Aviation Spotters Online http://aviationspottersonline.com Photography For The Aviation Industry Sat, 20 May 2017 21:33:21 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 http://aviationspottersonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/cropped-11667367_442417382605240_4991592252737306921_n-32x32.jpg Aviation Spotters Online http://aviationspottersonline.com 32 32 Darwin Aviation Heritage Museum Open Cockpit Day 2017 http://aviationspottersonline.com/darwin-aviation-heritage-museum-open-cockpit-day-2017/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/darwin-aviation-heritage-museum-open-cockpit-day-2017/#comments Sat, 20 May 2017 20:30:17 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=59392 It seems less than a year since the last event but Darwin Aviation Heritage Museum has again held it’s annual Open Cockpit Day on Sunday 14th May 2017. It is the one day each year where a selection of normally sealed display aircraft at the museum are opened for public access, not just the cockpit but crew and passenger compartments as well.

Ready for the crowds

Instead of viewing through perspex canopies and crazed side windows, aviation fans young and old, can sit in seats once occupied by pilots, navigators, weapons offensive/defensive and engineering crew members. It is an opportunity rarely offered by other museums, but every year draws locals and tourists to the hangar on the Stuart Hi-Way at Winnellie, NT.  It is very hard to miss the museum grounds as they are identified by the old red and white RAAF Darwin Control/Water Tower near the entrance.

Former Control and water tower of RAAF Base Darwin marks the entrance.

Classic fixed wing aircraft like the USAF B-52G, RAAF CAC27 Sabre , RAAF F-111, plus the US Army UH-1 Cobra and Fleet Air Arm Wessex helicopters have their cockpits opened up to allow the public to sit in and enjoy an aviators perspective. Additionally there are military and civilian displays for the public to view, including a selection of classic cars and motorcycles.

A replica Mk VIII Spitfire “Grey Nurse”

The museum doors opened at 9a.m and the crowd shuffled through the shop area and out into the hanger. A number of museum staff and volunteers were on hand to answer any questions the crowd may ask and it was great to see cadets from No 8 Wing Australian Air Force Cadets (Darwin), manning a number of static aircraft to assist the public with basic enquiries.

B-52G ‘Darwins Pride” looms large in the hangar space.

A popular first stop was the USAF B-52G 59-2696 “Darwin’s Pride” which has been a major draw card for visitors to the museum since 1990. Having provided over 30 years of service to the USAF, it was refurbished for display in Darwin by the 43rd Maintenance Complex, 43rd Bombardment Wing, Andersen AFB. Having removed major assemblies like the 8 turbojet engines and an array of electronics equipment and panels, the team even assisted with positioning the ‘BUFF’ into it’s final resting place in the hanger by folding the tall fin and rudder assembly so it could be towed inside.

One of the various ‘special’ interlocks that visitors seem fascinated by.
Crew door between two sensor housings open for public access

There is only one real practical way to enter this B-52, and that is to climb up through the crew hatch. With eyes adjusting to the gloom, you arrive at the lower level compartment that is occupied by the forward facing Navigator and Radar Navigator/Bombardier ejection seats, the only two seats that eject downwards in the B-52.

A lamp not really wanted to be seen illuminated by the crew.
A pair of special weapons manual release handles – yellow/black generally indicates something of importance.
Last flight (27MAR90) marker board with basic callsign, comms and nav information at the Navigators station.

Up the rung ladder to the next deck reveals the rearward facing Gunner (tail) and Electronic Warfare Officer compartment although the Gunner role was to become redundant in later models when all defensive tail weapons were removed. All four of these positions so far have no direct view of the outside world – that is, no windows.

Rear facing Gunner and EW Officer stations – many modules and panels were removed by USAF.

Turning forward and taking a few paces past some circuit breaker panels, we arrive at the cockpit with it’s recessed Pilot and Co-Pilot ejection seats and the fixed Instructor Pilot’s seat behind them. “If the IP had to bail out he was supposed to go through a lower hatch after the Navigators had ejected and deploy his parachute”,  we are told by one of the museum staff who was there to help visitors up and down the ladders.

B-52G looking forward to the cockpit
Helmet and personal parachute on display – IP was to self-initiate after leaving a lower hatch.

It is always fascinating to sit in these seats every year and just admire the number of instruments and switches- especially the engine gauges that spread out across the cockpit, not to mention a throttle quadrant that would have controlled thrust to those 8 Pratt & Whitney J57-P-43WB turbojets. In many images of the B-52 G there are often black smoke trails leaving each exhaust on take off – this was the now defunct water injection system and the panel still remains to the left of the pilot in this aircraft.

B-52G Pilot side
Centre engine throttle quadrant and dial bank
Co-pilot position B-52G
Water injection panel for the 8 J-57 turbojets.

An aviation fan could spend hours inside the BUFF but alas it was time exit and let others crawl through the cramped compartments. Oh, and yes, there is a small ‘can’ on the upper deck for taking care of natures bodily functions during those sometimes very long missions.

Lower crew hatch

Down two levels and back on the ground, looking to the rear you can’t but wonder at the engineering that originally went into the undercarriage of this now 57 year old aircraft.  The quadricycle undercarriage consists of four individual ‘trucks’ that can be steered up to 20 degrees L/R by a rotary knob between the pilot/co-pilot for cross wind landings.

L/H forward undercarriage up to +/-20deg crab steering available on landing
Looking forward in the bomb bay with the ‘catwalk’ and access door upper right.

Between the sets of wheels is the bomb bay where the museum has set up seating and a TV, a nice place to rest while watching a sequence of interesting historical documentaries on the B-52. To the rear and looking up at the tall tail the open brake chute hatch is evident, and radar guided gun turret displaying the four .50cal machine guns controlled by the Gunner, sticks out the end.

Looking rearwards in the B-52 bomb bay with original Tail Gunner access hatch upper L/H side.
4 x .50cal Brownings in the tail turret aimed buy the Gunner with the help of radar. The open brake chute compartment at the top.

The second largest complete aircraft on display, the not so long ago retired RAAF F-111A/C, A8-113, also has been opened for all to admire. Conserving floorspace within the museum hanger, it has been displayed with wings swept back, as if in supersonic flight. That being said, it still radiates a presence like no other aircraft can.

F-111A/C A8-113 with it’s wings swept back.

Having been one of the latest aircraft to be placed on display, the aircraft and especially the cockpit module is in pristine condition, as it was when in RAAF service. Very pleasant to scan over gauges and dials which are clear and dust free….almost in new condition.

A8-113 cockpit- Pilot side
A8-113 cockpit-Navigator side
Rear bulkhead with long mission creature comforts – thermos and lambswool seat covers

Some other exhibitions are unfortunately incomplete, missing panels and instrumentation from their cockpits, but as with most museums, they are a work in progress. One example is the 76 Sqn CAC Sabre, A94-914, with it’s canopy slid open for this one day each year. Despite the unfinished instrument cluster, the external finish is complete with panels covered in warnings, maintenance instructions and fluid types stencilled intricately on the exterior surfaces.

CAC Sabre A94-914 of 76Sqn RAAF
Looking down the Sabre fuselage with speed brake extended.
R/H communication and navigation panel

Moving to the rotary exhibitions the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Australian Navy  is represented by #12 Westland Wessex 31B, N7-202 which has the sliding side door open – providing access to the passenger compartment and raised cockpit level.

Westland Wessex 31B, N7-202

This Westland on display has a local connection as it was involved with the 1974 Cyclone Tracy clean up in Darwin. The Wessex was the workhorse submarine hunter of the RAN for many years.

