Aviation Spotters Online

Aviation Spotters Online

All posts by Martin Porcelli

Australian International Airshow 2017

Fast Jets and Aerobatics.

By Mark Jessop

To be back again at the Australian International Air Show is something that is always special,this year’s show was shaping up to be the best. For me, I had never seen a F-22 display, B-1B, EA-18G, P-8, AH-64E Apache in the flesh and what was maybe the one aircraft every spotter wanted to see was the brand new F-35 lightning. The gear I used at the Airshow mainly at the show was the awesome setup of the Nikon D4s and the mighty Nikkor 600mm f/4, my spare body was the trusty Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 24-120mm f/4.5

Getting straight into the action on the Tuesday “Trade Day” I was damn keen to see for my first time the F-22 Raptor Demo Team in action, but to get the show underway the RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet put on a display that was up there with the best seen anywhere.

RAAF F/A-18 F Super Hornet punching flares.
RAAF F/A-18 F Super Hornet punching flares.


RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet going up.
RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet going up.


RAAF P-8 Poseidon arriving into Avalon.
RAAF P-8 Poseidon arriving into Avalon.

Over the following day’s Avalon put on an Airshow that again proves you have to make it at the highest on your list to attend. What were the highlights for me? Well, like everyone there were just so many and as the team was covering every angle I wanted to take in all the action and pace myself for what would end up being a massive week.

The Royal Australian Army Tiger Attack Helicopter.
The Royal Australian Army Tiger Attack Helicopter.




Sky Aces inverted ,level and barrel rolling around each other.
Sky Aces inverted, level and barrel rolling around each other.
Skip Stewart all smoked up.
Skip Stewart all smoked up.

After the RAAF F/A18F Super Hornet there were three other major displays. The F-16 PACAF demo team was again in Australia to showcase the power and agility of the Fighting Falcon. Throughout the Airshow the public was lucky to have the right conditions for condensation or “Ecto” to form on the jets. I think the photo’s speak for themselves.

USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon in it's "Ecto" bubble.
USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon in it’s “Ecto” bubble.


USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon ripping into a tight turn.
USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon ripping into a tight turn.


USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon pulling up.
USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon pulling up.

Next up is the RAAF F/A-18 Hornet 4 ship “Roaring Tigers” display team. The 2017 show would be the last time the public got to see the 4 ship team in action at Avalon and it was also the first time the public got to see A21-16 and the 75th Anniversary tail scheme for 2OCU.

The "Roaring Tigers" start the display with the stack entry.
The “Roaring Tigers” start the display with the stack entry.


RAAF F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 2OCU.
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 2OCU.


RAAF F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 2OCU.
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 2OCU.

On the Saturday I wanted to get a different view as well as a sort of a rest day after the massive Friday. Leigh and myself headed to the highest spot on the You Yangs called “Flinders Peak” which is 10km from the show and thought we would see what we get. We did see a lot, but not up close apart from one good pass by the “Roaring Tigers”.

RAAF F/A-18A Hornet A21-16 turning right on "Flinders Peak"

Like every “spotter” out there I have seen my fair share of F-22 Raptor display video’s and it was time to see in the flesh what all the fuss was about. The first day didn’t start out to good  for the team as something happened only 4 minutes into the flight and the display was cancelled, but the rest of the week showcased just what an impressive aircraft the F-22 is. While every display had been just awesome the Friday display is one that will be talked about for many years as the conditions were right for a lot of condensation or “ecto” to form around the aircraft. Again, it’s easier to let the photo’s do the talking.

USAF F-22 launching into it's display.
USAF F-22 launching into its display.
USAF F-22 pulling up.
USAF F-22 pulling up.


USAF F-22 turning into the rainbow.
USAF F-22 turning into the rainbow.


USAF F-22 into the rainbow again.
USAF F-22 into the rainbow again.


USAF F-22 with "ecto" & "Jelly"
USAF F-22 with “ecto” & “Jelly”


USAF F-22 and that "moment"
USAF F-22 and that “moment”

It’s pretty hard to beat the Friday day time show and myself and Leigh thought it would be wise to leave before the crowd, but on the way out the sunset light quickly made us change our minds and what a decision that would end being. The be around the RAAF’s newest fighter as the fireworks started and capture what we did is something I will remember for a long time. The old saying” always be ready for anything” was right!

