The very latest technology and hardware in fighter, maritime patrol, surveillance and transport airpower alongside some true classics and a couple of Aussie blokes in their diminutive biplanes wowing the crowds with their displays of formation and solo aerobatic skills.
The Seoul Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX) is South Korea’s major international trade and air show, held biennially at Seongnam , a Republic Of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) air base, housing transport and VIP squadrons as well as a US Army Blackhawk unit, just to the south-east of the capital city, Seoul.
South Korea has a highly developed aerospace industry in its own right with major companies such as Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Korean Air making and assembling components for Boeing and Airbus. KAI and Korean Air are also active in developing indigenous aircraft and technology such as UAVs, helicopters and fixed wing airframes such as the KT-1 turbo-prop trainer and the T, T/A and F/A-50 family of lead-in fighter and light attack jets, and the ADEX provides an opportunity for both Korean and International companies to display the latest developments and technology to the aerospace industry and public during the seven days of the exhibition.
Aircraft on static display included examples of the C-130, CN-235, KT-1, KA-1, T-50, F/A-50, F-15K, KF-16, F-5E and F-4E from the ROKAF, a ROK Navy P-3, UH-60, CH-47 and KUH-1 Surion (a locally produced utility helo) from the ROK Army, an A-400 from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (for the trade days only), a P-8 Poseidon from the US Navy and E-3 AWAC, C-130, C-17, A-10, Global Hawk drone and a pair each of F-22s and F-35s from the USAF.
Amongst all this technology and military hardware, Paul Bennet and Glenn Graham from Australia’s Paul Bennet Airshows team, supported by Matt Webber from Luskintyre Aircraft Restorations, were a highlight as the only civilian performers at the show, with their bright orange Pitts S1-11X and Pitts Model 12 aerobatic biplanes. Paul & the team have performed at many shows in South Korea (and China) for several years and are always very popular with the huge crowds, both for their skillful displays and that a civilian individual can achieve such performances, as the concept of private flying is still very limited in this region.
The Aussies displayed alongside the U.S.Air Force’s Air Combat Command F-22 display team and the ROKAF’s Black Eagles aerobatic team in their T-50B lead-in-fighter-trainers, locally manufactured by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI). There was also a display by the ROKAF’s parachute team and individual handling displays of the KAI KT-1 turboprop trainer and T/TA-50 trainer / light attack jet and a USAF C-17.
A major attraction on the public days was a Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) set-piece involving USAF A-10s and ROKAF F/A-50s, HH-60 Blackhawks and a KA-1 Forward Air Control (FAC) version of the KT-1. Saturday also saw flypasts by a pair of USAF B-1B bombers and a U-2 high altitude reconnaissance machine.
An added bonus from a spotting point of view was that as the ADEX is hosted at the ROKAF’s Seoul base, there was also the chance to catch a variety of other ROKAF types, either locally based or just passing through. Seongnam is the home base for the ROKAF’s VIP fleet which includes Blackhawk, S-92 and Puma helicopters and a pair each of CN-235s and HS-748s as well as a 737 and even a 747. The base is also home to C-130 and CN-235 transport squadrons along with a surveillance unit equipped with reconnaissance versions of the HS-125.
While political tensions with North Korea meant that there were probably a few less displays than usual for an event like this, the weather was marvelous for most of the week and it was a great opportunity to catch some interesting and exotic types in action as well as getting to see a great Aussie team waving the flag and promoting an aspect of aviation that is still an exotic curiosity to many in this part of the world.
In fact, there was so much great stuff to see that we plan on bringing you further mini-articles and galleries covering the various parts of the show.
My sincere thanks to the Paul Bennet Airshows team for allowing me to join them during their week at the show.
Friday 8th of December saw 3 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) make a flypast over the city of Newcastle, Australia, followed by their home base of RAAF Williamtown, just north of Newcastle, in the shape of a giant number 3.
10 classic Hornets took part, along with a single Hawk 127 from 76 Sqn as a camera-ship.
They then formed up into the “3” formation and flew over Newcastle and North to Williamtown.
After the fly-over, they broke into smaller groups and returned to base, performing low level initial’and-pitch entries into the circuit.
Don Muang International Airport or the old Bangkok International Airport is one of the world’s oldest International airports and Asia’s oldest operating airport starting operations in March 1914 by the Royal Thai Air Force and commencing commercial operations in 1924. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was the first airline to operate into the airport. Don Muang Airport closed in 2006 following the opening of the then new Suvarnabhumi Airport, before reopening in March 2007 after renovations. The airport is the main hub for Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, and Orient Thai Airlines. Today the airport is divided by a large golf course right down the centre of the airport which is operated and cared for by the Royal Thai Air Force who also continue to operate form this base, with C-130 Hercules, HS-748 and the VIP aircraft all operated from here.
The museum it’s self was established in 1952 to collect, preserve and restore airframes and other aviation equipment used by the Royal Thai Air Force. The museum is set on a large area adjacent to the airport and a point to make is, it is on an active military base. The General public is able to access the museum however and at no charge There is a great museum shop and cafe where I admit to spending some of my hard earned there and then buying a bigger suitcase to bring it all home! Boasting some extremely rare exhibits including the only known example of a Corsair I, one of three Tachikawa’s, and even an example of a Curtis Hawk III.
With a collection showcasing the early days of the RTAF through to today’s modern marvels there is something for all interests.
This report is staged over 12 months. Some of the exhibits have been moved either indoors or shuffled around. I must also express my absolute thanks to the RTAF Museum in allowing me access to their collection and the guided tour.
Enjoy this walk around this world class museum and its exhibits.
Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter
The Northrop F-5 was developed as a lightweight for Nations to poor to afford the latest in fighter technology. The aircraft was a very successful design, its proved performance, and economics saw it widely exported. Thailand received their first F-5A’s in 1967 as part of an agreement with the United States and South Vietnam. The agreement saw Thai soldiers fight along side the South Vietnamese. The first deliveries of 30 aircraft were configured as ground attack airframes and for reconnaissance as RF-5A/B. In 1980 the F-5E of which 38 were delivered and F-5F were 6 were added joined the fleet. The aircraft have been progressively upgraded over the years and will continue to the anticipated retirement in 2030. There are three examples on display at the museum.
SIAI Marchetti SF-260 MT
The Marchetti SF-260 is a two seat trainer designed in Italy. It was also designed as a light attack aircraft. The RTAF purchased twelve initially and a further six in in 1978. The aircraft served from 1973 through to 1994.
The Pazmany PL-1 Laminar and Pazmany PL-2 are American two-seat trainer and personal light aircraft designed by Ladislao Pazmany to be marketed as a home built aircraft by his company Pazmany Aircraft Corporation. Only one PL-2 was to see service in the RTAF. It was built as an engineering exercise designated Directorate of Aeronautical Engineering Model 1. It was in service from 1975-1989.
De Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk.
Designed in Canada to suit a RCAF requirement for a training aircraft, Sixteen Chipmunks served with the RTAF over a fifty year period from 1948. Two are on display with the museum’s grounds. This example is a Chipmunk T.20, Serial no 24 which came to the museum in 2002.
Cessna T-37B ‘Tweet’
The Cessna T-37 Tweet was designed to a USAF requirement for an ‘all through’ jet trainer. The first prototype flew in 1954, 534 T-37As were built before production turned to the T-37B. Entering service with the RTAF in 1961, eight B models were received from the United States. Fourteen more T-37Cs were later acquired. The T-37 where used by the FTS in RTAFB Khampaeng Saen, the type was retired from service in 1996.
RFB Fantrainer 400
These very different looking aircraft is the RFB Fantrainer. It is a two-seat flight training aircraft which uses a mid mounted ducted fan propulsion system. It was developed by Rhein-Flugzeugbau GmbH in Germany in the late 1970s and used by both the German and Thai air forces. 31 Fantrainer 400 & 16 Fantrainer 600s were ordered, plus 16 Fantrainer 600 options. One 400 & one 600 delivered complete in 1984 and the remainder in kit form for local assembly. This airframe is Fantrainer 400 4001, The type was operational with the RTAF between 1984 and 1994. There are several Fantrainers around the museum with many in the storage yard (more on this later).
This aircraft is a short take-off and landing utility and observation aircraft, used in Thailand from 1961 until 1995. Serial 7135
Cessna A-37 Dragonfly.
The A-37 Dragonfly is a side-by-side two seat jet light attack aircraft. It was developed from the Cessna T-37B trainer for COIN (counter insurgency) operations. The development including replacing the original engines with engines of more than twice the power and adding under-wing hard-points for carrying a wide variety of weapons. 537 of these aircraft were built. A number were purchased from the USA by the RTAF, more were added from abandoned aircraft by the Vietnam Air Force at the end of the Vietnam war. Approximately thirty of these aircraft served from 1972 and were retired from service by 1993.
North American T-28 Trojan
The North American T-28 Trojan joined the RTAF in 1962 and retired in 1988. Some 120 aircraft were to come from the USAF. This particular airframe is ex Bu137661, and joined the collection 1988. it is a T-28D-10 Version. Several Squadrons operated the type and these included, 221 Squadron at Chiang Mai, 222 Squadron at Ubon Ratchathani, 223 Squadron at Udorn, and 224 Squadron at Koke Kratiem. Of particular note are the under wing machine gun pods and the hard points which was a notable feature the trainer versions didn’t have.
