Avalon Airshows

October 7, 2014 by admin

The flying displays at the Avalon International Air Show are certainly worthy of attending but one should never discount the depth and breadth of the static aircraft displays and trade exhibitions.

In all honesty the flying displays over the past few shows have been very similar – the RAAF museum displays (CT4, DH82, Pup and Winjeel), Vintage aircraft (DC-3 Dakota, Spitfire V111, Boomerang, Meteor F8 and CA-27 Sabre, Lockheed 12 Electra and Hudson) and of course the fast and furious military jets in the form of the F-18F Super Hornet and F-16C Fighting Falcon.

The USAF F-22A Raptor made a flying appearance this year and when it took to the air the crowds flocked out of the trade display area’s to determine what all the noise was about! A very fast and manouverable aircraft, the Raptor.

Although the jets make a lot of noise, are fast and dazzle the onlooker with their agility and rapid climb out, I have a soft spot for the older, more graceful aircraft. The type that have piston or radial engines and as they taxi you can feel the power of the engines as the noise vibrates through the air and the ground simultaneously.

For me the flying highlight this year was the Lockheed Super Constellation VH-EAG. This former giant of the skies is a lumbering ballerina as it powers its way through the sky.

It could be a scene from the 60's as VH-EGA touches down at Avalon. This shot was actually taken at this year's 2013 Avalon Air Show.

It could be a scene from the 60’s as VH-EAG touches down at Avalon. This shot was actually taken at this year’s 2013 Avalon Air Show. Camera Fuji S200EXR.

The story of how this grand old lady was lovingly restored by an enthusiastic group of aviation lovers is quite remarkable and worth reading.

This aircraft was built as a Lockheed C-121C for the United States Airforce, delivered on 6 October, 1955. The military version of this aircraft could carry up to a maximum of 106 people however the commercial version used by Qantas allowed a maximum of 87 with 9 crew. Check out the fascinating restoration story at http://hars.org.au/2009/05/the-connie/.

The trade display exhibitions varied immensely, with major aeronautical manufacturers and defence force exhibits consuming most of the floor space. Of more interest to me, though, were the smaller exhibitions from companies and educational institutions.

The UAV Search and Rescue Challenge and the Airborne Delivery Challenge encourages the imagination of enthusiasts, high and university students to develop UAV platforms in a serious and challenging competitions.

The Search and Rescue Challenge allows teams to develop an airborne system to find a lost bushwalker, Outback Joe, and deliver a life saving water bottle to him. This challenge will be conducted at Kingaroy, Queensland in September 2014.

The Airborne Delivery Challenge challenges participants to develop an airborne delivery system to drop  an emergency package to a lost bushwalker, Outback Joe. This challenge will be conducted at Ipswich, Queensland, in September 2013.

Find more information have a look at http://www.uavoutbackchallenge.com.au

UAV’s have become quite sophisticated for military applications, however at the domestic end of the scale “quad copters” provide an opportunity for the average punter to own their own “UAV” and experiment with a reasonably stable aerial platform.

I will certainly be following up on the availability of a quad copter with “mission control” software allowing the user to pre-program a flight using GPS co-ordinates. Now that excites me!

It was interesting to be one of the last groups of people left at the Airshow – in fact we were being ushered out by the “security sweepers” at the end of the day. Not before we watched AirShow staff moving N705FJ, a Dassault Falcon 7X,  from its static parking place to another location.

Up close and personal to N705FJ, a Dassault Falcon 7X, as it is very carefully guided to a new place at Avalon.

Up close and personal to N705FJ, a Dassault Falcon 7X, as it is very carefully guided to a new place at Avalon.With many other static aircraft still in place at the Air Show, it was a co-ordinated team effort to guide the jet to its new place. Wingtip clearance to other aircraft was a problem, however the AirShow staff did a very good job in guiding this jet, unscathed, through the taxi way minefield!  And although this is a “small” jet those wing tips are quite large!

It was a very tight squeeze for the jet as it was navigated, with the help of ground AirShow staff, to avoid contacting other aircraft.

At times the wingtips had centimetres to spare and it was interesting to watch the simple, yet effective, hand signalling techniques being used to tell other ground staff and the cockpit crew, of how they were tracking.

At the end of the day our car was one of the only ones left in the carpark, so no trouble to find! Feet sore, weary but happy, it was time to go home, review the movie vision and photo shots and consider the next Air Show adventure.

Avalon Airshows are held every odd year.

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