Friday, November 18, 2011

Skywatch Friday

First attempt at photographing stars - Jupiter and moons

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Barossa Air Show

We went to the Barossa Airshow today. It was held on a small private grass airstrip at Rowland Flat in the Barossa Valley, 50 Km north-east of Adelaide.
This Robinson R44 was giving joyflights, and also being used by photographers to get a birds-eye view of the crowd.
Highlight of the show was undoubtedly the Roulettes, the RAAF display team in their Pilatus PC-9/As. Once they finished their display, they were ferried in from the local RAAF base at Edinburgh on their Sikorsky S76 support helicopter to sign posters.
Next up were a variety of displays including gliders, the "Chipettes" in their DHC-1 Chipmunks, a 0.8 scale Spitfire and Yak 52.
These were followed by two impressive displays from a Eurofighter and F-16 Fighting Falcon
What was really impressive is that they were 1/15th scale radio controlled models!! WOW - real boys toys!!
Next up (or rather down) were a couple of parachutists from the local club.
As usual, former Australian aerobatic champion Chris Sperou put on an amazing display in his Pitts Super Stinker
The show closed with a display from the SAIA Marchetti S211 jet trainer and the T6 Harvard.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Firefighting - First Burn

This week I attended my first controlled burn as a volunteer firefighter. The burn was planned to take place in Bullock Hill Conservation Park near Ashbourne on the Fleurieu Peninsular, South of Adelaide. These burns are performed to reduce the fuel load, and therefore the likelyhood of a damaging bushfire in the summer. While waiting in the staging area, 11 Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flew over and some briefly perched close enough to take a pic with my point and shoot. Our first job was to head off to nearby Scott Conservation Park to assist in mopping up after a burn the previous day. We were in a Quick Response Vehicle (QRV) which is a 4WD ute with a 400 litre tank, pump and hose reel onboard. This burn was very successful as can be seen from the photo. This bracket fungus was covered in ash but otherwise undamaged. Early afternoon saw us back at Buffalo Hill, where the larger appliances, (this one is "Cleland 34" carrying 3000 litres of water on a 4WD truck chassis), were waiting along with a Eurocopter AS350 Squirrel helicopter. The helicopter was used to ignite the fire as two previous attempts had been unsuccessful. Our attempt fared little better and the fire was all but out within a hour.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Skywatch Friday

The moonfrom my front yard.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Belair National Park

On Sunday I went up to Belair National Park. I took my mountain bike a went for a cycle around some trails I had not been on before. I didn't see anything unusual, but did see lots of parrots. This Adelaide Rosella kept it's distance, so not the best of shots. I also saw Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, lots of Rainbow Lorikeets and this Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. There were a lot of pink eucalyptus blooms, and the Rainbow Lorikeets found them irresistible. On the "Koala track" I did see a couple of koalas, but they were way too high up to make an interesting photo. I did spot some New Holland Honeyeaters and this Grey Fantail. Other interesting things were some Yellow Flag Irises, Scarlet Pimpernel, some lovely grasses and lots of yellow daisy-type flowers full of busy bees.