Lockheed RT-33A Shooting Star
The Lockheed RT-33A is the reconnaissance version of the F-80 Shooting Star. The Shooting Star is the most successful jet trainer in history with over 6000 built. The RT-33 is a single seat version of the T-33 with the sensors located in the nose of the aircraft. The RTAF operated both the T-33A and RT-33A, with 46 and 8 operated respectively. operated between 1955 through to 1996. One of two on display at the museum.
North American T-6 Texan
The standard advanced trainer for the US Army Air Force the Texan or Harvard to the Commonwealth countries. After initial flight training on a basic aircraft, trainees would move on to the T-6 to learn the vagrancy’s of retractable undercarriage, variable-pitch propeller and other advanced equipment. 138 of these aircraft were delivered to Thailand, where they were in service from 1948 to 1981. One of two examples on display.
This British, Rolls Royce Griffon engine powered is carrier-based aircraft. Operated in the fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles. The early variants were distinguished by the under nose radiator. Later versions saw these located into the wings thus changing the profile of the aircraft considerably. The Thai Air Force took delivery of ten Mk.1 aircraft plus two Firefly T.2 trainers which served from 1951 to 1959. This aircraft c/n F.7402, is ex British Fleet Air Arm MB410.
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver.
This two or three seat (depending on version) carrier borne aircraft first went into service with the United States Navy in 1942. Powered by a Wright R-2600 Cyclone engine delivering some 1900hp. The Royal Thai Air Force took six of the type into service in 1951, their service life was very short retiring in 1955. This is the only survivor, one of two complete examples on display anywhere in the world. It’s US Navy identity is Bu83410.
Upon entering the main halls sits some fantastic displays of models, pictures and story boards. One that I personally really liked was this one showing all the types flown by the RTAF.
Nieuport IIN / IVG
One of the foundation aircraft of the Royal Thai Air Force is the Nieuport IIN/IVG. Four were brought back from France to operate as part of the newly formed RTAF in 1913, a 5th was locally built 1915.
Breguet Type III
The Breguet Type III, which first flew in April 1910, was a development of the Type II which Breguet had built and flown earlier that year. Eliminating the upper booms that had helped to carry the tail surfaces of the earlier aircraft, it had what is now seen as the conventional biplane configuration, with a fuselage containing a front-mounted engine driving the propeller with control and stabilising surfaces mounted at the rear. The RTAF took delivery of 5 of the type. Four coming direct from France with a fifth built locally. The airframe on display is a replica and came to the museum in 2015.
Vought V-93S Corsair
This was the export version of the Vought O3U, US Navy aircraft that was built during the early 1930s. Twelve of these were sold to the RTAF in 1934 following purchases of the Vought V-65 and V-92 versions. They remained in service until 1945. This is the only survivor anywhere in the world. Making it an exceedingly special display and a national treasure.
Curtis Hawk III
The Curtis Hawk III is another early design at the museum. Twenty four were shipped to Thailand from 1935 through to 1936. Local production started in 1938 with first batch of 25 completed in 1940 a second batch of 25 started 1939, but not all believed completed. The type was retired from RTAF service in 1949. This example is the only survivor of the type and is the sole survivor extant in the world.
Grumman F8F Bearcat.
The last of the great piston-engine fighters from The Grumman Aircraft Corp., the Bearcat design featured folding wings for service as a carrier-based fighter with the US Navy. Too late to see active service in World War 2, about 1250 examples were built in the mid-1940s. The Bearcat is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine producing 2100hp, and was used by the RTAF from 1951. The RTAF used both the F8F-1B and -1D models, with about 150 aircraft in use up until 1963. The Museum’s Bearcat is serial 15-178/98, and carries the code 4312.
Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star
The second Shooting Star on permanent display with the museum’s grounds. As mentioned previously 46 of this version were flown by the RTAF. Aircraft 1132 joined the museum collection in 2000 and sits proudly on display within the main hall display.
North American F-86 Sabre
The North American F-86 Sabre was designed using captured German swept wing research after World War Two. The prototype first flew in 1947. The Sabre brought the USAF into the Jet Age, even taking the World Speed Record on 1948 by reaching 671 it wasn’t long before the jet was put to use in the Korean War. Pitted against Soviet Mig-15s the Sabre was better in that it could fly higher and was better armed with six 12.7mm guns. The Thai Air Force took over 60 Sabre into service in the F-86F and F-86L versions. They were in service from 1958 to the 1970’s.
Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter.
The single seat F-5 first flew in May 1963, entering USAF service the following year. Developed from the N-156 Fang proposal for the United States requirement for a light weight fighter, it also spawned the T-38 Trainer. Powered by two General Electric J-85 after burning turbojets the F-5 was is known for being the able to carry reasonable mission load outs yet maintain reasonable to operate. Serving with many air forces around the world it is estimated some 200-300 remain in service around the world. Thailand first ordered 30 F-5A/B/C models now retired. The current F-5 fleet, which were upgraded to F-5T Tigris and F-5F in 211st Sq. will continue to serve to 2025–2030. Two F-5s are on display within the hall, F-5B 70101 and F-5A 70143.
This F-5B wears these unique and special markings, firstly celebrating the 44 years of operations of the early versions of the jet. It also proudly wears the markings noting it as the oldest F-5B in the world! Quite a unique aircraft, on a personal note I think the F-5 is one very slick looking jet!
General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16A
The F-16 was born out of USAF requirement for a light weight fighter. The first YF-16 flew in 1974 with production standard aircraft flying in 1978. It was the first production aircraft fitted with a fly by wire system, thus making it more stable in flight. The F-16 is flown by many nations across the world. The Royal Thai Air Force has ordered a total of 54 F-16A/B Fighting Falcon aircraft. It received a further 7 F-16A/B aircraft as a donation from Singapore in exchange for the use of training facilities in Thailand by the RSAF. Aircraft 10200 (79-0324) is on display in the modern jet hall.
SAAB JAS-39C/D Gripen
Twelve of the SAAB JAS-39C/D models were ordered in 2008 to replace the elderly F-5s. Eight of the single seat C model and 4 of the twin seat D models are flown with 701 Fighter Squadron based at Surat Thani Air Force base. The aircraft on display a JAS-39A model was never flown in Thai service, it was a donation by the Swedish Air Force. It carries dual Thai and Swedish markings, 70100 on the port side RTAF scheme. With 39178 / ‘178’ on the starboard, Swedish scheme.
Display Hall Overview
De Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth
The Tiger Moth is a basic trainer designed in Great Britain first flying in prototype form in 1931. 8796 were produced in total and in countries like Canada, New Zealand, Norway, and Australia contributed by building 1070. The RTAF operated 31 in total between 1951 through to 1961.
Fourteen Fairchild F-24’s were delivered to the RTAF from 1938. Used in the light transport and communication role the type continued to serve until being withdrawn in 1950. The aircraft on display has no notable serial number thus making hard to determine which airframe it is.
The Mig-21 has some real credit to its name, more than 11,000 have been built and has fought in more wars than any other fighter produced. The Mig-21 codename ‘Fished’ by NATO is a lightweight day interceptor. The prototype first flew in 1955.
Yet another early type on display is a Boeing 1ooE. Two were delivered in 1931, for a comparison fly off between the Bristol Bulldog & Heinkel He43. Both were still active as late as 1941. Finally retired in 1949, this example was retained and survives at the museum.
The Boripatra was a locally produced design first flying in 1927. They were built by the Aeronautical Service Workshops at Don Muang. The replica on display is one of two found on the museum grounds. The Boripara is a standard mid-1920s design, with an un-cowled Bristol Aspid radial engine mounted in front of a rugged circular fuselage. Fewer than 12 of these light bombers were built up until their retirement in 1933.
Curtiss Hawk 75
This absolute gem is another rare type in the world. The Curtiss Hawk 75N. Twelve were shipped to Thailand in 1938. The type was intended for local production however wartime activities ended these plans. The type continued to fly in RTAF service until 1949. This is one of five surviving Hawk fighters in the world.
Breguet 14P replica
Five of the French designed and built Breguet 14s flew with the RTAF with the type entering service in 1919. The aircraft on display is a flying replica built using a T-6 Harvard frame as a starting point. Built 1979 by Roland Payen for Salis Aviationex F-AZBH used in French TV series “L’aéropostale, Courier du Ciel” It was fitted with a Hispano 12X engine. swapped to RTAFM in exchange for Bearcat Bu122095 (Kh15-43/94), which went to La Ferté-Alais in 1987.
Republic F-84G Thunderstreak
The F-84G on display coded 1231 and 878 was one of thirty one aircraft in use from 1956 and in use until 1970. Thirteen came from European air forces including France and Belgium. They were refurbished by OGMA at Alverca, then shipped to Kisarazu Japan. A further eighteen came directly from the USAF, these were also refurbished by Kawasaki at Kisarazu. They were operated by 12 & 43 Squadrons.
