Safety topic from Episode 2

Birdsville

If you are flying anywhere near this isolated town, an outback air safari is not considered complete unless you call in to Birdsville. Lying on the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert, its location on the Diamantina River marks the beginning of the Channel Country which stretches east to central Queensland, and comprises the river systems of the Thomson, Barcoo and Cooper Creek (when they’re running) into South Australia. You will find accommodation, bars and restaurants in the famous pub and a bakery, information centre, billabong and camel rides all within walking distance of your aircraft.  

You are guaranteed a memorable outback welcome when you touch down at this iconic Queensland town – they don’t call it “the jewel in the crown” for nothing! 

Here are some tips to help get you acquainted if you’re flying in but, as always, spend some time checking your own charts, weather, and NOTAMs before your flight. Birdsville sits squarely in Designated Remote Area and you need to think outside the square when doing your pre-flight preparation.  

  • Non-controlled aerodrome, CTAF 126.7
  • Designated Remote Area. See ERSA GEN-FIS Point 17
  • 14/32 sealed strip, 1732m; 21/03 unsealed, well maintained cross strip, 1200m 
  • AWIS  on 07 4656 3399
  • Bird hazard
  • Fuel available. Can be expensive. Check ERSA.
  • Alternative avgas supplies: Windorah, Boulia, Thargomindah, Tibooburra 
  • Parking available outside Birdsville Pub
  • Keep your mind open to the potential for the dirt cross strip to be the duty runway in the (not unusual) event of a strong crosswind. 
  • Make sure you’ve packed a well-stocked survival kit and first aid kit 
  • Short flight to view Big Red sand dune, and south to see Lake Eyre.
  • Special procedures during annual Birdsville Races
    • Held each year on first Friday & Saturday in September 
    • Historically attracts several hundred light aircraft
    • Usually very high traffic numbers Friday and Sunday 
    • Air crews traditionally camp “under the wing”.
    • Specific “Special Procedures” for arrivals, departures and parking published in AIC each year. Read thoroughly and carry in aircraft.
    • CASA’s Drug & Alcohol rules enforced