Aviation Spotters Online

Aviation Spotters Online

All posts by Mark Jessop

The Roulette Experience is enough to flip your world upside down.

 

Everyone starts the year with a few goals and I’m no different, but 2015 was a massive year for myself covering the Australian International Air Show at Avalon, FCI Course, Exercise Talisman Sabre, Exercise Northern Shield , Exercise High Sierra and Warbirds Downunder.

So for me 2016 had to be a smaller year with more of a focus on the aircraft that only have a few years left to fly.

The ASO team has grown and the pressure was off to be everywhere around the country, and with our 3rd child on the way mid year, it was a very wise move to remember family always comes first.

My plan was to cover Wings Over Illawarra, Mudgee Air Show, as much Classic Hornet action as possible, and make Exercise Pitch Black 2016 the big one. While there was also an ADF Airshow at Townsville, I was confident the rest of the team had that well covered.

For the last 4 years I have been very lucky to have been able to capture the RAAF Roulettes on the scale that I have done, with a lot of behind the scenes access you can only dream of as a kid. The main person I have been working with has been SQNLDR Dan Kehoe who, when we first met, was flying as R2, in his second season. After having a seasons rest he came back to lead the team from up front as R1 Roulette leader. 

Over our time of knowing each other we both have the same passion to get today’s kids interested in Aviation in any way, shape or form. It’s not until you spend considerable hours with the team that you can really understand the time and effort that is involved with being a member of the RAAF Roulettes, remembering it is also their 2nd job, as their primary role is that of Flying Instructors.

One of the key focus points we both had been looking at for some time, was how do you capture the PC-9 as part of the Roulettes before they get replaced by the new PC-21? We had both talked about the many awesome photos that had been taken in the past and agreed that from my perspective, I had always been looking up.

I had only just recently returned from Exercise Pitch Black, and was very happy with how the team had worked together. I was looking forward to a quiet back half of the year when one night the home phone rang. On the phone was Dan with one of those questions you least expect, “Mate what days are you free up at Townsville?”. Mmmm…. “Well I’m not really planning on going up but what’s up?” was my reply.  The words I heard next came as the biggest shock with regards to anything to do with my photography and Aviation. “Mate we are doing a media pax ride up at Townsville on the Friday before the show with 3 media spots, can you make it, as you can be one of the approved 3″” 

While in an instant every childhood dream was just smashing my eyes with how insane it would be to go for a flight with the Roulettes , the better half of my mind thought I had already told my wife Holly, that I was home for the rest of the year. There are times in your life when you know you shouldn’t ask and should be very happy with what you already have, but sometimes you just have to ask and this was one of those times. Once Holly found out why, my smile was bigger than Luna Park and she just said the words I wanted to hear ” You have earned this chance so you have to go”. 

The dream begins.
The dream begins.

A month out, and my flying medical for “high performance aircraft” was done at RAAF Williamtown and while I was confident about passing, I was still very nervous about the whole event because if I failed for any reason, that would end any chance of flying in other, faster aircraft. I had passed the medical so now it was just a case of waiting and trying to visualize the photo’s I hope to capture.

Once it was all confirmed it was actually happening I spoke with the NPS team at Nikon Australia, and it was decided that for such a rare chance to capture history, only the best would do. The brand new Nikon D5 DSLR and 24-120mm f.4 was the chosen setup with a Sandisk Extreme Pro 128gb card. When opportunities like this happen the last thing you need to go wrong, is for your gear to fail. 

 

The flight plan. Media pax ride.
The flight plan. Media pax ride.

On the Thursday before the flight it was time to get fitted out with the fight suits and gear needed for the flight, but even at this stage I still reminded myself that at any moment this could all not happen. Trying to sleep the night before is something that just isn’t going to happen and before I knew it the big day was on. Meeting at the gate nice and early it was time to get this show on the road. Once inside the base it was a quick meet and greet with the Roulette team and then off to get changed into our flight gear. Everything at this level is done on a time line and no sooner than had we got changed, it was time for a walk around of the aircraft, followed by the preflight brief to give us a better idea of the action ahead. Something that is very clear to me is the detail the team goes into for each flight during their preflight brief. Nothing is left to chance at this level.

Preflight brief underway.
Preflight brief underway.

 

Time to suit up
Time to suit up

Now the only thing left is to do the final checks and strap in. My pilot for the flight was FLT.LT Jonathan Morgan who has been in the team the whole time I have been working with the Roulettes, so it was great to be flying with someone I knew. Jonathan is in the pairs display along with FLT.LT Andrew Robinson, and together as the pairs team they perform their trademark formation known as “Mirror”. We had talked for many months about which photo’s were a high priority and we all agreed the “Mirror” was the number one shot we needed to get. To make sure we had the best chance, we measured out the wingspan and the degree of angle the lens would get, and then talked about all the things that could happen.

It's all about to get real.
It’s all about to get real.

 

Last checks
Last checks

Once strapped in the canopy was shut and the engine started, from here it was just waiting for all the checks to be done then start taxiing out to the runway. Lining up to take off as a 3 ship, the moment was here, and feeling the brakes come off knowing it’s really happening it was something I would never forget. The dream from early childhood to fly with the Roulettes is REALLY happening! The thing was, I knew just how many people had made this flight happen so I just started smashing out as many photo’s as I could. 

Not a bad view to take in before it gets very real. PC-9 A23-058.
Not a bad view to take in before it gets very real. PC-9 A23-058.

You always have a clear plan of the photo’s you would like to get but once in the air the amount of awesome views just takes over. Straight away R4,R5 & R6 formed up and it became very clear just how close these guys actually fly together. Soon we caught up with R1,R2 & R3 and headed north to our practice area, flying in close formation the whole way. Since everything was going good Jonathan asked if I wanted to do a quick inverted flight just to check I was ok with it all, and with a quick reply of “Yes” he counted down and flipped the PC-9 over. I grabbed a few pics just to see how it would look and make sure I could control everything I needed to do.

Thumbs up from FLTLT Andrew Robinson just after departing for the flight. PC-9 A23-025.
Thumbs up from FLTLT Andrew Robinson just after departing for the flight. PC-9 A23-025.

 

Catching up with the rest of the team, R4 in front. PC-9 A23-067.
Catching up with the rest of the team, R4 in front. PC-9 A23-067.

 

The Roulette team meeting up to start the practice.
The Roulette team meeting up to start the practice.

 

Our first try at inverted flight to see how I handled it.
Our first try at inverted flight to see how I handled it.

 

Flipping back over we manoeuvered into some different formations and just cruised around the area we had available. All the time we were in the left outside position, so the whole flight I was looking out to my right taking photo’s. I didn’t really recall looking at the horizon, or anything inside the cockpit, as this was my biggest Roulette photographic opportunity, and I simply had to come back with some cracker photo’s. Due to Townsville airport being so close to the display area we had to wait for our time slot, but as luck would have it, something happened and we got pushed back.