Passenger compartment – room for up to 16
One of the higher helicopter cockpits Fleet Air Arm Wessex 31B
Overhead Comms/Nav panel.

Next to the Wessex is an ex US Army UH-1G HueyCobra, 71-21018, both front and rear seats available for young fans to climb into – and even trying out a period aviation helmet.

AH-1G Hueycobra with a selection of weaponry – paired 7.62mm Mini Guns in the chin turret.
Wing stubs fitted with 2.75′ rocket launchers
A young visitor enjoying the pilots seat of the 1971 built AH-1G

Extra static displays set up representing the military, included a Mobile Satellite Comms G-Wagon vehicle from locally based 114 Mobile Reporting and Control Unit, and an Aircraft Cargo Loader from RAAF Base Darwin Air movements with an AP-3C engine and propellor secured in cradles for transport.

114 Mobile Reporting and Control Unit mobile communications vehicle.
Spare engine and propellor for a RAAF AP-3C Orion ready for air transport

The civilian sector displays included an Aviation Rescue Fire Tender from Darwin Airport, local flying schools and private aviation enthusiasts who had flown their own aircraft in for the day. You could even take a scenic helicopter flight from the helipad located next to the museum grounds. Even the Motor Vehicle Enthusiast Club was displaying their vintage and veteran cars and motorcycles and you could grab a bite to eat from the sausage sizzle wafting it’s aromas across the parking area.

Local flying school Flight Advantage – DW 200 Whitney “Boomerang’ VH-DWF
Another local display the very colourful and aerobatic – Yak 52 VH-YGV flown in from Emkaytee airstrip.

The aircraft parked on the apron outside the open hangar doors, included a DC-3, a Harvard, Tiger Moth, Yak-52, DW-200 Boomerang (no, not the CAC type) and the Antonov AN-2, just to name a few.

Locally owned Antonov AN-2 VH-YNT utility biplane
If you know a little Russian, it can help.
Dh.82 Tiger Moth VH-NMD always in great presentation on days like this, and above Darwin.

A pair of silver skinned locals – one seen in the skies over Darwin on weekends and the other heard performing engine runs occasionally outside the museum – VH-VFM and VH-MMA.

A local flier is VH-VFM – an ex-RNZAF Harvard
DC-3 VH-MMA did provide a little shade for visitors.

Looking around you can see more classic aircraft at the museum that have sealed cockpits, but that doesn’t stop the visitor from admiring those other examples of Northern Territory aviation history. There is a DH. 82 Tiger Moth, Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-36, a replica Mk VIII Spitfire “Grey Nurse”, a de Havilland Dove and a sectioned B-25 Mitchell bomber plus other aircraft.

Mirage IIIO A3-36 has some local history.
USAAF B-25 Mitchell bomber ‘Hawgmouth’ sectioned for display.

Wandering around the hanger you can find large components like and array of engine types, a Sperry Ball Turret from a B-24 Liberator and the remains of an Japanese A6M2 Zero plus many other artefacts from Darwins air war.

Sperry Ball Turret from a B-24 Liberator with ammunition feed chutes.

Without museums and preservation societies, and their dedicated staff and volunteers, many items of history would be lost forever. It is a credit to those with a passion for the preservation and restoration of Australia’s long standing aviation history that we have a number of museums around the country that can showcase their hard work for the public’s viewing pleasure.

For Darwin, this open cockpit day occurs just once each year, usually in April or May, but the museum is open almost every other day. So if you are up visiting the Top End, find a morning, or afternoon to wander through and experience the Darwin Aviation Heritage Museum… well worth a look.


My gear – Nikon D7100, 18-55mm, 50mm, 70-200mm and 200-500mm. Sandisk extreme memory cards.

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2017 RAAF F/A-18A Hornet Solo Display Pilot FLTLT Matt “Traylz” Trayling. http://aviationspottersonline.com/2017-raaf-fa-18a-hornet-solo-display-pilot-fltlt-matt-traylz-trayling/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/2017-raaf-fa-18a-hornet-solo-display-pilot-fltlt-matt-traylz-trayling/#comments Sat, 20 May 2017 09:28:10 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=51095 ASO recently had the chance to meet new F/A-18 Hornet solo display pilot FLTLT Matt “Traylz” Trayling and ask him a few questions.

ASO- When did you first find the love of aviation ?

Traylz- It was when I was at primary school. I was a soccer player and at one of my field games on a Saturday, a jet flew over. It was a Hornet, and one of my team mates said ” that’s my Dad”. That’s when I knew I wanted to start flying. I had fallen in love with it.

“Traylz” ready to go in New Zealand.

ASO- And where was this?

Traylz- In a town outside of Adelaide.

 ASO-  If you remember a jet that early in life, do you remember the first time you flew in a aircraft?

Traylz- Yes from then-on my fire was lit. I ended up getting my pilot’s license before I had a car license. I went gliding at Goolaw where I got my solo license and took it up from there.

ASO- So from there your passion is aviation and you started at an early age, was the Air Force the career you were after ?

Traylz- Yes, definitively. So I knew I wanted to fly fast jets and yes at the time the Air Force was the only stop for me.

2OCU solo practice display 2017
“Traylz” launching into his practice in A21-102.

ASO- From high school, how did you make the transition into the military?

Traylz- I sought advice early through defence recruitment and said “how do I steer my schooling so I have my best chance of being selected as a Pilot? “They gave me a list of prerequisites; “this is what you have to meet, these are the hoops you need to jump through and if you cover off on those then you will be in the pool to be selected as a pilot”.

ASO- Once you had this information did you ever feel you weren’t sure you could make the level you dreamed of ? 

Traylz- Of course, that was always in the back of my mind the whole way through but I think that just drove me harder, and the fact that the RAAF told me there and then; “The intake is very small and very limited, so the chance of you making it through is quite slim” just fueled my desire to want to do it more and drove me to do the best I could at school and the processes leading up to all the tests fort getting into defense.

2OCU solo practice display 2017
“Traylz” rolling over A21-102 and getting into the display.

ASO- So you have made it into defence but there is still a battle ahead to reach that dream, can you describe how, even though you have your wings, there is still a lot more to achieve ?

Traylz- Just getting your wings in itself is a process, going through the flight screening, which is 2 weeks of dedicated flying, to see who would make the pilot training scheme standard. If you meet that standard you then go onto PC-9s at 2FTS and, if you meet that standard, you are awarded your wings. From there you are a pilot who is sent out to one of the Squadrons in defence.After that, if you are selected for fast jets, you are onto the Hawk for 6 months of training with 79 squadron at RAAF base Pearce, Western Australia, and then another 6 months with 76 squadron at RAAF base Williamtown New South Wales. Then you finally get the chance to fly the F/A-18 Hornet with 2OCU at Williamtown which, at the time, was the hardest thing I had every done in my life.

ASO- Do you remember the day that you were told that you had the chance to fly jets?

Traylz- I do remember, it was a pretty special grad night. I had my family there as well so they were all invited into the base for a nice big sit-down dinner and they presented you in a comical sort of way I suppose as they reveal your posting. I was with my best mate that I joined defence with as well, he went through the same process with me and we both got selected at the same time, so it was an amazing night for us.

ASO- So you’ve made it through. You’ve gone through the Hawk (which I’m sure has some nice performance as well), can you describe the first flight in a Hornet? It was your dream, you have thought about this moment and now it’s there in front you.

