At ten o’clock on a Sunday morning, as we were driving along a windy road that hid all possibility of an emerging airstrip, I could sense Southport Flying Club was going to be something a bit different. The smart building and manicured lawns gave a hint of a resort golf club; the private strip – 778m 01/19 – is bitumen and permission is required to land there. The club house is immaculate and clearly maintained with a great sense of pride.
Founded in 1971 by a group of pilots and enthusiasts, SFC is the owner of a 50 year lease granted by the Gold Coast City Council. The club is totally self funded and financially sound, and social events are numerous and frequent.
So serious are the members about airmanship and flight safety that they invite AvPlan to the club on an annual basis for a tutorial top up . Perfectly timed for just after the launch of 4.0, we turned up to see fifteen-plus members – with iPads a-ready – on a Sunday morning.
After a full overview of AvPlan, and a refresher on how to create a flight plan, a more complex IFR flight plan was demonstrated – using optimum altitudes, loading and flight plan submissions. This was followed by a series of questions, including one about ramp checks and perceived back up requirements. A previous AOPA President was in attendance and a hearty discussion ensued about conflicting information given out by the regulator at various stages. CAAP 233-1 – http://www.casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_assets/main/download/caaps/ops/233_1.pdf – was referred to and the discussion focussed mostly on the difference between private and commerical or charter ops.
Further questions included the logging of flight time and the use of the Land Here button; ongoing support of the iPad 1 and a discussion on how to add new aircraft types. Individual requests and questions were also attended to before the club members dispersed, iPads in hand and fully briefed,to enjoy the glorious day.