The team rolling into one of the many formation's.
The team rolling into one of the many formation’s.

 

Enjoying the roller coaster ride.
Enjoying the roller coaster ride.

 

Rolling back in again over the beautiful water north of Townsville.
Rolling back in again over the beautiful water north of Townsville.

Everything was going good so it was time to try and get this inverted “Mirror” photo. We let the rest of the team move away and we started to manoeuvre the same way it’s performed in the public display. We moved around in an arc with Andrew below us on our left. Once Jonathan was in position he flipped us over inverted and then Andrew sped up to get into position directly below us. I was shooting non-stop but flying inverted, being so close to another plane ,is just something I really can’t describe, it’s just right there and while that’s full on, you are also inverted the whole time! I didn’t look anywhere apart from straight down and working the camera to get different settings.

Yes it feels this close.
Yes it feels this close.

 

We flipped back over and I quickly check the photo’s, you wouldn’t believe it but we were too close !!!! Jonathan asked how we went and I told him we needed more separation to which he laughed. The information was passed to Andrew and we lined up again, snap, the PC-9 flips over and it’s all on again. Andrew moves forward and lines up with us, I start taking photo’s and hope I get what is needed. Flipping back over I look at the photo’s but damn,  I still didn’t get the whole aircraft in the shot! I again passed the information to Jonathan which he radioed to the team. R1 leader radioed back to see if I was keen for another go as time was running out, hell yes, let’s do this one last time. I knew I had to nail it this time.

Roulette 6 coming around again before we flip over and he moves into position. PC-9 A23-025.
Roulette 6 coming around again before we flip over and he moves into position.

Around we came again but I could tell Andrew was lower this time , we flipped over and he moved forward. Just as he got below us the light just went off.  It was like someone had opened up the clouds to let the light highlight the aircraft and water below. We rolled back over and I looked at the back of the camera, straight away one frame just stood out and I called Jonathan to say we got it.

Roulette 5 FLTLT Andrew Robinson in the "Mirror". PC-9 A23-025.
Roulette 5 FLTLT Andrew Robinson in the “Mirror”. PC-9 A23-025.

 

 

Leaders Benefit' formation.
Leaders Benefit’ formation.

 

R4 nice and close. PC-9 A23-067.
R4 nice and close. PC-9 A23-067.

 

Looking forward to a cracker view.
Looking forward to a cracker view.

 

Looking down over the team with that amazing FNQ water below.
Looking down over the team with that amazing FNQ water below.

We moved into formation with the rest of the team and got back into the various formations , since I knew I had gotten the photo we wanted, it was time to take in the moment. Darren Mottram who is in the ASO team and has had a few Macchi flight’s told me before the flight to take a moment to appreciate the hard work it takes to get a flight like this, and to just put the camera down and enjoy the flight. Here I was sitting in a PC-9 flying in formation with the RAAF Roulettes ! The next 10 minutes of the flight is something I will never forget. R1 radioed that we where clear to come back and have a quick practice over the Strand , by this time we had been flying for sometime so it wasn’t going to be a long display.

Coming back into the Townsville area for a quick pass over the Strand.
Coming back into the Townsville area for a quick pass over the Strand.

 

No better way to get into it then coming over the top.
No better way to get into it then coming over the top.

 

The roller coaster ride begins.
The roller coaster ride begins.

We moved into tight formation and banked over to start the “offset loop into tight turn”, gaining speed and energy the whole time and as we pulled up, I could feel the camera gaining weight. Once at the top of the loop it was back to normal but that was about to change. We descended down and boom, the camera gained weight from the G and was pushed into my gut. We came out of the turn and I knew it was time to grab the bag, a quick spit to get out some gas and all was good. I got straight back into taking photo’s but it was time up for our flight so we headed back to base. As we came into land I got one last chance to take in the view and appreciate what had actually just happened. 

Townsville and the "Strand" go flying past.
Townsville and the “Strand” go flying past.

Once out of the aircraft I was expecting the guys to get straight into giving me some grief for grabbing the bag but Andrew just walked up and said ” I could see you taking photo’s after grabbing the bag , AWESOME ! ” We all had the chance to have a quick chat and for me to say thank you but the team had to get some rest for their main practice later in the day. I also got the chance to thank Dan for making the flight happen at which time he told me this was one of his last flights in the Roulettes, and that he would have his final flight at RAAF Point Cook in a few weeks time. “Would you be able to make it?” Here we go again, time to ring Holly and tell her about how good the flight was while asking at the same time if I could go to Melbourne to capture the final Roulette flight of the year.

Heading back to RAAF Base Townsville
Heading back to RAAF Base Townsville

 

Nice and low over for the locals to see.
Nice and low over for the locals to see.

 

Time to take it all in.
Time to take it all in.

 

Job done. What an experience.
Job done. What an experience.

Just a few weeks later I found myself at RAAF Point Cook to catch up with team and attend a special occasion. This time I was to capture the final flight of Dan’s time as a member of the RAAF Roulettes. 

And in doing so, ASO was privileged to get the last interview with SQNLDR  Dan Kehoe – while he was Roulette Leader.

SQNLDR Dan Kehoe giving the thumbs up.
SQNLDR Dan Kehoe giving the thumbs up.

When did you 1st fly in the Roulettes ?

I joined the team back in June 2013, going into the Roulette 2 position. It was really the culmination of 19 years of determination to get there, as I 1st saw the Roulettes as a young 14yo Air Force Cadet at the Kingaroy Airshow in the mid 90’s. I knew right then and there that I wanted to fly in the Roulettes one day. It just looked like great flying, great fun and something that I could strive to achieve in life. I now look back and am very grateful for never giving up on the dream, as it wasn’t the easiest path at times, but nothing worth having is, as they say.

R1 about to get the show going.
R1 about to get the show going.

How many seasons have you done ?

I flew 6 seasons in total. two as Roulette 2, two as Roulette 5 (leader of the Syncro Pair) and then two as Roulette 1, with only a month break before coming back as the leader. In the one season I had off, I spent it developing the new display we fly today, reviewing our procedures and flying along with the then outgoing R1, so it felt more like 7 straight seasons. I think it’s safe to say I’m due a break 😉

Ready to go.
Ready to go.

How many displays ?

Without my logbook to check, I’d guess I flew around 120-150 displays with the team. I certainly never took any for granted though, even towards the end. As the leader I still prepared for each one as much as I could, which always culminated in me flying through the display referencing a printed off map, talking through every single manouevre and consideration with the whole team in the pre flight brief. I found it helped myself and the team fully focus on the job at hand. Funnily enough I was just as nervous before my last display as my first, which I think is healthy and a good sign that it still meant a lot to me!

Leading from the front.
Leading from the front.

Have there been any personal favorite displays ?

