Safety topic from Episode 9

Longreach

  • Busy non-controlled regional aerodrome, CTAF 126.7
  • Avgas available, see ERSA.
  • Wide mix of traffic – RPT, medivac, charter flights, private, helicopter ops.
  • Caution military restricted area R608 immediately south-west of circuit. RA3 status, H24, SFC-8200ft AMSL
  • Excellent maintenance facility onsite: Longreach Aircraft Maintenance, Ph 07 4658 2211 (Hangar 32 at airport. Shona Daveson, Senior LAME)
  • Wildlife hazard – black kites during insect swarms. Check NOTAMs
  • Weather balloon launches. See ERSA for times.
  • GA parking: check you are not occupying a reserved parking spot before you tie down. The row closest to the hangars is usually all reserved for local businesses. 

Longreach is another iconic destination of the Australian outback. Sitting squarely in the middle of Queensland, it is worth calling in to visit, just to see where our national carrier, Qantas, grew up! 

Even if good navigation is not your best suit, you’d be hard pressed to mistake Longreach airport for anywhere else. Up here in the middle of the Queensland outback, there are a couple of dead giveaways that you can see for miles on approach. 

The first thing you’ll see is a huge mother of a tail, in some familiar red and white livery, attached to one of several now famous residents parked at the airport. With its 60m wingspan, long-retired Boeing 747-200 jumbo jet VH-EBQ sits proudly alongside its little sister, Boeing 707 VH-EBA, Qantas’ first Boeing aircraft.  These two old broads are arguably the leading act in the outdoor display but you’ll find treasures galore once you step inside. Welcome to the Qantas Founders Museum (qfom.com.au), custodian of some of the most significant Qantas aircraft ever built and a seriously outstanding collection of Australian aviation memorabilia. 

You can take a guided tour through both of the jets, go for a wing walk on the 747 if you want, then take your time checking out the PBY Catalina and the DC-3. Don’t miss the heritage listed Qantas hangar where the de Havilland DH-50 and DH-61 are housed, along with their fascinating history.

In 1921 when it all began, the Qantas fleet consisted of two biplanes - an Avro 504K and a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E. Two replicas of the Avro were constructed in 1985. One occupies centre stage in this museum; the other one is displayed in the Qantas domestic terminal at Mascot in Sydney. 

You can spend hours here, easily, but save some time to wander across the road to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre. It’s staggering to see such a brilliant exhibition out here in the middle of the outback. 

Food & Accommodation 

You’ll find some great places to eat on the main street: the quality of the dishes at Harry’s restaurant at the Longreach Motor Inn would give any Sydney eatery a run for its money; or try CCD for a great curry and the Marino Bakery for everything you told yourself you were cutting down on during this trip.

As far as accommodation goes, there are a handful of places to stay across the road from the airport, which is great news for those of us without ground transport. The Jumbuck and the Albert Park Motor Inn are firm favourites with pilots, and now there’s the new Kinnon & Co Outback Lodges. The Longreach Motor Inn in town is really comfortable, good value, and even has a laundry for needy pilots with the appropriate endorsement.