North American F-86L Sabre
In addition to the F-86F version, twenty F-86L Sabers were to serve the RTAF. Delivered from 1962 the type had a relatively short service life being retired from 1967. The F-86L version was an updated version of the D model which enabled the use of a Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) datalink system. The airframe on display is ex US 53-0681. which was serialed 30681 / 1215 in RTAF service.
The Boeing 737-200 is part of the most successful jet airliner family in history. The prototype first flew in 737-100 form in 1967. 30 of the 100 series were built before production turned to the 200 series. 1114 being produced at Boeing Field Renton. The RTAF ordered one 737-2Z6 being delivered in December 1983. The aircraft 22-222 flew as part of the VIP fleet until 2006. The aircraft was used for many overseas visits by the Thai Royal Family.
Considering on one example of the type was operated by the RTAF the fact this aircraft survives is very remarkable. Percival P.54 Survey Prince 3A, was built and registered as G-AMNT and operated by Aerial Mapping Organisation with serial PhThOr. AMO was absorbed by the Army Mapping Department in 1954, it was soon transferred to the RTAF in 1955 which continued to operate it until being withdrawn in 1960.
This twin engined light transport, was one of 7 delivered to the RTAF. Entering service in 1947 with many coming from RAF stocks. Both the C-45B and F version operated until 1971 when they were withdrawn from service.
Swearingen Merlin 4A
The RTAF operated several of these airframes in many different roles. From VIP Transport, general transport and aerial mapping. 605 Squadron was tasked to support map making, aerial survey, and aerial reconnaissance with the type. Six of these were to see service with the RTAF, 60501 joined the museum collection in 2014.
Douglas A-1H Skyraider
The RTAF never operated the Douglas Skyraider however the type was operated in Thailand during the Vietnam War. This particular airframe was left behind by the USAF after a wheels up landing in 1968. A comprehensive detailed timeline of this particular Skyraider is as follows. ex US Navy Bu142072, accepted by USN 28Jan57 at El Segundo in 1958 assigned to Carrier deployment to the western Pacific on USS Hancock. By 1960, it was on Carrier deployment to the western Pacific on USS Midway. By 1967 it was operated by VA152 ‘Wild Aces’ on Carrier deployment to the western Pacific on USS Oriskany. Its final flight which caused the wheels up landing was when it was hit by two 12.7mm rounds in the right wing over northern Laos on 27th December 1968. The aircraft was donated to RTAF Museum by General Harry C.‘Heine’ Aderholt by 1979.
The RTAF-5 was a Thai training and forward air control aircraft developed and built by the Science and Weapon Systems Development Centre of the Royal Thai Air Force in the 1980s. It was a twin-boom configuration aircraft powered by a single pusher turboprop engine, but only a single example was built. It joined the museum collection in 1994 and makes an interesting comparison to the OV-10 Bronco in front of it.
Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
Thirty two Rockwell OV-10 Bronco’s were delivered to the RTAF from 1972. The 1st batch of 16 was delivered on ‘USS Okinawa’ to Cam Ranh Bay, with the 2nd batch of 16 delivered by air across the Pacific by Skyways from 1973 through to 1974. The type was retired from service in 2004 and airframe 158405 joined the museum collection in 2004.
Three Beechcraft Bonanza’s were operated by the RTAF. Two coming from the Navy after the failed coup in 1951. One became the basis of the locally built RTAF.2.
The Helicopter hangar has some well preserved examples of these workhorses of the RTAF. From the tiny Hiller H-12 Raven to the larger more modern Bell 212 and S-58.
This light utility helicopter, c/n 597, Entered service in 1953. One Hiller 360 was purchased in 1950 then followed by four UH-12B. H2k-4/96 is on display within the hall joining the collection in 1967.
Sikorsky H-19A Chickasaw (S-55)
The S-55 entered service with the RTAF in 1954 with six being delivered. a further two H-19As were acquired in 1957.
The type was withdrawn in 1965.
Bell UH-1N (212)
Two UH-1N Helicopters were delivered to the RTAF. Operated by the Royal Helicopter Flight the two were delivered in 1976. The example on display is H6k-1/19, which joined the collection in 2001.
Bell OH-13A Sioux & Kaman H-43-B Huskie
Kaman Huskie H.5-2 / 05 , is one of four examples that served from 1963 to 1994. The Bell OH-13A, is one of the nine Sioux purchased by the Royal Thai Air Force in the years 1972-1973. The aircraft on display is an ex Thai Army example H7-9-15 2182.
The Kawasaki KH-4 was a light utility helicopter produced in Japan in the 1960s as a development of the Bell 47 that Kawasaki had been building under licence since 1952. The most visible difference between the KH-4 and its forerunner was its new and enlarged cabin. This was fully enclosed (although the side doors were removable) and provided seating for three passengers side-by-side on a bench seat behind the pilot’s seat. The helicopter was provided with a new control system, revised instrumentation, and larger fuel tank.
A total of 211 KH-4s were built, including four that were modified from existing Bell 47Gs. The vast majority of these were bought by civil operators, although some were purchased by the military forces of Japan and Thailand. Six of these Helicopters were originally delivered to the Thai Army in 1964, at least one if not all six were later transferred to the RTAF. On display is KH-4 2040.
The RTAF ordered six Bell 206B’s which were delivered from 1995. They were were acquired for training purposes.These Jet Rangers were used by the 3rd FTS in Kamphaeng Saen until 2007. Preserved at the RTAF museum is H8-01/38/‘01
Sixty four S-58s were delivered between 1962-76 to the RTAF. The RTAF also operated the Sikorsky S-58T, known locally as the B.H4k, some 19 serving from 1978-2003; 18 locally-converted from H-34s. Operated by 31 and 63 Squadrons as part of 3 Wing and 6 Wings respectively the type was withdrawn from service in the late 90’s. The example on display is a UH-34D which escaped from Laos where it was operated by the Royal Lao Air Force, it joined the collection in 1998.
Nineteen UH-34s were converted to S-58T standard in 1977 where they continued to serve with 201 Squadron 2 Wing until being withdrawn in 2003. On display is H4k-64/30/ 20117.
Operated along side its British cousin the Westland Dragonfly was the Sikorsky YH-5A. It joined the RTAF in 1953 however it too was also retired in 1954 after poor performance and no skilled maintenance crews to work on the aircraft. The aircraft on display is H1k-1/96.
Westland WS-51A Dragonfly
The first helicopter for the RTAF was the Westland Dragonfly. Although new to the RTAF they were already on their second and third owners by the time they went into service in 1950. While they were revolutionary the type suffered poor performance in the hot tropical environment in South East Asia. There service was short lived and were retired by 1954. On display is the sole surviving example, the former G-AMJW which became H.1-4/96 in RTAF service.
Tachikawa Ki-55 ‘Ida’
One of the rarest types on display and globally is this magnificent Ki-55 codename ‘Ida’ to the allies. This is one of only three Ki-36/55s left in the world. This aircraft is one of 24 delivered to the RTAF in 1942 and was retired from service in 1950.
IAI Arava 201
Three Israeli built Arava’s were delivered to the RTAF in 1981 to be used by 402 Squadron based as part of Wing 4 in Nakhon Sawan. The three aircraft were used patrol aircraft and have now been replaced by UAV’s. Their retirement came in 2015 which saw airframe, 40204 become part of the museum.
Fairchild C-123B Provider
The RTAF took delivery of over 48 Fairchild C-123 Providers. Deliveries commenced in 1964, in both C-123B and C-123K versions. All came from the USAF, some were flown during the Vietnam War on various missions. The type was well suited to the cargo role and the crews enjoyed fling the Provider. So popular was the type that the RTAF enlisted an American company, Mancro Aircraft Company of Paramount, CA and Dallas,TX to acquire a C-123 (56-4357) from the USAF stocks at Davis-Monthan, and re-engine it with T-56 turbo props. The now C-123T Provider first flew from Compton in 1980 and testing quickly discovered the aircraft wasn’t as good as hoped. The RTAF also realised it wasn’t cost-effective, and C-130’s were bought instead. The type was fully retired in the 1992. Aircraft, 555/ “L4-6/07” joined the RTAF Museum in 1983.
Six of these Italian transports were delivered to the RTAF from 1995. Flown by 603 Squadron which is part of 6 Wing which was based at Don Muang. The type was in service in limited numbers until its retirement in 2010 when the last flying example was retired. On display at the museum is 60312 which became part of the museum collection in 2009.
Another Cessna A-37B Dragonfly is on display beside the G222. This aircraft is serialed 21133. It’s shows with a full wing load including drop tanks and bombs.
Douglas C-47 Dakota
It’s a prerequisite of any aviation museum to have an example of the Douglas C-47 isn’t it? The RTAF continues to operate the Dakota today in the much updated and modified Basler BT-67 turbo prop version. Some 45 examples have been delivered over the years coming from multiple sources, including Australia. Versions operated have included the C-47, AC-47 Gunship, VC-47, EC-47 and of course the BT-67 which continues in service where it has been used for roles such as Para dropping and even fire fighting. The airframe on display serialed 547 is a C-47A which is ex USAAF 42-100547. The Aircraft is complete with the wings and engines stored nearby. This aircraft is due to be refurbished and assembled for display in the near future.