Traylz- What was funny was that my first ride in the Hornet was in the front seat. I wasn’t the backseat passenger for the first time I strapped into Hornet, I was flying the jet. I obviously had an instructor behind me, but just rolling down the runway, the first thing in my mind was “I’m not keeping up with this aircraft”. Like, “I’m so far behind it that I’m still back in the classroom”. I needed to spend another six hours reading the book and the checklist for this because I was already airborne and over-speeding everything.

Traylz pulling up. A21-102.
Traylz pulling up. A21-102.

ASO- But you can still remember that moment with a smile because it’s just it’s here! It’s real! I’m airborne in a Hornet! From there you are still under pressure because you’ve only just started to fly a Hornet and at any time you may not make the grade. How did you find that type of pressure that you put on yourself?

Traylz- It was so immense going through 2OCU.  I’m so lucky I had such an understanding wife and family at the time as I literally had to shut myself in my office after I got home from work and she just accepted that she wasn’t going to see me for the next three to four hours of that evening while i was busy prepping for each flight the next day. There’s always that the daunting feeling that you might not make the grade the next day, or might fall short in that flight, which means re-flying certain areas, and having that pressure is just something that is on you the whole time throughout course. Family support and the support of your course-mates goes a long way with helping to deal with that pressure, as well as just doing what you enjoyed doing before you joined the Air Force. I used mountain biking and surfing to help keep myself real.

ASO- So you have passed the conversion course at 2OCU and are now going to an operational unit. What was the first squadron you were posted too?

2OCU Traylz solo practice display. A21-102.
2OCU Traylz solo practice display. A21-102.

Traylz- I went straight into 3 squadron in 2014. They were away in Guam at the time so I essentially rocked up to the squadron with minimal personnel there, which was good for me because I did a Basic Fighter Maneuvers  (BFM) program for the next nine weeks, so I just got to enjoy BFM fighting in the Hornet for a couple of months with a very well-known XO there who just showed me some really cool flying, which I really appreciated.

ASO- It’s Exercise Cope North which is held at Guam isn’t it? So you went to Guam with 3 Sqn the following year. You would have had some international participants there, to go up against and have some fun with?

Traylz- Yes, definitely. It was the first time I got to see dis-similar fighting techniques, so I trained fighting against the USAF who brought their F-15’s over and I got to ride in an  F-16 while I was there as well, so it just opened up the world of aviation for me.

ASO- So it’s like all of a sudden you’ve gone from that childhood dream of the Hornet being the focus to seeing and flying against international aircraft and getting an opportunity to fly with that aircraft, which you wouldn’t have dreamed of as a kid, would you?

2OCU Traylz solo practice display. A21-102.
2OCU Traylz solo practice display. A21-102.

Traylz- You can’t picture that and when you are really there and you’re in amongst it, and it’s just like, we’re just a small part of this whole churning beast of military aviation, and to be a part of it, and in the Hornet, is just amazing.

ASO- So that’s a big thing which you are saying that, as a front line fighter pilot, there is one person in the front but it takes 120 people minimum to make that flight happen. How do you find the teamwork, even from a pilot’s level, all the way through the squadrons, of what actually makes your job happen ?

Traylz- It won’t work without the teamwork, so you have hit the nail on the head there. If you don’t have people that are all in sync with you and don’t all have the same focus or the same goal,  it’s just not going to work. And it’s something I’ve seen at every squadron I have been to; they’ll all focus, they all have one one goal in mind and that is to get people safely in the jets, execute the mission safely, do it professionally and make it look good for everyone else as well.

2OCU Traylz solo practice display. A21-102.
2OCU Traylz solo practice display. A21-102.

ASO- Which Squadrons have you served with?

Traylz- I have been with 3sqn,77sqn and now I’m back at 2OCU.

ASO- So you have come full circle and you have put the years of experience into the younger guys, how was that move for you ?

Trazly-So I’m going to start instructing on the next course, which is going to be mid year 2017, so I feel like I’ve still just left the school really. Like I’ve just left being taught how to fly the Hornet myself and now I’m going to have to start teaching guys to fly it as well, which is obviously a massive responsibility, but I’m looking forward to that immensely. I really want to be an instructor.

ASO-  So late last year you got some exciting news, can you explain a bit more about that?

Traylz- Yes. So my CO at 77sqn told me that, after leaving 77sqn, there was potential for me to be going onto the a AWIC (Air Warfare Instructor’s Course), although only as a spare. The better news though was that the CO said I was also going to be the 81Wing display pilot, which means flying the handling displays of the RAAF F/A-18A Hornet, which just blew my mind as I have never flown any aerobatic shows before my life. Obviously I have a keen interest in it and being selected to do it is awesome!

F/A-18 Hornet A21-39 &; A21-
F/A-18 Hornet A21-39 &; A21-
ASO-  Do you remember the first military air show where you actually saw a Hornet on a display, and can you go back to that moment and relive it ?
Traylz-  So it wasn’t a full display as such but it was when the F1’s we’re in Adelaide and they had F1 racing through the city there. I didn’t get to watch the whole display but I could definitely see its vertical departures and its rolls up through the sky, and just seeing the absolute performance that the jet has,  that was my first taste at what military aircraft can really do. From there I’ve been to Edinbrugh and Avalon air shows.
ASO- So now you are stepping up to the role of display pilot; how have you got from being told, to where you’re at right now with your first public display in New Zealand at the 75th Anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Air Force?
Traylz- It’s very much mental prep, so I’m paired up against an ex display pilot (who is a very good one at that) and he’s been my one on one mentor, so I’ve got one instructor  for one student essentially, and he has put his absolute time and effort into me and I obviously have to give that back as well, so there is a whole bunch of new numbers that I need to learn.  I need to know how to relearn the performance of the aircraft down to like the inch level. I need to know exact figures, exact numbers, exact turn rates, speeds, G’s, everything. You name it. I’ve pretty much re-learnt the Hornet performance envelope in less than a one month period. Now while I’ve been doing that there’s also been a rigorous simworkup as well. I’m simulating that I am overhead the different air fields where I’m going to be performing displays right down to this week where I’ve been doing displays overhead the air field to put myself in front of that pressure of performing in front of a crowd and my peers. That’s really the ultimate test.
Traylz showing the New Zealand locals just how good the Hornet is.
Traylz showing the New Zealand locals just how good the Hornet is.
ASO- Is there any part, even though you’ve only just started the actual physical part of flying, where you feel, “WOW, I love this part of the display” because you haven’t done it before and also you’re realizing that you are actually doing this?
Traylz-  There’s a couple of spots. So the high alpha re-position after the inverted pass, that’s a highlight for me. So I just burn up into the sky, sixty degrees nose-up, and then I’m just asking for everything that the jet will give at that point and just really putting the jet through its paces in terms of Alpha nose-up position as I come around over the top, that’s the first one. The second one being the loaded roll. So it looks like bit like you nose is bouncing around like a beach ball on the beach. It’s an incredible feeling inside the jet. It just it feels like your tail is just sliding out as you go on through, kind of like a burn-out in the Hornet. And then finally, the Cuban reversal at the end. So, after I clean up from the dirty pass, up for a Cuban reversal, again asking max alpha from the jet throughout that maneuver just feels amazing.
ASO- You are now a display pilot down at very low level, compared to being a fighter pilot at a high and mid level, and what you’ve previously considered low level, to now come down to a level where the public can see so easily. How much more intense is that for what you’ve got to take in plus what you’ve got to learn so quickly?
Traylz-  It is another level, but i think that everything we do in the Hornet in the aerobatic display at low level is stuff we can already do right at high level when we’re fighting the jet. So it’s bringing those maneuvers which are already well ingrained in my muscle memory and in my thought process. I can already perform those without really thinking too much about it per-se but then bringing it down to ground level, obviously we have to do it safely and we’ve got to worry about crowd lines, so that is really taking the focus of my flying. So yes, I can do the hands and feet of the maneuvers, but it’s incorporating that into a crowd-line and the ground which takes more thought.
Traylz getting some nice ecto in New Zealand.
Traylz getting some nice ecto in New Zealand.
ASO-You’re first public display is in New Zealand for the RNZAF’s 75th anniversary and it’s also 2OCU’s 75th anniversary, that’s a pretty special moment to go there and represent the country and your fellow airmen and people in the military at this event. Is there anything that you’re looking forward to yourself over there?
Traylz- I think we’ve been fighting alongside in the military aviation space with the Royal New Zealand Air Force for over century now so, obviously, to be part of that and to go over there and
just show that our ties are still so strong with them and be part of that piece of history is awesome. I love New Zealand and enjoy getting to Queenstown a lot, along with the adventure sports there and I just can’t wait to be part of that history again, in some sort of adrenaline sport if you like, in flying the Hornet over there doing an aerobatic display so i can add my piece.
ASO- Is there anything that you’d like to help a kid with if they weren’t sure ; Like, “I’m not sure if i can actually make it”?  Is there anything you would say if you had that chance ?
Traylz- I’ve had that experience too, when I went through school I told them my dream “yep  I want to be a fighter pilot”  and my teacher shut me down there and then and said “that’s not going to happen”. That was her words to me.  I went back and you can imagine how disheartened I was, as a i think I was probably 11 or 12 at that stage. It’s like, okay, that’s been told to me by 40 plus year-old teachers; “you’re never going to do that”. So I think, to me, that was the biggest drive to make me want to go and do it. So if anyone tells you you can’t do it, or it’s going to be really tough; yeah it can be tough but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to do it. Look at all the people before me that have come and achieved fighter pilot status and then all the people after me as well. It’s just going to keep going. If you want it that badly you will put your heart and mind into it and get it. 
High speed pass
High speed pass

