‘Sky Shores’ flight across Australia – Lake Eyer

Pulling charts and rulers out to plan the next trip across Australia, I was keen to get back and visit friends in the Aboriginal Art Centres across the north west I calculated that, at 120 knots, the flight would take 16hrs.

'Sky Shores', flight across Australia taking in Lake Eyer with Palya Art Tours.

After a couple of circuits in VH-DEK, I felt refreshed on the Cessna 180 ‘tail dragger’ again.

Leaving Leongatha airstrip in country Victoria, 5th March 1996, I looked forward to another solo flight across the centre of our country, to Darwin.

Refuelling in Mildura, I continued to pick the best height for tail-winds. Gradually, Lake Eyer’s distinctive outline started to approach. Having crossed this spell binding arena before, I anticipated the visual delights to come, and gently descended so that the horizon slowly rose, and rose. The distinction between land and sky began to blurr, as hoped.

Under the grey white cloud cover, Lake Eyer’s salty sands and wind swept shores echoed the sky. DEK and I descended a little further again and slowed down our airspeed. Distant and alone, we flew together as free as the birds below us skimming over the salt crystals. Our own wings slicing through the creamy air.

Keeping an eye on airspeed whilst sure of fuel and distance calculations, DEK and I could regain our direct track for Alice later – fly on to Warlukurlangu Artists where drums of avgas waited for us. We had that precious element, time.

Gently arcing, with the engine running smoothly, cockpit in order and charts neatly folded, DEK, the earth, sky and I, meshed as we circled and joined wings with the birds until there was no horizon; no beginning or end, to anything.

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