North American T-6 Texan
Another T-6G Texan is on display within the museum this example is ex 51-4666.
Thirteen of these liaison and light transport aircraft were acquired in 1947 from the RAF in Burma. This example is an L-5B and was serialed S4-10/90 and is ex 44-6985, its RAF serial being KJ464.
Some forty two war surplus aircraft were supplied to the RTAF from the Allies in 1947. The last in service was retired in 1959. This example 4-S3-4/90 has been with the collection since 1967.
Grumman G-44 Widgeon
Five Grumman Widgeon’s were operated by the RTAF. They were transferred from the Navy following failed Navy coup in 1951. The sole survivor is on display at the museum. 1449 has been in the museum since arriving in 1967.
Locally developed and built the ThOr6 is a development of the basic SIAI Marchetti SF-260. The new training aircraft was fitted with a 420-horsepower Turbo Prop Allison 250 engine, fitted with 3-blade propeller and a new engine mount and cowling. Its first flight was on June 14, 2012. Twenty five of the type are intended to be flown by 203 Squadron based at Don Muang. Two examples are at the museum. One was being installed within the new hall and one was yet to be unpacked from its transport crate.
Government Aircraft Factories N-22 Nomad
Designed and built in Australia by GAF the Nomad served both the RTAF and RTN. Twenty two examples were received by the RTAF from 1982. The Nomads or Missionmasters as they were marked as were ordered to replace the C-47s then in service. Locally designated as the BL.9 some were armed with 20mm cannon. Operated in RTAF service by 6075 and 461 Squadrons. Despite being retired by our own RAAF many years ago the Thai’s kept them going till retirement in 2015. On display is 46122 which was built and flown in Australia as VH-UVG.
De Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk.
The second example at the museum is painted in its Royal Thai Flying Club.
The RTAF-2 was developed from the Fuji LM-1 Nikko, itself a derivative of the Beechcraft Bonanza. One prototype was built in 1957 and tested in 1957–58, although no further production followed. The aircraft joined the collection in 1984.
The RTAF-4 was developed from the de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk that were used by the Royal Thai Air Force. Production began in February 1971 and the prototype made its first flight on 25 September 1972. The plane, with redesigned cockpit and tail sections, had a payload of 345 kg and its maximum gross weight for aerobatics was 1,044 kg. 12 aircraft were produced, that entered into service in 1974, four of which were used as trainers for the Civil Aviation Department of the Thai Air Force. Serial BF 03 is on display at the museum.
Supermarine Spitfire FR.14E
A real personal favourite of mine, the Supermarine Spitfire. The RTAF took twenty four Spitfire 14’s, plus 6 for spares use. These arrived in Thailand between February 1951 and January 1952. In 1954 three ex-FEAF Spitfire PR.19’s were delivered for instructional use, and a fourth went to Trat as an instructional airframe. The Spitfire was flown by 41 Squadron who continued to operate the type until its retirement in 1955. The Griffon engined version, was fitted with 2 × 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannon with 120 rounds-per-gun (rpg) in the outer bays combined with 2 × .50 cal Browning M2 machine guns, with 250 rpg in the inner bays. With of the relocation of the Hispano to the outer gun bay the blisters covering the feed motors were moved outboard on the gun bay doors. The airframe on display, Kh14-1/93 is ex RAF SM914. The aircraft is in true time capsule condition with all its equipment in place.
Vought A-7C Corsair
Eighteen A-7 Corsairs saw operational service with the Royal Thai Navy. Fourteen A-7E and four TA-7Cs flew with 104 Squadron. Supplied from ex US Navy stocks they started arriving in 1995. The type was operational until 200. Operated by No 104 Squadron, an example has recently arrived from its old base at U-Tapao in Southern Thailand. Ex US Navy Bu16056, became 1411 in RTN service.
McDonnell Douglas AV-8A Harrier
Nine aircraft were sourced from the Spanish Navy in 1996, being delivered in 1997 on the aircraft carrier ‘RTNS Chakri Naruebe’. The aircraft were operated by 1 Squadron 3 Wing. Two TAV-8S and seven AV-8S were to see brief service until lack of spares saw the type withdrawn from service in 2006. Aircraft 3109 arrived in June 2017 along side the previously mentioned Corsair.
Melbourne Airport has become the third port of call in Australia for Star Alliance member Air Canada.
The airline launched its seasonal Melbourne-Vancouver flights on December 3 2017, and will continue until February 2018. The service will operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 11:40am landing in Vancouver at 7:30am the same day. These flights while short lived are just the start of Air Canada’s operation into the airport. The airline will launch a year round Melbourne-Vancouver services in June continuing to operate the Boeing 787-9. These flights will be three per week in each direction.
This Sunday morning it was all eyes on C-FRTW a Boeing 787-9 as it touched down on at 09:45am on runway 16, in the striking new livery.
Melbourne is now the third Australian destination for Air Canada, which runs daily flights from Vancouver to both Sydney and Brisbane served with Boeing 787 and 777-200LR aircraft.
The aircraft received the traditional water cannon salute from Melbourne Airport, Airservices Aviation Rescue Fire Fighter tenders.
Once at Gate D20 the passengers and crew disembarked and walked into a fantastic welcome put on by local Aboriginal elders from the Wurundjeripeople.
Aviation Spotters Online took the time to go on board the aircraft and see first hand the quality of the Air Canada product.
Firstly Business class, passengers aboard the Dreamliner will find 30 seats at the pointy end, nicknamed ‘executive pods’ and transforming into 80-inch (203cm) fully-flat beds at the touch of a button. The seats are arranged in the 1-2-1 layout to provide direct aisle access from every seat.
Like most great airlines there is premium economy as well. This product is in a three-rows with 21 seats adopting a 2-3-2 layout.
Economy is a very modern and comfortable place to be with 210 seats in Economy Class. The seats all have inflight entertainment in the head rests.
Not everyone gets a chance to see where the flying is done in the aircraft, so Ive attached a photo of the cockpit for you all to see the high tech flight deck.
Aviation Spotters Online wishes to thank Melbourne Airport and Air Canada for the privilege of being apart of this inaugural flight celebrations. Congratulations to Air Canada and welcome to Melbourne.
The noise! The Power! The agility! The simply incredible performance of such an awesome machine. No, I’m not talking about the powerful racing machines that are the V8 Supercars, but rather, the Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornet tearing through the skies above.
Newcastle recently saw its first ever event as part of the V8 Supercars series with the final race of the season being held at the beautiful harbourside circuit. While for many the attraction of these events is the spectacle and power of the cars and the various races and associated entertainment over the course of the weekend, for some of us, it’s a rare opportunity to catch some of the RAAF’s airpower in action.
Not only does the new Newcastle circuit boast a beautiful location, between the harbour and the sea, but it also has the advantage (to us) of having Australia’s main fighter base, RAAF Base Williamtown, just a couple of minutes (if not seconds) flying time, up the coast to the north.
Newcastle was blessed with some fantastic weather for the weekend and I was able to catch the display performed just before the very final race of the season, on Sunday afternoon in some great light.
The Hornet display was followed up with a flypast of an E-7 Wedgetail from 2 Squadron during the national anthem and a couple of passes by a 737 from one of the V8’s major sponsors, Virgin Australia, before the start of the final race of the weekend, and season. It’s definitely an unusual sight to catch an airliner maneuvering quite low above a beautiful backdrop like Newcastle.
The race itself turned out to be a tense and dramatic conclusion to the racing season and a great finish to Newcastle’s first weekend as part of the V8s events. Here’s hoping we can look forward to this great setting becoming a permanent fixture of the V8 season in years to come, with the added bonus of a great chance to catch some impressive flying as well. How long before we see an F-35……?
Set on a site established in 1941 ,HMAS Albatross is the home to the Fleet Air Arm or as most know it as; The Royal Australian Navy. The base has been home to units from the RAAF, USAAC, Royal Navy and even the RNZAF. So there is a lot of history and stories to tell which is why the Fleet Air Arm Museum is here to facilitate that.
The museum tells the story from the early days of formation of the FAA through to today’s modern Royal Australian Navy. If you’re ever in Nowra in southern New South Wales it is an absolute must. The museum has to be one of the real gems in Australia’s heritage preservation movement. With a 6,000 m2, two-storey exhibition center, souvenir shop, function center, theater and airfield viewing platform. There is plenty to see and explore, so lets get going.
The first aircraft on display is the Sopwith Pup.
The replica has some fabric left off to illustrate its internal construction. The aircraft is a very accurate representation of this airframe. The Pup was embarked on HMAS Australia and Sydney, with five examples used in service.
Along with the Pup replica is several displays showcasing the Navy’s earliest days.
CAC Ca-25 Winjeel
The CAC CA-25 Winjeel is a type which didn’t see service with the RAN. This particular airframe is the prototype CA-22 A85-364, it is on loan from from the RAAF Museum.
De Havilland Sea Vampire
Next along is the De Havilland MK T.22 Sea Vampire. Thirteen of them serving the RAN. On display is Vampire XG770 it is painted as XG766. The aircraft was delivered to the RAN in 1957.
