TCMAC‟s 27th Annual Seaplane event was held on the weekend of the 15th to 17th October. Being a seaplane event water was a major factor in our planning, but little did we know just what a part it would play.
Due to normal seasonal rain (we have been in drought for the past 10 years) the lake is a 50% capacity by the end of August. Would the site that we have used for the past 4 years at the Holbrook Boat Club be useable? A trip out the boat club and the Wymah Valley Resort told us that the previous flying site was already under water. An inspection of the area showed us that at 75% capacity (the level we assumed the lake would reach) there was not any suitable sites that could be used base on the Wymah Resort area.
We then started planning to return to our traditional site at Table Top Reserve. The lake continued to fill. With all paper work completed and permits granted we settled in to watch the progress of the lake, having to leave the actual setting up of the site till just a few days before the actual event. Come Wednesday prior to the event and the weather report for the area for the next few days was a horror. 40 to 50mm of rain is predicted, winds above 25km/h, and snow down to 500m. Phone calls come in from many expected entrants that it would not be feasible for them to attend due to the weather. The members at the Parker Field Clubhouse elect not to set up any fencing that Wednesday as any star stakes may be under water by the weekend. Best leave everything till Friday. Friday! About 15 volunteers, several vehicles and two trailers are at the clubhouse ready to make the move and it starts to rain. And rain and Rain and RAIN. We watch as water courses across our field, floods the taxiway from the pits to the strip, and final watch the DUCKS practice their swimming along our Runway.
Ducks test TCMAC’s Runway
We abandon any thought of setting up for the day and seriously consider cancelling the event altogether, but agree to try to set up again on Saturday morning.
On the Friday afternoon people start to arrive and a couple camp at the reserve. Others have made it from Sydney (before the road closures) and other locations. Saturday Morning we have a number of people at Table Top Reserve as we set up the tent for the canteen and the equipment that we think we will need to run a fairly low key event. The weather reports for the weekend were correct, Saturday only had a few showers but remained windy. We did not get any snow but it did fall in nearby areas. And in all this some hardy soles did manage to get off the water (I had one short flight that was no fun at all). Ray and his assistants run a sausage sizzle and served drinks all day.
When we started flying on Friday afternoon the lake was at 85% by the end of flying Sunday the lake had risen to 93%. This rapid rise in level caused another problem. Richard Frazer and Byron who were camping at the lake got up at 5:30am Sunday morning to check on the water level, only to discover that their inflatable boat and Kumagutza were gone. Richard applied his navigational skills (learnt piloting A380‟s) and found the boats 1.7 miles away (as the crow flies, much further by road) and recovered them. The flying on Sunday was a little better, no rain and the wind has abated some what, but still could not be called a breeze.
Anyone Seen A Boat?
Most people got in all the flying they wanted and I think most had a good time.
People were fed and raffle tickets where sold. The Jelly Bean guessing competition, which was run by the Appin Club was won by Sue Shoebridge (1298 Beans).
We closed camp and packed up at about 4:00pm Sunday.
At going to press the lake continues to rise – 99%. If you were now standing where the canteen was set up you would be knee deep in water, and all evidence of Blowies mud adventure has been washed away.
ONE week after – Canteen Site!
Hope to see everyone back again next year with a lot better weather and a lot more Flying