ASO- That’s great!. Thanks very much for your time and we hope you have a lot of fun as the RAAF’s Classic Hornet display pilot. We look forward to seeing (and photographing) your shows. 

Our sincere thanks to Traylz, 2OCU and the RAAF for this opportunity.

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The Old Station – Fly In & Heritage Show – Raglan, QLD http://aviationspottersonline.com/the-old-station-fly-in-heritage-show-raglan-qld/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/the-old-station-fly-in-heritage-show-raglan-qld/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 12:49:09 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=57197 Raglan is a little town on the Bruce Highway located between Rockhampton and Gladstone in Central Queensland, Australia. Not many people think twice about it other than another road sign and the local Tavern they see when travelling past it. Slowly the secret is getting out there, that once a year on the 4th weekend in May, “The Old Station Flying Club” hosts a very popular Fly-In Airshow. It is held on the Creed family Cattle Station approximately 12km off the highway just south of Raglan with an unsealed 2000m x 18m wide airstrip . “The Old Station Fly In & Heritage Show” as it is now known as, brings people from all over the region for the 2 day event which is growing rapidly in size each year, in terms of the people attending and displays held.

Some of the things one might see when visiting would be of course the vast amount of different aircraft – some providing joy flights and aerial displays or for just going up for a circuit or two. Types of aircraft that have previously visited were that of ex military warbirds, military, GA light aircraft including ultralight, home-built, helicopters and also the high performance racing aerobatic type! Aviation is not the only thing you will see here at Old Station, there are things for the who family to experience, for example….the Heritage and Competition Tractor Pulling, Judged Truck show, Vintage & Collectible Cars and Motorbikes, Market Stalls, Children’s Amusements, Fashion Parade and assorted displays, Saturday night chainsaw and crosscut races with a live band.


Raglan 2016 (1778)
Kim Rolph Smith in his T-28D Trojan VH-TRO Tucks its gear up for an afternoon display!


As it is a 2 day event, attendees make the most out of the weekend by staying and camping from the Friday to Sunday either under the wing of the aircraft they fly in on, or in the designated caming area on the opposite side of the airstrip. All toilet/shower amenities are taken care of including AvGas and the Licenced Bar!

On top of the relaxed atmosphere, great hospitality and friendliness, the best part I believe about this event is that the airfield is open to the public and you can get right up close to most aircraft, close enough to touch them or to get some great photo’s and even talk to the owners about their pride and joy! This years planned event on the 27th & 28th May 2017 is hoped to bring the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes, Matt Hall Racing, Paul Bennet Airshows, Capricorn Rescue Helicopter Service and other regular exciting aviators.

Please take a moment to review some of many photos I captured from last years event and I hope to see you there!!


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Paul Bennet mid way through one of his spectacular low level displays!


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Fokker DR.1 – On display for plenty to admire close up!


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Polish MIG-15 VH-DIE owned by Richard McDonald Lights the fires on dusk and runs the engine up for the crowd!


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Aussie Red Bull Air Race Pilot, Matt Hall Wow’s the crowd with his high performance fast paced display!


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RACQ’s Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service VH-EPR performing a flyover before landing at Old Station.


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Yakovlev Yak-54B VH-YAQ waits patiently for its next flight!


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Paul Bennet’s Grumman Avenger VH-MML turning in for another mock bombing run!


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Pyrotechnics in conjunction with the Avenger’s display!


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Matt Hall throwing the Extra around the skies!


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Warbird CAC CA-16 Wirraway VH-MFW


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Paul Bennet passing the field in his spirited display!


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R-Mach Aviation displaying the capability of the PZL-Mielec M-18B Dromader – VH-MDR


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Grumman Avenger departing Old Station Airfield for its display.


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Smoke On!


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Another angle of the Fokker DR.1


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Troy from Aerotrek Aventure Flights flying his USAF T-34 Mentor VH-XUS over the crowd in his display


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Skies were perfect for aerobatic displays! – Paul Bennet Airshows Wolf Pitts Pro & Yak52


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McDermott Aviation Aerospatiale Dauphin VH-NAR Closed up for the eveneing


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VH-TRO performing a wing over!


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SuperStol aircraft taxiing – This aircraft showed its amazing capability with it Short Take Off & Landing!


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Matt Halls Office – Extra EA300L VH-IOG


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More Pictures below in the slideshow!



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The Dark Side of Avalon. http://aviationspottersonline.com/the-dark-side-of-avalon/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/the-dark-side-of-avalon/#comments Mon, 15 May 2017 13:25:36 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=51855 The focus during the daytime sessions at the Australian International Airshow was fast moving and loud. When the sun went down for the Friday night session, it was time for the ASO team to turn their cameras to a slower shutter speed and take on some low light photography.

Instead of shooting at 2000th/sec as we might for a fast jet, we slowed our shutter speeds down. Most of these shots would not be considered long exposure, but given that almost all of them were shot hand held at speeds down to a 10th/sec they were long enough to capture a previously unexplored part of Avalon.

RAAF C-27J Spartan. Shot with a 14mm Nikkor lens at 1/10th, f/2.8 at 2000 ISO

Fellow Editor, Mark Jessop and I had another big day at Avalon on the Friday and stopped for a quick refreshment while the sun was starting to set. Wandering past the Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan the illumination of the head up display caught our eyes.



