[caption id="attachment_6648" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Lunch time aviation alert. Last days for the Martin Place Cessna!"]
Tamas Calderwood was walking through an unseasonally warm and sodden Martin Place yesterday when he noticed and imaged something novel.
It is a Cessna Skyhawk (172), the latest version of the best selling and most flown aircraft ever, on display as part of a promotion by Aeromil Pacific-Cessna.
Be careful if you step inside the marquee hangar today or tomorrow. Not only will you find a flight simulator in which you can take the 172, with its new 'glass' cockpit and navigational aids up and down Sydney Harbour, and do all sort of illegal things with impunity, but you can also 'lose it' before the lunchtime crowd, even in this almost completely fool proof design of a fantastic light plane.
And hang onto you wallet. Sales people loiter within tent. They will try to charm you out of $3 million for a mini-jet Cessna Mustang, or considerably more than $10 million for something flash in the faster, further and bigger part of the Citation range.
But give me a 172. Take me back, way back. Over the top of Mt Wellington, over incredibly dense forests, on my first Cessna ride from the Cambridge strip into the south-west wilderness of Tasmania, where the serrations of the Eastern and Western Arthurs ranges still held secrets, to a landing on the dazzling white quartzite sands of the unflooded Lake Pedder of the early 60s. Or back to the ski-equipped version that struggled against the added drag to take climbers to the Grand Plateau, Tasman Saddle and Pioneer Hut in NZ in the mid 60s. Amid those who have flown to the places less travelled, who hasn't memories of this superb but simple work horse, the FJ Holden of the skies?
The fun ends tomorrow.