A very important type to the RAN and a type which saw extensive service with not only our Navy and Air Force. The GAF Jindivink was widely exported and saw service with the RAF, Royal Navy, USAF and Swedish Air Force among others. The Jindivink is a recoverable pilotless target drone. Twenty one of them were to see service with the RAN, powered by a 2,78olb thrust Rolls Royce Viper engine.
CAC Ca-32 Macchi
When the Navy had a fixed wing fleet which included the Tracker and Skyhawk, the Macchi MB-326H was ordered to train its fixed wing pilots. Ten served the fleet until being absorbed into the RAAF when the fixed wing fleet was disbanded. This aircraft flew with 724 Squadron until 1983 when it was reserialed as A7-077 for the RAAF.
McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
I make no apologies for a few photos of the next type. I think this zippy number is still held with high regard by both RAN and RNZAF Pilot and engineers. The ‘Scooter’ or Heinemann’s Hot Rod was to serve the RAN for 17 years. 20 airframes were purchased to serve aboard HMAS Melbourne. 16 single seat A-4G and four TA-4Gs were flown with 805 Squadron the carrier attached squadron and 724 which was the land based counterpart. The aircraft flew in a variety of roles in RAN service with evreything from fleet defence through to target towing preformed by the agile aircraft. After retirement and sale to the RNZAF the aircraft were upgraded and again some came to be based back in Nowra where the RNAF flew them in support of a defence co-operation deal between both countries. They continued to fly till retirement and subsequent sale to Draken International where they soldier on as aggressor aircraft today.
A second Scooter is on display, this is single seat version. Marked as the first airframe delivered to the RAN N13-154903 or 882 this aircraft isn’t actually what it presents itself as. Its actually an ex US Navy A-4B Bu No 142871 which is on long term loan to the FAAM Museum. Its great to see two versions of the Skyhawk side by side and if you talk to anyone who has been Nowra long enough they still wish they were active on the base!
Grumman S-2 Tracker
Serving on HMAS Melbourne along side the Skyhawk was the Anti Sub Marine Patrol role Grumman S-2 Tracker. A total of 32 of these glorious aircraft served the RAN from 1966 until retirement in 1984. The type initially entered service in the E or Echo model with fourteen of the type flying in active service plus one ex US Navy airframe used for instructional purposes. The E model flew on with the loss of one airframe until 1976 when ten were destroyed in a huge Hangar fire. Quickly 16 refurbished ex US Navy G or Golf model were ordered to replace them. One A model also ‘served’ as an instructional airframe as well. Today the museum has N-12153582 ‘859’ proudly on display within the hall.
If your into your helicopters then the FAA Museum is going to be Nirvana for you with every type that has served the RAN on display from the earliest to the very latest.
Bell UH-1 Huey
First Cab of the rank is the unmistakable workhorse of many air arms the Bell UH-1 Huey. The RAN operated seven of the B or Bravo and C or Charlie models. Entering service in 1964, and flying with 723 Squadron the type was flown until replacment by the Squirrels in 1984.
Next along is another Huey this time and ex United States Army UH-1H. This particular airframe was crewed by members of the RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam. which was part of the US Army’s 135th Assault Helicopter Company. It was rescued after its US Army service was finished and was flown to Nowra by the RAAF for display.
Another classic helicopter the Bell 47 made famous in the MASH TV series is on display this airfame is another ex RAAF aircraft being A1-640. It is painted up as a US Army example. It is on display to showcase the 161 Reece Flight in Vietnam.
A type which served in very limited numbers was the Westland Scout. Two examples were to serve the RAN for use on the HMAS Moresby. Used in support of survey operations from the ship the type served with 723 Squadron from 1963 to 1973. the second example ditched into the sea off New Gunia in 1967, it was recovered however was written off.
On the opposite end of the physical scale and numbers serving the RAN is the big Westland Wessex Mk.31. Twenty Severn of these Anti Submarine and Utility helicopters served with including HS817 Squadron which operated them on HMAS Melbourne. The Wessex was in service for a long time compared to some other types. The type entered service in 1963 and was retired in 1991. It relinquished the anti submarine role to its successor the Sea King in 1975.
Westland Sea King
The successor to the Wessex the Sea King also from the Westland factory entered service with 817 Squadron in 1976. The initial order of 10 HAS.50 versions was supplemented by two attrition airframes in 1980, with a further ex Royal navy example in 1986. The King as it was known by those who flew and operated it was a very popular and versatile airframe. The type was originally employed for the anti submarine role, and was also embarked upon HMAS Melbourne. As time marched on the anti submarine mission was passed to the Seahawk. The type went on to a new roles which included and not limited to Army support, Search and Rescue and disaster relief. Retirement for the King came after 35 years of amazing service to the nation.
Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk
The S-70B Bravo model Seahawk was ordered for service in 1984 to replace the then in service Sea King. The order placed in 1984 was initially for eight airframes. A follow on order for another 8 was placed in 1986. The sixteen airframes have given amazing service to the Navy. Serving in the Gulf and flying many missions the type is now in draw down with the arrival of the MH-60R to replace the type. Although or the same basic design the type as the original Bravo model the Romeo model has taken our Navy into a new era with its capabilities. Most of the fleet is now in storage as its role has been taken over with the newer aircraft. The last flight of the Bravo model occurs in December. After 28 years of service the type is well deserved to be displayed at the museum.
Aerospatile AS350 Squirrel
Next in the line up of helicopters is another type in its service twilight too. The Aerospatiale AS350B Squirrel utility helicopter was ordered in 1982 and entered service 1984. The order placed was for a total of 18 airframes. 12 for the RAAF to replace its UH-1B Huey and 6 for the RAN to serve in the light utility and survey roles. The type has seen service in the gulf when the museum’s example was deployed on HMAS Adelaide, it was modified to have a 7.62 machine gun installed during these operations. the last flying examples are currently on the flight line with retirement due momentarily after 28 years of service. One example has been delivered to the Australian War Memorial, and another due to retire to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook in December.
Douglas C-47 Dakota
Four ex RAAF C-47 Dakotas were transferred to the Navy. Two were extensively modified as flying classrooms to train Navigators, and for anti sub detection. The type saw service from 1949 until 1968. On display is personally one of two Dakotas in Australia I just like. N2-43 was fitted with a Sea Venom radar in the nose and a Gannet retractable radar scanner in the floor. This very unique looking Dakota sure does stand out from the rest. This airframe joined the Navy in 1949 and continued to operate until 1970, 26 years of service between the RAAF and RAN earned its place to represent the Navy’s Dakota activities at the museum, joining it in 1976.
A very early design helicopter design is next in the line up with not one but two examples of the Navies first major helicopter type to serve. The Bristol HR50/51 Sycamore entered service in 1953, with thirteen examples operated. The ere operated in both ship-borne and land -based roles. These roles included Search and Rescue and training. Even though the type was allocated the N5 serial prefix the type flew with its British serials for their entire service. This lasting until being withdrawn in 1965, six examples were lost during their time in service.
De Havilland Sea Venom
The Jet age for the Navy came in the shape of the De Havilland Sea venom FAW.53. Thirty nine were ordered to serve along side the Fairy Gannet. This combination replaced the Sea Fury and Firefly in RAN Carrier service. They entered service in 1956 and flew with Nos 808, 805, 816 and 724 Squadrons. Delivered to the Royal Navy initially, they flew most of their careers with British serials, this was changed much later in their service life. HMAS Melbourne delivered them to Australia on it’s maiden voyage in 1956.
The work horse of the Navy between 1955 and 1967 the Fairey Gannet flew the anti submarine role for onboard the HMAS Melbourne with Nos 816 and 817 Squadrons. As with most type there were also land based aircraft and these flew with Nos 724 and 725 Squadrons.
Forty of these huge 3035 hp Double Mamba engine contract-rotating propeller monsters were to see service in the AS.1, AS,4 T.2 and T.5 variants. The Gannet was replaced in service by the Grumman S-2 Tracker.
The Fairey Firefly was a major player in the development of the RAN, serving alongside the Hawker Sea Fury. Both types went to fight in the Korean War. Flying from the two aircraft carriers then in service the HMAS Sydney and HMAS Vengence The HMAS Sydney’s then embarked Nos 817 Squadron flying the Firefly flew combat operations between 1951 and 1952, with three lost in this area of operations. The type was used on missions to disrupt the North Korean war system. Flying both dive and low level bombing missions. Post war the type was put to service in an anti submarine role. The type was also employed in the Target towing role in its twilight. It was formally withdrawn from service with the last flight preformed in 1966. 108 examples were to serve the RAN, powered by the Rolls Royce Griffon 74 which produced 2,245 horse power.
