In my travels around NSW, i conduct interviews at times with people. Here is one from 2012 with a warbird pilot, Gordon Robinson from Victoria who flew to a western NSW aviation event at Narromine along with other pilots.
How did you become involved with aviation / flying and at what age?
I had previously travelled extensively by 4WD in central Australia. One day near Innaminka, I watched a light plane come in and 3 men dressed in whites were picked up. By the time I got to the pub covered in red dust I had concluded there was a better way to see this big country. This lead me to wanting to learn to fly aircraft and I booked flying lessons on my return.
How did you find learning to fly – going through the stages of gaining your licenses and approvals – was it easy or challenging for you?
I started flying lessons in 1978 at age 42 at Lilydale Flying School Victoria. Since then I have accumulated over 2,000 hours in several different aircraft mostly travelling throughout Australia, Spain and France. I also hold a Spanish flying licence.
What is your most favourite aircraft to fly and why?
I have owned a wide variety of aircraft such an AESL Airtourer ex Singapore Airforce, Comanche 260C, Piper Tripacer, RV6A and a CJ-6 Nanchang. I have owned the CJ-6 Nanchang for 15 years. I currently also still own the RV-6A. Out of all the types I have flown I rank the CJ-6 Nanchang as my favourite.
How can you describe flying the CJ-6 Nanchang warbird?
Its controls are beautifully harmonised and with its weight and fairly heavy wing loading, it is able to handle all conditions extremely well. It is a baby to fly and there is nothing like sitting behind a radial.
How do you find flying an ex military aircraft compared to other civilian aircraft?
Since its restoration at Judy Pays Tyabb workshops, my son and I fly it regularly around Victoria mostly. The flying of warbird aircraft are more intense with many regulations and they need more specific maintenance.
How much effort goes into maintaining the CJ-6 Nanchang?
The maintenance is on a par with a Cessna 182 for cost but you have to accept it is ex-military and pay that extra attention to servicing to ensure it is flyable.
Do you find the regulations and costs imposed on flying a major factor in deciding if you want to fly on any given day?
The increasing costs of aviation overall, may force the GA industry to disappear in the long term.
What is your own view of the current aviation industry in Australia? Can it expand further perhaps bringing more people into the industry?
On the aviation scene in Australia, I always bemoan the adversarial attitude of our regulators. It sometimes seems that they would be happier if GA disappeared altogether……
How could AOPA and the aviation industry help attract more people to become interested in flying?
AOPA looks like it is doing the best job it can do in its position and at least seems to be keeping our regulators honest
What goals have you got for the future with your aviation interests?
I prefer to keep a low profile in the aviation community and look forward to continued flying around this great country of ours.