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Aviation Spotters Online

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First RAAF F-35s arrive at Williamtown.

Yesterday (December 10th 2018) saw the official delivery of the Royal Australian Air Force’s first two Lockheed Martin F-35 JSFs (also known at the Lightning II), at RAAF Base Williamtown, just north of Newcastle. While 10 aircraft have been delivered to the RAAF so far, they are currently used in the United States as part of the F-35A Pilot Training Center at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and, although two of these aircraft appeared in Australia previously at the 2017 Avalon International Airshow, they returned to the training unit at Luke immediately after the show, whereas the aircraft which arrived yesterday are the first to be permanently based here in Australia.Mottys-First RAAF F-35 Arrivals at Williamtown-01247-ASO

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Known as a 5th Generation Fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35 represents a quantum leap in technology and capability for the Air Force in replacing its classic F/A-18 Hornets so the RAAF were keen to mark the delivery of this new platform in suitable style. So, to ensure that as many people as possible had the chance to witness this momentous occasion, the RAAF arranged for a formation of F/A-18 Hornets to escort the two JSFs over Port Stephens and along the coast to Newcastle, passing major landmarks and viewing areas, before moving inland over the towns of Raymond Terrace and Medowie, which both have a long association with the base at Williamtown, before their scheduled arrival at Williamtown at 10:10 (on the 10th).Mottys-First RAAF F-35 Arrivals at Williamtown-01664-ASO

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For those at Williamtown itself, the day’s events began with the departure of these Hornets (along with a camera-ship) under low cloud as they headed out to rendezvous with the F-35s as they made their way down from Amberly in Queensland, where they had spent the weekend after actually arriving on Australian soil last week. Given the significance of the occasion, it’s no surprise that the Hornet pilots involved weren’t just your run-of-the-mill Squadron pilots either. The formation was led by the Commanding Officer (CO) of 77SQN, WGCDR Jason Easthope (Easty) accompanied by CO 2OCU, WGCDR Scott Woodland, CO 75SQN, WGCDR Mick Grant, and XO 77SQN, SQNLDR Ben Sawley, ensuring an appropriate escort for the F-35s which will operated by 3 Squadron at Williamtown.Mottys-First RAAF F-35 Arrivals at Williamtown-00032-ASO

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As we eagerly awaited the first glimpses of the combined formation off the coast, we were treated to a Classic Hornet handling display by FLTLT Matthew Trayling (Traylz), the current Air Force Hornet Display pilot and an experienced instructor at 2OCU. The low clouds from earlier in the morning had begun to clear but there was still plenty of moisture in the air which Traylz did his best to wring out with his energetic maneuvers, showing that the Hornet is still a machine to be reckoned with in the combat arena.Mottys-First RAAF F-35 Arrivals at Williamtown-00274-ASO

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Finally it was time and just as Traylz was touching down at the end of his display, the formation could be seen approaching from the north-east, with the four Hornets in a diamond formation, escorting the two F-35s (A35-009 & -010) on either side. After passing overhead, they continued in a wide orbit and re-formed into an echelon formation for the initial-and-pitch for landing. After the Hornets had all touched down, the F-35s, flown by CO 3SQN, WGCDR Darren Clare, and A Flight Commander 3SQN, SQNLDR Red Borrman, each performed a missed approach, which gave us another chance to get a look at these new machines in the air, before finally touching down for the first time at their new home (for the record, WGCDR Darren Clare was the first to touch down in A35-009).Mottys-First RAAF F-35 Arrivals at Williamtown-01262-ASO

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After landing, the aircraft were taxied to the brand new 3 Squadron flight-line facilities within the JSF precinct at Williamtown, a major investment which has seen dramatic changes made to the base in recent years, before finally shutting down. Mottys-First RAAF F-35 Arrivals at Williamtown-02121-ASO

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Once the aircraft were safely parked, WGCDR Clare, SQNLDR Borrman, and the 3 Sqn F-35 ground crews were welcomed by a party of VVIPs which included The Governor General His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove & Lady Lynne Cosgrove; The Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, AC, DSC retd & Mrs Linda Hurley; the Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne; the Minister for Defence Industries, Steven Ciobo; Secretary of Defence, Mr Greg Moriarty; Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Ms Marillyn Hewson; Program Executive Director F-35 Joint Project Office, Vice Admiral Mat Winter and Chief of Defence Force, General Angus Campbell.Mottys-First RAAF F-35 Arrivals at Williamtown-02662-ASO

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The formal ceremony was hosted by Air Vice Marshal Leigh Gordon, Head of Joint Strike Fighter Division, and  began with a traditional Welcome to Country Smoking Ceremony presented by Uncle Neville Lilley of the local Worimi people, traditional owners of the land at Williamtown. Speeches were given by Mr Christopher Pyne, Mr Steven Ciobo, Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Gavin “Leo” Davies, Ms Marillyn Hewson and Vice Admiral Mat Winter, laying out the commitment to the future of Australia’s Defence and the massive leap in capability which the F-35 represents, the employment and industry opportunities it provides, Australia’s key involvement in the global program and the project’s future goals, followed by a press opportunity in front of the aircraft.

