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FAQ

  • Many of the clockwise seaplanes are SeaReys. How big is a SeaRey?
    They are very small! The Searey is a 2 seat, high wing, single-engine pusher prop airplane with conventional retractable landing gear (taildragger). Engine size and type varies. If you are familiar with small airplanes, its size is similar to a Cessna 152 with a similar maximum gross weight of just over 1600 lb/726 kg– this includes the airplane, spare parts, fuel, pilots, survival gear, & personal baggage.
  • Why are Cathy and David promoting Science, technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and diversity in Aviation careers during this trip?
    In 1970, when Cathy learned to fly, the % of female pilots in the US was only 6%. Unfortunately, in the ensuing 50+ years, that percentage has only crept up by 1 or 2%. The statistics for female airline captains are even more dismal. Cathy was lucky to have role models at her local airport, but her high school guidance counselor was not helpful, suggesting she should become a flight attendant, not a pilot. With the current and increasing shortage of pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, and engineers, role models are needed.
  • Who is the primary organizer?
    Each aircraft is autonomous, but we are sharing information with each other via Zoom, email, and a private forum for participants. David Geers of the Clockwise group created this website https://www.100asa.com.au and hosts the Zoom planning meetings.
  • Is Cathy’s US pilot license valid in Australia?
    Yes, but in order to log pilot in command time in an Australia-registered aircraft, she is required to apply for a holiday flying permit (called a COV) from CASA (same function as US FAA) and undergo a background check for an airport access card called an ASIC from Australia’s office of Home Affairs.
  • Since the SeaRey is such a small aircraft, you must need to pack very lightly. How much can you take with you?
    Please see the A Weighty Issue BLOG which discusses the importance of weight in general. In addition to the blog post, there are many required items we need to carry for documenting, communicating, and safety, plus spare parts, clothing, sunblock, insect repellant, snacks, water, camping equipment, & petrol bladders to transport petrol from auto pumps to the plane. Cathy is bringing only 6kg/13lb or less of personal items! The SeaRey can carry about 450-480lb/204-218kg of these items including pilots & petrol.
  • If Cathy and David are flying together, who is the pilot?
    That's a great question. Both of them are licensed seaplane pilots. Only one at a time can log pilot in command time. It does not matter which seat the "pilot" sits in because each seat has controls. The pilots need to agree. They can even change who is the pilot while enroute. Bottom line: the pilots decide who logs the time as pilot. additional nuance: (ok to skip!) Both pilots can log time if one is flying solely by reference to instruments using a view limiting device because the other pilot is REQUIRED to keep the plane safe by looking out the window for traffic and hazards. They won't be doing much of that because they want to see the beautiful land that they are flying over and around!
  • Do you have reservations and plans for every stop?
    We have a few solid plans. We can’t make non-refundable type reservations for lodging or meet & greets/media events due to weather variability and possible maintenance issues. Not all the planes will stop at the same places. For example, some might overnight on an island and others might overnight on the mainland nearby. ***Our itinerary shows places where we already have lodging confirmed. If you can provide lodging or information, please use the CONTACT US form.
  • What will be the most difficult part of the trip?
    This journey has many moving parts. Challenges: 1. On a daily basis, figuring out lodging is hard because most reservations are non-refundable. This will require us to only plan a day or 2 ahead. Home stays and camping are our most flexible options. The clockwise group's itinerary shows stops in green where we have confirmed flexible lodging 2. In the less populated areas, fuel will be our greatest challenge. The SeaReys prefer Mogas (for cars) and can also use the more expensive AVgas (AV=Aviation). In some places, we will have to take fuel bladders that we are bringing along and find a way to the gas station and back to the airport. David says, "that's part of the fun and you get to meet a lot of interesting people!" 3. Weather - Our clockwise path and the time of year will combine to give us the best chance of avoiding bad weather. Sea fog can form quickly and obscure landing areas. Thankfully, compared to 1924, weather forecasting has come a long way. We have 3 rules for the trip: SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY 4. About 3-5 airplanes are traveling together and spending significant time as a group making decisions about all the things above. We will need to keep our sense of humor and be grateful we are on the journey, knowing that challenges will make great stories at some time in the future.
