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Route Planning

Of course flight planning for such a trip is very important.  It’s a lot easier these days, with lean 4-strokes and bigger aircraft with more range, but still need to find suitable fuel.  Always plan on at least one full hour fuel reserve in remote areas. 

Best arrangement I find is two 20litre jerry cans on the pax seat – gives good options for extended range and carrying unleaded fuel from towns.  The black polyethyene ones made by Rheem Australia are excellent.  They sit well in a pax seat and the seat belts secure them well.  They've been extreme drop tested by the 4WD set and found to be tougher than the old steel ones.  I have no safety concern carrying fuel in the cabin that way.  If you must carry a live pax in that seat, then your options are more limited....  Savannah aircraft can carry two empty jerry cans in the rear fuselage, with access throught the hatch.

A range of 400nm makes it pretty easy everywhere, with good options. 
A range of 250nm is enough with careful planning.

You definitely need swipe cards for AVGAS these days, and not just one but both BP and Mobil.  The best source we have found is a company named Skyfuel, http://www.skyfuel.com.au/auswidecarnet.asp .  They will supply both cards on one account and debit your credit card for payment – works really well.  Shell have now converted to swipe with ordinary credit cards, a welcome change, about time....

Of course you need WACs and ERSA, but also well worthwhile is the AOPA National Airfield Directory, http://www.aopa.com.au/ to order.
 
 
Fuel Planning
 

A good long flight like this, and filling up at metered bowsers, is an excellent chance to get some real fuel burn figures.  Please keep a careful log of the amount of fuel purchased, the power setting for that  leg, and run times, and then work it out both by sections and overall average.  Those figures are really valuable for future fuel planning.

I run a 912S that prefers Premium Unleaded.  It'll run well on Avgas but the lead is always a concern.  After 60 hrs the plugs show considerable lead deposits, whereas with PULP at a 100hrs they're as clean as new.  I use the new Shell Aerosport Plus 4 oil,  designed especially for the Rotax, and supposedly capable of holding the lead in suspension rather than depositing inside the engine.  Still, I try to use unleaded whenever possible.  Avgas does have the advantage of supposedly better quality control, more stability for long term storage, and less chance of vapour lock, but then I've never had any problems with unleaded mogas either. 

Many small country towns only have ULP and diesel, but no PULP.  I have often mixed regular ULP 91 with 100LL Avgas to make a suitable blend when neither PULP or avgas was available.  The research that I did indicated that "a little lead makes a big difference", and "100LL has Lots of Lead".  I regularly mix 1 part Avgas to 4 parts ULP.  Or just add a 20 litre jerry can of ULP to top up tanks that are still half full of PULP.  I believe the claims that a 912S will not be harmed even by pure 91 octane ULP, if it's run at reduced power.  No problem to take off at reduced power with this powerful engine in our aircraft; climb performance is still better than most tradional light aircraft.  My aircraft has four tanks, so if I know I'm going into an area with only ULP, I fill one tank with Avgas and then syphon 5 litres to blend with each jerry can of ULP.  It works for me, but I can't recommend it because it's not in the manufacturer's manual;  you must make your own decisions...
 
Whenever possible, ring ahead to confirm that fuel is available.  In remote country areas fuel sometimes runs out when supply has been delayed and, a faulty bowser can take ages to get fixed....

The following map shows fuel stops in this area that I have found to be very useful.

Click on each marker for more details.
Blue marker - Avgas
Orange marker - PULP (Premium Unleaded)
Green marker - ULP  (Regular Unleaded)

Click on + to zoom in.

 

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