I personally thought our 2016 display at Wings over Illawarra Saturday display was very close to as good as we could fly. I was also very proud of our display at the Townsville Airshow this year, as the wind was extremely challenging, combined with us having to amend how we flew some manoeuvres due to Castle Hill being in the way a lot! (Especially because we didn’t get a chance to practice at the venue beforehand either, so we had one chance to get it right the first time. No pressure!)

RAAF Roulettes pass over the water
RAAF Roulettes pass over the water of Townsville.

 

Roulettes over Townsville
Roulettes over Townsville

Have there been any personal favorite moments ?

One does stand out, and it had nothing to do with flying actually! It was at the 2015 Avalon Airshow and I had just returned back to our aircraft when a ground crew member told me a young man was waiting at the fence to meet me. I went over to him to discover that I had spoken to him years earlier and had given him some advice and encouragement, and this had lead to him successfully being accepted into the RAAF as a pilot. That right there, is why I became a pilot in the Roulettes, to be able to inspire and motivate our next generation of young adults to reach for a goal. And to really re-pay the same inspiration that the Roulettes in Kingaroy had on me all those years ago! The fact he took the time out to say thanks re-affirmed to me that he’ll do well, and ended up leaving me pretty humbled just quietly.

Leaders Dedication formation
Leaders Dedication formation at RAAF Point Cook.

Favorite  move as a team ?

I enjoyed the challenge of the ‘Cascade’ finish we sometimes flew where we all branch out after pointing straight down. It’s actually quite a hard manoeuvre to fly as the leader, as the point I have to fly to straight down has to be precisely on the correct heading after flying about 3/4 of a barrel roll, above a minimum height and all the while being very smooth for the wingman. It takes a lot of preparation and concentration to get spot on.

How much practice is needed to stay current ?

Once the team is certified for public display we have a minimum period of 2 weeks between displays. Any longer and we have to fly a practice in between. Although in between our display flying we are flying about twice a day with our regular flying instructor duties at the RAAF’s Central Flying School, so our skills are constantly maintained even when not Roulette’ing.

R5 & R6 Mirror pass at RAAF Point Cook.
R5 & R6 Mirror pass at RAAF Point Cook.

 

Interactive talk with the crowd at RAAF Point Cook.
Interactive talk with the crowd at RAAF Point Cook.

 

Inspiring the next generation of pilot's.
Inspiring the next generation of pilot’s.

Any closing thoughts on your time in the Roulettes ?

” it was a humbling experience to be apart of our proud Roulette history. I will certainly miss the flying and the satisfaction of contributing to a team that can consistently showcase the skill of military pilots to the public. Most of all I’ll miss being part of inspiring the future RAAF pilots, but I’m leaving behind an excellent team who will certainly do a great job in the future both in the air and on the ground. I’d like to thank those who have supported the team throughout the years, I hope you’ve enjoyed the shows”

A presentation from the team to R1 SQNLDR Dan Kehoe
A presentation from the team to R1 SQNLDR Dan Kehoe

 

The complete team photo
The complete team photo

Whats next ?

I’ll be remaining at Central Flying School for another posting, taking up the position as the Chief Flying Instructor. I might get to do the odd Roulette solo display from time to time, just without 5 wingman hanging off me!

RAAF Roulettes team photo 2016.
RAAF Roulettes team photo 2016. Left Right – R1  SQNLDR Dan Kehoe , R2 FLTLT Charles Manning , R3 FLTLT Des Hales , R4 FLTLT Allister Berryman , R5 FLTLT Jonathan Morgan, R6 FLTLT Andrew Robinson & R7 FLTLT Ashley Kissock.

Here is the final display for 2016 at RAAF Point Cook.

Some awesome flying around Melbourne.

After working with Dan for 4 years I can really say that my respect for what the team does, as well as what it means to each person within the team, is something I really hope my photo’s and the footage that we have captured, give the public a better insight to the Roulettes.

Finally I would like to express my gratitude to have been part of recording just some of the Roulette’s long history, both on the ground and in the air, and wish the Team all the best for 2017 and beyond.

Mark Jessop.


 


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Bathurst 1000 F/A-18A Hornet displays 2016.

Australia’s biggest car race was on again. The Bathurst 1000 attracts every car nut in Australia to the ” Mountain” (mount Panorama) but for me it’s the best and shortest drive I can do to see a Hornet display. Every year since I started going, the Royal Australian Air Force has had the F/A-18A Hornet perform a display each day for the crowds. While each display doesn’t go for more than 10 minutes it is certainly worth the 2.5hour drive each way. This year after a lot of hard work behind the scenes I was allowed to cover the Saturday display from a Helicopter. To say this would be a dream come true is an understatement. Working with the team from Sydney Helicopter’s was a privilege as the scale of the operation over the week is something you have to see to believe, with up to 200+ flights on the main race days using 4 helicopters, you can see why so many people come back and do it again .

Sydney Helicopters bringing us in for the day.
Sydney Helicopters bringing us in for the day.

Sydney Helicopters and the 4 working non stop.

Sydney Helicopters’ 4 machines working non stop.

Saturday Display.

The display time for Saturday was 17:00 so the light would be awesome, but first we had to get picked up by one of the choppers to get our lift into the event. The fuel base was setup in one of the paddocks close to the track and about every hour each chopper came in for its turn of Avtur. I have to say there is nothing better then arriving at a big event via a chopper. Peter and I set up at the chopper base and just enjoyed the non stop action , watching so many people having their first helicopter flight and getting out of the chopper with beaming smiles.

Looking across to Rydges Hotel.
Looking across to Rydges Hotel.

The time was getting close and all the other choppers landed as our came in to pick us up, we where allowed to hold in one spot north of the display box at around 1.8km  at the closet point to the flying line. As you would expect the RAAF F/A-18A Hornet arrived right on time and once the airspace was confirmed clear FLTLT “Bung” launched straight into one of his favorite displays. It is a totally different experience hanging out of a helicopter trying to hold onto a Nikon D5 with a 800mm 5.6f hanging off the end of it while at the same time communicating with our pilot as to the position I wanted to be in .

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016 turning in over the famous mountain sign.

The planning around the shoot was to start at the same level as the entry height of between 250 and 300ft and climb up 200ft after each pass so that we had a different angle for all the passes. The thing which is not seen from ground level is just how much each pass is different and just how Bung sets up for each run in. We had some key images we wanted to capture with this shoot and having the Mount Panorama Bathurst sign in the shoot was the highest on the list .

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Re positioning back for the inverted pass.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Inverted pass.

While these photo’s are cropped in it’s not until you see a photo from the same angle taken with a small lens do you really see just how far away we are and the power of the 800mm. This next photo was taken by Peter Chrismas using a Nikkor 24-120mm lens f.4 at 24mm. The amount of movement while looking through the 800mm was pretty full on and even though I have seen the display many times the aircraft was very easy to lose sight of.

Peter's photo of me showing the distance between us and the aircraft.
Peter’s photo of me showing the distance between us and the aircraft.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Afterburners cranking !