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Uncle Neville Lilley of the local Worimi people.
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The Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne
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Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Gavin “Leo” Davies
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Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Ms Marillyn Hewson
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Program Executive Director F-35 Joint Project Office, Vice Admiral Mat Winter

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The Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne with CO 3SQN, WGCDR Darren Clare and his son.

It will be a little while before we see some more, with the next couple of F-35s due to be delivered around April next year, but from then-on deliveries will increase, with 10 due to be in service by the end of 2019 and all 72 due to be delivered by 2023. It’s a sight we can look forward to for many years to come.Mottys-First RAAF F-35 Arrivals at Williamtown-03045-ASO

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On a personal note, having been present  when the first two F/A-18s arrived at Williamtown all those years ago, I can still remember when the Hornet was “the best thing since sliced bread” and was a massive leap in capability over the ageing (but well-loved) Mirages which it replaced (aren’t the Hornets still the “new boys on the block?”). It is amazing to see just how far aviation and technology has progressed in the years since.Motty's-F18-A21-101+102-Arrival-002-1-1-001-ASO

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Our congratulations to the Royal Australian Air Force on this great milestone and sincere thanks to the PA team and all involved for the opportunity to witness it first-hand.

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Luskintyre Christmas Party 2018

Last weekend saw some end of year celebrations at the beautiful little private airfield out at Luskintyre in the Hunter Valley, NSW.Mottys-Luskintyre-DEC-2018-02328-ASO

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As is often the case, it was a great opportunity to see some rare and unusual types turn up for the day. Of particular interest this year was Roy Fox’s lovely Klemm. An unusual looking machine that was recently restored by the dedicated team at Luskintyre Aircraft Restorations.Mottys-Luskintyre-DEC-2018-00615-Klemm VH-UUR-ASO

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Based just down the road at Maitland, the team from Paul Bennet Airshows are always regular visitors and can be relied upon to put on some great displays.Mottys-Luskintyre-DEC-2018-03013-Paul Bennet-Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB-ASO

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Also locally based, Beech Adventures were there too, with their beautifully restored Beech 18.Mottys-Luskintyre-DEC-2018-05305-Beech Adventures-Beech 18 VH-BHS-ASO

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There were, of course, a few Tigermoths and other types around for the afternoon and Santa Claus even made an appearance in a Stearman with a bag of goodies for the kids.Mottys-Luskintyre-DEC-2018-02199-ASO

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A great way to round out the year at this lovely little airfield. Thanks to all involved for a great afternoon. 

Click HERE to see the full gallery of images.

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Newcastle V8 Supercars Flying Displays 2018

Well the final races in the Coates Hire V8 Supercars Series were held in Newcastle last weekend over a great couple of days for Motorsport enthusiasts.Mottys-Newcstle Coats Hire V8 Supercars RAAF Hornet Display-1-00692-ASO

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For some of us though, the main attraction is not on the track but, rather, up in the sky, with a chance to see some of the Royal Australian Air Force’s front-line hardware being put through its paces over the beautiful port City of Newcastle. Mottys-Newcstle Coats Hire V8 Supercars RAAF Hornet Display-01075-ASO

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With Williamtown, the RAAF’s main fighter base, just a few kilometers up the coast, it is too good an opportunity to pass up.Mottys-Newcstle Coats Hire V8 Supercars RAAF Hornet Display-01206-ASO

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The always impressive Classic Hornet displays were performed by Flt Lt Matt “Traylz”  in an F/A-18A, just before the feature race on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Mottys-Newcstle Coats Hire V8 Supercars RAAF Hornet Display-00650-ASO

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With the arrival in Australia of the RAAF’s first F-35s just a few tantalising weeks away, will this be the last time we get to see a Classic Hornet display at this event? Mottys-Newcstle Coats Hire V8 Supercars RAAF Hornet Display-00168-ASO

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Our thanks to the men and women of the ADF who made this weekend’s displays possible.

Click HERE to see the full gallery of images.