The next moment we were inside the aircraft chatting to the crew who were keen to help us with the cockpit lighting … the combination of the cockpit lighting and the colour in the sky through the windshield of the westerly facing aircraft just added a great glow to the cockpit.

RAAF C-27J Spartan Cockpit – Nikon D600, 14-24mm, f3.2, 1/80 sec, ISO2800.

  We moved quickly from the Spartan to the row of RAAF fighters alongside it as the last of the daylight faded. The RAAF’s fast jet line up included everything from the F/A-18 Classic, the 1SQN Super Hornet and the new 6SQN F/A-18G Growler and the latest arrivals, the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning. It was an impressive collection and Mark and I were shooting them in the failing light with renewed enthusiasm.

the distinctive yellow and black stripes and tiger head of the 2OCU Hornet A21-108. 1/10th, f/2.8, 2000ISO at 14mm
The RAAF’s soon to be front line fighter … the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning’s Shot at 1/10 sec at f2.8 on a 24mm Nikon lens at 2000ISO
1/10, f2.8 at 24mm ISO 2000
RAAF E/A-18G Growler. Nikon D800, ISO 5000 1/50th at f.4
RAAF E/A-18G Growler. Nikon D800, ISO 5000 1/50th at f.4


RAAF C-130J-30 Firing off the flares. Nikon D800 ISO 1600 1/125th f.4
RAAF C-130J-30 Firing off the flares. Nikon D800 ISO 1600 1/125th f.4



 … and then the fireworks began.

We were busy making the most of the low light conditions and hadn’t been even vaguely aware that the fireworks display that is part of the Friday night show was about to change the ambience in a sudden and loud way. We both looked up with the first burst and instantly chased different angles.  

RAAF F-35's shining bright. Nikon : D800 ISO 4000 1/50th f.4
RAAF F-35’s shining bright. Nikon : D800 ISO 4000 1/50th f.4



RAAF F-35 explode onto the Australian scene. Nikon D800 ISO 4000 1/50th f.4
RAAF F-35 explode onto the Australian scene. Nikon D800 ISO 4000 1/50th f.4
Nikon D600 at 72mm focal length 1/13 sec at f/5 with ISO set at 2000.
RAAF Fast Jets. Nikon D600, 28-300mm Nikon Lens at 48mm at f/4.2, 1/13 Sec, and 2000 ISO exposure program Manual, handheld.

When the fireworks died down we met each other with a wry smile and a casual “How’d ya go??” … the response “… yeah OK I think.”

Mark takes up the story from here …

‘We had thought by now that this would be it for the night, but then after a short walk back to our car it was very clear no one was going anywhere for a while. One of the good things about getting to a show early is you get to park very close to the gates and as luck would have we made the choice to keep going and grabbed the tripods and get some more low light shots. This whole Friday at Avalon will be one I remember for many years, the show from start to finish and even after it ended was more than I expected. We hope these photos from just the Friday evening and night really showcase just how good it can be.- Mark Jessop

USAF F-22 asleep. Nikon D800, ISO 100, 4seconds at f.4
USAF F-22 asleep. Nikon D800, ISO 100, 4seconds at f.4
USAF B-1B waiting to come out and play. Nikon D800, ISO 100 , 1/8th at f.4
USAF B-1B waiting to come out and play. Nikon D800, ISO 100 , 1/8th at f.4


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Kyneton Aero Club Airshow 2017 http://aviationspottersonline.com/kyneton-aero-club-airshow-2017/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/kyneton-aero-club-airshow-2017/#comments Sun, 14 May 2017 10:06:30 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=56974 It might be a small country town an hour north of Melbourne however that didn’t stop the Kyneton Aero Club hosting the 2017 Airshow in a big a way!

The Airshow was postponed from its original date in October due to to the poor weather at the time, thankfully the weather decided to play fair and after a small delay waiting for the low cloud to lift in the morning the show got underway just on an hour later then planed.

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Heritage Flight Display

A host of types were gathered or flew into the display at the airfield where the Kyneton Aero Club were celebrating its 50th Anniversary of operations. Having been to the previous event some 11 years ago I have to say the organizers had thought of everything. Plenty of quality local food vendors, amenities and the great vibe you get when attending small local events that major events don’t have. The whole event is staged in conjunction with the local Rotary Clubs of Kyneton and Woodend who’s volunteers were friendly and very helpful.

According to local newspapers nearly 5000 people attended the event, the layout of the show allowing spectators to get close to the action and look at the assembled aircraft at close quarters. Pilots and aircraft owners were happy to talk to visitors about their works of art and the roles the aircraft performed.


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Ryan PT-22 Taxies out.
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World War Two era training aircraft taxi out for their display.
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De Havilland Tigermoth VH-AZF is an ex Royal Australian Air Force aircraft.

The Royal Australian Air Force sent the Roulettes in their PC-9s to provide a great display, FieldAir in Ballarat sent one of their water bombers to do a water drop. While a host of local aircraft mixed it up with Paul Bennet who brought his Wolfe and Grumman Avenger to which the crowd we very receptive of the display. The lovely sound of the Avenger and the heart stopping performances of the Wolfe Aerobatics were some real highlights

The weather got better and better as the day rolled on, with more blue sky, balmy temperatures and great displays, ASO brings you this report and photos and wishes to thank all the volunteers who made this event a great airshow to attend.

FieldAir’s Stephen Rossington, who is the Chief Pilot for the company put on an impressive display even bringing some water to wash the runway for everyone!

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FieldAir’s Air Tractor AT-802F Bomber 352 enters for its display
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Water Drop by FieldAir’s Air Tractor AT-802F Bomber 352


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A common fixture around Australia is the Air Tractor for fire fighting duties

Locally produced by Mahindra Aerospace the Aerovan GA-8 Airvan was displayed at the show.

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Brand New GA-8 Airvan on display.

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The colorful, fast and maneuverable SIAI Marchetti SF-206 VH-SIA.

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Owned and Operated by Murray Wallace the SF-206 looks fantastic

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Paul Bennett again highlighted why he and his team are in demand for airshows displays, not only here but overseers with a dazzling display.

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Paul Bennett in the Wolfe.
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Paul getting ready for his display.

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Some Vietnam War era aircraft on display included Matt Henderson’s locally based O-1E Birddog and Chris Goddfrey’s T-28D Trojan.

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Matthew Henderson in his Cessna O-1E Birddog departing for his display.
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Chris Godfrey’s North American T-28D Trojan sounded magnificent!

The RAAF’s contribution being the Roulette’s started their display with a solo routine before being joined in a four ship display which was to the usual high caliber we have come to see from the Australia’s Air Force aerobatic team.

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RAAF PC-9A solo display
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Roulette four ship display preforming a break.

Another display team launched using retired RAAF training aircraft, named the Heritage Flight the team uses a mix of CAC Winjeels and NZAI CT-4A Airtrainers with the team preforming at many events around Victoria. This Weekend the team flew with two Winjeels and two CT-4s.

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Matthew Henderson’s CAC Winjeel launching for the Heritage trainers display.
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Darren Craven’s CAC Winjeel launching for the Heritage trainers display.
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Heritage flight in flight

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A personal highlight for me was the glorious song made my Paul Bennett in the TBM Avenger. The Avenger was a carrier based aircraft designed in Word War Two. With its impressive folding wings and lumpy radial engine it really is a site to see and listen to. Paul gave a spirited display of the aircraft with plenty of passes along the crowd line.

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Paul Bennett in his Grumman Avenger looking and sounding like a radial should!