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Check out how the vortecies off the wing tipsbend the light !

Even with the headset on and the noise of the rotor wash you can very clearly hear the moment the afterburners kick in ! 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
On the hunt.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Cutting back in for another lap.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Time to “turn and burn”

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Turn and Burn.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Time to go up quick !
F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Still going up.

One of my favorite parts of the display is the “Corkscrew” and to see it happen from the same height is very impressive due to just how much height drop to gain the energy and then just how that energy is used to make the aircraft spin on the spot then launch straight up to reposition for the high speed pass.

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Gaining energy for the “Corkscrew”

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Time for the “Corkscrew”

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-37 3SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Saturday 2016.
Jelly everywhere !

 There is a difference between the Saturday and the Sunday display as each one has a different time allowance with the Saturday being the shorter one. Getting close to what would be the last passes we positioned the Helicopter at our max height of 1100ft in the hope to get the pass over the mountain top with the sign in again. The amount of luck is still large no matter how much planning is made beforehand but overall this was one to remember. Now how can Sunday’s display match what we had just done ?

Come for a ride onboard with Bung on his Saturday display- 

Sunday’s Display.

Is it really possible to top off shooting an F/A-18 Hornet display out of a helicopter? Sorry but the clear answer is NO ! 

But trying out new locations is something that I highly recommend as it gives you the chance to see a display in a different perspective and the chance to capture shots you may have not known were possible. I had noticed every time I went to Bathurst to capture this display that a lot of the action happens either right in front or straight over the top of the Rydges hotel at Mount Panorama. After last year’s display I contacted the team to try and see what was possible with access and, once the helicopter shoot was locked for Saturday,  Sunday was the chance to just see how good a view it is from Rydges top floor outside .

Using the same setup as the day before, I wasn’t really sure if taking the Nikkor 800mm 5.6f was the right move but when you have access to it you have to use it. Walking up to the Hotel on race day you can tell that these very keen motor racing fanatics sure do love this sport but will they be ready for “Bung’s” final NSW display ?

VH-SYB - Eurocopter BK117-C2 NSW Ambulance service.
VH-SYB – Eurocopter BK117-C2 NSW Ambulance service.

 

VH-YFE - Boeing 737-81D - Virgin Australia
VH-YFE – Boeing 737-81D – Virgin Australia

 

VH-YFE - Boeing 737-81D - Virgin Australia
VH-YFE doing a quick lap around the Mountain.

With Virgin Airlines Australia as a major sponsor of the great race it was fitting that they got the show on the road with a very nice low approach straight over the start finish line and then into their own quick lap around the great mountain. But the main game for me was just about to start and damn I couldn’t wait.

F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.
F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.
The 1st inverted pass was just so close.

After the first inverted pass it’s an outside roll into the massive vertical climb to pull over the top and straight back down for a very quick tight turn inside the track. As the aircraft holds the turn over the start finish line it’s time for the “Squat” 90 degree roll and back straight up! To say the noise on any of these moves is loud just doesn’t describe how deafening these jets are at full noise and low to the ground. Trying to keep the aircraft in frame with the 800mm was really a big ask but hey you want to be so close that it can’t fit in the frame.

F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.
Coming back around and ready to smash the crowd.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.
You really are this close if only it was in slow motion so you could actually see inside the cockpit.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.
and up we go again.

At the top of the climb Bung repositions back down at the start finish line with the two opposite roll inverted pass which leads into the “Corkscrew”. The aircraft from here drops all it’s speed and comes back down over the start finish line in a “high alpha” move to showcase just how slow it can go, but fighter jets aren’t made really for slow speed so once over the finish line its time to kick the afterburners in again for another climb which leads into the high speed pass over the top of the mountain. The display only has one more final pass which can only mean one thing, the high speed pass into climb for height. All up, the Sunday display last close to 7 minutes, from here it’s the short flight back to RAAF Williamtown in under 20 minutes.

F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.
Turning into the start of the “Corkscrew”

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.
Cranking it over on the spot.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.
Nice and close.

 

F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 77SQN RAAF Bathurst 1000 Sunday 2016.
It’s time to leave in style.

 

For the first time ASO can bring you 3 different angles at once from the Sunday display so sit back and enjoy the full display.

 

I can not thank everyone involved in making this weekend happen as smooth as it did enough. From Mark at Sydney Helicopters for showing just how well a professional team can put on a non stop event with 4 helicopters to the team at Rydges Mount Panorama showing what it’s like running a Hotel that is booked out close to 5 years ahead. 

To the team at Nikon Australia NPS, thank you for believing in these crazy ideas I present to you. 

To FLTLT “Bung” who listened to an idea that I thought was only a dream but was keen to see what we could make happen and showed the level of professionalism needed at this level. Thank you for your support mate.

Mark Jessop

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Flight of the Hurricane

Mark Jessop

Who says you can’t have a mini Air Show in 5 weeks time ?

Well this is how the whole “Flight of the Hurricane” public flying day came about. Once the 1st 2 flights had been made the team at Vintage Fighter Restorations and owner John Brooks really couldn’t believe just how much public reaction there had been to the successful flights. A meeting was arranged to see how they could give the public a chance to witness the aircraft in flight and why not, at the same time, raise as much money as possible for the local Westpac Rescue Helicopter service?  The date was set for the 12th November which was only 5 weeks away from the meeting , so what do we need to do ?

The word was put out to see what other Warbirds could fly in but as the date clashed with some Warbird annual meetings plus a few aircraft in for maintenance meant that not many could make it but straight up Temora Aviation Museum confirmed a Scone favorite the MK.VIII Spitfire would come back to its home and Paul Bennet Airshows jumped on board just as quick and confirmed his mini air force would join the action. 

As the old saying goes “only the rain can stuff things up now ” and boy did it give everyone a fright the night before with close to 30mm of rain hitting Scone but as luck would have it, the skies cleared early morning and it ended up being a very pleasant day for everyone. The crowd of close to 4,500 made their way in for what would be an historic day of flying at Scone.

Pual Bennet got the show underway with his spiral laps around the massive Australian flag . 

Paul Bennet lapping around the Australian Flag
Paul Bennet lapping around the Australian Flag

While Paul Bennet started the show Steven Death moved the TAM Spitfire MK.VIII to in front of the crowd .

Paul Bennet pulling up hard for the crowd
Paul Bennet pulling up hard for the crowd

Next up was the FireBoss fire fighting aircraft used by PAY’S Air Services to show the crowd just how this massive aircraft can be used to help control bushfires.

Fire Boss displaying it's water drop.
Fire Boss displaying it’s water drop.

A welcome visitor to the show was the HARS Caribou which didn’t display but was still a very welcome sight for the crowd. 

The HARS Caribou about to land at Scone.

The HARS Caribou about to land at Scone.

Next up was Tim Dugan in the CAC Wirraway and he put the aircraft through an amazing handling display.

CAC Wirraway flown by Tim Dugan.
CAC Wirraway flown by Tim Dugan.

