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 to 1000 ft in to the low-level clouds before given a southerly heading 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 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 small can of insecticide spray. Note to future RTW pilots arriving in Australia: Bring your own spray!
Much needed aircraft maintenance at Broom airport.
I performed a much needed oil change and meticulous firewall forward inspection in one of the maintenance hangers at the Broome International Airport. I was told to "just pump the oil from the 200 liter drums out back , mate". A few aircraft waited to be serviced outside, and I was only given about two hours to complete my work. The mechanics were constantly doing fleet maintenance and did 3 oil changes for my one. I was grateful for access to a covered space and tools to work on my plane, but felt a bit rushed. I filled an extra 4 quart bottles for the last 8000 nm back to California.
"May's" 400 hr experimental Lycoming YIO-320 engine consumed only about 1-2 quarts per 65 hours of operation, a remarkably low oil burn rate. I started the trip using Phillips 66 20W-50, then switched to Aeroshell 100W in Italy, and Aeroshell 20W-50 in Australia.
Since I built the kit plane, I knew every rivet, bolt, and wire in the aircraft. My confidence in the airworthiness of the plane was very high.
Photo Credit: Orbx