Australia 2003

To mark the introduction of Pipistrel aircraft to the Australian market Michael Coates, who had been appointed as the distributor for Australia and the U.S.A., invited team Pipistrel for a visit and first hand experience of flying light aircraft 'down under'.
To mark the introduction of Pipistrel aircraft to the Australian market Michael Coates, who had been appointed as the distributor for Australia and the U.S.A., invited team Pipistrel for a visit and first hand experience of flying light aircraft 'down under'. 
 
The trip also included attendance at one of Australia's biggest annual event for ultralight aviators, the Narromine Airshow which is held around Easter. Ivo, Marjana and Tine boarded the plane in Ljubljana, Slovenia and arrived at Sydney some 26 hours later. After a day of walking around in Sydney a 800 km drive northbound towards Narromine followed. Honestly, this was quite a challenge. You need to know that Australians drive on the left, and this is perfectly fine when the road is straight… but zig-zagging through all the streets and intersections as you move outside of Sydney is a different story nonetheless!

Traffic signs you only see in Australia

After passing the famous Blue Mountains the landscape changed from very green to what Australians call ‘the bush’ and slowly to flatland with grassy areas and very few tree. Arriving at Narromine in the evening we even managed to beat Michael Coates and Phil Allen, who were flying-in from Gold Coast by some 30 minutes. Michael had already thoughtfully arranged a bed & breakfast for us at a lovely farm stay only a couple of kilometers from the airport. And not to forget, those who have not witnessed a sunset in Australian desert (or close to it) cannot even imagine the sight of it! The air is so clean and the visibility so great that the last sunrays literally cut through the atmosphere…

Sunset just over Sinus' wingtip

Natfly (Narromine airshow) began the very next morning and we helped Michael and Phil to erect their stand as well as prepare and clean the aircraft for static display.
 
Charles Dalgish and his wife, who were the first private owners of the Sinus in Australia flew-in in the late morning. The bunch was now complete - two brand new shiny Sinus display and ready for demo flights as well. The interest was huge and the stand always crowded. The demo Sinus with Tine in one seat flew for 6-7 hours on average per day, 4 days straight!

Sinus just before one of many demo flights at Natfly
 
Flying in Australia’s flatlands is truly a unique experience … the supreme visibility (a day with visibility of 200 kms is considered misty!!!) and large area of lift make it ideal for gliding and thus ideal for Pipistrel motorgliders. During Natfly the team of Pipistrel also made contacts and took flying several high-ranked officials of the Australian Ultralight Federation and persuaded them of the flying characteristics of the Sinus. When driving back towards Sydney we visited the home of Charles Dalgish, which we passed ignorant already on our way towards Narromine. Charles and his lovely wife live at Little Hartley, just below the Blue Mountains where Charles has his private grass strip. We talked about the aircraft and Charles showed us around his new house which is full of gadgets. He can do activate almost anything with mother-of-all-remote controls! Most amusing, Charles also arranged a surprise helicopter ride over the famous Blue mountains for us…
 

Visibility is measured in hundreds of kilometers

A couple more days sightseeing in Sydney passed quickly and it was time to head home. The flight took us from Sydney to Kuala-Lumpur, from Kuala-Lumpur to Vienna and finally from Vienna to Ljubljana.

At this point we would like to thank Michael Coates for the invitation, great presentation of Pipistrels and logistics at Natfly, Phil Allen for countless jokes and funny stories that kept us going day after day, Charles Dalgish for being so kind and displaying his private Sinus at Natfly and later flying us with his helicopter around his home, as well as everybody who contributed to this fantastic journey to the other side of the Globe.
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