Return trip to Coen on veteran DC-3 VH-MIN.
GAFLIKS was offered a ride up and back by DC-3
tasked to pick up a
group. I was invited to sit in the jump
seat (a first for me) for take off. Charlie Wycherley and Barry Watts occupied
the front office, a pair of experienced mainline crew. Flight time was planned
for 1hr36 for the 237 mile trip at FL80. Airborne from CNS we were cleared for
a radar7 departure on a heading of 313 squaak 0676. Being a typical dry season
day visibility was excellent and soon Laura came up on track after 45mins
ground speed indicating 147kts. Arr RW11
at Coen, we loaded our group of 25 and we were taxiing in no time. Refuelling wasn’t necessary as we had loaded
380 gals. Australia
Heading 134 was taken up leaving Coen levelling at FL70, and as Charlie moved the portable GPS to another window it promptly lost the signal. Not a problem, rising smoke near Laura (noted on the inbound) confirmed we were on track after Barry humorously applied the TLAR theory (that looks about right). As Charlie added, “never touch anything on a DC-3 that you don’t have to”.
The GPS came alive again soon after indicating a ground speed of 132kts. Traffic on frequency during our return included Trojan09 (Caribou) Horn Island for Weipa, a Blackhawk tracking coastal for TSV at 500ft, and continuous circuit area calls from BN-2 VH-XFF of UZU Air on its milk run around the Torres Straits. At 60DME CNS app was called up on 123.8. A gradual decent overhead Port
Douglas for RW15 followed and touchdown with a time interval
of 1Hr49mins. A very enjoyable but brief
encounter with a veteran of the ‘Golden Age’
Thanks to GAFLIKS for providing this Yestayear report.