  • How are David and Cathy promoting STEM education and diversity in aviation careers during the trip?
    First, Cathy has exemplified that women can succeed in many aviation careers. Often during her working years, she was the only or one of the few women in her workplace or at the airport when she was flying for fun or work. Next, Cathy is being interviewed by podcasters and news media before the trip. She is also scheduled to speak at the Aviation High School in Brisbane upon arrival and is seeking media interviews before, during, and after the trip.
  • Where will you be stopping?
    First, our Itinerary page has a list of proposed stops with dates. Weather, maintenance, lodging availability, or even interesting opportunities can cause us to land at airports identified as "flyover" locations or stay more or less days at a location. We will be updating that page as plans are confirmed or change. In addition, once the journey begins, we will have a way to view our locations on a map in real time!
  • How much will this adventure cost?
    Each aircraft’s expenses will vary based on type of aircraft and style of accommodation used. David & Cathy estimate their total average daily expense is US$400/day (US$30K for the trip) with every kind of accommodation including camping under the airplane, home stays, B&B, hotels, and motels- whichever is most economical & available for the location. One pilot is planning to camp every possible night.
  • Do you have a question that has not been answered?
    Please use our contact form to ask it.
  • Will you have a ground crew?
    No, but we would love to hear from you if you would like to help us with ground support. Please contact David Geers at davidg@100asa.com.au. We would especially like to hear from anybody traveling around the Kimberly, WA area in the first week of May. Currently, we are planning to be self-sufficient, but we might have to wait for parts to be posted to us and then deal with the consequences of any delays.
  • Are all the airplanes seaplanes?
    No. We have invited anyone to join up for any part of the entire route in any kind of airplane.
  • Why are you flying around mainland Australia?
    We are celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the first time it was done in 1924 by the Royal Australian Air Force. The RAAF used a seaplane for the first circumnavigation because in 1924 there weren't many airports.
  • How long will this trip take?
    The original anti-clockwise trip took 44 days and the 2024 anti-clockwise trip by Michael Smith in his Seabear will take the same route, matching the timing. The entire clockwise circumnavigation is planned to take 60 days, including multi-day stops in some places. You can view projected stops at Itinerary.
  • How high will you be flying during the journey?
    Most of the time we will fly between 500 and 1500 ft above sea level. Pilots' altimeters read in feet - for our metric friends, that's 152-457 meters. Sometimes, after checking weather forecasts, we might be able to avoid a headwind or catch a tailwind by flying higher. The highest we expect to climb to is 10,000 ft/3048m.
  • Are all the landings going to be on water?
    No. All the seaplanes are amphibious and will land on water, normal airports, and private landing areas.
  • Cathy Babis, who will become the first female seaplane pilot to fly a seaplane around mainland Australia, is from St, Louis, Missouri, USA. How did she and David Geers become partners?
    Cathy responded to a post David made in a Facebook seaplane group that they both belong to. After a few emails & a Zoom call, they decided they would probably get along for 60 days in austere to luxurious conditions.
  • Are you seeking donations or sponsors?
    That is up to each aircraft. The About page (click here) shows donation buttons at the bottom of each crew’s description if they have one.
  • Why are there 2 groups of airplanes?
    The original flight was anti-clockwise departing from Point Cook on 6 April 1924. They encountered bad weather and headwinds. Michael Smith is replicating that route as closely as possible in his twin-engine Seabear seaplane, including extended stops that were needed for repairs. One plane will proceed due north from Point Cook to Darwin and join the anti-clockwise flight. The clockwise group is composed of smaller, slower aircraft and the prevailing weather patterns and temperatures favour that direction. The groups plan to meet in Broome, WA near the end of April.
  • What is Cathy’s background in promoting STEM?
    First, she was always the girl who liked math & science and has worked in many STEM dependent aviation careers. Immediately after her retirement from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Aeronautical department, she taught a week-long aviation summer camp at a local technical college. She repeated teaching the camp for 3 years until the program was discontinued. Since 2019, she has volunteered in the Wings of Hope STEM education program as both a mentor and teacher of the Navigation and Communication segment and leader of the Air Traffic Control exercise for 6 sessions.
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