Page 175

The Australian International Air Show

Avalon 2013

No, I'm not going to fill the page with aeroplane photographs. Not this page, that is, but one hidden away in our Miscellaneous Section so those that want to go there can and the majority needn't. However, you don't escape that easily because I saw stunt pilots perform the most crazy antics you can imagine and I just have to post two pictures here.

An Edge and a Pitt

Question: How did these two insane pilots possibly miss each other?

The pilot flying the left hand aircraft, an Edge 540, is attractive Melissa Pemberton. The pilot approaching her head on is Skip Stewart in his Pitts Special. This manoeuvre demands total concentration but to complicate it further, explosives were detonated below the aircraft as they closed on each other at over 200 m.p.h. The picture shows dirt and smoke in the air on the left.

A Pitt Flying a Knife Edge

Skip Stewart flew his Pitts Special in this 'knife edge' manoeuvre for the full length of the crowd
at an altitude of about ten feet. I'd never seen anything like it!

Just two of the exciting performances by perhaps the most expert stunt pilots in the world. There was a multitude of other exciting aircraft in the air including the very controversial Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor.

On the subject of the Raptor, according to the Americans, this aircraft is the most advanced combat aircraft in the world - it is certainly the most expensive - but all is NOT what it seems! There are six crashes and two deaths on record. Some of the crashes were due to faulty software. There's also a major problem with the pilot's oxygen system. When two serving U.S.A.F. Raptor pilots refuse to fly the aircraft and go on American television to publicly air their concerns, you can be certain it's serious.

It appears Raptor pilots can suffer from hypoxia, becoming so disorientated that they can't find simple controls. One pilot flew through a tree on landing without being aware he'd done it. All Raptors were grounded so the problem could be resolved. It was NOT resolved and now the pilots are being ordered to continue flying this aircraft. One pilot who has refused to fly until the problem is resolved has been warned he'll lose his job. Some pilots are increasing their life insurance. Many suffer from what they call the Raptor Cough.

The television programme that aired these concerns was 60 Minutes. To watch that episode click here: 60 Minutes (Allow about a minute for the advertising to finish. It's worth waiting.)

But back to the Air Show; in all I took 372 photographs, some of which I'll place on a special Avalon page in our Miscellaneous Section. Click on Avalon 2013 to go there.
A more mundane matter.

We had some repairs done to our Pajero which left us with some panels to dispose of. A couple were too large to fit in the 'wheely bins' at the caravan park so we asked where the nearest tip was situated. Tip, did I say? Sorry, Waste Transfer Stations they're called now. When we arrived at the supposed site of the tip, there wasn't one there. We asked Alice, our GPS, to locate the nearest for us which she did. It was eighteen kilometres away. When we arrived we found it had been closed for three years but a sign informed us where the nearest open tip could be found. Ho-hum. Another long drive found us at an open tip where we were charged $27 - the minimum charge - to dump these four bits of rubbish. Cash only, the EFTPOS machine was 'down'. And no receipt was offered.

An hour's driving and a $27 fee. I'm almost convinced we should have done what many do. Take the rubbish out for a ride one dark night and return without it.

New Panels on Pajero

However, with the panels (arrowed) replaced and painted our car looks very nice for an 11 year old.
The pristine panels came from a front-end wreck at a fraction of the cost of new.

The Mornington Peninsula

Whilst we're still here in Dandenong we thought we'd take a drive around the Mornington Peninsula. The map below shows Port Phillip Bay with the Melbourne metropolitan area up at the top. The Mornington Peninsula is the 'pincer' that encloses the bay on the right. The red arrow indicates where our caravan is currently located.

Map of Port Philip Bay

You'll remember how our hero, Captain Matthew Flinders, loved to name everything he discovered, either after his seniors in the Royal Navy or after places in his native Lincolnshire. Well, Matt in his ship Endeavour, was beaten into Port Phillip Bay by John Murray in the Lady Nelson. By the time the Endeavour arrived, just ten weeks after the Lady Nelson, John Murray had named the bay Port King after the serving Governor of New South Wales, Philip Gidley King. Governor King must have been a modest gentleman because he changed the name to Port Phillip Bay after his predecessor, Admiral Arthur Phillip, who had been the first governor. So old Matt missed out by a whisker.

We drove down the west coast of the peninsula visiting the town of Mornington first. We were surprised what a busy place it was, and quite large too. We went on through the town centre to the coast.


