The 2021 Airtourer Association Convention and AGM

“The East is Red”

19-22 March 2021 Bairnsdale, Victoria.


Bairnsdale is located in the East Gippsland region of Victoria.  2020 has been a difficult year for everyone but especially Gippsland with bush fires to start the year followed by COVID-19 restrictions. Victoria is now open so we going to attempt to host the Convention and AGM in and around Bairnsdale and support the locals struggling to regain their feet. We Hope you can make it along and that those of you coming from other parts of the Country will be allowed to return home.


Restrictions on borders and gatherings could change many times in the lead up to the AGM. This is all to keep you on your toes and to ensure that you regularly check for updates on the Events section of the website.

As a slight bonus for residents of Victoria, the State Government is going to pay for some of your Convention costs (up to $200 per household) under the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme.

We would suggest you avail yourself of these funds, after all they are your taxes.

A Bit of Aviation History

The site for an airfield near Bairnsdale was identified in 1939 and development was accelerated by the War. The RAAF Base become operational in 1942 with No. 7SQN (convoy escort and anti-submarine operations) and No. 1OTU (training Pilots, Observers and Gunners) being the main resident Units. During the war years around 100 aircraft were based at Bairnsdale consisting mainly of Lockheed Hudsons and Bristol Beauforts. 87 Airmen were lost in operations from the airfield.

 Bairnsdale aerial photo

After the War Ansett-ANA established a regular service to Melbourne using a DC-3. Sadly, airline services are now long gone.

Ansett helicopter

Another Ansett visitor to Bairnsdale in August 1967

Getting to Bairnsdale

For those of you not fortunate enough to be flying in there are other options.

Bairnsdale is served three times per day by Vline train from Melbourne (Southern Cross and Flinders Street) with two additional services involving a coach from Traralgon.

There is also a service by Vline coach from Canberra on some days.

Drive times are 3:45 from Melbourne, 5:15 from Canberra and 8:30 from Sydney.

What Are We Going to Do?


1400 onwards arrivals and airfield catch up. Arrive whenever you like from mid-afternoon. Aircraft parking will be in the vicinity of the East Gippsland Aero Club (EGAC).

1800 The President and Committee of the EGAC have kindly invited us to make use of their facilities and will be hosting an informal BBQ dinner and some refreshments at the Beaufort Bar. The EGAC facilities are housed in a historic WW2 hangar. Transport will be available from late afternoon to and from town to take you to your accommodation if you wish to check in and of course after dinner to our next activity.

2030 A private screening of “Voyages of the Southern Suns

 Southern sun

“Adventurer of the Year, Michael Smith discovered the delights and perils of true adventure in a solo circumnavigation in his tiny amphibious flying boat, Southern Sun, that retraced historical Qantas, Imperial and Pan Am airmail routes, in search of the glory days of 1930’s aviation. At a leisurely 80 knots, taking his time flying from cities to forests; deserts and rivers; over mountains and volcanoes; coral reefs, vast stretches of oceans, ice flows and glaciers; oh, and giant rats. Michael’s journey captured the geographic splendour of the world and learnt a little of human kind and himself along the way. Directed by Bert Murphy, featuring stunning footage, tales from around the world and insight into the high’s and low’s from a record breaking and award winning voyage”.


Breakfast at your own pace
0900 Committee Meetings
1000 Shuttles to the airport
1045 Briefing for Pilots
1100 Fly Out to Orbost for a lunch at the Marlo Hotel
(contingency plan is a 1:15 drive)
1600 AGM’s (in the EGAC rooms)
1700 Shuttles to accommodation

1900 Convention Dinner at the The Old Grain Store


Don’t eat too much for breakfast… There is plenty of eating and drinking to be done today.

0900 The Grand Tour of the region to include the Buchan Caves lunch at the Buchan Caves Hotel and a return via the town of Bruthen where there are several interesting shops and a craft brewery (you can get on the beers). Leaving Bruthen, we will stop in at the scenic town of Metung with an early dinner at the Metung Hotel.

(Drive time from Bairnsdale to the Buchan Caves is 1:15, Buchan to Bruthen is 0:40, Bruthen to Metung is 0:30 and Metung to Bairnsdale is 0:30). Cave tour times TBA but need to get underway to get there do a cave tour and then move on to lunch. Post lunch we will aim to spend some time at Bruthen and have some time in Metung prior to dinner.


A casual catch-up for breakfast followed by departures.


AIRSPACE: Bairnsdale (YBNS) is located in Class G Airspace and has no movement fees. East Sale (YMES) has airspace to GND out to 20NM and various other levels out to 50NM. Over YBNS the ESX Restricted Areas commence at 4000’ however it extends down to the GND 3NM to the west. During ESL airspace activation (generally MON-FRI) YBNS can be accessed from the west either via a clearance from SALE DELIVERY 133.6 (it is preferable to file a plan) or proceeding on a broadcast basis (126.7) via D353 not above 1500’ (refer to East Sale ERSA and the ML VNC for full details). The airspace group ESX should be used to get NOTAMS for all the relevant airspace. The status of the airspace and current WX is also available on the ESL ATIS 125.4, 350 (NDB) or 03 51467226.

Whenever the ESX Restricted Areas are active so is D353, so even if a clearance is not available you can always transit the area via this laneway at or below 1500’. Another option is to remain offshore at or below 1000’ and be aware of helicopter traffic operating between Longford and the oil/gas platforms in Bass Strait.

PARKING: At the EGAC which is found at the end of the taxiway extending to the north of the airfield. There is plenty of grass to tie down on and a few hardstand tie down points.

 airfield dia

FUEL: AVGAS is available near the terminal near the threshold of RWY13.

TRANSPORT: Pick up points will be the two recommended accommodation locations listed below. There will be no transport after the movie on FRI night or to/from the Convention dinner on SAT night. It is just a short walk. It is likely that we will be using a 12 seat HiAce van for airport shuttles so if you can help out by driving it this would be much appreciated (can be driven on a car licence).

ACCOMODATION: There are numerous options in town, two are within a quick walk of the Convention Dinner venue and the cinema and as such we recommend these. The organised transport will also be conducting pick-ups from these locations. Some rooms are being loosely held at Mitchell on Main (mention Airtourer Association AGM when booking) but we recommend booking a room early to avoid disappointment.

Mitchell on Main: Motel with a pool, bar and close to the train station (30 rooms). Rooms from $130

The Riversleigh: Higher end accommodation overlooking the river (10 rooms). Rooms from $148

For anybody that would like to minimise their accommodation expenses, the EGAC has a bunkroom that can be set up with up to four camp beds (BYO swag or sleeping bag). There is a shower and toilets.

REGISTRATION: Registration will be via the website and will close at 1700 AEDT FRI 5th MAR.