Aviation Spotters Online

Aviation Spotters Online

Rathmines Catalina Festival 2016

An aquatic setting at a former RAAF seaplane base on Lake Macquarie with a beautiful backdrop and modern and historic aircraft displaying overhead; what’s not to enjoy?Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB 0090-ASO

The Rathmines Catalina 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, and 2016 was the 10th anniversary of this very popular event.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Aerohunter Yak-52 VH-FRI 0030-ASO

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.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Avenger VH-MML 0040-ASO

The day’s flying activities began with Tim Dugan displaying Paul Bennet’s historic CAC Wirraway followed by a Gyrocopter handling display by Jeff Blunt.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Wirraway VH-WWY 0070-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Wirraway VH-WWY 0090-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Wirraway VH-WWY 0020-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Wirraway VH-WWY 0060-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Gyrocopter 0010-ASO

Next up was Glenn Graham with a very crisp routine in Aerohunter Warbird Adventure Flights’ Yak-52.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Aerohunter Yak-52 VH-FRI 0020-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Aerohunter Yak-52 VH-FRI 0060-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Aerohunter Yak-52 VH-FRI 0040-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Aerohunter Yak-52 VH-FRI 0070-ASO

Continuing the radial engine theme, Paul Bennet put his large yet maneuverable T-28C Trojan through its paces, a treat for the ears as well as the eyes.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Trojan VH-FNO 0060-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Trojan VH-FNO 0070-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Trojan VH-FNO 0040-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Trojan VH-FNO 0020-ASO

The Tecnam formation team from the Royal Newcastle Aeroclub at Rutherford made several passes  before the arrival of the day’s first “heavy metal”, an AP-3C Orion from the RAAF’s 11 Squadron, a unit  which was based at Rathmines during WWII, wearing special tail markings to commemorate the Orion’s service since 1968.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Tecnams 0010-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 RAAF AP-3C Orion 11SQN 0010-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 RAAF AP-3C Orion 11SQN 0030-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 RAAF AP-3C Orion 11SQN 0040-ASO

There was a distinct change of pace and performance as Paul Bennet put on a great show of aerobatic skill in his high performance Wolf Pitts Pro. The twist and turns, low level passes and seemingly physics-defying gyrations of Paul and his mount had the crowds gasping and cheering in amazement.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB 0070-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB 0030-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB 0110-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB 0020-ASO

The prop-jobs didn’t have it all their own way, thanks to Mark Pracy contributing some speed and noise to the show with his graceful display in Jetride Australia’s L-39 Albatros.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Mark Pracy Jetride Australia L-39 VH-IOT 0050-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Mark Pracy Jetride Australia L-39 VH-IOT 0010-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Mark Pracy Jetride Australia L-39 VH-IOT 0060-ASO

At last 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. This iconic machine made several majestic passes along the lake, including some with the wingtip floats lowered in landing configuration. While many hoped that they might see the large flying boat make a touch-and-go on the water, it was, unfortunately, not to be, but the chance to see this unique aircraft flying at Rathmines perfectly summed up what the day was all about; an opportunity to remember and commemorate the servicemen and women and their history at the former RAAF seaplane base.Mottys Rathmines 2016 HARS PBY Catalina VH-PBZ 0030-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 HARS PBY Catalina VH-PBZ 0060-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 HARS PBY Catalina VH-PBZ 0070-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 HARS PBY Catalina VH-PBZ 0110-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 HARS PBY Catalina VH-PBZ 0140-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 HARS PBY Catalina VH-PBZ 0160-ASO

The formal flying program was rounded out by a display of Paul Bennet’s Grumman Avenger flown by Ben Lappin. The Avenger was a large torpedo bomber, originally designed to be operated from aircraft carriers, which was operated by the US Navy and Marines as well as the Royal New Zealand Air Force during WWII.  While not operated by Australia, or at Rathmines, it could be said that the Avenger still shared a connection with its use in the maritime role.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Avenger VH-MML 0030-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Avenger VH-MML 0060-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Paul Bennet Airshows Avenger VH-MML 0020-ASO

Once the formal display was done, some of the modern-day, privately owned seaplanes which had dropped in for the day’s festivities, made their way home.Mottys Rathmines 2016 Lake Buccaneer VH-NSR 0010-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Lake Buccaneer VH-LAK 0010-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Lake Buccaneer VH-EZC 0010-ASO

Mottys Rathmines 2016 Lake Buccaneer VH-DQN 0010-ASO

Congratulations to the organisers 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.

Motty.

Please click HERE to see the full gallery of images.

4 comments

  1. Being there on the day myself, but unable to stay until the completion of the flying program, you captured the flying program activity very well, Darren. You seems that must almost have been in a ‘tinny’ on the lake to get some of those images ! Yes, I too had trouble deciphering exactly what Paul Bennett was doing in the cockpit with the controls when witnessing what the aircraft was doing at top of a number of his climbing manoeuvres.

    Great work again Darren !

    1. Many thanks Alfred, glad you like the photos.

      I remained firmly land-bound (just) for the show, but I did look for some different angles. 🙂

      Cheers,
      Motty.

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