 

CAC Wirraway flown by Tim Dugan.
CAC Wirraway flown by Tim Dugan.

Next up was Paul Bennet in his T-28 Trojan.

T-28 Trojan flown by Paul Bennet.
T-28 Trojan flown by Paul Bennet.

While the display’s were on the PAY’S Robinson Helicopter was being used for joy flights are the Scone area.

A flight this boy will remember for a long time.
A flight this boy will remember for a long time.

 

The time had come for the aircraft everyone had come to see make it’s public flying debut and with so much interest in this aircraft the crowd were treated to some beautiful flying by Ross Pay.

The Hurricane starting up in front of the crowd.
The Hurricane starting up in front of the crowd.

 

TAM MK.VIII Spitfire starting up.
TAM MK.VIII Spitfire starting up.

 

TAM MK.VIII Spitfire taking off.
TAM MK.VIII Spitfire taking off.

 Steve Death performed a classic display in the Spitfire showing off the iconic lines of the fighter.

 

TAM MK.VIII Spitfire
TAM MK.VIII Spitfire

 The moment the crowd had waited for and the a sight not seen for close to 70 years in Australian skies.

Hurricane inbound.
Hurricane inbound.

 

Hurricane displays for the crowd.
Hurricane displays for the crowd.

 

Everyone with their eye's glued to the sky.
Everyone with their eyes glued to the sky.

Next up Steve and Ross formed up for a few formation passes to please the crowd, even thou both aircraft have the same engine the note given out by each was very different due to the different design of the exhaust.

Hurricane and MK.VIII Spitfire in formation.
Hurricane and MK.VIII Spitfire in formation.

 

Hurricane & Spitfire MK.VIII
Hurricane & Spitfire MK.VIII

 

 

Hurricane and MK.VIII Spitfire showing the different wing profiles.
Hurricane and MK.VIII Spitfire showing the different wing profiles.

After a short break to let everyone take in the moment of seeing a Spitfire and a Hurricane in the air at once it was time for the CAC Mustang and T-6 Harvard to perform for the crowd.

 

CAC Mustang launching into flight.
CAC Mustang launching into flight.

 

CAC Mustang in full flight.
CAC Mustang in full flight.

 

CAC Mustang.
CAC Mustang.

 

While the show was still on I was called away to get some very rare photo’s with some of John Crossman’s family decedents who had brought John’s medals and flying log book with them.

John Crossman's Medals and Fying log book.
John Crossman’s Medals and Fying log book.

 

John Crossman's Fying log book.
John Crossman’s Fying log book.

Once the flying displays had been completed it was time to open up the hangar and let the public get up close to the Spitfire and Hurricane. The team from Vintage Fighter Restorations were on hand to answer the many questions from the public abut the Hurricane and the next project underway which is a Spitfire.

 

Open hanger for the public.
Open hanger for the public.

 

Supermarine Spitfire IX MH 603 under inspection.
Supermarine Spitfire IX MH 603 under inspection.

 

Question and answer time for the public.
Question and answer time for the public.

While this was just a ” one off ” to let the public see the Hurricane in flight I’m sure that by the time the next project is ready for public display that the chance of seeing another public flying day at Scone Airport will happen. The final amount raised for the Westpac Recsue Helicopter was $20,000 and ASO would like to thank everyone involved who helped make this day happen. A lot of people donated their time and money to make everything come together and it couldn’t have been the success it was without people and companies like Paul Bennet Airshows, Temora Aviation Museum, Jetride Australia and Pracy Racing, Scone Aero Club, Upper Hunter Shire Council, Aero Refuellers, Ausure Scone, G.J. Gardner Homes, HARS for bringing up the Caribou, the team from Luskintyre who flew in their beautiful aircraft and all of the volunteers, and everyone who attended making the Flight of the Hurricane a very memorable and successful event.

For more information about the Hurricane click the link – http://aviationspottersonline.com/hawker-hurricane-flies-in-australia/

 

Motty

Mark has pretty much laid out the events which led to this wonderful and historic day above and everyone involved, at every level, need to to be thanked for their efforts in enabling such a great day to come together in such a short time.

The afternoon before the show, we had been treated to a short preview as Ross made a short publicity flight in the Hurricane as well as the chance to see him escort Temora’s spitfire on its arrival, in his Mustang. A moving sight as both these machines were once stablemates at Scone when Ross’ late father, Col Pay restored VH-HET, becoming the first Spitfire to fly in Australia since WWII. Aviation firsts seem to run in the family.

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 1 0691 Hurricane VH-JFW-001-ASO
Ross makes a nice pass in the Hurricane for a local news crew.

 

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 1 1771 Spitfire MkVIII VH-HET & CAC Mustang VH-AUB-001-ASO
A wonderful sight as Ross escorts Steve Death in Temora’s Mk>VIII Spitfire, which used to also call Scone home.

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 1 1890 Spitfire MkVIII VH-HET-001-ASO

I drove up from Newcastle on the morning of the show with trepidation as the weather was terrible the entire way, with lightning and thunder thrown in for good measure. Things were no better by the time I arrived at Scone and I’m sure there were many people dreading that all their efforts would be in vain. But, around 7am, there was a small flash of sunshine and then, to everyone’s great relief, almost as if a switch had been flicked, the weather cleared in about 30 minutes to a beautiful blue sky and marvelous light. The show was on!

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 0012 Avenger VH-MML-001-ASO
Even the ducks were walking!

 

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 0031 Paul Bennet Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB-001-ASO
The clouds cleared just in time.

 

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 0045 -001-ASO
The clearing skies revealed some beautiful light.

 

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 0097 Luskintyre Aircraft Restorations DH Fox Moth VH-UVL-001-ASO
Luskintyre Aircraft Restoration’s beautiful Fox Moth.

With the good weather came more aircraft with pilots bringing their own pieces of interesting and classic aviation to the show and to see the day’s historic event and, as Mark mentioned, there was a surprise (and very welcome) arrival by one of HARS’ huge Caribous.Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 0662 Cessna 195 VH-KXR-001-ASO

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 0898 Leopard Moth VH-UUL -001-ASO

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 0999 Waco VH-EGC-001-ASO

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 0822 L-39 Albatros VH-IOT-001-ASO
Mark Pracy arriving in his L-39

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 1895 DH Caribou VH-VBB-001-ASO

On to the flying.

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 1196 Paul Bennet Flag Drop-001-ASO
Paul Bennet gets photo-bombed during the opening flag drop.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 1376 Paul Bennet Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB-001-ASO
Paul Bennet gave a short solo display after the drop.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 1612 Fireboss VH-FBX-001-ASO
The very impressive Fire Boss, operated by Pay’s Air Services.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 1728 Fireboss VH-FBX-001-ASO
Pay’s Fire Boss taxies past the crowd.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 1973 RC L-39 Albatros-001-ASO
Always keen to promote aviation in all its forms, Paul Bennet also displayed this impressive remote control L-39 model.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 2860 CAC Wirraway VH-WWY-001-ASO
Tim Dugan in Paul Bennet’s Wirraway.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 2914 CAC Wirraway VH-WWY-001-ASO
Tim Dugan performed a slightly unorthodox entry into the circuit at the end of his routine.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 2997 T-28 Trojan VH-FNO-001-ASO
Paul Bennet gets airborne in his Trojan.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 3340 T-28 Trojan VH-FNO-001-ASO
Paul in his “office”.

