ASO Team Member – Martin.P
Quiet and still. What a contrast to yesterdays show where less than 24 hours ago this beast was carving the air like a knife through butter! Of course, I’m talking about the USAF F-16 on static display at the RAAF base in Townsville for the open day. The opportunity too see this and all the aircraft that flew in the T150 Defense Force airshow is always going too be popular among air enthusiasts and other members of the public alike.
The gates opened at 10:00 am but for the eager this meant arriving well before this time, and upon arrival there were no less then approximately 100 people already keen to get in and see these amazing aircraft up close. Once the gates opened, bags were searched and once in, seeing modern military hardware this close was always going to be exciting.
One aircraft that did fly at the open day was the P51D Mustang, this was an opportunity for the team at The Warbird Academy in Caboolture to offer the public flights on the day.
Naturally the aircraft gaining most of the attention were the fighter jets on display. The USAF had two F-16s present, one from the 13th Fighter Squadron and one from the 14th Fighter Squadron. Both belonging too the 35th Fighter Wing based in Misawa, Japan. It was the Pacific Air Forces demonstration team responsible for the display. Naturally the Americans had immaculately presented aircraft and were more than happy to show off their stuff. All one needed to do was ask, and you found yourself on the other side of the rope talking to the maintainers and pilots all the while touching the jet! What a great experience, something I never though would happen nor expect. I had been to Avalon in the past but never had that opportunity!
Next to that was the RAAF Hawk 127, then the F-18 ‘classic’ Hornet followed by the Super Hornet.
If fast jets weren’t your thing, not to worry as all other assets were also on display. Not only was it great to see these aircraft up close, but also the opportunity to speak with those that fly and maintain them was also fascinating.
Almost all the RAAF aircraft were available to be viewed, whether it was the cockpits of the F-18 or Hawk or a walk thorough of the transport aircraft, the lines of people doing so were hundreds deep. This included the newest member of the transport group, the C-27J Spatan.
The other highlight of the day was the Roulette’s start up and departure. Once again, something that the public don’t always get too see, as most times when seeing the Roulettes is overhead flying for the displays.
It was a great day and a big thank you to the RAAF for a great airshow and open day in Townsville. Can’t wait for the next one!
ASO Team Member -Phil.M
The Sunday Open Day for me was a day to relax a little and tie up what would be the 3rd day of a jam packed itinerary, bringing together an awesome weekend of flying and observing some great aircraft in one location! It has been a whirlwind time for me coming back to my childhood town I grew up in, which I had not seen for over 12 + years, catching up on the sights, meeting up with old and new friends.
Standing in the sun for the best part of 2 days can take it out of you if your not use to it! I managed to miss the gates opening for the Open Day, so I resigned myself to accepting the fact that there will be a lot of people around and waiting around and trying to get a clear shot was not really an option plus the fact that I had to leave mid way through for an hour or so and return for the end.
After the open day finishing in the afternoon, I had word that a few aircraft were to depart home, so I made my way to find a spot at the end of the main runway to get some final shots! I think in the end I was happy with what pictures I was able to capture from the last day before I was to return home myself.