In December 2006, I had a very enjoyable aerobatic/sightseeing flight out of Gawler Airfield, South Australia in Kevin Lewis' beautifully restored Nanchang CJ-6.
In June 2007, I had spent over two weeks at work just north of Adelaide, and needed a welcome break. I got in touch with Kevin Lewis again, and he said he already had one flight planned for Sunday, and would welcome a second! Kevin's basing his Nanchang CJ-6 out of Parafield airport, about 20 minutes north of downtown Adelaide.
Even though late June is the start of winter in Australia, the Adelaide weather was mostly sunny on Sunday, with temperatures around 60 degrees F (15 degrees C). I met Kevin at Parafield airport, and helped pre-flight and move his beautiful Nanchang out of his large hangar and into the late-morning sun. After a quick startup and taxi, we launched and quickly turned west for a run along the coast. The airspace around Adelaide is fairly busy, with traffic from Adelaide International, Parafield and nearby RAAF Edinburgh, so Kevin had filed a flight plan to work along the coast and also for clearance into the aerobatic working area.
After leveling off at 500 feet westbound, Kevin used hand signals to point out turns and rollouts as we negotiated our way through the local airspace maze. Once over the bay, I headed south, still cruising at 500 feet just off the coast, with a few orbits called by Air Traffic Control for spacing from traffic, to allow further passage to the south.
I had mentioned to Kevin that one of my Wedgetail managers, Kent Lyons, had moved his family into a condo at Henley Beach, and Kevin had flight planned to take us along the coast to the neighborhood of Henley Beach. Traffic at Adelaide International was lining up, but I was able to cruise far enough south to get some good views, and photos, of the Henley Beach area.
Further coastal flight to the south would have us orbiting for awhile, so I turned north and followed Kevin's directions into the aerobatic area southwest of Parafield, over a large area of salt evaporation ponds. Once I climbed into the aerobatic box, we alternated loops, barrel and aileron rolls, and a final loop for the camera. What a great way to spend a Sunday!
About this time Kevin got a buzz on his cell phone that told him his demo passenger had arrived at Parafield, so I handed over the flight controls, and Kevin made a rapid descent directly out of the aerobatic box into a screaming final approach, culminating with a smooth touchdown on Parafield's runway.
We quickly taxied back to Kevin's hangar, and I helped strap in his waiting demo passenger.
Thanks again for the chance to fly your stunning Nanchang CJ-6, and thank Elizabeth for the outstanding Kangaroo Curry!