Summary

Many people have expressed interest in doing a similar circumnavigation themselves so we decided to summarize the things we would do differently and mention what we thought worked well.

With regards to aircraft equipment, an autopilot would have been very useful and the highest priority. A stormscope and a panel mounted HF radio would have made life easier as would pressurization as breathing through an oxygen mask for up to 10.5 hours is not comfortable and makes communication difficult but the additional 250 pounds of weight for pressurization would have reduced our range in the C1c category.

The bladder tank was great in that it was so light when empty. With the bladder holding 460 litres and the wings the same, we could carry two hours reserve fuel every where we went. The only issue with the fuel was when the bladder was full at take-off, pushing the seat backs vertical.

Some performance details follow: We flew between 19,000 and 29,000 feet for the majority of the flight, often around 21,000 due to the oxygen system. Mostly flying at 65% power rich of peak for a TAS between 260 knots at high weights and 310 knots at FL290 when light. The fuel flow when rich of peak was 81 litres per hour, reducing to 61 litres per hour lean of peak.

We had 2 custom made survival jackets that we wore every sector. They were comfortable and had our survival beacons, flares, life jackets, emergency rations always on us.

The instrument panel had 2 VHF's, VOR/ILS, International DME, 2 panel mounted GPS's and a Transponder. A battery powered hand held GPS was carried in case of an electrical failure. The electric attitude indicator saved us from having to land in India and got us all the way back to Australia.

One thing we did not plan on was the horrendous price of avgas other than in the USA. The availability is getting more difficult with time. We did our own ground handling, carrying many General Declarations & by avoiding many less reputable countries, avoided being extorted for “departure taxes” or “handling fees”.

The most enjoyable times we had were with friends in the USA, Switzerland , Italy & Darwin. It is wonderful to be in the company of “aviation people” and not stay in another Hotel!

Preparation is the key to a flight like this and a network of reliable support was invaluable. We thank Allan Searle for the use of two survival suits, Allan Kushin for the use of his portableHF Radio, Captain Ray Heiniger, Bob Bailey , Glenn Elms of Qantas, Thrane & Thrane for the loan of the Sat Com, Bob Veale our LAME, Steve & Kim Lorentzen , Lance Neibauer of Lancair, The Menzimer family of Ray Allen Company, Marcel & Sylvia Spiess, Dr Flavio & Magda Saccomanno, Valentino Poli, Damien Coyne, Lance Gibb, Reg Darwell, Peter Hodgens & many others who made this flight happen.

Thank You, Alex & Gary

 

Epilogue

The year following the circumnavigation, my 3 Sons outgrew the back seat and I sold VH-LKG. I have recently repurchased it and will soon upgrade the avionics.