RAAF F-35's exploding on the Australian Scene.
RAAF F-35’s exploding on the Australian Scene.

Thank to every person who made the show a success and to the ASO team, great work covering every angle like no one else can -Mark.

Heavy Metal and Foreign Friends.

By Dave Soderstrom

I use Canon equipment for my work, my primary gear being the Canon 7D MkI with 100-400mm L IS II and 24-105mm L IS. Both give me the coverage I need for this event. I also run Scandisk CF cards which process extremely quickly.

What a show this year, in my opinion, it was a one of the best for its variety and displays. Antonov AN-124, Singaporean Air Force in force with KC-135, F-15s and C-130s, USAF F-22 display, RAF A-400M, JASDF KC767 and our own RAAF in force made it a fantastic event to cover. To be able to chat with the various crews, about their aircraft, their roles, their history is something that you really appreciate them giving you time for. For me, I was able to tick off a bucket list item and be on the flight deck of the AN-124 and spending time with the crews was truly a special time.

ASO 24 (1 of 1)
USAF KC-135 launches from Avalon
ASO 25 (1 of 1)
Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130H one of two which came to Avalon
ASO 15 (1 of 1)
Some of the Internationals on display
ASO 17 (1 of 1)
ASO 19 (1 of 1)
Royal Air Force A400M
ASO 14 (1 of 1)
Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130J
ASO 23 (1 of 1)
Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757
RNZAF C-130H ASO (1 of 1)
Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H
ASO 13 (1 of 1)
ASO 35 (1 of 1)
USAF B-1B arrives
ASO 31 (1 of 1)
The French Air Force again brought their CN-235 Maritime Patrol aircraft to display.
ASO 32 (1 of 1)
The mighty AN-124 is big which ever way you look at it.

The Australian Defence Force put forward one of the largest ensembles of aircraft and helicopters ever seen at an Australian Air Show with nearly every type in service on display including the newest hardware. The F-18G Growlers arrived along with the new P-8 Poseidon, PC-21 and of course the F-35As.

A34-003 RAAF C-27J ASO (1 of 1)
RAAF C-27J Spartan was a first time display at Avalon
A46-305 RAAF E-18G Growler ASO (1 of 1)
Two Growlers arrived bringing the RAAF into the Electronic Jamming club.
A47-001 RAAF P-8 Posiden ASO (1 of 1)
The RAAF’s new maritime surveillance aircraft the P-8 Poseidon was a welcome display.
A54-002 RAAF PC-21 ASO (1 of 1)
Two of the RAAF’s new PC-21 Training aircraft were proudly on display.
A35-001 RAAF F-35A ASO 4 (1 of 1)
And the F-35 Lightning II made its debut to the Australian public in spectacular style!
ASO 39 (1 of 1)
Not to be forgotten the Royal Australian Navy also displayed its new MH-60R Romeo model Seahawk.

A Photographer’s Perspective.

By Peter Lawrence

Once again the Australian International Air Show delivered an outstanding range of aircraft, both local & international, and from civilian & military operators.


Avalon has always been a highlight on any photographers calendar as it offers such a wide range of subject. Yes, the lighting can sometimes be the biggest challenge but it is just that, a challenge to be meet head on!


Avalon is one of the biggest shows in the southern hemisphere and because of that fact it appeals to businesses to come and attend the trade days to show off their products and maybe even snag a sale or two.


The public days give the average Joe a chance to come and witness the skilled pilots put there incredible flying machines through their paces, from graceful gliders, heart-stopping aerobatics to powerful military machines.


With the weather playing it’s part, overall I think the show was a resounding success, and I look forward to what the Airshow Down Under team can pull together for 2019!



Australian International Airshow Video Review.

By Mark Pourzenic.

Having  the Australian International Airshow take place at Avalon Airfield near Geelong, and only a short 45 minute drive from home, this airshow mean’s a lot to me as I’ve attended every show since it’s inception in 1992.

