Ron’s sky-high epic adventure
EVANS Head's Ron Fisher celebrated turning 80 years old by flying a tiny tin-can kit plane he built himself across the entire breadth of Australia.
The former flying instructor made the epic four-day 4300km solo journey earlier this month to deliver the two-seater, high-wing all metal aircraft to a buyer in Geraldton, Western Australia.
Mr Fisher built the plane - dubbed Fisher's Folly - over about three years in a hangar at the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome because he wanted "something to do".
He said he always planned to sell it and when a station manager in Western Australia made him an offer he leaped at the chance to go for one last big flight.
Mr Fisher, who turned 80 on January 14, took off from Evans Head on January 31 and arrived safely in Geraldton on February 3.
Apart from a fuel shortage at the first refuelling stop at Narromine, which meant the journey took four days instead of three as planned, it was trouble-free with good weather the whole way.
"It was just a matter of endurance," he said.
Mr Fisher was understandably stiff and sore after spending a total of 32 hours in the cramped cockpit - including 11 hours on the final day.
"I could hardly stand up when I got out of the plane in Geraldton," he said.
"Every muscle and bone ached."
He said staring at the blue sky over central Australia for so long without sunglasses also "bleached" the blue colour receptors in his eyes. For days afterwards everything looked yellow and green.
Mr Fisher - who flew planes for 60 years, first in the RAAF, then for Qantas and then as a flying instructor and charter operator - said the cross-country flight would probably be his last.
"You've got to stop some time," he said. "And it would be good to stop on a high note."