Fields of bright yellow canola and green cereal crops, (planted these days in perfect lines by farmers using GPS tracking devices on their agricultural equipment), stretch for miles below us.
We fly low over sheep stations and typical Australian landscapes with eucalypts lining the now-running creeks and waterholes.
The only telescope in the world that tracked and recorded the complete first manned mission to land on the moon in 1969 is here below me outside Parkes, NSW!
A swing back over the town let’s me see the old railway station and wheat silos of my grandfather’s day from on high; and then out over the huge distribution complexes that one day will be expanded as a central hub for the whole Continent, (if our Federal Government can ever rise above short-term politics and finally address strategic infrastructure upgrades such as this).
Here I am aloft wedged in behind Peter under an 8-metre span of red and white wing at 300 feet, happily dipping and diving through the air as free as a bird. Exhilarating!
I fear for but a split-second when Peter’s whole body involuntarily jerks sideways. “Surely he’s not having a stroke? Where’s that switch that he told me about in the pre-flight safety briefing that fires a ballistic ‘chute to lower the whole micro-light (and me) gently back to earth?”
Unbelievably, a gossamer thread trailing from a catapulting spider has struck Peter across the face, and of course there is no drama for one as experienced as he. But can you imagine a spider swinging that high?
Safely back on terra firma after an hour in the sky, we drive by a country butcher for some thick bacon rashers and freshly laid, free-range eggs.
This intrepid aviator is hungry!
I really enjoyed reading of your exploits in Parkes and particularly your daring flight. You certainly like to ‘push the envelope’.
We were thinking of Les on his big day and although Anne was a little worried about the safety of the ultralight we knew he would be right there on your shoulder. It was great to see all the old photos – they brought a tear to my eyes.