Flight 97) Katherine YPTN – Tennant Creek YTNK

I have enjoyed learning a lot about a small community around Katherine and was interested to see what other communities held as I continued to explore Australia. This leg of the tour was to be an extremely straight forward flight of 322.7nm directly from Tindal Airport, Katherine to Tennant Creek, without any detours or waypoints. The only landmark that I knew to look out for along the way would be a large lake I would pass directly over.

I opened the flight simulator at 15.05 and took my time to check the aircraft, the controls, the weights and fuels as it had been a while since I had last flew. I did all of this whilst the engines were running and slowing warming. After topping up the fuel tanks I taxied to Runway 32 via taxiways D A B which were very easy to find on the simple airfield. With a short check in with the tower I received my take off clearance and took to the sky.

The clear blue sky was inviting and as I gently climbed the vast green landscape grew in all directions. I turned to a heading of 158 which I would be holding the entire flight and watched the small rivers wind themselves through the trees and brush below. Travelling at 160 kts my GPS suggested a flight time of 1 hour 45 minutes which was a lot quicker than the information provided by SkyVector, an online flight planning tool.

Having left Katherine behind me I soon found I had issues with my radio. Whilst I was still able to communicate in the simulator, I didn’t have any voice audio so decided to cancel flight tracking with the ATC and only contact Tennant airfield once i wanted to land. This made for a very quiet flight.

A number of dust patches passed by below which broke up the the green landscape and provided the more familiar red “brush” I had been expecting to see over Australia from the air. A closer inspection showed many animal tracks although I wasn’t lucky enough to seen any living creatures from my plane. Following my journey on a map I realised that I was flying over Sturt Plateau.

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This pattern of greenery and red brush was only interrupted by the lake I had been expecting. “Lake Woods Conservation Covenant.” The lake was much larger than the smaller bodies of water which peppered the terrain and it was nice to get a glint of mid afternoon sunlight off the still waters of the lake and sporadic highlights from the many surrounding rivers feeding it. It was 16:30 when I flew over.

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On the far side of Lake Woods some cloud was gathering straight ahead and I knew I would be flying into them. With this in mind I dropped from 10,000 ft to 3,500 ft and watched the clouds quickly form into an impressive wall. I had just thought to myself that this was the sign of a storm front when a single burst of lightening illuminated my cockpit. I listened for the thunder but didn’t hear any over the drone of the engines. It was sod’s law it was going to be stormy over Tennant Creek whilst the rest of the flight had been so clear.

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Being low I was easily able to spot Tennant Creek and it’s airfield well in advance. I took a single lap of the town and announced my landing intentions for runway 29 to the unmanned radio channel. The light touchdown was surprisingly smooth considering the gathering storm happening around me although at least it had not began to rain. I parked between 2 Beechcraft KingAir with Australian livery and watched the clouds darken before ending the simulator.

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Living in the Barkly Region – Tennant Creek – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQoox3NyFvQ

Tennant Creek NT Australia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIQtXQbpt2o

Driving Through Tennant Creek and down the Stuart Hwy NT Australia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EogKRM6cjCs

Dance at Tennant Creek – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytIUGDRaxKQ

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