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 3683 T-28 Trojan VH-FNO-001-ASO

As expected, the highlight, and entire reason for the show was the chance for everyone to get to see the iconic Hurricane take to the air. With the threat of strong winds forecast for later in the afternoon, the organizers moved the Hurricane flight up the program to earlier in the day than originally planned to ensure that the crowds would get to see what they came for too.

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 0262 Spitfire MkVIII VH-HET & Hurricane VH-JFW-001-ASO
The Spitfire and Hurricane lined up in front of the crowd.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 4124 Hurricane VH-JFW-001-ASO
The Hurricane gets airborne.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 4594 Spitfire MkVIII VH-HET-001-ASO
The beautiful lines of the Spitfire.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 4895 Hurricane VH-JFW-001-ASO
The star of the day.

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 4999 Hurricane VH-JFW-001-ASO

The decision to fly Temora’s Mk.VIII Spitfire and Vintage Fighter Restoration’s Hurricane together was a momentous one too as the chance to see two of WWII’s most iconic machines in the air together, probably for the first time ever in Australia, was a truly memorable sight and sound!

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 5102 Spitfire MkVIII VH-HET & Hurricane VH-JFW-001-ASO
A Hurricane and Spitfire together in Australian skies. What a beautiful sight.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 5248 Spitfire MkVIII VH-HET & Hurricane VH-JFW-001-ASO
A classic pair.

The afternoon’s flying saw more incredible displays from Ben Lappin in Paul Bennet’s Avenger, Paul Bennet, in his Wolf Pitts Pro, Mark Pracy in his L-39, Ross Pay in his Mustang, Steve Death in Ross’ T-6 and finished off by a formation display by Glenn Graham and Paul Bennet in their Yak-52 and Wolf Pitts.  

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 5684 Avenger VH-MML-001-ASO
Ben Lappin getting airborne in the huge Avenger.

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 7804 Paul Bennet Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB-001-ASO

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 6859 Paul Bennet Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB-001-ASO
Paul Bennet at work in the Wolf Pitts Pro.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 8028 L-39 Albatros VH-IOT-001-ASO
Mark Pracy running in, in his L-39.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 8711 CAC Mustang VH-AUB-001-ASO
Ross Pay tucking the gear away in his Mustang.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 9444 T-6 Texan VH-HAJ-001-ASO
Streve Death in Ross Pay’s T-6.

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 9475 T-6 Texan VH-HAJ-001-ASO

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 9999_99 Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB & Yak-52 VH-FRI-001-ASO
Paul Bennet and Glenn Graham perform a formation routine.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 9999_413 Yak-52 VH-FRI-001-ASO
Glenn Graham waves to the crowd on his way back.

After the display was over, some pilots headed home, including HARS’ Caribou.

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 9999_553 Cessna 195 VH-KXR-001-ASO
A beautiful, polished finish on this departing Cessna 195.
Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 9999_636 Waco VH-EGC-001-ASO
A beautiful Waco lines up for departure.

 

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 9999_856 Giles 202 VH-YOB-001-ASO

Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 9999_724 DH Caribou VH-VBB-001-ASO
The mighty Caribou heads back to HARS.

Once everything was packed up and put to bed, everyone retired to the Scone Aeroclub for rest and refreshments. Later in the evening, there was a semi-formal dinner which included Jeff Watson as a guest speaker and an auction where Items were offered up to raise further funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. These included a framed piece of original fabric bearing the serial number worn by the Hurricane prior to its restoration and a very large framed air-to-air photo which had been donated by none other than our own Mark Jessop, which went for a tidy sum too.

IMG_0579-1-001-ASO
A piece of original fabric from the Hurricane is auctioned off.

As Mark mentioned above, an event like this would not have been possible, in such a short time, without a great deal of effort by a lot of people and organisations working together so well to come up with a generous opportunity for a piece of aviation history to be seen by so many. It is a tribute to each and everyone involved that the day was such a great success and raised a valuable donation for a very worthy charity too. It was a great honor to be allowed to be a part of such a wonderful event.

Click HERE to see the full gallery of Motty’s images.


 

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Hawker Hurricane flies in Australia

The Hawker Hurricane is an extremely rare aircraft in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one example being operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during World War Two, here in Australia.

A Hawker Hurricane Mk.I fitted with tropical equipment, V7476 was imported into Australia in 1941 by the British Government, for evaluation for local service. The RAAF allocated serial A60-1 whilst on charge, however  the aircraft retained its Royal Air Force serial number. Assembled at the No 1 Aircraft Depot in August 1941, the aircraft was allocated to the Central Flying School at RAAF Point Cook on the 6th September 1941, where it was used for familiarization flights and war-loan demonstrations.

hurricane_v-7476_1
Australia’s only RAAF Hawker Hurricane Mk.I V7476 (Image from Historic Australian Aircraft Archives.)

An interesting mission that the aircraft was to conduct was in 1942 when the Hurricane was transferred to No 2 Communication Flight and, while at Laverton, it was used for testing an anti-“G” suit designed by Professor Cotton, of Melbourne University. By 1946, the Hurricane was transferred to Point Cook, where it remained until sold in 1951.

The RAAF’s 3, 450, and 451 Squadrons operated RAF supplied Hurricanes in the North African desert in 1941 and 1942.

crashed Hurricane in the desert
Crashed Hurricane in the desert
RAAF 3SQN Hurricane in the Desert campaign
RAAF 3SQN Hurricane in the Desert campaign

Today however the Hurricane is once again flying in Australian skies. Hawker Hurricane C/N 60372, C-FDNL, Mk XII / IIB Serial No 5481 that arrived here in April 2014. Unpacked at Scone in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, the aircraft arrived from Canada where it had previously been flying with Ed Russel on his private grass strip near Niagara Falls.  The new owner’s commissioned Vintage Fighter Restorations headed by Ross Pay with the task of reassembly, restoration and flight testing of the aircraft.

The Pay family are credited with restoring aircraft like Spitfire Mk.VIII VH-HET, CAC Mustang VH-AUB A68-107 and P-40E Kittyhawk VH-KTY, which are among some of  the many treasures to come from their workshop. With further restorations currently underway including two more Spitfires MH603 and MH415, another P-40N Kittyhawk and another new to Australia type the Hispano Buchon.  Ross runs Pay’s Air Services which are providers of Aerial Fire Fighting aircraft across Australia, as well as providing training and engineers services. A complete survey of the airframe was taken which meant the removal of the fabric covering to thoroughly inspect the aircraft’s overall condition. The Hurricane’s fuselage was sent to Matt Webber and the team at Luskintyre Aircraft Restoration, for some remedial wood work and recovering of the fabric among a host of jobs they were entrusted to complete.

