Proudly we can say that Moruya is now (today, as I write this post), the home of the CAGIT. Scott and Mark McLachlan have brought home the CAGIT to Moruya for the first time.
So what is it?
CAGIT stands for ‘Come And Get It Trophy’ and was an initiative of Recreational Aviation Australia (RAA) and was first started in 1990. Briefly the aims of the CAGIT are to:
1. Promote recreational adventure aviation
2. Stretch personal flying horizons
3. Establish friendships with more distant fellow recreational aviators, AND
3. Experience longer distance navigation and operations from varied private strips.
Scott and Mark’s adventure in their Bristell to claim the CAGIT started from Moruya on Wednesday 8th June with Sheldon Jones and Mitzi Jones (Sheldon’s sister-in-law) and shortly after takeoff required dealing with some challenging weather and low cloud around Goulburn. After double-checking that it was clear around Dubbo via the AWIS, a climb was commenced up to 7,500 feet where smooth conditions were encountered with favourable winds. After landing at Nyngan to wait for Sheldon in the Brumby it was off to Bourke to refuel then on to Cunnamulla.
The convoy gang: Sheldon, Mitzi, Scott, and Mark
The reason for the big cross country tour in the first place was to pick up Anna Ostberg (the owner of the Brumby) from Fitzroy Crossing and fly back to Moruya over the beautiful and vast landscape of middle Australia (which could be mistaken for middle earth at times). Once a year Anna flies to WA (with QANTAS) to visit a couple of practices there and does her mending-people-thing as a doctor, and then she enjoys coming home the long way, indulging her passion for flying and spending time with Australians who don’t know the meaning of “bad hospitality”.
So on the way to Fitzroy Crossing Scott, Mark, Sheldon and Mitzi flew in convoy and paused at some pretty spectacular ‘fuel stops’ along the way. They all spent two very pleasant nights at Mulgamurra a 200,000 acre cattle property owned by Sheldon’s friend (one of the many remote outback students Sheldon has had over the years).
The next stage was to Glenormiston via a refuelling stop at Windorah. Glenormiston is an even bigger property than Mullgamurra, incredibly isolated and has approximately fifteen staff that make up a nice little community (almost country) all on their own. The Glenormiston gang is pictured together above. An early departure for Alice Springs the next morning had the convoy flying across the Simpson Desert, which looked quite attractive as a result of recent rains and was amazingly populated with lots of camels, kangaroos and eagles.
From Alice Springs the convoy split up with Scott and Mark heading north towards Darwin and Sheldon pressing on towards Fitzroy Crossing, and Mitzi flying home from Alice with QANTAS. Darwin is the home of Mark’s daughter Skye, who had just had a baby, so this new grandpa was looking forward to seeing them all… and coincidentally Darwin was also the current home of the CAGIT and had been since September 2015. So onwards to Darwin, that day had a looming excitement at the end and after a fuel stop in Tennant Creek and then Tindal the pair finally reached YMKT (the home of the CAGIT). And of course Mark’s new granddaughter…
However, their excitement was going to have to wait as Rene Smits, the local CFI in Darwin told them he had a bit of a conundrum. A fellow called Noel Thomas from Alice Springs was due any minute and he too was in search of CAGIT. So after a bit of discussion they decided to let Noel take the CAGIT back to Alice Springs …where they intended to pick it up on the return trip to Moruya in a couple of days.
After what was apparently a few very hectic but wonderful few days with daughter and new grand-daughter, the boys were allowed to depart for Alice Springs to go and finally lay claim to the CAGIT.
Noel reluctantly doing the handover with Mark (above)!
Once CAGIT was safely loaded on board at Alice Springs, their trip home took them via Coober Pedy, William Creek (which is a brilliant place to view Lake Eyre as it was actually full! – and you can see all the water above) , Whitecliffs, Griffith and then finally Moruya. All up Mark and Scott flew approximately 40 hours between them and loved every minute of it in their very comfortable, low-wing Bristell. A vast improvement for this kind of touring compared to Mark’s previous plane… a Tiger Moth. He saves a fortune in oil these days!
So come visit the Moruya Airport – the home (at least for right this moment) of the CAGIT.