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Frequent flyers touch down

Wednesday, 30th April, 2014

Mega Fauna members Peter McLean and Ken Jelless fly in formation over Ivanhoe on Monday. Mega Fauna members Peter McLean and Ken Jelless fly in formation over Ivanhoe on Monday.

By Andrew Robertson

It’s often been said that Broken Hill is a long way from anywhere but you won’t find this group of frequent flyers complaining.

Members of the so-called Mega Fauna Flyers touched down in the city this week to spend a few days on the ground taking in the sights.

The group’s founder and leader Peter McLean said yesterday 55 people travelling in 35 recreational aircrafts had made the journey from his home town of Yarrawonga.

“We go away for a seven or eight day trip every year and we get people from all over Australia,” Mr McLean said.

“We came here a few years ago and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Mr McLean, a flying instructor, said he started the trips about 20 years ago with his wife Anne in response to the dwindling participation in aero clubs. 

Since then the Mega Fauna Flyers - named after an early trip to Mungo National Park where mega fauna used to roam - have flown to many parts of the country. 

Describing their jaunts as “a holiday for pilots”, Mr McLean said they always attracted a wide range of planes and people and were popular among pilots who hadn’t had much experience flying long distances as there was always “safety in numbers”.

“We don’t discriminate who comes along but they have to have some experience.

“We’ve probably got 600 years of flying experience between us all.” 

Mr McLean said the flight so far had been problem-free apart from “horrendous winds” that buffeted the fleet as it made its way from Ivanhoe and Menindee to Broken Hill on Monday. 

The group, which has already visited Silverton and taken a trip down the Daydream Mine, is spending three days here before flying back to Yarrawonga via Wentworth and Deniliquin.

There’s every chance they will be back again one day. 

“It’s a beautiful place,” Mr McLean said.

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