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Next to provide more mesmerizing aerial displays was 13 times National Aerobatic Champion Chris Sperou. Chris has been a participant on the Australian Airshow circuit for many years. And over the years has developed fantastic displays, his display in his Super Stinker aircraft. At age 78 Chris is know for the following in his displays where he inverts the aircraft immediately after take-off at around 20 feet from the ground, another piece of airman-ship is the Torque Roll. The plane climbs vertically, stalls and turns with engine rotation and falls back into the smoke trail. Again very impressive manoeuvres to watch.

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Another highlight of Chris’s routine is when he is joined by the Bonanza and flies around the aircraft in close formation. This always brings the crowd to attention.

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One of the final formations was made with no less then five Yakovlev aircraft. The five did several formation flights for the crowd.

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The organizers of the airshow should hold their heads high and be pleased with the event. It was well organized, well structured, and very family friendly. For me it was great to take my family and catch up with friends in a relaxed country atmosphere. One criticism is don’t let 11 years pass till the next one!


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Two plus Two – Pilatus PC-21 A54-003 and A54-004 touchdown in Darwin http://aviationspottersonline.com/two-plus-two-pilatus-pc-21-a54-003-and-a54-004-touchdown-in-darwin/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/two-plus-two-pilatus-pc-21-a54-003-and-a54-004-touchdown-in-darwin/#respond Sat, 06 May 2017 11:45:17 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=57480 Pilatus PC-21 A54-003 (HB-HWC) and A54-004(HB-HWD) have safely touched down in Australia on their delivery flight to the Royal Australian Air Force. With A54-001 and A54-002 having been delivered back in February this year, Pilatus is well under way to delivering the 49 aircraft order by the Royal Australian Air Force.

PC-21 HB-HWC (A54-003)

It is a journey that begins in central Europe in the northern hemisphere, takes them half way around the globe, crossing the equator into the southern hemisphere to terminate in southern Australia.

PC-21 HB-HWD (A54-004)

Again flying international routes under their Swiss registrations HB-HWC and HB-HWD, Pilatus pilots Patrick Willcock and Reto “Tödi” Amstutz landed their aircraft in standard RAAF PC-21 livery bearing the squadron markings of 2FTS (No 2 Flying Training School) based at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia.

A54-003 “Invasion Stripes” underside of wing.

As with the first two aircraft delivered, Pilatus has had to blank out the RAAF serial designation numbers while in transit to Australia. While the PC-21’are painted in familiar red and white upper livery similar to the PC-9A, they also have the distinctive Southern Cross and ‘Invasion Stripes” painted on the dark blue undersides.

A54-004 with Southern Cross underbelly.

The aircraft departed Buochs Airport (Pilatus Aircraft facility) in Stans, Switzerland approximately 0830 on Sat 29 April 2017. The first leg took them to Bari in Italy, where they refuelled and flew on to land at Heraklion on the island of Crete (Greece), for their first overnight rest.

Closed for the night

Departing Crete the next morning they flew over the Mediterranean sea to Luxor in Egypt, then the Arabian desert to arrive in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Flying east initially, then turning to the south, they continued down the Persian Gulf to the United Arab Emirates, landing at Fujairah international.

Waiting for the tanker

From the UAE it was another long ocean leg to India with stops in Ahmedabad and an unusual arrival pattern into Varanasi International Airport, especially for HB-HWC.

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Approach track into Varanasi Airport

Next stop Chittagong in eastern Bangladesh, followed by a track taking them across southern Myanmar (Burma), to end the flying day at Don Mueang International, Bangkok.

A54-003 at the Pearl Jet Center apron.

May 3rd saw the aircraft fly south down the Gulf of Thailand to arrive at Seletar Airport in Singapore. A days rest was had before departing to Denpasar Airport in Bali on May 5th.

Locking the canopy on A54-003

Departing at 0900 on the last day before touching down in Australia, HB-HWC and HB-HWD heading along the Indonesian archipelago to Kupang. A quick stop then the final 1h:45m ocean crossing to Darwin, landing at 1530 on the afternoon of  Saturday May 6th, 2017.

Swiss registration with RAAF serial masked over.

After performing post-flight checks and a top up of the mains and external tanks at the Pearl Jet Centre at Darwin International Airport, it was off to the hotel for a well earned rest.

Topping up the external tanks
Offset prop and spinner

Although having touched down in Australia, there were still a couple of flights to conduct. Leaving on a balmy Darwin morning they departed south to Alice Springs firstly, then Broken Hill before finally arriving at East Sale, Victoria.

Morning dew on the canopy
Ready for taxi clearance
Next stop – Alice Springs N.T
Taxi for Rwy 11 departure – Darwin

This delivery completes the second paired flight from the Pilatus factory in Switzerland to RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria, Australia. They are destined for delivery and official hand over to the Royal Australian Air Force, eventually being on charge as A54-003 and A54-004, at No 2 Flying Training School (2FTS) based at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia. The first handover ceremony is reportedly scheduled for June this year at RAAF East Sale.

Ready to complete the Australian legs.

With a flight time in excess of 30 Hours, 19,000+km with multiple forms of documentation, certification, customs and procedures to go through each trip, it is no walk in the park to deliver aircraft such distances. Somehow the Pilatus pilots make it all look a little too easy. So now we continue to look forward to the RAAF Pilatus PC-21 fleet gradually expanding, even if only by two aircraft each time.

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Basic route (google map)

HB-HWC and HB-HWC add to the existing two PC-21’s delivered back in February 2017 – A54-001 and A54-002. Click on the following link to read about their arrival First RAAF PC-21’a arrive in Australia

A54-001 Darwin Feb 2017
A54-002 Darwin Feb 2017

My gear is Nikon D7100, 18-55mm, 50mm, 70-200mm and 200-500mm. Sandisk extreme memory cards.

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Show report: Hunter Valley Airshow 2017 http://aviationspottersonline.com/show-report-hunter-valley-airshow-2017/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/show-report-hunter-valley-airshow-2017/#comments Sat, 29 Apr 2017 14:32:13 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=54795 Warbirds, Jets, aerobatics, frontline military hardware, models, glider, paragliders, rag-and-tube and a balloon; it had it all.

The second Hunter Valley Airshow was held at Maitland Airport (also known as Rutherford), a small local airfield just a half-hour’s drive west of Newcastle, over the 28th & 29th of January and, just like the first one, held in 2015 (see that article HERE), it was great mix of aircraft and displays for enthusiasts and families.Mottys-HVA-2017-L39-VH-IOT-020-4841-DTLR-1-001-ASO



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The excitement started to build on the Friday afternoon before the show as Paul Bennet and the team ran through some final practices for their displays and some of the visiting aircraft began arriving, particularly Graham Hosking’s amazing F4U-5 Corsair, flown by Peter Clements, and Judy Pay’s beautiful CAC Mustang with  Bernie Heuser at the controls. The chance to see the Corsair parked next to Paul Bennet’s Avenger was a real sight to behold. To think that both of these large aircraft used to operate from aircraft carriers.Mottys-HVA-2017-Sky-Aces-060-_3763-DTLR-1-001-ASO








ASO’s Motty was allowed the incredible opportunity to catch these two impressive machines in the air as well, as they took some time to familiarise themselves with the layout of the area and went through a practice of their displays (see that gallery HERE). Sadly, the Corsair suffered a landing accident before the show on Saturday and was unable to take part in the rest of the weekend’s flying. Most importantly though, the pilot was ok and, hopefully, the aircraft can be repaired and back in the air before too long.Mottys-HVA-2017A2A-Mustang-VH-JUC-&-Corsair-VH-III-015-1777-DTLR-1-001-ASO-Header


