The L-39C Albatros jet trainer, now based at Gympie Airport at Kybong, will take paying passengers on adventure flights starting in April.
The L-39C Albatros jet trainer, now based at Gympie Airport at Kybong, will take paying passengers on adventure flights starting in April. Contributed

Cold War jet finds a home

A COLD War jet trainer aircraft from the former USSR, sporting a top speed of 907kmh, will be based at Gympie Airport where experienced pilots will offer adventure flights to members of the public.

Pilot owner Noel Davison has parked the L-39C Albatros in the hangar at Kybong after forging a strong relationship with Gympie Aero Club over the years.

This new venture has been some time in the planning.

Mr Davison bought the plane from the Ukraine Air Force in 2007 and spent a few years giving it a total overhaul before putting it back up in the air.

"I've always flown my aircraft into Gympie to have maintenance done, so I thought it would be a good idea to run adventure flights out of here to promote Gympie Aero Club," he told The Gympie Times yesterday.

He was at Kybong to move the plane into a hangar for professional aircraft painter Hubo Hazelton, to give it a retouch ahead of the first official customer in six weeks.

Asked about the circuit the pilots would be taking, Mr Davison said the jet would fly outside the airspace of populated areas and most likely stay above airport property.

"These are not joy flights. It's a rollercoaster ride. There's nothing scenic about it," he said.

"Yes there are sick bags in the cockpit, but these pilots haven't had one person vomit in their last 33 flights.

"The pilots are ex-military and current Australian Air Force pilots. They start off slow and gauge from the people how fast they can handle it before they bring it on."

The adventure flight business will be run by the pilots, who will travel from Sydney around every six weeks.

Cost is $1200.

Mr Davison says it basically covers maintenance, fuel and pilot.

Each 15-minute flight uses 500 litres of fuel at $1.60/L.

Passengers will experience a climb of up to 10,000 feet and a feel the effects of up to 8Gs, if they can.

Blackout stage is 6Gs however.

The aircraft has flight suits that ease the effects of G-forces on the body.

Inquiries to Gympie Aviation Club, 0417 219 167.

Gympie Times


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