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Wings Over Illawarra 2018-Aerobatics

No airshow would be complete without the thrilling spectacle of high performance aerobatics and WOI 2018 certainly didn’t disappoint, with a gathering of the very best solo and formation displays that Australia has to offer dazzling the crowds with their physics-defying gyrations and coordinated formation maneuvers.Mottys-Aeros-Paul Bennet-WOI-2018-16282-001-ASO

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Glenn Graham, Rebel 300, VH-TBN

In between the seemingly endless tasks of planning and organising events for the Paul Bennet Airshows (PBA) team, two-time Australian Advanced Aerobatic Champion Glenn Graham somehow finds the time to maintain his skills as an aerobatic display pilot as well.Mottys-Aeros-Glenn Graham-WOI-2018-07740-001-ASO

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The first of the aerobatic performers at the show, Glen flew a very crisp routine in the Rebel 300; a machine which is unique in the PBA aerobatic fleet as the only monoplane amongst the flock of Pitts Special biplanes. Mottys-Aeros-Glenn Graham-WOI-2018-04930-001-ASO

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Chris Clark, Stearman, VH-ILW

Chris Clark, from Southern Biplane Adventures, displayed his Boeing Stearman; a large biplane which was originally designed and built as a primary trainer for the US and many other air arms during WWII.Mottys-Aeros-Stearman-WOI-2018-16798-001-ASO

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Despite the Stearman’s large size and seemingly sedate performance, Chris showed the type’s true agility with a graceful and flowing routine of rolls, loops and turns in the big, bright red machine and its trail of thick white smoke. A striking sight against the clear blue sky.Mottys-Aeros-Stearman-WOI-2018-16820-001-ASO

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Paul Andronicou, Extra 330SC, VH-IXC

Paul Andronicou displayed his new Extra 330SC to great effect at WOI 2018. Only built last year, Paul’s is the latest version of the well-known aerobatic type manufactured by Walter Extra of Germany and is designed specifically for Unlimited category aerobatic competition with improved roll rate and easier roll stops over earlier models.Mottys-Aeros-Paul Andronicou-WOI-2018-07687-001-ASO

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Based in Victoria, Paul has secured wins in both the Australian Aerobatic Championship (unlimited category) and Australian Freestyle Championship as well as being the most successful Australian pilot at two World Aerobatic Championships, since he began performing in the 1990s. Skills which were well demonstrated during his amazing displays at Illawarra.Mottys-Aeros-Paul Andronicou-WOI-2018-10856-001-ASO

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Paul Bennet, Wolf Pitts Pro, VH-PVB

Head of the aptly named Paul Bennet Airshows team, Paul has been a regular performer at Australian airshows for many years now, in ever more powerful versions of his favoured type, the Pitts Special, which has culminated in his current mount, the bright yellow Wolf Pitts Pro, which is a far cry from the type’s simple origins with its hand-crafted lines and raw power.Mottys-Aeros-Paul Bennet-WOI-2018-11947-002-ASO

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Paul used the Wolf Pitt’s performance to full advantage in his solo display as he threw the machine into maneuvers that looked like an aeroplane really shouldn’t be able to do, with tumbles end-over-end, flat turns climbing from a knife-edge pass and more.Mottys-Aeros-Paul Bennet-WOI-2018-15814-001-ASO

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Tim Dugan, Pitts Model 12, VH-TYJ

Also with PBA, Tim Dugan displayed the Pitts Model 12, yet another variation within the team’s Pitts fleet. The Model 12 is a relatively large member of the Pitts family and is somewhat unusual in having a radial engine, rather than the in-line power plants more commonly seen on the type, which gives it a somewhat “classic” look, suggestive of some 1930s designs.Mottys-Aeros-Tim Dugan-WOI-2018-17422-001-ASO

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Its performance is certainly not that of a sedate classic machine though and Tim used this to full advantage to put on a great display, all with the added benefit of that radial “sound of round”.Mottys-Aeros-Tim Dugan-WOI-2018-17079-001-ASO

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Russian Roolettes, Jim Eaglen, Egon Mahr, Sean Trestrail, Al Pickering and Niall Higgins; Nanchang CJ-6s, VH-NNG, VH-CJX & VH-CPX and Yak-52s, VH-VHV & VH-XRO

Another popular act at many Australian shows is Australia’s largest civilian formation display team, the Russian Roolettes, in their mix of Yak-52 and Nanchang CJ-6 warbirds . Being based just a few minutes away at Mittagong, it was only natural that the team would look forward to supporting Australia’s largest annual airshow just down the road.Mottys-Aeros-Russian Roolettes-WOI-2018-14471-001-ASO  Mottys-Aeros-Russian Roolettes-WOI-2018-15159-001-ASO

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Following their show entrance, the team split in two (into Yak and Nanchang formations) and performed a very well-coordinated series of maneuvers, and  the clever use of the separate formations ensured that there was always something happening for the crowds to enjoy.Mottys-Aeros-Russian Roolettes-WOI-2018-24372-001-ASO

