As a member of the Royal Queensland Aero Club, Old Boy Peter Boughen (1980) recently took part in their 2018 Battle of Britain Dawn Patrol to commemorate the Battle of the Coral Sea. This year saw the highest number of participating aircraft for over three years, with Peter competing in his Cessna 310 VH-JQK. Pilots, navigators and passengers all gathered for a rendition of Winston Churchill and a brief history of the battle that occurred in the skies over Britain.
Whilst starting his Cessna, Peter noticed the western end of the runway rapidly disappearing in a sea of fog and before long the windsock had also disappeared. The intrepid pilots and their crew were left with no option but to shut down and wait 30 minutes for the fog to clear.
After a flight briefing, the crews scrambled to take their positions and the aircraft departed in turn heading to the south east to Surfers Paradise before heading north along the coast to Point Lookout and then up the eastern shoreline of Moreton Island. For the observant among them, there were many dolphins, sharks, stingrays and the occasional whale to be seen. Whilst some pilots took in the scenery at a higher altitude, others took the opportunity to wake campers and disturb fishermen along the beaches. It was then time to climb to the obligatory 3500’ for the crossing of Moreton Bay from Moreton Island to Bribie Island before descending – tracking to Caboolture airport, through the Samford Valley when the predicted westerlies started to make their presence felt, passing the television towers on Mt Coot-tha and then back to Archerfield.
As all the aircraft were participating in a time trial to decide the winner of the perpetual trophy there were some very interesting manoeuvres carried out as aircraft returned to Archerfield to ensure they came close to their planned flight time. Peter was declared overall winner, landing his Cessna in a time of 1h 10m 02s, only two seconds later than his planned time.