I wasn’t really sure if I would make it this time too. The first time I was in Sydney, I had managed to call the Bankstown airport to determine if they would let me fly with a US license, which they did. I hoped to make it there. How I didn’t know. I never made it there. Instead, I did a scenic helicopter flight.
Second time around, I didn’t even call them. I was travelling with a friend. My schedule was overbooked. There was no way I could squeeze in a day of flying.
Third times a charm, as they say.
I was more relaxed. My plans for Alice Springs fell through. And I knew, I was ripe for flying.
I checked the weather and planned the best weather day for my flight. Checking in with Sydney Flight Center, I realized, as expected, all aircraft and instructors were booked with no chance of a cancellation, on the perfect day for flying. Bummer!
The next couple of days were a washout, with thunderstorms and rain in the forecast. I should have known that weather forecasting is still an art. I was fortunate enough to schedule a scenic flight training flight with Sydney Flight College on the last day of my two week vacation. The day dawned, almost clear in Sydney Harbor and with scatter cloud layer in Bankstown.
Scoffileds or Sydney Flight College (thanks Gert) in Bankstown Airport offers Scenic Flight Training flights which is perfect for a pilot with limited time to fly in Sydney. Getting to Bankstown might be a challenge: since the train from Sydney brings one to Bankstown. But the trip from the train station to the airport is undecided. The cheapest option is to use Uber or the bus. A cab, which is what I used ends up being $20 AUD. Better yet, grab a rental car!
Once my instructor David realized I was an instrument rated pilot, he was game to let me fly and we set off in the Piper Warrior with me at the controls. Direct to Parramatta, and then the harbor and waited for ATC clearance.
Sadly, it was a busy day for ATC due to the impending weather. I didn’t get to fly close to the Harbor Bridge or the Opera House. Still, I got to do the coveted takeoff and landing and the circuit outside the Class Bravo Sydney Airspace.
I didn’t get a chance to explore the airport area, but there is a nearby golf course and cafe if you wish to tee off after or before some fun flying, or visit the Flyer’s Cafe on Airport Avenue for some lunch. There is also the Australian Aviation Museum open only on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
If you are in Sydney and have a day to spare, visit Sydney Flying Club for a fun scenic flight training flight.
Sydney Metro Airport (YSBK)