The 2018 Battle of Britain dawn patrol was held on Sunday 16th September and we had the highest number of participating aircraft for over 3 years. It was also the first time in many years a twin participated. It was very pleasing to see so many members and other aviation enthusiasts turn out for what was an excellent morning for flying once the fog had cleared.
Whilst the fog appeared early in the morning, it seemed to contain itself to the western suburbs leaving Archerfield clear. Pilots, navigators and passengers all gathered for Don Mitchell’s famous rendition of Winston Churchill and a bit of history on the battle that occurred in the skies over Britain. Don then gave a flight briefing before the crews scrambled to take their positions and prepare for Don’s nod to start engines and blast off. Whilst starting his Cessna 310 VH-JQK, Peter Boughen noticed the western end of the runway rapidly disappearing in a sea of fog and not before too long the windsock disappeared as well, leaving our intrepid pilots no option but to shut down and wait for the fog to clear. This delayed the start of the dawn patrol by over 30 minutes but the fog cleared as quickly as it had appeared.
The aircraft departed in turn heading to the south east and Q1 at Surfers Paradise which was the first turning point before heading north coastal for Point Lookout and then up the eastern coast of Moreton Island. There was a large number of dolphins, sharks, stingrays and the occasional whales to be seen by those observant enough to spot them. Some pilots took the opportunity to wake all the campers along the beaches as well as disturb some fishermen whilst other pilots took in the scenery at a higher altitude.
It was then time to climb to the obligatory 3500’ for the crossing of Moreton Bay from Moreton Island to Bribie Island before descending tracking to Caboolture airport, Dayboro, the TV towers and back to Archerfield. The predicted westerlies started to make their presence felt as the patrol moved down through the Samford Valley which shook up a few of the sleepy heads in the back of a couple of the aircraft.
As all the aircraft were participating in a time trial to decide the winner of the perpetual trophy there were some very interesting manoeuvres carried out as aircraft returned to Archerfield to ensure they came close to their planned flight time.
With Ross Hawkins as the official timekeeper, the results could not be doubted and the overall winner was Peter Boughen in his Cessna 310 who landed 2 seconds later than his planned time. Second place went to Rob Spencer in a Cessna 172 who was 8 seconds late followed in third place by Chris Andrews in his Cirrus who was 37 seconds late. Peter is seen above holding the trophy presented by Brian Westin of Southern Skies Aviation.
A very big thank you to all those who helped with the planning and assistance through the morning including Deni Keeshan the Club Captain, Don Mitchell for the pre flight briefing, Ross Hawkins for time keeping ably assisted by Robbie Collison, Josh for his culinary skills in cooking up another great breakfast feast, Brian Westin for hosting and Phil Orr. Hopefully we will have even more participants at the next Dawn patrol in May 2019 to commemorate the Battle of the Coral Sea.