The quay and jetty at Mornington. Can you see something on the horizon, roughly in the picture centre?

Melbourne from Mornington

Twisting the lens to full zoom reveals the City of Melbourne across Port Phillip Bay.

Pam was keen to visit a scenic lookout called 'Arthur's Seat' about twenty kilometres further down the coast, so we ambled on south(ish) through the little town of Dromana until we saw the signs. The road up to Arthur's Seat was very steep and twisting, turning through multiple 'U' bends. The view from the top made it worthwhile, however, and I got to sit on Arthur's Seat.

View From Arthur's Seat

This view from Arthur's Seat over the Mornington Peninsula Freeway illustrates the hill's steepness.
It rises 1,001 ft above sea level.

There is a famous Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, Scotland. The origin of that name is open to debate. This Arthur's Seat, contrary to the assumption I made, is not named after Admiral Arthur Phillips for whom the Bay is named, but because the captain of the Lady Nelson, Acting Lieutenant John Murray who came from Edinburgh, thought the hill resembled that city's Arthur's Seat.

Flinders Plaque on Arthur's Seat

Well, if young Matt Flinders was just too late to name the hill, he at least has a plaque dedicated to his memory on the summit. And richly deserved, too. He was a great man who wasn't appreciated nearly enough during his lifetime.

It's good to see Matthew Flinders remembered.
Not good that a politician hogs half his plaque.

This direct quote from an ABC website gives an idea of how poor Matt was treated:

He did it all - but - boats that rotted beneath him; shipwrecks not of his own doing that lost precious plant cargoes; six and a half years of imprisonment on Isle de France, ('the greatest blot on French maritime history'); French maps and journals claiming HIS work published long before he returned to an England, where he was almost forgotten. Six years of unremitting toil, and ever increasing ill health - and, on the 19th July, the very date that his ship the 'Investigator' had sailed from England less than a decade ago, Matthew Flinders was dead.

Yes, Matthew Flinders is our hero; his treatment by the French and by his own country was nothing short of criminal.

Back to Arthur's Seat. There is a chairlift to the top of the hill but after several accidents it is now closed. In October 2009 Parks Victoria started looking for an operator to design, construct, run and maintain a new chairlift. It would appear they are still looking.

There is also a plaque on the summit dedicated to the memory of eight WWII airmen who died on Arthur's Seat in two separate crashes when their aircraft collided with the hill in bad weather.

Two Ships Pass on Port Phillip Bay

Two cargo ships pass in the deep water channel in Port Phillip Bay.

There were stopping areas at intervals on the tortuous road down from Arthur's Seat providing panoramic views of the Bay. Despite its large area, the Bay is mostly shallow. We watched two cargo ships pass in the deep water channel, one bound for Melbourne, the other leaving. They slowed to a crawl as they converged.

We continued on towards the tip of the Peninsula, as far as we could go. The extreme tip forms the Nepean National Park and the gate was closed. In the Park is Cheviot Beach where Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim in December 1967 and was never seen again. I can think of another Prime Minister who might like to go swimming.

Having driven down the west coast of the Peninsula we returned via the east coast, stopping for refreshments at a boat marina in a town called Hastings. After that we commanded Alice, our GPS navigator, to take us directly home.
Limited Health Certificate Issued

After a very thorough (if slightly overdue) 70 year inspection I have been issued with a 'limited' certificate valid for another two years. This comes with stringent restrictions and conditions. Due to a problem - possibly corrosion - in my main spar my maximum speed is greatly reduced and high 'G' manoeuvres are banned - my airframe is no longer safe to accept stresses over one 'G'. In fact, after a few 'reds' it has difficulty coping with one 'G' manoeuvres.

The endoscope revealed an unsuspected problem in my refueling equipment which will be re-examined during the 2015 inspection.

The outcome was not all bad, however. My communications receiver has been serviced and now both channels work correctly. The same can't be said for my Random Access Memory which has deteriorated severely. This is common in models produced in the first half of the last century and no fix is currently available.
Acheron - the Twin Rivers Holiday Park

Finally escaping from Dandenong with repairs completed to the caravan, the car and ourselves, we travelled north to a beautiful caravan park on the banks of the swollen Goulburn River. I'll show you a picture here then we'll move on to Page 176.

Goulburn River at Twin Rivers

Our caravan on the banks of the Goulburn River.

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