for RWY16. I told the tower we were “ready” and they cleared us to line up and take off, “Make a right turn” onto our track and climb and maintain 2500ft. Once airborne I gave a departure report and Tower told me to change to Brisbane Approach. They then monitored us until we left controlled airspace on our way past Murwillimbah. Back in uncontrolled airspace we were soon passing Mt Warning and the Scenic Rim, and climbed to 4000ft to hop over the edge of the caldera and into the valley beyond. Then it was a fairly straight track via Beaudesert to Park Ridge Water Tower where we called up Archer Tower and requested a transit over Archerfield at 1500ft. Passing over the field and the Walter Taylor Bridge we had a great view of the Brisbane CBD as we headed north on the eastern edge of Mount Coot-the and via Petrie back to Redcliffe.

All in all a very pleasant outing and a great opportunity for Garry to see how to fly cross country through Class G, Class D and Class C airspace.

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