Hawker Sea Fury
The second of the pair as mentioned previously is the Hawker Sea Fury. One Hundred and one of these FB.11 versions served the Navy from 1949-1962. All flew with Royal Navy serials. Nos 805 and 808 Squadrons were embarked with the type onboard the HMAS Sydney during the Korean War. The Sea Fury flew 1,623 sorties during the conflict, eight aircraft were lost during these missions. The Sea Fury flew a variety of missions including, anti ship strikes, combat air patrols, and army support as examples. The Sea Fury never got to claim an air to air kill during the conflict. It did however post war, against an unarmed and un-piloted Auster J4. The civilian Auster manged to take off after being started and climbed to 10,000 feet. It was eventually dispatched by two Sea Furies which were close by after enjoying some gunnery practice. The type was retired from service in 1962.
Every museum needs an example of an adversary. On display is a Polish license built version of the Mig-15 the SBLim-2A. This aircraft is on display to show the type of aircraft that the went up against the RAN and RAAF in Korea. This particular airframe was built for the Polish Air Force and flew as Red 607. After retirement from Polish service it was one of several purchased and brought to Australia to fly on the then burgeoning Jet Warbird scene. It was registerd as VH-XIG and is now retired from flying and is a great example of the type.
A current restoration being undertaken at the museum is that of another very early helicopter design the Westland Dragonfly.
During the Korean War two examples were loaned to the RAN for use aboard the HMAS Sydney as a rescue helicopter. The US version was the Sikorsky built HO3S-1. Four other Westaland built versions were also loaned by the Royal Navy for the same duties. In 2001 this example arrived in Australia, it is now under restoration to highlight the use of the type by the Navy.
I wish to thank the FAA Museum for their hospitality once again, and also to my good friend Jeff who assisted with my questions and acted as tour guide.
The Museum is open seven days a week except for New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas and Boxing Days. Pre-booked guided tours are also available.
Clear skies and beautifully deep-blue waters on the shores of Lake Macquarie with an airshow thrown in as well. What better way to spend a day out for a good cause than at the 11th annual Rathmines Catalina Festival ?
The festival is held to promote the history of the former RAAF flying boat base on Lake Maquarie, just south of Newcastle, Australia, as well as provide a great day out with rides, food stalls, displays and entertainment for the whole family. This year’s event was held on the 29th of October.
The funds raised from these events go to the Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association which uses the money for various projects, including the restoration of a PBY Catalina for static display and the aim of constructing a hangar to house and protect it as well as a museum to commemorate the history of the base and the personnel and aircraft which served there.
This year, the day’s flying activities began with a display from the Royal Australian Air Force’s aerobatic team, the Roulettes in their PC-9s.
Following the roulettes was Glenn Collins in Paul Bennet Airshows’ historic CAC Wirraway, a treat for the ears as well as the eyes.
Ben Lappin then put PBA’s Rebel 300 through a very energetic and dynamic routine.
Although on the program, JetRide Australia’s L-39 was unable to make the show so Wayne Mitchell was the next display, demonstrating the handling of his Auto-Gyro.
Glenn Collins returned to perform a very crisp routine in Aerohunter Warbird Adventure Flights’ bright yellow Yak-52.
The Tecnam formation team from the Royal Newcastle Aeroclub at Rutherford made several passes before it was time for what many would consider to be the star of the show, the famous “Black Cat”, the PBY Catalina from the Historic Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) at Albion Park, just south of Wolongong. Although the cat was seen at a distance, heading north-west up the lake, it disappeared over the horizon and did not return. Unfortunately, due to an issue with one of the engines, the crew had elected to make a precautionary landing at Maitland.
Last on the day’s flying program was the impressive Grumman Avenger, also from Paul Bennet Airshows’ fleet. As its display time came and went, it looked as though it too may not make it to the show. As it turned out, the Catalina’s unexpected arrival at Maitland had caused the Avenger’s departure to be delayed slightly. But, not wanting to disappoint the crowds, Tim Dugan still made sure to put on a great display in the surprisingly large machine.
The display line was modified this year too. In previous years, the flying displays were flown roughly east-west, to the north of the sea-plane ramp at of the former base, but this year, the line was north-south, to the east of the base. This new line made for better viewing of the displays for a greater part of the crowds and, for us spotters, meant the light was great for photography and just got better as the afternoon went on.
Although the no-show of the star attraction was a disappointment for some; I think the spectacle of watching the rest of the displays in such a glorious setting over the beautiful waters of Lake Macquarie, more than made up for it, and I look forward to catching next year’s show with the new display line too.
Congratulations to everyone involved for putting on yet another great show in such a beautiful setting and thank you to the owners and pilots for their skilled performances and support of this worthy cause.
Worldflight is on again this year from the 5th November to the 11th November. The aim of Worldflight is to raise money for the Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service or the RFDS as it is commonly known in Australia and has risen over $220,000 to date. This year there are a total of 13 home built flight simulator teams joining in flying around the world raising money for the RFDS.
Worldflight kicked off in the UK before an Australian division started in 2001 using VATSIM as the virtual world. As Worldflight continues to grow other home simulators join in from Australia and around the world. Those who are not in Australia contribute to one of their chosen local charities.
Worldflight 2017 starts and finishes in Sydney this year with the 13 teams participating in 15 fixed based home built flight simulators. Each team has their own pilot roster which everyone takes a turn. At each airport they land at there is a 45-60min turnaround time which is enough time to take on new crew, and plan the next route and get updated real time weather.
This year’s flights will be Sydney-Brisbane, Brisbane- Cairns, Cairns-Jackson, Jackson-Frans Kaisiepo, Frans Kaisiepo-Manilla Intl, Manilla Intl-Macau, Macau- Chaiang Kai Shek, Chaiang Kai Shek-Nagasaki, Nagasaki-Vladivostok, Vladivostok-Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky-Anchorage, Anchorage-Juneau, Juneau-Calgary, Calgary-Saltlake City, Saltlake City-Lindbergh Fld, Lindbergh Fld-Robert Muller Muni, Robert Muller Muni-Cancun, Cancun-Kingston, Kingston-Eldorado Intl, Eldorado Intl-Velazco Astete, Velazco Astete-La Paz, La Paz-Sao Gabriel Da Cachoeira, Sao Gabriel Da Cachoeira-Basseterre Gldn Rock, Basseterre Gldn Rock-Leeward Point, Leeward Point-Orlando, Orlando-John F Kennedy, John F Kennedy-Goose Bay, Goose Bay-Sondre Stomfjord, Sondre Stomfjord-Keflavik, Keflavik-Dyce, Dyce-Arlanda, Arlanda-Innsbruck, Innsbruck-Houari Boumediene, Houari Boumediene-Punta Raisi, Punta Raisi-Samos, Samos-Queen Alia, Queen Alia-Hamad Intl, Hammad Intl-Quaid E Azam, Quaid E Azam-Indira Gandhi, Indira Gandhi-Paro, Paro-Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai-Phuket, Phuket-Changi, Changi-Bali, Bali-Darwin, Darwin-Alice Springs, Alice Springs-Adelaide, Adelaide-Melbourne, Melbourne-Sydney. Which is 4 days 11hours and 45mins of scheduled flying time for a total distance of 36,390Nm.
The teams consist of two Sydney based 747-400 Sims, Matt Sheil and Joe Corrigan, Worldflight Perth which is Greg Hately 747-400 (Giant 1474 GTI1471) and Gwyn Perrett 737-800 (Velocity 738 VOZ738), Worldflight Mangrove which is XX with a Boeing 737NG, Worldflight Team Airbus with their A330 based at Lynton Barretts house in Nowra NSW, Worldflight Hobart with a B737NG, Worldflight Team Noble based in Adelaide with their Boeing 737-800 sim, Simfest UK with a Boeing 737-800/BBJ2 and a Boeing 747-400, Team Jetsim UK with Simon Lummis’ B737-800 sim, Worldflight Germany with a Boeing 737-800 sim, Worldflight Team Airbus A330, CB-Worldflight Team USA with their Boeing 737-800, and Midwest 737 Simulations with their Boeing 737-800.
In September Brenden visited Greg Hateley in Perth. Greg has built a Boeing 747-400 simulator in his house over 5 years costing over $40,000 (He has a very understanding wife) and managed to get into Worldflight in 2015 and 2016. There is a group of people who join Greg in weekly flights with others around the world.
The simulator has 7 computers in total with 4 running the software for the simulator (Aerowinx) and 3 running the visuals (P3D). The visuals are 3 projectors at 1080P at 72Hz so the visuals end up being
very smooth with the 3 projectors blended with Fly Elise-ng warping software. The last flight sim that I flew was FSX and the P3D visuals are stunning with some fantastic sunsets so it was great to see some fantastic improvements.
While I was taking photos Greg had Lesley and Darren flying the simulator while Greg was talking about his creation. There are some real parts from the B747-400, but there are others which Greg has made from his own CNC machine in his garage. With my background as an aircraft engineer working on Boeing 747-400’s Greg has done a fantastic job of recreating the Jumbo in a fine form.
