Now the end was really in sight. This was to be the final flight to complete the requirements for the Private Pilot's Licence.
I was given the route by the instructor and it included Moorabbin. Knowing that Moorabbin is an extremely busy airport, I requested that I go to Mangalore instead. After some discussion, the instructor agreed that I should fly Albury - Swan Hill - Mangalore - Albury.
After all the preparations I filed my flight plan with Air Traffic Control, Melbourne. Of course I had to advise them that this was my final navigation flight. Every controller who would be speaking to me would know. I prepared the aircraft, a lovely small low wing aircraft which I really enjoyed flying. I took off from Albury and advised Melbourne that I was on my way.
I remember the day was clear with small cotton ball clouds hanging in the sky above my altitude. The country side in southern NSW is very flat and being December, it was also very, very dry. The flight to Swan Hill was a joy and I remember pouring myself a cup of coffee and having it with a sandwich.
This was living!
I arrived in Swan Hill, and after all the formalities were taken care of, I set off for the Pioneer Village to have a look around. About an hour later I was back at the airport and advised Melbourne that I had just taken off from Swan Hill. At this point I was told to report in when flying over Echuca.
The day was still beautiful and there were no difficulties whatsoever. Without losing attention (which might have caused a difficulty) I enjoyed looking at the features on the ground and at the small white clouds in the sky high above me. When I was over Echuca I used my call sign to report my position.
"Melbourne, this is Bravo Uniform November" and waited for the acknowledgement.
"Bravo Uniform November, come in".
I reported my position over Echuca and flying to Mangalore via Rochester. The Air Traffic Controller came back and said, "Bravo Uniform November over Rochester change to the Mangalore frequency, over".
The radio is on all the time and every pilot hears every other pilot on that same frequency. So I replied, "Bravo Uniform November, did I not just hear another aircraft being told that Mangalore is inactive? Over"
"Bravo Uniform November, standby."
Now remember, they all know that I am a student pilot doing a solo navigation flight. Air Traffic Control came back and said, "Bravo Uniform November, affirmative. Remain on this frequency. Over." I acknowledged the reply and felt rather satisfied that on my last navigation flight I had been able to correct an Air Traffic Control Officer.
As there isn't really anything at Mangalore because it was an emergency airport for Melbourne, I just stepped out and some 15 minutes later took off again for Albury, arriving late in the afternoon. I was tired, but so excited that I had done a successful flight and could now put in my application for a Private Pilot's Licence.