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Sky Aces, Paul Bennet, Glenn Graham & Ben Lapin, Wolf Pitts VH-PVB, Pitts S-1Ss VH-UDP & VH-IPB

As if their individual displays weren’t impressive enough, the PBA team also perform high energy formation aerobatics in a trio of Pitts Specials as the Sky Aces, led by Paul in his bright yellow Wolf Pitts.Mottys-Aeros-Sky Aces-WOI-2018-17045-001-ASO

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Their routine is a combination of traditional formation maneuvers such as loops and rolls combined with more dynamic elements which highlight the power and agility of their mounts. This is evident from the very beginning when, immediately after take-off, the team separate for a set of opposing passes where Paul threads the gap, head-on, between wingmen Glenn Graham and Ben Lappin; to the very end where the three of them enter a vertical climb into stall turns off the end of the runway threshold before making their landings on the decent.  Mottys-Aeros-Sky Aces-WOI-2018-16441-001-ASO

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Matt Hall, Extra 300L, VH-IOG

Fresh from his win in the Red Bull air race competition at the inaugural French event at Cannes on the French Riviera, Matt Hall performed an amazing routine as the final aerobatic display each day. While his Red Bull racing machine, an Edge 540, was on static display at Illawarra, Matt flew his more familiar (to us back here in Australia) Extra 300L for his performances.Mottys-Aeros-Matt Hall-WOI-2018-19427-001-ASO

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Matt’s display gave a great feel for the skills which have brought him such success on the racing circuit with high energy, low level snap turns, loops and rolls, along with more typical aerobatic maneuvers (and those fortunate enough to be at ASO’s “premium Spotter” location were given a great view as well). To top off his great performance at Illawarra, Matt went on to score a back-to-back victory in the third race of the season at Chiba, Japan, just a couple of weeks later and currently (as at the time of writing) leads the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship.Mottys-Aeros-Matt Hall-WOI-2018-20128-001-ASO

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Our thanks go out to all the pilots and their teams and congratulations to the WOI 2018 crew for the spectacular displays of aerobatic skills and performance that wowed the crowds and fosters a greater passion of aviation in all its forms.Mottys-Aeros-Paul Andronicou-WOI-2018-11440-001-ASO

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Please click HERE to see the full gallery of images.

 

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Warbirds Over Scone 2018

Our Kiwi cousins have had Warbirds Over Wanaka for many years, and now we’ve got Warbirds Over Scone (I wonder if the city council can be convinced to change their name to something beginning with ”W”?)Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_0_3821-ASO

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Warbirds Over Scone was originally a popular  series of shows organized by the late Col Pay and his team back in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s which, unfortunately, came to a halt due to the ever increasing costs involved. But thanks to the efforts of Col’s son Ross, with the assistance of the Scone Council and Paul Bennet Airshows, the show is back!Soda Scone 28 (1 of 1)

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Following on from the success of the Flight of the Hurricane show back in 2016 (see our report HERE) where Australia’s first (and so far, only) airworthy Hawker Hurricane restoration made its public debut, it was decided to resurrect this great show in 2018, the highlight of which was to be the chance to see the Hurricane and another unique machine in Australian skies, Chris Mayr’s awesome FW-190, in the air together, for the first time ever.

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Participants began arriving early with Paul Bennet bringing Judy Pay and Dick Hourigan’s beautiful Mustang and Chris in his ‘190 on Friday afternoon and we had the awesome opportunity to do some night shots in and around the Vintage Fighter Restorations’ hangar on Friday night.Mottys-Scone_2018_Friday_0523-ASO

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Saturday saw the arrival of the Russian Roolettes team in their Yak-52s and Nanchang CJ6s, Doug Hamilton in Temora’s Mk XVI Spitfire, Beech adventures’ Beech 18 and Paul Bennet’s Avenger, among others.

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The opportunity was also taken to fly some practice routines on the Saturday which saw the Russian Roolettes, Ross Pay’s SNJ, both Ross & Judy Pay’s Mustangs, Ross’ Kittyhawk and the FW190 and Hurricane all put through their paces throughout the day. Vintage Fighter Restorations also opened their hangar doors for visitors to get a look at the quality restoration work they are carrying out on a pair of Spitfires at the moment.Soda Scone 7 (1 of 1)

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Sunday dawned beautifully clear and there was the usual hustle and bustle of positioning of aircraft for display and operation, setting up the many displays and vendors and a constant flow of arrivals as visitors flew in, as well as more machines for display.  A particularly impressive arrival was the team from the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS), Albion Park, in one of their ex-RAAF Caribou. Always a crowd favorite, the crew used one the Caribou’s “party tricks” to reverse the large machine into its corner parking position before opening it up for the public to get a great view of this unusual warbird.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_1_8750-ASO

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Vintage Fighter Restorations once again opened their hangar to allow visitors to get a close look at the Spitfire, Hurricane and FW-190.

