Here's some of them - in roughly chronological order:
First rear-seat pax:After obtaining my Cirrus qualifications in the previous month, I began to get to know the SR20 aircraft. A couple of local scenic flights followed, but the most notable one is flying a my first rear-seat passenger!
Coming from flying only two-seat aircraft, this was a momentous occasion. I had to turn around to make sure our friend Veronica was plugged in and strapped in correctly. Although only short in duration due to some rain showers in the area, she really seemed to enjoy the coastal flight!
Flight to Maitland, NSW:
To attend the Maitland Airshow in New South Wales and represent AvPlan EFB, Edgar and I were asked to bring up the aircraft so it could also be displayed and introduced to potential Cirrus clients.
We shared the flying duties. At Edgar's insistence, I flew the first leg from Moorabbin to Wagga Wagga, where we would refuel (both ourselves and the aircraft) then switch places and Edgar would captain the next leg.
After the show, some huge thunderstorms on the mountain ranges prevented us from departing until the next morning - where we had to wait for some pesky fog to dissipate! Once airborne (I flew the first Maitland - Wagga leg), we were treated to incredibly picturesque views as we crossed the Great Dividing Range.
Some low cloud and high winds also tested us for this particular journey, but I plan to write a separate blog post about it.
Introduced Dad to the Cirrus:
For his birthday, I flew down to West Sale aerodrome (only minutes from my parent's house) where Dad met me for a little local scenic flight.
He enjoyed the flight, and found the Cirrus to be smooth and sporty. He took to it like a duck to water!
Helicopter scenic flight:
Melanie had given me a scenic flight voucher for me and two others for a scenic flight around Melbourne city. I finally got the chance to grab Shane and Edgar and we went up in the very shiny R44.
The views were absolutely stunning, and it was a nice change to not have a wing in the frame of the photo!
I was lucky enough to be selected to represent AvPlan EFB at the biggest airshow in the world - somewhere I've always wanted to go: EAA Airventure at OshKosh Wisconsin.
As well as seeing some amazing aircraft that Australia's airshow scene could only dream about, I got to meet up with many aviation podcasters that I've been listening to for many years. Plus, many of the other listeners that I've interacted with online due to the communities popping up around these podcasts.
After the airshow finished, I joined up with Dad and his long-time friend and fellow pilot Mark to visit Dayton, Ohio. Whilst there, we visited the National Museum of the USAF; seeing the supersonic XB-70 and a B2 Spirit was incredible.
It was a treat to see the display case for the Doolittle Raiders, which is housed at the museum. Each year the Raiders members would return and, using a goblet inscribed with their name, drink a toast of rare brandy to those who have since passed. The goblets of those passed members are turned upside down in the display case. When I saw them, all but one goblet were inverted.
To see the actual 1905 Wight Flyer III was a huge treat, which is restored and housed in Wright Hall - a building who's design and construction was overseen by Orville Wright himself.
Next, we flew to San Francisco where we rented a car and drove down to Silicon Valley where I met up with Cirrus Guru and popular podcaster Max Trescott. We rented a beautiful Cirrus SR20, and we did this:
It was one of the most amazing flights I've ever had the pleasure of flying. The air traffic control was very accommodating in a busy region. With their approval, we flew 2 nautical miles past the San Francisco International Airport and completed a Bay Scenic.
My first General Aviation flight in the USA, and the first 'N' registered aircraft in my logbook.
Melbourne city orbits with friends:
I built up the confidence to fly city orbits of Melbourne CBD; something I had only previously done with an instructor on board. It's a busy flight, but a rewarding one - with some beautiful scenery and a view of Melbourne few people get to experience.
It makes for very happy passengers!
Who can blame them for enjoying them; when we have views like this?!
Taking Mel out for Sunday lunch:
We flew up to Ballarat to visit and have roast lunch with her parents. She particularly loved the fact that it is a 25 minute flight, which sure beats a 1.5 hour drive!
Achieved my Private Pilot Licence:
Yep. After almost two years of mooching on my Recreational Pilot Licence, I finally decided to jump in and do it. I would have had to do a biennial flight review (BFR) in Jan/Feb anyway, so I thought I'd make a little more effort and step up to the next licence level - and reset my BFR clock at the same time!
I had hoped to have it all finished by Christmas, but aircraft availability pushed it back a little. I ended up doing my PPL flight test on the 27th. That's still pretty close, right?
I even managed to convince my instructor Darren to allow me to take an SCS* on one of the training flights in the lead up to the test day!
(*Smug Cirrus Selfie 😀)
At some point, I hope to sit down and write in detail the stories behind the above adventures.
What's in store for 2018?
Who knows? Short term, I'll continue the adventures - hopefully going further afield, and even look at stepping up to the SR22 (which goes faster and carries more load). One day, I'll maybe tackle something like my instrument rating!
Thanks for reading!