Bob Kennedy, an experienced pilot and the President of Gliding Tasmania, taxied the Piper Pawnee PA-25-150 onto the Tunbridge runway. Against the backdrop of a clear blue sky, the bright white aircraft stood out, its propeller humming with eagerness as it prepared for a significant journey.
Bob was on a special mission—to fly the Pawnee to New South Wales for potential purchase by another club. The Piper Pawnee, a faithful companion for many years, was venturing beyond the familiar Tasmanian skies.
Our Pawnee, bearing serial number 25-438, was manufactured in the United States in 1960 and initially registered on the 4th of March, 1961. It is equipped with a model 0-320 Textron Lycoming engine and a fixed-pitch propeller. VH-SCL started its life as a crop duster in Albury, NSW, and The Soaring Club of Tasmania assumed certificate ownership of VH-SCL on the 10th of January 2008.
Bob, a skilled and seasoned pilot, guided the Pawnee across Bass Strait and the vast southern landscapes of Australia, back to New South Wales. This journey was more than a routine inspection; it was a pilgrimage for the trusty tow plane. Each mile covered testified to the reliability and resilience of the Piper Pawnee.
Despite serving Gliding Tasmania well for the past 15 years and being in excellent flying condition, VH-SCL was found less suitable for our shortened runways at the new gliding center in Tunbridge. Gliding Tasmania had relocated to Tunbridge several years ago, but the short runways and obstacles at each end had diminished safety margins.
Upon reaching Temora, the Piper Pawnee gracefully touched down, akin to a bird returning to its nest. With its rich history, the Pawnee had transcended its role as a mere tow plane; it had become a cherished member of the gliding family.
The Piper Pawnee PA-25-150 remained a steadfast companion for those yearning to touch the sky, its wings carrying the dreams of gliders for years to come.
Below is a picture of SCL at its new home in Temora and about to launch a glider.