Day 6 for Double Trouble in the Outback Air Race 2001

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Broken Hill to Reola Station

Following a day's rest which ended up with us relinquishing our fifth leg, but retaining the ladder, we headed out to the airport early in the morning to fly to Reola station at The Back of Bourke.
Dirk was in command as we headed out for the long taxi for runway 32. In order to expedite the departure (and due to a lack of taxiways) we arranged to follow John Walsh, participating as the "team" The Loner in his Jabiru ultralight aircraft. Upon reaching the end of the runway with John already facing us, ready for take off, Dirk applied the brakes and, to his dismay, discovered that the right hand brakes were not working. As John was ahead and to our left, and with our plane veering dangerously in his direction, we came close to reducing the number of competitors by a process of elimination.

The picture at left will give you an idea why the Bonanza would have won in an argument of propellers

After gingerly returning to the hangers and a bleeding of the brake system (to purge air) by the local mechanic we were able to resume our journey.

Today were teamed against Making it Happen, the tiny 2 seater Robinson R22 helicopter that only joined the air race at this point. All teams that had previously been teamed against them had received full win points on a bye basis ... just as well for them!
Conditions at Reola made for interesting arrivals, particularly for the slower aircraft that arrived later on in the day after the wind picked up (25 - 40 knot winds):

Click on the picture to see the Pilbara Pebble Mouse landing at Reola station.

On the right you can see the aircraft are lined up in the scrub at the edge of the station strip.

Reola station is a sheep station of some 1200 square kilometres with about 50,000 head of sheep, as smidgen of some 3,000 goats and just a few (300 odd) head of cattle. It is home to the largest shearing shed in Australia (the world???) completed some eleven year ago and now allowing the station to shear its sheep in four instead of twelve weeks.

We were accommodated in the shearer's huts and had dinner and presentations in the BIG shed. Food was provided by the White Cliffs State Emergency Services, Reola Station having declared a state of emergency upon our arrival.

To our dismay, being the first ones to fly against Making it Happen we found that they are very good pilots and navigators, which coupled with their excellent visibility enabled them to beat us. So we lost our position at the top of the ladder. This of course had nothing to do with our total lack of organisation at the start of the race with maps, gadgets and hands flying through the cockpit as we lined up for the start of the race leg!

The new leaders of our ladder are the Facarwee (as in "Where the Facarwee??"). We handed the hat over to them.

The usual shenanigans followed with the Judge (no fine for us tonight!).

Ken Hocking, of The Marshals was half shorn (left hand side only) by the station owners for charity. Be rest assured that this clip did not make it into any of the wool bales in the background.

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