During the beginning of Worldflight 2017 Brenden visited Gwyn Perrott and some of the volunteer pilots in Gwyn’s Boeing 737-800 Sim “Velocity 738”. I watched the last 45mins of the Nagasaki-Vladivostok sector with Ken and Gwyn at the controls. Tom was the designated Breakfast chef for the sector and right on time the breaky rolls rocked up at top of decent. Tom’s timing was impeccable and as he stated he cooks the best crispy sausages! (Apparently a European delicacy according to some of the team members)
Upon landing Luke and Tom had done the plan for the next sector which was Vladivostok-Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, however the sim had other ideas! A few resets had to occur and a delay in departure from Vladivostok was inevitable. The simulator had a defect which required a full reboot of the sim, just like what occasionally has to happen to real aircraft. Luke and Tom then took up their positions in the sim and carried out the pre-flight for their sector. Once they were up and away I managed to have a good chat to Gwyn about his sim.
The Sim in the photos is Gwyn’s second 737 sim, and like all projects it is never complete. This version 2 has taken Gwyn over 5 years to build and at a cost of over $50,000. I asked him if he had a very understanding wife as there would be many hours spent in the shed. The reply was yes he does which was great to see. The throttle quadrant for example took over 250 hours to design in CAD and then a lot more to CNC and assemble the components together.
Tom who is one of the volunteer pilots also assists Gwyn in writing the code for the various components that they make. It is then integrated into the sim and tested like what happens on normal aircraft. Once the bugs are all ironed out the sim is good to go once more.
Gwyn is currently in the process of remaking all the panels with dimmable LED backlighting, which in itself if a very time consuming process. This is due to the labour intensive part of milling out the base plate on the CNC machine and then hand soldering in all the LED’s. Gwyn is also looking forward to the next release of Prepare 3D which comes out in January 2018 which will enhance the visuals and the installation of HD projectors.
When the group are not preparing for Worldflight Gwyn lets pilots who fly the 737 come in and get up to speed with the sim before their checks. This helps the pilots out a great deal when they go into the sim as they have already practiced the drills. The other side of the sim is that sometimes the pilots use the sim to familiarise themselves with an airport that they have never been too. This is great to see that pilots upskilling themselves to make sure that the passengers are 100% safe. Gwyn only ask for a donation which goes to the RFDS, a very noble decision on Gwyn’s behalf.
I would like to say thanks to Greg and Gwyn and the volunteer pilots for their time with this article and also allowing access to take photos. We hope that the Western Australian section smashes the previous $6000 raised the year before.
This article has been produced by Brenden Scott from Perth Western Australia.
Brenden is an engineer for an Australian Airline and has a long held passion for aviation. ASO thanks him for this great insight on an extremely worthy cause.
If you’d like to donate to the teams and help the RFDS out please click on the following links:
http://worldflightperth.com.au/ Link to the Perth Team
I often drive past RAAF Base Darwin in the Northern Territory and recently noticed the ‘gate guards’, as they are affectionately called, appear to have had bit of a spruce up. Their last major refurbishment occurred back in 2013 so a polish of plaques and paint was a bit of welcomed attention I guess. Many who have lived in, worked in or visited Darwin may recognise these two unique historical icons.
The two Ferranti Bristol Bloodhound Mk. 1 Surface-to-Air missiles, No 7 & 8 now located outside the old main gate, have a historical connection with the defence of Northern Australia. Both were operated as part of the Royal Australian Air Force’s Number 30 Squadron – their roles specifically as Bloodhound SAM Detachment Flight “A”.
Originally re-formed and equipped with the Bloodhound Mk.1 at RAAF Williamtown in early 1961, No 30 Squadron and the detachment to Darwin operated for 8 years. It remains the only unit to operate a mid to high altitude Surface to Air missile system in the Royal Australian Air Force.
During the early 1960’s Konfronski (southern end) the almost defenceless nature of No 2 Control and Reporting Unit (2CRU) located in Darwin, N.T was exposed to potential enemy attacks by Tupolev Tu-16 Badgers. Although the 2CRU radar site was provided with some limited short range L60 Bofor Anti Aircraft guns under Australian Army control, the then Minister of Defence approved the assignment of Bloodhound Detachment Flight “A” to Darwin in May 1965. This action was a stop gap measure during the ‘Konfronstki’ until the Mirage III0 was introduced in full numbers to the RAAF’s fighter squadrons.
Initially only 4 complete launcher and rounds (missiles) were installed with 3 spare rounds as backup. Later during December 1965, as part of Exercise High Rigel with the RAF Vulcan bombers – Darwin Air Defence Exercises (ADEX), RAAF C-130A Hercules would bring four more complete launchers from Williamtown. The missile establishment at full strength would finally consisted of 8 missile pads and their associated buildings being located at Lee Point, not far to the north of the RAAF Base. Most of the RAAF inventory was eventually located in the north – 8 of the available 12 missile launchers and 14 out of 24 live missile ’rounds’ in Australia.
The Darwin based Bloodhounds had a short service life of only 3 years as this version had rapidly become outdated by new weapons technology and performance, and with the Dassault Mirage III being almost fully delivered and assigned the mid-high altitude defence role, by the end of 1968 the detachment and the remaining No 30 Squadron Bloodhounds were withdrawn and disbanded from service. During 1969 Bloodhounds No7 & 8 were relocated to their position outside the then RAAF Base Darwin main gate.
Up until the new entrance gate was built – visitors to RAAF Base Darwin have had to drive between the two missiles or park next to them while obtaining a visitor pass, before entering the base. Although there are a few other Bloodhound missiles located around Australia this pair have remained somewhat of an attraction for many years, with Darwin locals and visitors both inspecting and taking photo’s with now silent gate guards.
It is a credit to the restoration teams, both past and present, that have kept these two cold war ‘Sentinels’ preserved in such good condition so that they can represent an interesting and unique period of RAAF operational history. I hope they remain an interesting attraction in Darwin for years to come.
Some Specifications of the Bristol Bloodhound Mk.1
It’s been high on my list of aviation museums for years to visit, and by chance, my dream became reality! So here I am in New Zealand at MOTAT.
The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) opened in 1964, and has grown to encompass a site which is spread over two sites covering a combined area of 40 acres.
As the name suggests, there is more to this museum then just the aviation side. Upon first arriving, you can hop on an old W class Melbourne tram, and tour on it as you visit the huge site. Being from Melbourne, it was quite novel seeing something which is common place being used as a tourist attraction.
My visit was primarily focused on visiting the aviation hall so that’s where I was headed.
The first thing that hits you upon entering the Aviation Hall is a symbol of the Royal Air Force and Bomber Command during World War Two, and nothing stops you in your tracks like the mighty Avro Lancaster!
On Loan from the New Zealand Bomber Command Association, Lancaster NX665, an Mk VII was completed in 1945. Too late to see war service, it was quickly passed on to the French Navy, who pressed the aircraft into service as a maritime patrol aircraft in east Africa, and the South Pacific.
After retirement MOTAT acquired this airframe in 1964 for preservation.
‘ The Captain’s Fancy’ of the 75 (NZ) Squadron of the Royal Air Force completed more than 100 missions from May 1944 to May 1945. The original ‘The Captain’s Fancy’ survived the war, however it was cut up for scrap in 1947.
The RNAF operated the Grumman Avenger during World War Two, both in their own service and also in FAA Service. 48 TBF-1 aircraft were to serve with the serials, NZ2501-2548 between 1943-1959.
NZ2527 (c/n 5625, BuNo47859) is the aircraft on display at the museum. After its time with the Air Force it was sold to Bennett Aviation and then to the Barr Brothers. The company had purchased the aircraft for top-dressing work, it was registered as ZK-CBO, however, it never flew with this registration. It was the only ex-RNZAF Avenger to appear on the New Zealand civil register.
The aircraft later become a playground toy. The aircraft was removed from Kuirau Park, Rotorua in the 1970’s where it became derelict. Now fully restored by the MOTAT team the aircraft is a great tribute to No’s 30 and 31 Squardons which flew them during wartime. As a post script No’s 41 and 42 Squadron’s operated them as drogue-towers.
One of my favorite jet aircraft of all time, the Scooter. Otherwise known as the McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. The Skyhawk formed part of New Zealand’s front line force until the Clarke Government disbanded the fast jet element in 2001. The aircraft on display is NZ6206. This was one of the fourteen original jets ordered to replace the English Electric Canberra then in service.
An interesting note for this particular airframe is it has the distinction of being the only Skyhawk in the RNZAF to fire a shot in anger. In 1976 the aircraft over flew and fired on a Taiwanese fishing vessel caught illegally in New Zealand waters. The aircraft like most Skyhawks on display in the country is on long term loan from the New Zealand Air Force.
Along with the Skyhawk the Aermacchi MB-339 formed part of the front line RNZAF. This aircraft NZ6466 was one of eighteen delivered to the Air Force in 1993. These aircraft also had a complete weapons system for the air to ground role. Most were sold to US firm Draken International where they continue to fly on in the aggressor role along side the A-4 Skyhawks also from the RNZAF.
The Dehavilland Devon is the military version of the civilian Dove Airliner. 30 Devons with the serials NZ1801-1830 operated with the RNZAF between 1948 and 1981.
Another post war type operated by the RNZAF was the DeHavilland Vampire. MOTAT has an example of the single seat ex-RAF FB.9, serialed WR202. This aircraft was used by 14 Squadron in Singapore and was imported by the RNZAF and used as an instructional airframe.
