Bali air traffic control was really "pushing tin". I was given about 30 seconds to take-off, before another 7XX would start it's rumbling roll behind me. I climbed about 500 ft in to the low-level clouds before ATC directed to head south across the Timor sea towards Australia. The clouds eventually dissipated to reveal the most incredibly blue water I have ever seen.
The approach to Broome International airport was visually stunning as brilliant sand beaches and turquoise blue waters welcome you to Australia.
A view of the strikingly dry outback and clear skies of Western Australia
After landing, I was required to taxi to the foreign aircraft quarantine area of (YBRM) Broome International airport. The friendly immigration/agriculture officer handed me a can of insecticide spray with a faulty valve, which instantly filled the tiny cockpit with floral scented insecticide. The can was quickly tossed outside, still ejecting insecticide at full throttle. I hunkered down inside the cockpit for the next 5 minutes (required to kill insect stowaways) using my shirt as a mask. Given a thumbs up from the officer, I opened the cockpit and gulped in fresh Australian air. A month after the completion of the RTW trip, Australia billed me $200 for the insecticide spray. Note to future RTW pilots arriving in Australia: Bring your own spray!
Zen and the art of aircraft maintenance.
The mechanic seeks perfection through the use of high quality parts, standards, checklists, and attention to detail.
I performed a much needed oil change and meticulous firewall forward inspection in one of the cavernous maintenance hangers at the Broome International Airport. The Lycoming IO-320 engine burned about 2 quarts per 65 hours of operation. I started the trip using Phillips 66 20W-50, then switched to Aeroshell 100W in Italy, and Aeroshell 20W-50 in Australia. The multi-grade non- synthetic oil was especially effective in sub-freezing temperatures across northern Canada, Greenland, and Iceland.
A few aircraft waited to be serviced outside, and I was only given about two hours to complete my work. Since I built the aircraft, I knew every rivet, bolt, and wire in the aircraft. My confidence in the airworthiness of the plane was very high.This would be the last maintenance done before returning to my home airport in Concord, California, 8000 nm away.
Photo Credit: Orbx