As ASO’s videographer, I feel obliged  as always at every airshow that I attend, and that is, to try and capture every movement, which at times leaves me with a dilemma.  How to condense all the hours of vision I have into something that many will enjoy,  so my apologies from the start if I’ve included a few more moments here and there, which hopefully you’ll all enjoy.

For this years show I’ve updated my equipment once again, with another product from Canon video, featuring the  XF305  model, which is the bigger brother of my last Canon video system, the XHA1S.  I must say that the subtle changes in technology, such as the wider angle lens, the use of CF card over tape, and overall ease of use have helped with capturing this years event without too much hassle.

For me Avalon usually starts on the Saturday during arrivals weekend.  Since the late 1990’s myself, along with close friends and like minded spotters have made a big deal of converging  at the end of Avalon’s main runway, and patiently spent a lovely summers day awaiting the military and civil arrivals before the official start to the show, and more often than not included  a practice display or two by many of the visiting types of aircraft.  As with every Avalon, I feel the main highlight is the opportunity to catch up with fellow spotters and friends made over the years, and just being part of the airshow itself.

So for the main part, this years show (2017) was bathed in blue sky’s for  most of the week, which made it difficult at times to try and capture the sense of speed and movement, and often more than not brought out a few flaws with my filming, which at times can’t be helped.  So enough rambling, and let’s get the show started with a clip detailing the arrivals.

With most of the main arrivals taken care of, it was time to open the show, with the first of the trade days beginning on the Tuesday.  For most the trade days are industry only, and the lucky few that are fortunate enough to attend, it’s quite the experience being able to get close and personal with many of the aircraft on display, on the ground and in the air.

With the Trade Days it’s more often than not that one is treated to special one off arrivals and display’s, and this years show had it all.  With the RAAF having 4 new types on show – EA-18G Growler, P-8A Poseidon, PC-21 and C-27J Spartan, it was a privilege and thrill to witness these historic moment’s and the opportunity to capture them.


With the second trade day upon us, and the weather heating up, it was a great opportunity to capture the static park with the aircraft basking under the brilliant Melbourne summer sun.

Walking the static line, there’s always something going on, either in the air, or on the ground.  Most, if not all aircraft on display are open for inspection, so naturally one must take advantage.

The ATLAS A400M always impresses.

With trade day 3 in full swing, and the summer heat rising, so was the caliber of the display’s.  For the most part, Avalon can be tricky to photograph and film at, due to the orientation of the runway and display line, meaning after 1pm you’re basically shooting into the sun.  Although after a few shows and experience you can overcome these hurdles and aim for certain spots along the runway to get the shot that you need, and the best advice is that if all else fails, it’s always good to sit back and just enjoy the show, which is, after all, the reason why one is there in the first place.

Another memorable and welcome return visitor is the USAF Rockwell B-1B Lancer.

The Antonov AN-124 Ruslan has made a welcome return since arriving for the inaugural 1992 show.

Friday heralded one of the major milestone’s for any Airshow to be held in Australia for many a year, with the arrival of the RAAF’s 5th Generation fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter.   With project costs and delays hindering its true worth, this aircraft attracts attention worldwide, and as an aviation spotter and enthusiast, I count this as a major moment in my life to be able to witness such an event.

Friday also witnessed the arrival of the public onto the airfield, as the trade part of the 2017 Australian International Airshow had concluded early in the morning.  Now it was time for the real show to begin, and for the props and afterburners to start singing their special tunes above the Avalon sky.

and not to forget the tireless work performed by the aerial firebombers during the Victorian fire season.

After the success of the Friday day/night show, and all media outlets advertising the show, and in particular the F-35, with perfect weather, Saturday was an explosion of people who flocked to Avalon in their masses, and what a show it was.   So sit back and let the show begin.

Skillful formation flying

The F-35A  Joint Strike Fighter

The Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor

and the Finale to Saturday’s airshow, the RAAF’s aerobatic team, The Roulettes.