The forecast for the weekend was for soaring temperatures and Saturday dawned warm with low cloud and fog, which soon cleared to a bright, hot and sunny day. Sunscreen, hats and plenty of water would be the theme for the weekend.Mottys-HVA-2017-PBA-Lineup-015-9999_290-DTLR-1-001-ASO



The flying displays each day began with a “missing man” tribute by the Paul Bennet Airshows team. Saturday’s tribute was to Gerard Beiboer and Sunday’s was for Peter Lynch. Gerard was a good friend to many at Maitland and played a major part in the organisation and operation of the 2015 event, but he passed away when his Pitts Model12 crashed just a few weeks after that show. Peter Lynch was a well-known member of Australia’s aviation community and a great supporter of many events and causes, particularly the Evans Head airport and their Great Eastern Fly-In shows. Peter had passed away just a few days before this show when his Grumman Mallard crashed into the Swan River in Perth on Australia Day.Mottys-HVA-2017-Missing-Man--0110-DTLR-1-001-ASO



This was followed by a a flag drop where a parachutist descended trailing a large Australian flag while Paul Bennet circled in his bright yellow Wolf Pitts Pro.Mottys-HVA-2017-Flag-Drop--0278-DTLR-1-001-ASO


David Wainwright and Scott Duncan displayed the performance and agility of their powered chutes and Craig Baverey, Levi Wagner and Jeff Sparks put on a show with their incredible, large scale RC models. It takes a second look to tell some of these models from the real thing in photos and the skilful flying by the pilots added to the effect as well.Mottys-HVA-2017-Powered-Chutes-005-0646-DTLR-1-001-ASO





Craig Gunther displayed the Breezy from nearby Luskintyre, possibly one of the most unusual machines you are likely to see. Literally a basic tubular frame upon which the pilot (and a brave passenger at times) sit, very exposed at the front, and the wing from a Piper Cub on top. Open cockpit flying at its best.Hunter Valley Airshow




Nigel Arnot then put on a display in his Fox glider. Now, on the face of it, you would probably assume that a glider display might be one of the less impressive routines for an airshow, but neither Nigel nor his craft are what you would call “average”. Rolls, loops, hammerhead stalls and low level aerobatics are definitely not what you expect when you hear the term “glider”, but Nigel masterfully guided his machine through what must surely rate as an amazing example of very skilled energy management.Mottys-HVA-2017-Glider-PT-020-1609-DTLR-1-001-ASO



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Aerohunter’s Yak-52 was put through a very crisp routine at the hands of Glenn Graham, the bright yellow machine, trailing its plume of smoke, making for a striking image against the clear blue sky. At one point, Glenn even managed a wave to the crowd while inverted!Mottys-HVA-2017-Yak52-VH-MHH-140-2374-DTLR-1-001-ASO





Paul Bennet took his T-28B Trojan up for an impressive display of loops, rolls and low level passes, and that sound!Hunter Valley Airshow-3




Jeff Blunt displayed the unique capabilities of his gyrocopter before Paul Bennet’s CAC Wirrway was gracefully displayed by Ben Lappin.Mottys-HVA-2017-Other-Types-070-3761-DTLR-1-001-ASO

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Not all the attractions were in the sky either, with plenty to see and do on the ground. The RAAF Balloon offered tethered flights all weekend and RAAF recruiting had a Super Hornet simulator available for future pilots to test their skills. There were Helicopter joy flights and several static aircraft to view including a demonstrator from Cirrus Aircraft and Luskintyre Aircraft Restorations had several of their latest classic rebuilds on show, including Tiger, Gipsy and Fox Moths, along with a pair young ladies dressed in WWII period attire to help set the scene. Beech adventures also had their new  Beech 18 on display which is hoped to be back in the air soon. There was a great display of historic military vehicles and the FMX Stunt team amazed the crowds with jumps, backflips and more all weekend.Hunter Valley Airshow-21

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Something a little different was a combined display by Nigel Arnot in the Pitts M12, Adrian Vandersluy in the Lancair and Glenn Graham in the Rebel 300 where the three of them alternated their displays. First Nigel performed a solo routine in the Pitts before Adrian made some passes in the Lancair which was followed by Glenn doing his own routine in the Rebel, then the Lancair again, the Pitts and so-on, back and forth a few times, which made for a varied and entertaining display.Hunter Valley Airshow-5
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The pace picked up a notch or two as Mark Pracy appeared in Jetride Australia’s L-39 to put on another smooth display of this popular jet warbird.Hunter Valley Airshow-7




Not slowing the pace any was one of aviation’s icons, Judy Pay and Dick Hourigan’s beautifully restored CAC Mustang, painted in the colours of a 3 Sqn P-51 in Italy during WWII. Flown by Bernie Heuser and Peter Clements over the weekend, it’s always a joy to see this classic machine perform in its element and then of course, there’s also that unmistakable sound of a Rolls Royce Merlin just to top it off.Hunter Valley Airshow-27


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The crowds were then treated to Paul Bennet’s incredible solo routine in his Wolf Pitts Pro. One of only two in the world, the Wolf is a unique and very powerful version of the diminutive Pitts Special which has been designed for speed and maneuverability, both of which Paul exploits to the fullest in his display.Hunter Valley Airshow-11

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On the Sunday afternoon, visitors were treated to the added spectacle of FMX rider Joel Brown performing a back-flip jump over the top of Paul in his Wolf Pitts.Mottys-HVA-2017-Wolf-Pitts-VH-PVB-145-_6732-DTLR-1-001-ASO

The RAAF was next on scene with several passes by a C-130J from 37 Squadron at Richmond, followed by the noise and spectacle of a solo Hawk display by Flt Lt Tim Twelvetrees from 76 Squadron at nearby Williamtown.Hunter Valley Airshow-14



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Paul Bennet was up again, displaying the surprising maneuverability and throaty rumble of the large Grumman Avenger, including a few bombing runs accompanied by some pyrotechnics, before another highlight of the show for many with Ross Pay performing only the second public display of Vintage Fighter Restoration’s beautiful Hawker Hurricane at an airshow since its restoration the previous year (you can see its premier appearance at the Flight of the Hurricane show HERE).Hunter Valley Airshow-19



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Ross’ solo routine led into a formation display with the Hurricane leading the Avenger, Trojan and Mustang for several passes, and the sound of the two merlins in company with the big radials was just awesome!Mottys-HVA-2017-Hurricane-VH-JFW-025-_7382-DTLR-1-001-ASO




After the formation passes in Saturday’s show, the Mustang broke away for another, energetic solo display with an emphasis on simulated ground attack passes.Mottys-HVA-2017-Mustang-VH-JUC-070-4973-DTLR-1-001-ASO

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Paul Bennet, Glenn Graham and Ben Lappin displayed their low level aerobatic formation skills in three different versions of brightly coloured Pitts Specials as the Sky Aces team with loops, rolls, opposing passes and more.Hunter Valley Airshow-63







The RAAF was on hand once more with another crowd favourite, the Roulettes display team in their red, white and blue PC-9s and, on the Sunday afternoon with large storm clouds looming on the western horizon after a long, hot day, the always impressive Roulettes made for a fitting finale to what had been a great weekend of aviation.Hunter Valley Airshow-48

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Hunter Valley Airshow-51

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Although the Hunter Valley Airshow is only relatively new to the Australian airshow calendar, the very impressive displays which they have put on so far have us eagerly looking forward what the team might come up with next. Our sincere thanks to the team for the chance to cover this great show.

