✦ If they didn't have to land to fuel up, adventure flight pilots Philip Munro and Garry Herne would probably just keep on soaring. Such is the passion of those who love flying.
"Up, up and away!" It's not just Superman who is taking to the skies and doing acrobatic stunts.
Right here on Planet Earth, we met up with two pilots so passionate about what they do they continue to fly even when they are off work! Garry Herne is a pilot with Qantas Airways AND he flies when he's not working!
Both Philip Munro and Garry Herne specialise in aerobatic flights and take people up to the skies spinning, soaring and looping. Brilliant-Online barely managed to catch up with them for a quick chat before they flew off again!
What is aerobatic flying?
So what exactly is aerobatic flying? Those who love planes will tell you these massive machines of metal are actually one of the most graceful, sleek and agile things you can see in the air. A well-trained pilot with the right aircraft can perform incredible manoeuvres. There are five basic ones - loops, snap rolls, barrel rolls, spins and hammerheads. Just as a ballet dancer combines basic steps together fluidly to create a choreography, pilots do the same with their planes. A creative combination of these manoeuvres make up an aerobatic display.
Philip Munro and his CT4
Philip showed us the CT4 plane that had originally been in the Air Force for 30 years until 1993. It is a military training aircraft designed to meet the needs of basic pilot training in the RAAF. It was built by New Zealand Aerospace Industries. This beauty is capable of some jaw-dropping aerobatics and can withstand up to +6 and -3 G with a maximum speed of 383kph. With a large clear canopy, it is also ideal for leisurely scenic flights.
When the Air Force decided they didn't need so many CT4s, Philip lost no time in getting his hands on one! Get into a CT4 with Philip and he may just take you on a wild aerobatic ride... or flight!
Philip has an instructor rating and is currently doing commercial flights where he teaches aerobatics from Ballina. In fact, he had just flown in from Ballina to participate in the South Grafton Wheels and Wings event, a mere 20-min flight away!
In spite of having flown for 35 years, Philip shows no sign of slowing down and putting his feet on solid ground!
Garry Herne and his Yak 52
Garry has clocked in 27,000 hours of flying. Imagine that! And you may not believe this, but on his off days (when he's not flying for Qantas Airways), he actually does aerobatic flying in his Yak52!
The Yak 52 is a 1991 model built for the Russian Air Force, and is one of the newest Yaks in Australia. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the Yak stayed quietly in storage until 1997 when it was given a fresh lease of life and imported to Australia.
The Yak 52 has a powerful 360hp supercharged 9 cylinder radial engine and the aircraft is stressed to +7/-5 G. It is capable of mind-blowing aerobatics, and is also the perfect aircraft to go cruising around in, where you can take in the amazing scenery in the Byron Bay area.
Did you know that the Yak 52 is fitted with a smoke generator that uses vegetable oil to produce a high visibility white smoke trail? This way, people down below can keep track of your flight path!
More adventure flights!
Philip and Garry take time 'off work' by going on adventure flights together with their old 'warbirds'.
Both pilots love flying and taking people up in the air. Whether it's a leisurely cruise or a heart-stopping adrenalin-charged aerobatic flight, Philip and Garry are ready to go.
With over 8000 flights under their belts, they have an impeccable safety record. Safety is their prime concern and they hold an Air Operator Certificate and undergo regular audits by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on flight operations and maintenance.
If you're looking for that special treat or experience for yourself or as a gift, this will be one flight to remember. Flights can be catered to individual taste and budget. Philip and Garry also provide training for pilots interested in aerobatics.
Ready to buckle up and soar?
Byron Air Adventures
a/ Ballina Byron Gateway Airport., 210 Southern Cross Dr, Ballina NSW 2478
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