After the show on Saturday, and having been on my feet all week at the show, I had a bit of a late start on the Sunday, with long delays on the Princess freeway due to all the traffic heading into Avalon, it was nice to casually walk about the field and find a different spot to capture some aspects such as taxiing and movements that most people don’t get to see.  It’s always good to catch ground crew and aircraft moving along taxi ways to not only appreciate their size, but also to view the pilots and crew who fly these metal birds for all of us to marvel at and enjoy.

Sunday part 2 might seem a touch long, but trust me, it’s worth every minute.

And what begins must have an end.

So with the arrivals, trade days and airshow covered, there was only one thing left.   Yes you guessed it, the departures!

It’s always demanding spending 10 or so days travelling to and from Avalon, some say I’m crazy, and maybe I am, but for the love of aviation, and the memories,  friendships that are, and have formed at this very airshow, it will forever be something special to me, and for many of you out there, whether you’ve been to one show or many, or never been at all, hopefully we here at Aviation  Spotters Online  have  given you a taste of what the Australian International Airshow is all about.

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Townsville’s T150 Defence Force Open Day 2016

ASO Team Member – Martin.P

Quiet and still. What a contrast to yesterdays show where less than 24 hours ago this beast was carving the air like a knife through butter! Of course, I’m talking about the USAF F-16 on static display at the RAAF base in Townsville for the open day. The opportunity too see this and all the aircraft that flew in the T150 Defense Force airshow is always going too be popular among air enthusiasts and other members of the public alike. 


One of two Vipers for the open day and airshow


The gates opened at 10:00 am but for the eager this meant arriving well before this time, and upon arrival there were no less then approximately 100 people already keen to get in and see these amazing aircraft up close. Once the gates opened, bags were searched and once in, seeing modern military hardware this close was always going to be exciting.

One aircraft that did fly at the open day was the P51D Mustang, this was an opportunity for the team at The Warbird Academy in Caboolture to offer the public flights on the day. 


A member of the public about too go for a flight in the mighty P-51D!


Naturally the aircraft gaining most of the attention were the fighter jets on display. The USAF had two F-16s present, one from the 13th Fighter Squadron and one from the 14th Fighter Squadron. Both belonging too the 35th Fighter Wing based in Misawa, Japan. It was the Pacific Air Forces demonstration team responsible for the display. Naturally the Americans had immaculately presented aircraft and were more than happy to show off their stuff. All one needed to do was ask, and you found yourself on the other side of the rope talking to the maintainers and pilots all the while touching the jet! What a great experience, something I never though would happen nor expect. I had been to Avalon in the past but never had that opportunity!


Note the red stripe on the tail, an indication it belongs too the 13th Fighter Squadron.


No mistaking who this uniform belongs too!


With such a line up, it could almost be mistaken for an international airshow.


Next to that was the RAAF Hawk 127, then the F-18 ‘classic’ Hornet followed by the Super Hornet. 


Interesting to note that this displays both 76 and 79 squadrons on the tail.


One of two F-18 ‘classic’ Hornets that flew in for the open day.


F/A-18 Super Hornet, this aircraft would soon transfer to 6sqn.


If fast jets weren’t your thing, not to worry as all other assets were also on display. Not only was it great to see these aircraft up close, but also the opportunity to speak with those that fly and maintain them was also fascinating. 

Almost all the RAAF aircraft were available to be viewed, whether it was the cockpits of the F-18 or Hawk or a walk thorough of the transport aircraft, the lines of people doing so were hundreds deep. This included the newest member of the transport group, the C-27J Spatan. 


RAAF KC-30 open too the public.


F/A-18 Hornet cockpit, showing the HUD, MFD’s, HOTAS, the list goes on.


C-17 Globemaster.


The other highlight of the day was the Roulette’s start up and departure. Once again, something that the public don’t always get too see, as most times when seeing the Roulettes is overhead flying for the displays.


The Roulettes start and depart the open day.




It was a great day and a big thank you to the RAAF for a great airshow and open day in Townsville. Can’t wait for the next one!


ASO Team Member -Phil.M

The Sunday Open Day for me was a day to relax a little and tie up what would be the 3rd day of a jam packed itinerary, bringing together an awesome weekend of flying and observing some great aircraft in one location! It has been a whirlwind time for me coming back to my childhood town I grew up in, which I had not seen for over 12 + years, catching up on the sights, meeting up with old and new friends. 