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The day’s aerial activities kicked off with a parachute flag drop by Paul Smith from SkydiveOz while being circled by Paul Bennet in his Wolf Pitts Pro, during which the National Anthem was played on the ground. This was followed by Jeff Sparkes displaying his very impressive and realistic radio controlled Hornet model.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_0_0941-ASO

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Displays then began in earnest with the Russian Roolettes’ skilled and well-coordinated formation routine in their Yak-52s and Nanchang CJ6s followed by Ben Lappin and Tim Dugan providing a great comparison of the CAC Wirraway and SNJ/Texan and their shared lineage, before splitting off and performing solo routines in each.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_0_1893-ASO

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Paul Bennet and Chris Tibbets then put Chris’ Beech 18 through its paces, showing the medium twin’s surprising agility before Glenn Graham gave a very crisp aerobatic performance in a Yak-52.

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Things then kicked up a notch in terms of speed and performance as Mark Pracy displayed his L-39 Albatros jet trainer, a very graceful aircraft and routine, followed by Paul Bennet in his T-28 Trojan; a powerful, prop-driven machine which was designed to have similar performance and handling to early jets.

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While the sky was nice and mostly clear, as the day progressed it was observed that the wind speed was picking up and that there was a noticeable element of cross-wind to it as well. Unfortunately this posed a problem for many of the most eagerly awaited aircraft such as the Spitfire, Hurricane, Kittyhawk and FW-190 as well as other machines such as the Triplane replica and DH.60, as they have fairly restricted safety limits for take-off and landing in such conditions and, as the time approached for their scheduled displays, the decision was made to postpone their flights in the hope that conditions may ease later in the afternoon. The effort was made, in the mean-time, to start the Hurricane and FW-190 up and taxi them around a little so that visitors could at least listen to the magnificent sounds of their engines and get to see them in some sort of motion.

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After a short break, Paul swapped the large Trojan for his tiny, but incredibly powerful and agile Wolf Pitts Pro for an amazing display of high performance aerobatics.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_0_7133-ASO

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Throughout the day’s flying, commentary was provided by well-known aviation personality Peter Anderson, in his usual entertaining and informative style, with plenty of pauses to allow the crowds the chance to enjoy the sounds of the aircraft engines too.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_0_0033-ASO

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Tim Dugan displayed Paul Bennets’ mighty Grumman Avenger; a very impressive machine which was also the largest single-engined aircraft of WWII, after which Glenn Graham once again displayed his aerobatic skills, this time in the Rebel 300.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_0_8476-ASO

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Paul Bennet and Steve Death made some formation passes in Judy Pay’s and Ross Pay’s (no relation) Mustangs respectively before separating and giving individual handling displays of each.

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Tim Dugan then gave another aerobatic display in the radial engined Pitts Model 12 followed by Harley McKillop in the impressive AT-802 Fire Boss water bomber. A machine which is a contender for the current, largest single-engined prop-powered aircraft and a key element of the Pay’s Air Services fleet of aircraft which provide such a vital service during Australia’s fire seasons each year.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_1_2893-ASO

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Paul Bennet, Glenn Graham and Ben Lapin performed a great display of formation aerobatics as the Sky Aces team in their trio of Pits Specials, in quite difficult conditions as the wind had only increased by this stage.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_1_3913-ASO

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The Royal Australian Air Force was next on scene with a very impressive display by a Hawk 127(LIFCAP) from 76Sqn at Williamtown (not that I’m biased at all).

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Regrettably, as the day’s flying drew to a close, the wind had still not subsided enough to safely fly the main attractions of the Hurricane and FW-190. As Peter Anderson explained to the disappointed crowds, when these aircraft were designed and flown operationally, they usually flew from grass fields where they could simply take-off into whichever direction the wind was blowing from and weren’t as restricted to the fixed directions of paved runways as they are today. And, of course, the most important consideration above all must always be the safe operation of such rare and valuable machines as these. Both for the personal safety of their pilots and to ensure that they remain available for future generations to experience in years to come.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_1_9844-ASO

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So, while the original intention had been to put up a great balbo of Warbirds as is often seen at shows in the UK and New Zealand, Tim Dugan, Paul Bennet and Steve Death were at least able to close the show with some formation and individual passes in the Avenger and the two Mustangs (types which have a higher tolerance of cross-wind). They also made a particularly moving “Missing Man” pass as a salute to Ross’ late father, Col Pay, who had originated the idea of this show back in the ‘90s and who was such a pivotal part in the creation of the Australian Warbird scene as it is today.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_1_9885-ASO