With all the work completed the aircraft was entered onto the Australian VH register as VH-JFW.

Hurricane in what could be another time
Hurricane in what could be another time
Team photo
Team photo

The aircraft has been finished as the mount of  Pilot Officer John Dallas Crossman. John was born in North Queensland, on 20th March 1918 and grew up in Newcastle, New South Wales. He was a decent student and a great swimmer. He enjoyed music, collected stamps and was a voracious reader. He had elegant hands and his deft fingers were good at electrical work but his greatest enthusiasm was for flying. He was mad about aeroplanes from the time he could walk and loved making balsa wood models. Soon, he turned to the real thing. When he was 14, Australian aviation legend Charles Kingsford Smith came to Newcastle to give joyrides. Ted Crossman took his young son to the aerodrome and John watched as Smithy thrilled passenger after passenger in hour-long flights. Soon it was his turn, and he was hooked. From that moment on, all he wanted to do was fly.

Hurricane cockpit
Hurricane cockpit

John firmly set upon a career in the air and, when he was 20, applied to join the RAF but was rejected. He reapplied, was accepted and set sail for England on 12 August 1939. He docked at Southampton on 13 October and took his first training flight on the 31st. ‘It was great.’ He did not look back and wanted to fly at every opportunity. His greatest moment was the day he received his wings.

The Battle of Britain commenced before John finished his training. He was initially posted to 32 Squadron then sent to an operational training unit to convert to Hurricanes. He did not see action after his return to the squadron. When he was sent north, he was posted to 46 Squadron at Stapleford Tawney in Essex, arriving on 12 September 1940.

John’s first action was on the 14th when the squadron attacked “a formation of about 60 Messerschmitt 109s at 20,000 feet”. He “got one decent burst into a 109 but was unable to see if I got him as [I] had to get out of the way of a few more.”

John was in the air again on 15 September when he “ran into hundreds of Jerry kites at about 19,000 feet. Three of us were going round to do head-on attacks on some Dorniers. I lost speed, spun down 6000 feet, came out near 20 more escorted by about 60 Messerschmitt 109s. Three of the 109s came after me. I evaded then came round [and] did a stern attack on the Dorniers. Put all my shots into one of them, set his port engine on fire and saw him go down”. He was credited with a probably destroyed.

As September advanced, John was in the air two or even three times a day. By the time he took to the air on 30 September, he had flown 18 sorties, including one that morning where a “large formation [of] ME 109s passed us but we did not attack—[we] were looking for bombers”. At 1.15 p.m., the squadron took off in partnership with 249 Squadron to patrol the Hornchurch line.

They encountered a group of Messerschmitt 109s and John was bounced. Witnesses claimed he engaged 20 fighters, exhibiting “stupendous courage”, as he clung to the tail of one of the Messerschmitts. He fired, “shooting down one which fell over the [Ashdown] Forest”. But he in turn became the victim of the stricken Me 109 and his Hurricane crashed in flames at Tablehurst Farm, Forest Row, East Sussex. Twenty-two year old John Crossman was the 11th Australian to die in the Battle of Britain. (Text from Kristen Alexander’s book – Australia’s Few and the Battle of Britain )

Link to buy the book- UK readers –http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Australias-Few-and-the-Battle-of-Britain-Hardback/p/10350

Australian readers –http://www.kristenalexander.com.au/books/australias-few-and-battle-britain

John Dallas Crossman studio portrait with wings. Undated( 1940) taken in Newcastle on Tyne. Courtesy of Crossman family archive
John Dallas Crossman studio portrait with wings. Undated( 1940) taken in Newcastle on Tyne. Courtesy of Crossman family archive

Well the big day had been planned for a few dates but like all good things at this level a small thing like the weather can put a end to a days flying but on 2nd October 2016 a Hurricane was again in the skies over Australian soil. While the first flight was under 20 minutes the sight and sound of the Hurricane is something only a few Australians have seen as you have to travel mostly to England to have any good chance of seeing one in the air.

Hurricane starting up
Hurricane starting up
Hurricane rolling for take off.
Hurricane rolling for take off.

Once in the air Ross just flew the Hurricane around to make sure everything was working fine and once he was happy he made a few passes for the owners and team that helped to get the Hurricane back in the air. As the Hurricane taxied back you could just tell it was a magic moment for everyone involved.

Hurricane flies again
Hurricane flies again
Hurricane 1st flight
Hurricane 1st flight
Safe back on the ground,Ross Pay shaking hands with owner John Brooks.
Safe back on the ground, Ross Pay shaking hands with owner John Brooks.

Now that we know she flies how do we let the public see just how amazing an aircraft she is ? Like all good country towns the idea of a public day to raise money for the local Westpac rescue chopper was put forward and it didn’t take much to see that it was a worthy cause to help out. The next big question was….so how do we raise the awareness of this big event ? As luck would have it Ross was very keen for an Air to Air shoot and within days the weather looked like it would be on but again the weather didn’t want to play ball and when you have such a rare Warbird it only comes out flying when the time is right.

A few days later everything went as planned and we got the A2A shoot done. Since this shoot was such a rare opportunity Nikon NPS let me use their latest DSLR. The Nikon D5 and the very impressive 24-120mm F/4G Ed VR lens which I think is the best set up for any A2A shoot.

 

 

My ride for the shoot was the T-6 Harvard which gives excellent visual room to take photo’s once in the air as you can slide part of the canopy open.

T-6 Harvard VH-HAJ
T-6 Harvard VH-HAJ

Once up in the air it was time to form up with Ross and the Hurricane , to say that the camo scheme is hard to see is a massive understatement ! I was scanning the sky and even knew roughly where he should be coming from to form up but it wasn’t until he was above the horizon and very close that I realized ” I’m in this very shinny slow aircraft , lucky he is good guy and not the enemy ”    

Hurricane arrives for the shoot
Hurricane arrives for the shoot
The Hurricane blending into the back ground
The Hurricane blending into the back ground
The Hurricane looking sweet
The Hurricane looking sweet

Most of the time I was shooting with a shutter speed of 1/400 down to 1/125. As this was only the 2nd flight I wanted to get a few usable shots straight because at anytime the aircraft could leave the shoot. While is was just some very nice and easy laps in the sky the sight of a Hurricane off the wing is something not many will ever see, I hope my photo’s help you to come along to the public day this Saturday the 12th of November at Scone Airport to the ” The Flight of the Hurricane”public flying day. Prices are Adults $15 , families $40 and kids under 12 free, all proceeds from the day go to the local Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.  There will lots of flying displays starting from 11:00am – 3:00pm and gates opening at 9:00am. This is an event not to be missed !