RAAF Open Day Townsville, T150 (1)
This way please!


Standing in the sun for the best part of 2 days can take it out of you if your not use to it! I managed to miss the gates opening for the Open Day, so I resigned myself to accepting the  fact that there will be a lot of people around and waiting around and trying to get a clear shot was not really an option plus the fact that I had to leave mid way through for an hour or so and return for the end.


RAAF FA-18F Super Hornet (61)
1 Squadron Super Hornet being readied for towing.


RAAF C-27J Spartan (19)
New kid on the block!…RAAF C-27J Spartan


RAAF Pilatus PC-9A Roulettes (57)
Red turboprop goes faster!


RAAF F/A-18 Hornet (1)
The business end of the classic Hornet!


DHC-4 Caribou (16)
The ‘Gravel Truck’ from HARS back home on the apron it operated out of for many years!


RAN LADS De Havilland Dash 8 - 200 (6)
This was a first for me to see the Navy’s modified Dash-8.


RAAF FA-18 Hornet (4)
Aircraft always draw a crowd.


RAAF KA350 King Air (18)
RAAF King Air waits patiently while keeping a watchful eye!


CAC 18 Mk 21 P-51D Mustang (32)
CAC Mustang from ‘Mustang Flights Australia’ taxiing out, offering another flight experience!


USAF F-16 (62)


RAAF FA-18F Super Hornet (78)
RAAF Super Hornet being towed back to be readied for flight home.


RAAF C-17A Globemaster III (14)
The line starts back over here!


After the open day finishing in the afternoon, I had word that a few aircraft were to depart home, so I made my way to find a spot at the end of the main runway to get some final shots!  I think in the end I was happy with what pictures I was able to capture from the last day before I was to return home myself.


RAAF KC-30A Tanker departs Townsville.


RAAF FA-18 Hornet (12)
RAAF ARDU Hornet heads for home, sadly this one didn’t perform a display for Townsville’s T150.


RAAF C-130J Hercules (42)
RAAF C-130 nearing the end of the day.


Boeing 737-800 Retro Roo II (4)
Arriving RPT, Qantas Retro Roo II


RAAF Pilatus PC-9A Roulettes (64)
7x Roulettes depart Townsville with smoke on, heading for their next display destination.




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First time visit of RAAF C-27J Alenia for Adelaide Airport

RAAF C-27J A34-001 on the ramp at Adelaide (YPAD/ADL)
RAAF C-27J A34-001 on the ramp at Adelaide (YPAD/ADL)

Adelaide Airport has been the main aviation gateway for South Australia for over 61 years. Even though the majority of movements are civilian it is not uncommon to see military traffic. Whether it be the AP-3C Orion from nearby RAAF Base Edinburgh conducting ILS training or a RAAF Boeing 737 BBJ flying prime ministers in for important visits, Adelaide still gets the occasional military movement.

When The RAAF’s newest aircraft, the C27J Spartan flew in on the 30th of July this year a little after midday, not only was it the opportunity to catch a RAAF aircraft flying into Adelaide Airport, it was also the chance to capture the first arrival of the C27 at Adelaide Airport.

RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan A34-001
RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan A34-001

Flying in from RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales, the conditions on the day weren’t ideal for capturing a dark aircraft against an overcast sky; however it was still great to witness this event.

The aircraft re-visited South Australia a few weeks later to conduct test & evaluation flights in and around the Edinburgh & Woomera airspaces.

RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan A34-001
RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan A34-001

The C27J is operated by 35 Squadron, who previously operated the versatile and iconic Caribou. This aircraft complements the C-17 and C-130 and enables the use of airstrips not suitable for use by these larger aircraft. It is able to carry approximately 40 troops, 21 stretchers or approximately 8 tonnes of cargo.

RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan A34-001
RAAF Alenia C-27J Spartan A34-001

As more of these versatile aircraft are delivered to the Australian Air Force, I as well as many other photographers around the country will look forward to catching them in their natural environment!



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