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After the formal flying had wrapped up, there was usual flow of visiting aircraft all making their way home, including the impressive Caribou from HARS; a stark contrast to the string of smaller, light-aircraft around it.Mottys-Scone_2018_Sunday_1_10092-ASO

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While the inability to safely fly the day’s main attractions was obviously a great disappointment to many (some visitors had even travelled from overseas to witness the event), it is hoped that, with continued local support, this show will become a regular feature on the Australian airshow calendar in years to come. Our thanks to all involved for a great show and fantastic effort.Soda Scone 21 (1 of 1)

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If you were one of the many people who flew in or were on static display, Click HERE for a gallery of other attendees

To see Dave “Soda” Soderstrom’s gallery, Click HERE

To see Motty’s full show gallery, Click HERE

 

 

 

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Warbirds over Scone-Heads Up

Australian spotters will be treated to many great airshows this season but one of the must-see highlights on this years calendar will surely be the Bengalla Warbirds over Scone event on Sunday 25th March 2018 at Scone and Upper Hunter Airport.Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 4874 Hurricane VH-JFW-001-ASO

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Following on from the very successful Flight of the Hurricane show in 2016 (see our report on that great show HERE), this year will see some of Australia’s rarest and most iconic warbirds come together to display for the crowds.Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 4594 Spitfire MkVIII VH-HET-001-ASO

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A highlight for many will be the chance to see allied classics like the Spitfire, Mustang, Hurricane and P-40 joined by one of their wartime adversaries, the amazing FW-190.Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 5102 Spitfire MkVIII VH-HET & Hurricane VH-JFW-001-ASO

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It won’t just be warbirds on show though with aerobatic displays by Paul Bennet Airshows and the Russian Roolettes as well as adventure flights for those who want to experience the thrill of flying for themselves.Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 6859 Paul Bennet Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB-001-ASO

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Gates open at 9am to enjoy the amusements, live music and exhibits, including the opportunity to explore the restoration projects in the Vintage Fighter Restorations workshop hangars. 

Flying displays begin at 11am

For more information about the show and ticketing, check out the website HERE.

See you there!

 

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Aerobatic Aussies Abroad.

We are about to enter “airshow season” here in Australia, with a wide range of aircraft and displays on show for aviation enthusiasts around the country. Star performers at many of these events will be the team from Paul Bennet Airshows with their routines of high performance solo and formation aerobatics as well as a fleet of warbirds.

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The team enjoys sharing the joy and experience of aviation for the appreciative crowds at these shows here in Australia whenever they can but, as if this doesn’t keep them busy enough, for many years they have also taken their shows to South Korea as well as China. Neither of which really has had much exposure to the idea of private aviation.Mottys-Paul-Bennet-Airshows-Seoul-ADEX-2017-2-THUR-1980-ASO

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Last year they once again displayed at the Seoul Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX), South Korea’s major international trade and air show. It is held biennially at Seongnam, a Republic Of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) air base just to the south-east of the capital city, Seoul. Paul Bennet’s team were the only civilian performers at the largely military display (see our report on that show HERE).Mottys-Paul-Bennet-Airshows-Seoul-ADEX-2017-3-FRI-0753-ASO

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After arriving from China inside shipping containers, the team reassembled and test-flew their bright orange Pitts S1-11X and radial engined Pitts Model 12, ready for the week long exhibition.
These colourful, light aerobatic biplanes made for an incredible contrast to the very latest in front-line military hardware on display. Whether it was the gulf in technology between the Pitts and the United States Air Force’s (USAF) F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters which were on show; the vast difference in size to the Airbus A400M and C-17 or their tight and dynamic maneuvers compared to the fast, loud and flowing aerobatic displays put on by the Republic Of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) Black Eagles aerobatic team in their locally built T-50B trainers.Mottys-Paul-Bennet-Airshows-Seoul-ADEX-2017-2-THUR-3787-ASO

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Paul Bennet and USAF F-22 display pilot Maj Dan “Rock” Dickinson share the common language and love of flying and their respective displays.

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Paul and Glenn rehearse their formation routine against the backdrop of one of the USAF’s F-35s at the show.

