Travel The Outback without the jet lag
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Mark flew, and Yvonne aerial photographed, deep into the outback in a rented Cessna 172.
Our first Australian aerial cross-country adventure was in 2009. We flew, with another aviator couple, from Coolingata to White Cliffs to Mudgee .
On our second 'fly about' in 2011 we went 'solo'.
Mark again was checked out in Australian flight rules.
The Outback is an unforgiving place and the Aussies take preparedness and personal responsibility in this potentially dangerous environment seriously.
Their aviation authority, CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority), will send a rescue team to look for you if your flight plan isn't cancelled at the estimated time of your arrival. If you didn't call to cancel it because you forgot, you will receive an invoice for $10,000.
They so aren't kidding around.
Mark's years as a jet pilot with 17,000 plus flight hours, orchestrating trips around the globe, didn't impress anyone at the flight school where we rented our aircraft.
He still had to demonstrate his fundamental flight skills in an all-day ground school and in the air with a flight instructor.
After successfully proving he could fly a small single engine aircraft in coordinated flight, and navigate with only paper charts in case the GPS and other equipment failed, we took off with survival gear and supplies from Toowoomba, Queensland.
We flew as far west as Birdsville, Queensland and William Creek, South Australia (official population 3).
Then we headed around Lake Eyre, which was at record high flood levels in April 2011, and returned to the east coast of Australia via many more towns, including Long Reach, one of the homes of Qantas Airlines (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service, if you always wondered).
To see a map of our trip, and some of these incredible journeys in aerial photos, click the 'slideshow' link above right.