Hurricane along our wingtip
Hurricane along our wingtip
Hurricane peeling away.
Hurricane peeling away.
Hurricane heading home
Hurricane heading home

A massive thank you to John Brooks and Ross Pay for the chance to capture history on this scale , to the Vintage Fighter Restoration team you all have done an amazing job with this aircraft and once the public see it they will appreciate your work.

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Hurricane Public Open Day at Scone NSW.

We are very pleased to announce that the team at Vintage Fighter Restorations and the owners of the Hurricane will be having a public open day at Scone Airport so the public can see the Hurricane up close.

The date is the 12th of November and it’s locked in.

So far we can say that Temora Aviation Museum are planning on bringing up one of their Spitfires and Paul Bennet will have his CAC Wirraway & Grumman Avenger on display. ASO will continue to bring you the latest information on what will also be attending this historic fly in day as it comes to hand.

Towing the Hurricane back

There will be some flying displays and the Hurricane will fly if the weather is right, entry will be -Family $40, Adult $15 and children under 12 free.

Temora MK.VIII Spitfire

mottys-photo_2012_05_12_2264-ltlr-2-2-001-aso
mottys-photo_2016_04_24_7020-dtlr-1-001-aso

We will release more information as it comes to hand but this is an event not to be missed.

 

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Bathurst 1000 RAAF F/A-18A Hornet Display Video-Saturday 2015.

The V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 is on again this weekend so why not get ready with video from on board last years Saturday display. The display is different each day due to the time slot with the Saturday display just a bit longer. This year is the pilots last year to do the Bathurst displays so if you can I would go check it out as he sure knows how to fly and this is one of his Favorite displays to perform. ASO will be there to cover both days flying but this will show you just what he did last year.

 

Here is the link to our article from the Saturday display last year -http://aviationspottersonline.com/2015-bathurst-1000-fa-18a-display/

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Hawker Hurricane Flies Again.

Today is a very special day in Australian Aviation History. Ross Pay and the team from Vintage Fighter Restorations completed the maiden flight of the Hawker Hurricane after a complete restoration. A massive congratulations to the team. ASO was privileged to be a part of this history but for now all we need to see are the photos.

Team photo
Team photo
Towing the Hurricane back
Towing the Hurricane back
Rolling
Rolling

 

Nice pass
Nice pass

 

Flypast
Flypast

 

more to come soon. Mark .

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F/A-18A Hornet Onboard Video V8 Supercars Clipsal 500.

With all of South Australia having no power due to the biggest storm in maybe 100 years there could be no better time on “Throw Back Thursday” to release some awesome video footage from the 2016 V8 Supercars Clipsal 500. The pilot is from SA and he sure does do his best to blow away the crowd, the footage was taken using the 360Fly HD video camera and uses a feature called “follow me”  which allows the user to control what part of the 360 degrees footage the public can see.

DSC_0399-1
Lighting the cans at the Clipsal 500

So if you have never flown low level over Adelaide in a current front line fighter jet like the F/A-18A Hornet then this is as close as you will ever get.

ASO would like to thank the Royal Australian Air Force and 2OCU for being able to bring you this incredible exclusive unprecedented follow me view for the first time in Australia. ASO will be covering over the next month the RAAF fast jet displays at the Bathurst 1000 next weekend and the following weekend at the ADF Air Show at Townsville. If you think this is good then you better get ready for the coming month as it’s about to get better.

DSC_0318-1
Hornet pulling G’s at the Clipsal 500

 

Don’t miss out on any of the action by following us using this link-


 

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3 Squadron 100th Anniversary Scheme

ASO was privileged to be one of the few media outlets to be allowed to get the first photos of F/A-18A Hornet A21-27 which has been specially painted for the 100th anniversary of 3 Squadron. 3SQN was formed on the 18th of  September 1916 at Australian Imperial Forces camp beside the Central Flying School at Point Cook , Victoria. The 18 officers and 230 airmen started what was first called 2 Squadron but this would change to 3 Squadron soon after. The pilot’s were first trained in England on AVRO 504k aircraft and soon they would see action in World War 1.

The Squadron’s motto came out of this time in WW1 when one of it’s roles was reconnaissance ” OPERTA APERTA ” which means “ SECRETS REVEALED “.

The scheme the squadron has chosen to represent the 100th Anniversary is of the 3SQN 2nd highest ACE, Wing Commander Robert “Bobby” Gibbes DSO, DFC and Bar who was the CO of 3SQN from 26/02/1942 – 23/05/1942 and 26/06/1942 – 19/04/1943. Bobby ended the war with 10 credited aircraft destroyed and sharing destruction of 2 other aircraft with 2 other pilots. The aircraft code CV-V was used on different type aircraft but its best known on the P-40E Kittyhawk (desert Scheme) used by Bobby .

P-40E CV-V 3SQN CO "Bobby" Gibbes aircraft scheme
P-40E CV-V 3SQN CO “Bobby” Gibbes aircraft scheme
P-40E CV-V taxing back in while the latest fighters head out
P-40E CV-V taxing back in while the latest fighters head out

Pays Air Service own the P-40E painted in the Desert Scheme and are very honored to have had Bobby sign the front cowl. This aircraft is in immaculate condition and I’m sure when the time is right a formation flight with A21-27 will happen.

3SQN CO "Bobby" Gibbes signature on the P-40.
3SQN CO “Bobby” Gibbes signature on the P-40.
 Ross Pays P-40E signed by the late 3SQN CO Robert "Bobby" Gibbes
Ross Pays P-40E signed by the late 3SQN CO Robert “Bobby” Gibbes
F/A-18A Hornet 3SQN A21-21 and P-40E CV-V @CoA. Credit RAAF Official
F/A-18A Hornet 3SQN A21-21 and P-40E CV-V @CoA. Credit RAAF Official
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet 3SQN A21-21 with P-40E CV-V with Newcastle in the back ground.@CoA Credit RAAF Official
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet 3SQN A21-21 with P-40E CV-V with Newcastle in the back ground. @CoA Credit RAAF Official

More recently F/A-18A Hornet A21-3 has had Bobby’s name on the aircraft.

RAAF F/A-18A Hornet A21-3. 3SQN CO Bobby Gibbes Hornet.
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet A21-3. 3SQN CO Bobby Gibbes Hornet.

This scheme has created so much talk as everyone has an opinion on how it should look but really until you see it up close and have time to walk around it in different light I think it will be one of those schemes that will grow on people. I really want to see the aircraft in the air and then see really how it looks but for now here is a quick walk around of the aircraft.

It’s a very big few months with a lot of celebrations for 1,2,3 & 4 Squadron 100th Anniversary and ASO will bring it all to you.

RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.
RAAF 3SQN F/A-18A Hornet 100th Anniversary scheme A21-27 RAAF Williamtown.

Massive thankyou to 3SQN & RAAF media for the chance to record history.

 

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