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Paul performed solo routines in the S1-11X during the trade days of the show while, on the public days of Friday to Sunday, he was joined by Glenn Graham to open the show with their formation routine while Paul closed each day with another solo display.Mottys-Paul-Bennet-Airshows-Seoul-ADEX-2017-2-THUR-1528-ASO

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These performances were extremely popular with the crowds as formation and high energy aerobatics by private pilots is very rarely seen in Korea, due to the limited and restricted private aviation scene. At the end of each display the team would taxi their aircraft up to the crowd and get out to sign autographs and hand out photos where they were mobbed like rock stars! The team’s appearances are a family affair too, with wives Rachael and Heather on hand to help with signing sessions (and crowd control!) as well as keeping the two Pitts in top shape between displays.Mottys-Paul-Bennet-Airshows-Seoul-ADEX-2017-4-SAT-9+_3677-ASO

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After their week at Seoul, Paul and Glenn then flew their machines to Sacheon, a ROKAF training base in the south of the country, where they appeared at another airshow for a few days, before disassembling the two Pitts and packing them up for their return to Australia. I left the team before they traveled to Sacheon but it is a testament to the professionalism and breadth of talent that makes up the Paul Bennet Airshows team that, after my return to Australia, I was able to catch Glenn Collins, Tim Dugan and Ben Lappin putting on a show at the Rathmines Catalina Festival in the CAC Wirraway, Yak-52, Rebel 300 and Grumman Avenger on the same weekend that Paul and Glenn were still wowing the crowds back in Korea (see that report Here).Mottys-Paul-Bennet-Airshows-Seoul-ADEX-2017-5-SUN-9+_4433-ASO

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Keep an eye out for Paul and the team at any of the upcoming shows here in Australia and stop by to say G’day.Mottys-Paul-Bennet-Airshows-Seoul-ADEX-2017-4-SAT-9+_5421-ASO

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My sincere thanks to the PBA team for the chance to show this great Aussie team proudly waving the flag overseas.

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Felix Flies Home

In late October last year, crowds lined the waterfront at the ex-RAAF seaplane base at Rathmines, on the shores of Lake Maquarie near Newcastle, in eager anticipation of the arrival of the star attraction at the annual Rathmines Catalina Festival; the majestic black PBY-6A Catalina (registration VH-PBZ) from the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) at Albion Park, Illawarra near Woolongong (see our report on that event HERE).Mottys-HARS Black Catalina Felix VH-PBZ 3400 -001-ASO

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The Cat (also known as “Felix, after a wartime cartoon feline character which is also displayed on the aircraft’s nose) appeared in the distance but continued to the north-west and didn’t return. As became clear afterwards, the crew had experienced some problems with the No2 engine so, in the interests of safety, they elected to make a precautionary landing at Rutherford airport near Maitland. This marked the beginning of an extended stay at Rutherford for Felix as the team from HARS began the long and difficult task of changing the suspect engine on a large and historic warbird, a long way from home base.Mottys-HARS Black Catalina Felix VH-PBZ 2511 -001-ASO

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Whilst it’s due to an unfortunate situation, having Felix at Rutherford has been a great chance for Newcastle and Hunter Valley locals to see the rare machine and, wherever possible, the crews have generously allowed visitors to get up close and have a good look at the old girl, including a rare glimpse of the cramped interior.Mottys-HARS Black Catalina Felix VH-PBZ 0038 -001-ASO

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A look forward into the cockpit and nose turret area.
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A better look at the “office”.
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The crew area immediately behind the cockpit.
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Looking rearward from the crew area seen above. Of particular interest is the flight engineer’s unusual position, located in the “mast” area, just below the wing, at the top of the photo.
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The gunner’s compartment under the large, distinctive “blister” windows.
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Looking forward from the gunner’s compartment, through a crew rest area, to the forward compartments and cockpit.
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The flight engineer’s panel in the “mast” area below the wing. Not for the claustaphobic1

Whilst the Catalina has been a welcome visitor at Rutherford, it was not the best conditions for the storage of such a large and historic airframe, which is normally well looked after inside a large hangar at Albion Park (especially during an Australian Summer). So, after a magnificent effort by everyone at HARS, the engine was successfully replaced and, following test runs and system checks, Felix was ready to return home to Illawarra.

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The crew prepares Felix for its flight home.
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The new #2 engine.
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Doing the water drains on a Catalina is a little more convoluted than on your average lightie. This is from the flight engineer’s position seen previously.
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The job’s not finished until the paperwork is done.
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Warming up the engines prior to departure.
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Lined up for take-off.

The time finally came last weekend (Saturday 10th of February to be precise) for Felix and her crew to bid farewell to their temporary home in the Hunter Valley and make their way down the coast to Albion Park. As the crew got the large machine airborne after midday, I was lucky enough to be able to acompany them on the first stage of the trip to around the southern end of Lake Macquarie and get these photos. After passing by Sydney Harbour, Felix and her crew finally arrived home to Albion Park just after 2pm, to the delight of all involved.Mottys-HARS Black Catalina Felix VH-PBZ 0521 -001-ASO

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A pass over Luskintyre before heading home.

