Visitors ‘fly in’

Tuesday, 9th May, 2017

Club Fly In coordinator Annie Haynes and her partner, club treasurer David Crawford with their Cessna. Club Fly In coordinator Annie Haynes and her partner, club treasurer David Crawford with their Cessna.

By Kara de Groot

The Aero Club of Broken Hill hosted the Cessna 200 Series Association’s biannual ‘Fly In’ over the weekend, which saw dozens of people from across the country descend on Broken Hill.

Coordinator Annie Haynes said it was perfect weather for the event, and Broken Hill, a regular stop for her, was very welcoming.

“At this fly in we had two from WA, four from Victoria, eight or so from SA where I’m from, and more than a dozen from Queensland attend, 36 in total,” Ms Haynes said.

“Most of us are semi-retired and we go and do what we want to do, when we want to do it, so it’s wonderful to have an aeroplane to do it in.

“We came in on Friday the 5th and had a meet and greet dinner, then went out to the sculptures for sunset.

“The next morning those interested went out to the RFDS hangar with the chief pilot and he did a rundown on the aeromedical side of things and the King Airs, the plane they use.”

Aside from meetings and sampling the local cuisine, the group also took the time to head out to Silverton and the Mundi Mundi Plains lookout, which Ms Haynes said was a particularly fantastic experience.

“Everybody loved it, and you get out of town and you get the colour of the dirt and the salt bush and blue bush, it’s just fabulous, and it was lovely to be up at the sculptures for sunset.”

The Club also received a talk from Order of Australia recipient Valmai Hankel.

“She’s not an aviator but she has done extensive travelling in the outback,” Ms Haynes said.

“She was the curator of rare books at the state library in South Australia, and she has a particular interest in explorers.

“She’s a very interesting woman and we thoroughly enjoyed it, and she was a delight to join us for the rest of our tours.”

Those tours included a trip up to the Menindee Lakes on Sunday, with a boat trip to explore the currently filled waterways.

The Fly In is more a chance for fellow aviation enthusiasts to get together, Ms Haynes said, rather than fly their Cessnas.

“A lot of them have six or more flights to get here, then that again to get home, so not too much flying while we were here,” Ms Haynes said.

“We’ve become a bit of a family really, because it’s generally the usual suspects that come, it’s a great, diverse group and we all go home exhausted.

“We just pick interesting places to visit, our last trip was to Wollongong and the HARS Aviation Museum there, and our next one is to Rockhampton and after that the Hunter Valley.”

This trip marked the group’s 18th get-together, and they will be celebrating their 10th anniversary next year in the Hunter Valley.