The RNZAF operated 300 P-40’s of various models (E, K, L, M, N) between 1942 and 1946. They were assigned to No’s 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 Fighter Squadrons and No’s 2 and 4 F OTU. Only 14 thru 19 SQNs flew P40’s in the Pacific War, carrying out offensive and defensive fighter operations, bomber escort, and dive-bombing duties. A total of 99 Japanese aircraft were destroyed in the air, with 14 probables recorded.
NZ3039 is a composite rebuild, and is on display after restoration at Pacific Aircraft Ltd. It is a P-40E model in generic Pacific War colours.
Another Wartime great is the Lockheed Hudson. 94 of the aircraft with serials NZ2001-2094 flew from 1941 to 1948. The type was used by 1-4SQNs, 9SQN, and No1 OTU. They were used in patrol and bombing roles, serving in the Pacific based at New Caledonia and in the Solomons Islands.
NZ2031 is a Hudson III and was restored by the MOTAT staff where it sits proudly among its fellow Pacific War combatants.
The next large twin engine in the Pacific line up is a fantastically restored example of the De Havilland Mosquito. This example is a T43 Version. NZ2305 was produced to late to see wartime service, it was one of 80 ordered for the RNZAF. 30 new and 50 reconditioned aircraft, some coming from RAAF stocks equipped three squadrons. ZN2305, began life as an RAAF FB.40 serialled A52-19, but was converted while still on the construction line at De Havilland Bankstown to a T.Mk.43 and re-serialled as A52-1053.
It was soon sold to the RNZAF and arrived in 1947. Disposed of in 1953, the aircraft was sold to a farmer who used it for various fittings etc. eventually MOTAT rescued the airframe and have painstakingly rebuilt it to the beautiful condition you see here.
Next in line was an aircraft I’ve wanted to see and explore, and boy was I like a kid in a candy store when I was invited into the mighty Short Sunderland flying boat, NZ4115.
The RNZAF initially operated Four Mk III Sunderland Transport aircraft serialed NZ4101-4104. These were joined by 16 refurbished RAF MR.5 aircraft serialed NZ4105-4120 in 1953. The aircraft were allocated to No’s 5 and 6 Squadrons which operated them in long range maritime patrol and reconnaissance.
Originally built for the RAF as SZ584 in 1945, serial number NZ4115 was completely repainted by the museum’s volunteers and was only installed in the hangar a couple of months ago.
The exploration of the inside of the aircraft really gives you some insights into what the crews endured on the long range maritime missions they did. It was cramped, dark and in the air it would have been cold! The cockpit gave a great forward visibility and look at the engines.
Looking up above, what museum wouldn’t be complete with out a Harvard in its collection? The RNZAF operated 202 Harvards serialed NZ901-1102 of various marks. MOTAT has a unique set up with their aircraft NZ944. The aircraft is rigged to hydraulically lower the undercarriage. NZ944, was received at No.1 Aircraft Depot on 9 June 1941, flying until retirement in 1945.
Moving along the hangar we move to the civilian part of the collection and boy are there some beauties in this line up.
First up was a type I hadn’t seen before, ex Royal Air Force Miles Magister serial L8353. It became G-AMMC before being shipped to New Zealand in 1953. Rebuilt by MOTAT using parts from another which wore the registration ZK-ALO.
It was designed in Australia but the Kiwi’s were the ones which made it the sales success globally. The original design by Henry Millicer, the aircraft was produced in Australia until 1966. The design rights were then sold to Aero Engine Services Ltd in New Zealand. The type continued to be produced and even new more powerful models were to come including the CT-4 Airtrainer which was to be sold to the RAAF for basic training.
ZK-CXU is a 115 Horsepower Air Tourer, it’s claim to fame being done by then owner Cliff Tait, whom set out on his round the world flight in 1969. It was an epic flight of 40 legs over 79 days, with a total flying time of 284 hours. The total distance flown was 30,500 nautical miles. It’s now proudly restored and sporting the colors and markings it wore during that event.
This beautiful and colorful DeHavilland DH.83 Fox Moth ZK-AEK is one of three early airliners on display. ZK-AEK isn’t the real one though. The real registration for this aircraft is ZK-APT. It was painted to reflect the airline Air Travel (NZ) Ltd which was the first airline in New Zealand to fly scheduled air services. Founded by Bert Mercer in 1934 the airline operated three Fox Moths.
Lockheed 10A Electra ZK-AFD is actually ZK-BUT. Painted to commemorate ZK-AFD “Kuaka” which crashed at Flagstaff Hill in 1943. ZK-BUT was delivered to Trans Island Airways in 1957 and was named “Spirit of Tasman Bay”. Operating services from Christchurch to parts of the South Island.
A real classic and one which is just a real sight to see in the flesh is De Havilland D.H.89A Dragon Rapide ZK-AHS. This aircraft was impressed into wartime service with the RNZAF as NZ558. It was also flown by Air Travel and NAC as it is depicted here.
The classic and now vintage Auster J-1B Aiglet ZK-BWH arrived in New Zealand in 1953 with the original registration of ZK-BBY. It was for many years displayed in a RNZAF scheme.
New Zealand has had a huge Aerial Agricultural business over the years, and MOTAT has amassed a large collection of aircraft which have flown in this role.
First up is an Australian design, the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-28 Ceres. Using the proven wartime Wirraway design, CAC took the basis of this aircraft and adapted it for the aerial agriculture business.
ZK-BPU was delivered to Aerial Farming in Palmerston in 1959 and suffered a succession of incidents in it’s flying life. This ended in 1970 and was donated to MOTAT in 1977. A full restoration was preformed bringing it to the display condition with James Aviation logo. An interesting side story is the museum accidentally sold off components deemed surplus this included the wings. Oops!
A locally produced type which hasn’t been modified or redesigned from original and is still in production today. The Fletcher FU24 ZK-CTZ, was the first Fletcher aircraft fitted with a turbine engine. Fletcher has now become Pacific Aerospace and continue to build a similar design for passenger, freight and parachuting roles among others.
Also suspended from the roof is Cessna C188 Ag Wagon ZK-COO. It is displayed in the colours of Phoenix Aviation of Gore. It was the second Agwagon to be registered in New Zealand.
Next in the great display is a design which, to this day proves that if its practical, it doesn’t have to be pretty. The Transavia Airtruck ZK-CVB is just such a plane. It was delivered to Transavia Leasing who hired it to Barr Bros from August 1967. When the lease expired in 1969, Barr bought the aircraft. It survived longer than most, with its last flight occurring in 1982
The next type on display and one which has proven its worth not only in wartime but also peace time the DeHavilland Tigermoth
MOTAT actually have two of the type on display, one is in its Cropduster configuration the other in Military basic trainer markings. The Ag version is ZK-ANN, and is painter to represent an Aircraft Services topdresser, complete with an early stye loading machine. This aircraft was built up from parts of ZK-AIN with some parts also from ZK-BJH.
A type that is fairly common in North America and was used by some smaller operators in both New Zealand and Australia is the Beech 18. Now a prized vintage aeroplane the one on display at MOTAT has Beech AT.11 Kansan ZK-AHO. This aircraft was built for the United States Army Air Force and allocated the serial 42-37208. Its USAAF service was very short when on a test flight the aircraft landed wheels up. It was soon repaired and was on its way to New Zealand for aerial survey work. Operated by N Z Aerial Mapping Ltd based out of Bridge Pa at Hastings until being withdrawn from use in 1980.
Of course every great museum has a restoration shop and MOTAT is no different. When I visited there was a lot of activity around this part with work on the DC-3, Hastings Cockpit and the Solent repainting all going on.
The Dc-3 in the shop is ZK-BQK. This particular C-47B was taken on charge by the RNZAF as NZ3844 on June 14, 1945 and struck off on July 17, 1952. Sold to NAC as is after a landing incident the aircraft was robbed for parts and put into storage. It was rebuilt to fling condition some years later and was flown by NAC until being leased to Polynesian Airlines in the early 1970s. Subsequently it was donated to MOTAT and has been repainted in its NAC scheme.
The only remaining bits of the once four strong Handly Page Hastings fleet within the RNZAF is undergoing a overhaul presently. ez RNZAF ZN5801 was flown by 41 Squadron until retirement in 1966.
The MOTAT team have progressively restored the flight deck and engineers stations now. A neat display is the restored main undercarriage and tail wheels which are hydraulically plumbed to retract and extend.
Finally the second of the flying boats with in the collection is Short Solent ZK-AMO ‘Aranui’. This is the sole surviving Solent IV. Delivered to TEAL in 1949 the aircraft operated service within the Tasman and South Pacific. Its flying carrer ended in 1960, where it was donated to MOTAT. The Aircraft is receiving a complete repaint and will go back on display within the hall once this large project is completed.
I’m extremely privileged to have been given the access and the private tour of this world class facility. As someone who has been to many many aviation museum’s over the years this one ranks in the top 10 for its quality and quantity of displays. MOTAT is located at 805 Great North Rd, Western Springs, Auckland. And if you’re ever in town its worth the drive out to indulge in some quality museum time.
Again a huge thanks to my guide Phillip for his knowledge, time and the fantastic banter we had during my visit!