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Congratulations to everyone involved in what has been a huge effort to get the Catalina back into the air. A lot of time and effort has been put in by a lot of people, often in difficult conditions, to ensure that this rare and historic aircraft could make it home safely once again.Mottys-HARS Black Catalina Felix VH-PBZ 2562 -001-ASO

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My sincere thanks to the team from HARS and Paul Bennet for the very rare opportunity to capture Felix in her element.

Motty.

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Luskintyre Christmas Party 2017

The close-knit community at Luskintyre, a small grass airfield west of Newcastle NSW, held a wonderful afternoon for friends and family back in November to mark the Christmas Season for 2017.Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-5-5638-Chris-Tibbetts-Beech-Adventures-Beech-18-VH-BHS-001-ASO

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Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-9-1744-Waco-VH-EGC-001-ASOThe afternoon was blessed with great weather which helped ensure a great turnout of both locals and visitors and their machines. A range of interesting and historic aircraft were on show, including a pair of Stearmans, various Yaks, a Chipmunk, Fox Moth, Waco biplane, Stampe, Cubs, Stinsons and even TAVAS’ Fokker Triplane replica, which is still at Luskintyre for the time being (see our earlier report on this HERE).Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-6-6696-Paul-Bennet-Triplane-VH-FXP-001-ASO

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Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-6-6549-Paul-Bennet-Triplane-VH-FXP-001-ASOAnd, naturally, Tigermoths were well represented too.Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-1-2106-Tigermoth-VH-BBC-&-VH-JME-001-ASO

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Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-1-2359-Tigermoth-VH-BBC-&-VH-JME-1-001-ASOBeing based just “next door” at Maitland, the Paul Bennet Airshows team also stopped by with their Wolf Pitts Pro, Rebel 300, Trojan and Wirraway.Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-2-1192-Paul-Bennet-Wolf-Pitts-Pro-VH-PVB-&-Glenn-Graham-Extra-300-VH-TBN-001-ASO

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Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-3-2850-Paul-Bennet-Trojan-VH-FNO-001-ASOBeech Adventures, also from Maitland, had their beautiful Beech 18 on show as well.Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-5-5585-Chris-Tibbetts-Beech-Adventures-Beech-18-VH-BHS-001-ASO

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Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-5-5654-Chris-Tibbetts-Beech-Adventures-Beech-18-VH-BHS-001-ASOLauren Fletcher and Rob Jackson performed a parachute display, making the jump from the slightly unusual platform of a pair of Tigermoths piloted by Andrew Biggs and Jon Totti (very appropriate for Luskintyre though and even in Christmas colours) which I was able to capture from the air.Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-1-2222-Tigermoth-VH-BBC-&-VH-JME-001-ASO

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Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-1-2679-Tigermoth-VH-JME-001-ASOSanta also took time out from his busy schedule to stop by and do a lolly-drop and visit the kids.Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-10-3283-Santa-&-Matt-Webber-OY-1-VH-NOY-001-ASO

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As the afternoon progressed we were treated to displays by Glenn Graham in the Extra 300, Paul Bennet in his Trojan, Wolf Pitts Pro and the Triplane as well as the Beech-18 with owner Chris Tibbetts and lots of other comings and goings as everyone enjoyed a great afternoon of aviating until the fading light put an end to the day’s flying.Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-11-3431-Yak-52-VH-VMI-001-ASO

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Mottys-Luskintyre-Christmas-2017-7767-DTLR-1-001-ASOA big thanks to everyone involved for another great afternoon at this wonderful little rural airfield and Merry Christmas.

Motty

Please click HERE to see the full gallery of images.

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Air to Air with a Beaver

Last week I had the opportunity to capture some images of the latest production from Luskintyre Aircraft Restorations, a magnificent Beaver seaplane for Blue Sky Airways.Mottys-DHC-Beaver-VH-CXS-Luskintyre-1410-ASO

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The aircraft is surprisingly large, and even more so on a pair of floats, and it towered above everything else in the hangar.Mottys-DHC-Beaver-VH-CXS-Luskintyre-1485-ASO

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We headed down to Lake Macquarie to capture the aircraft in a more suitable environment.Mottys-DHC-Beaver-VH-CXS-Luskintyre-2029-ASO

Mottys-DHC-Beaver-VH-CXS-Luskintyre-1945-ASO

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My sincere thanks to Ben Lappin and Toby Dorn for their skills and assistance and Matt Webber and the team at Luskintyre Aircraft Restorations for the opportunity to capture another of their quality products.Mottys-DHC-Beaver-VH-CXS-Luskintyre-0188-ASO

Mottys-DHC-Beaver-VH-CXS-Luskintyre-3533-ASO

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Motty.

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