Click HERE to see the full gallery of images.

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Arrival of VMM-268 completes the Air Combat Element (ACE) for MRF-Darwin deployment 2017 http://aviationspottersonline.com/arrival-of-vmm-268-completes-the-air-combat-element-ace-for-mrf-darwin-deployment-2017/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/arrival-of-vmm-268-completes-the-air-combat-element-ace-for-mrf-darwin-deployment-2017/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:30:44 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=57184 On a grey, overcast April afternoon, the final rotary aircraft deployed as part of this year’s Air Combat Element (ACE), in support of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2017, pitched into Darwin, NT, Australia. The four MV-22B Ospreys from Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268) ”Red Dragons”, normally based at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, are part of Marine Aircraft Group 24 (MAG-24),  1 Marine Air Wing (1st MAW). This will be the first time VMM-268 have been deployed to Australia, having only reach Full Operating Capacity (FOC) with 12 aircraft in January this year. Another 12 are expected to be delivered by the end of 2018.

The first MV-22B from VMM-268 pitching into darwin.

The crews have flown the Ospreys to Australia from Hawaii, via Wake Island and Guam with the help of KC-130J refuellers from VMGR-152 “Sumo’s”, who themselves are based at MCAS Iwakuni, in Japan. With a total distance of about 10,000km (6000mi) flown, they have transited large expanses of open ocean over the last week and have finally arrived around the back of a cyclonic depression off the north coast of Australia.

Gear coming down.

The distinct rotor noise emanating from the Osprey, Super Cobras and Venoms, will again become familiar sounds around the top end of the Northern Territory as they operate to and from the RAAF Base. Flying out to locations such as the Bradshaw Military Training area, less than an hours flight time for the Osprey, the MV-22’s are well suited for operations in Northern Australia. They have been to Darwin for short periods previously, but this is the first time they will spend such a long land based deployment in Australia.

Almost fully transitioned from forward to hover flight configuration.

With a range of over 1500km and a cruise speed of just over 500kmh, a crew of 3 plus up to 24 troops, they will be one of the largest and fastest operators during this marine rotation.

Short final runway 11 – Darwin.

They are unique in that they can provide a high speed ‘force connection’ capability, linking forward operating bases to staging landing sites or specific field locations of ground elements, in a very short time. Air to air refuelling capability expands the operating range while high speed reduces the deployment time into the battle space, giving an edge to troop insertion missions. The MV-22 can perform troop insertion and extraction even where a landing is not practical. In the case during the Northern Territory’s dusty dry season, it can also perform restricted visibility landings landings employing a hover type approach from 50 ft into a vertical landing.

A supporting KC-135J Hercules from VMGR-152 – motto “Ichi Go Ni”
Another supporting KC-135J “Sumo”

This now brings the total Aviation Combat Element (ACE) to 13 aircraft that will be stationed at R.A.A.F Base Darwin, including five AH-1W Super Cobras and four UH-1Y Venom helicopters from Marine Light Attack Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 (HMLA-367) “Scarface”. The HMLA-367 aircraft have been delivered from Hawaii by C-17 Globemaster III from Hickam AFB over the last few weeks with crews already beginning to familiarise themselves with the Darwin airspace.

AH-1W Super Cobra from HMLA-367
HMLA-367 UH-1Y Venom back into Darwin.

They have just arrived but ASO certainly looks forward to bringing you some more pics as the weeks progress, or if you can make your way to Darwin there will be plenty of opportunities to catch them airborne yourself.


My gear – Nikon D7100, 15-55mm, 50mm, 70-200mm and 200-500mm. Sandisk SDXC UHS-I memory cards.

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Tribute to the ANZAC Spirit at TAVAS http://aviationspottersonline.com/tribute-to-the-anzac-spirit-at-tavas/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/tribute-to-the-anzac-spirit-at-tavas/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:41:14 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=56846 At this time of the year Australian’s thoughts are commonly of the men and women who have served our country on the ground, in conflicts from Papua New Guinea, France and Africa. Images of trenches or muddied tropical tracks or desert warfare with tanks or horses. At Caboolture airfield over this past weekend there was a focus on the our serving personel that took to the skies in every conflict Australia has been involved in throughout the first three quaters of last century.

TAVAS’s Fokker Dr1 and the Bristol F.2b dog fight over the Caboolture airfield.


The Australian Vintage Aviation Society (TAVAS) hosted the Great War Flying Display. TAVAS’s flying collection of WW1 era aircraft is the best in the country and this collection was complimented by aircraft used in every major conflict from WW1 through to Vietnam. The display weekend was an excellent segway into ANZAC day and was well supported by all of the museums and vintage aircraft maintainers based at Caboolture as well as plenty of local and visiting aircraft. 

T-34 Mentor, US Navy NSJ and CAC Wirraway formation.
De Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth gracing the skies over Caboolture.



Fokker D.VIII with its rotary engine is always interesting to watch start and run. Running on castor oil and without a throttle its an interesting aircraft to listen to and watch fly.

The early morning light on the old type was delightful.


A view of the airshow from the air.
Fokker Dr.1 returns after another display


One of the faster displays of the day was by the Archerfield based P-51 “The Flying Undertaker” from Fighter Pilot Adventure Flights.


Gunner at the ready in the Bristol.
DHC-1 Chipmunks

An interesting contrast to all the canvas and wood of the early 20th century is the RAN’s new Seahawk Romeo MH-60R. It made a welcome appearance on both days of the show. 

RAN MH-60R Seahawk
Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Seahawk


Stinson Sentinal with Warwick Henry at the controls.

The last word belongs to the TAVAS collection … lest we forget.
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ANZAC Day 2017 Flypasts http://aviationspottersonline.com/anzac-day-2017-flypasts/ http://aviationspottersonline.com/anzac-day-2017-flypasts/#respond Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:19:35 +0000 http://aviationspottersonline.com/?p=56662 2OCU Traylz solo practice display. A21-102.

Follow the link below for a very informative map of what, when and where to catch the many ANZAC Day fly-overs by the Royal Australian Air Force.


RAAF ANZAC Day Flypasts UPDATE | The location markers on the Anzac Day 2017 Flypast Google map are not displaying correctly on some phones.

If you are experiencing problems opening the markers in Facebook please access the menu at the bottom right of your phone screen and open the link using your web browser.Wings Over Illawarra 2016 RAAF Roulettes-109



Paul Bennet will be over Stockton in his Trojan at 9:00Mottys Flight of the Hurricane Scone 2 3294 T-28 Trojan VH-FNO-001-ASO

Ross Pay will be over Scone at 11:00 in his MustangCAC CA-18 MK21 Mustang A68-107

The Russian Roolettes will be over Mittagong at around 11:10

Mottys Russian Roolettes-0014 HVA 2015

Heritage Trainers in Victoria, comprising 3 CT4’s and 4 Winjeels,  Flypasts of Melton ANZAC Day parade at 10:15 then 10:45 for the Shrine of Remembrance. They will also be conducting the RAAF Museum Interactive Flying Display Point Cook at 1PM.

The aircraft and their respective pilots are as follows:
1. CT4 / Coy
2. CT4 / Wallace
3. CT4 / Herne
4. Winjeel / Fox
5. Winjeel / Grigg
6. Winjeel / Craven
7. Winjeel / Henderson

Kyneton Airshow 2017 7 (1 of 1)

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