THE weather was terrible– low cloud and driving rain. Marc Perdu and Christian Tiriault, pilots of Spirit of Nouméa, discussed turning back to Adelaide, but they had an appointment to keep. Besides, anyone willing to circumnavigate Australia in a tiny plane isn’t lacking in a sense of adventure.
This wasn’t the first expedition undertaken by the New Caledonian men. In 2011, they flew from Paris to Nouméa and in 2012 flew the same route in reverse. This year, it was Australia, with an expedition from Nouméa, counter-clockwise around Australia, and then back home again.
“We had clear and sunny weather all the journey so far” said pilot Perdu, a surgeon by trade. “But today’s conditions were difficult. As luck would have it, this event was the only scheduled one planned for our trip, so we didn’t want to miss it.”
Under the cover of a hangar at Tyabb Aero Club, they were treated to wine and cheese as they discussed their adventure with fellow pilots. Their plane sits in the hangar and is admired not because it is large but for the opposite reason. The Dynamic the men pilot is described as a “light sports plane” and seems a bad choice of vehicle for long distance flying.
“We can fly 1500 kilometres, or eight hours on one tank, but it is a small plane” Perdu said.
The men had a tour of the Old Aeroplane Company before staying the night in Tyabb. Then it was off to Melbourne, Tasmania and then up the east coast.
Why do it?
“We want to spread the word about New Caledionia, but also accumulate knowledge we can take back home to the kids in schools.”