Making an Exhibition of Yourself In all honesty,who doesn’t like a good day out at the Airshow? I know I do. The aircraft, thestatic displays, the aviation-based shopping and exhibitions on offer… Everytime I end up at an aviation event it’s like I died and went to heaven all overagain. Airshow events have been an enduring fixture alongside aviation. Held inthe August of 1909, the “Grande Semaine d’Aviation de la Champagne”(otherwiseknown as the Rheims Aviation Meeting) is considered to be the firstinternational aviation gathering. Attracting close to 500,000 spectators, theweek-long assembly drew aviators from all over the world to compete in races,or competitions to stay airborne for the longest amount of time. Despite rain,mud and fierce winds, the fledgling aviators endured, with performancescontinuing each day of the event. World War I,pilots found themselves with very little to do.

So, to maintain their skills inthe air, gatherings at county fairs or other events would herald in aviation demonstrations.As long as the site was within the reach of an airfield, pilots would show offtheir skills, inspiring the public below, which in turn drove the aviationindustry for future generations. Airshows havebeen an enduring presence in aviation ever since. And fortunately for usplane-lovers, Australia and its surrounds are blessed with an abundance ofAirshows and exhibitions dotted around the region, so there are plenty ofopportunities to check out the latest and greatest, without missing out on theclassics that got us here in the first place.As Asia’s largest aerospaceand defence event, the Singapore Airshow is coming up fast in February withboth a trade and exhibition component to cover serious aviators and the curiouspublic alike.

According to a recent media release, Boeing and Airbus predictthat the Asia-Pacific region will account for 39% to 41% of total new globalaircraft deliveries by 2036. “That means that the Singapore Airshow serves asthe key gateway to tap into the wealth of potential opportunities in theAsia-Pacific – the world’s fastest growing region for the aerospace and defenceindustry”.Celebrating its 50thanniversary this year, the event offersconferences, forums and co-located events, with leading industry players andgovernmental representatives contributing conversations and ideas and seekingsolutions and opportunities to partner-up and seal deals among leadingaerospace companies and newcomers. The Airshow Trade Event also offers servicesin key areas like cybersecurity, unmanned aviation systems, avionics andconnected aircraft, predictive maintenance, additive manufacturing and aircrafthealth monitoring. Overall, the business end of the Singapore Airshow will beshowcased by over 1,000 participating companies spanning some 50 countries.

But it isn’tall business, prized display teams playing their part in the all-day aerialdisplays include the F-15SG and F-16C from the Republic of Singapore Air Force(RSAF), the Gripen of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) the T-50 Black EaglesAerobatic Team of the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and the F-16 from theUnited States Air Force (USAF). An impressive variety of static displaysinclude the P-8A Poseidon and EA – 18G Growler. Also returning to the biennial event is the IndonesianJupiter team which impressed spectators with its moves in back in 2014. Back home, theTyabb Airshow will again be in full swing in March this year. Held bi-annually,the Airshow was originally set up in the early 70’s to finance the”Angel of Mercy”- the world’s first helicopter to be fully equipped as anaerial ambulance. Nowadays the show dedicates profit generated from the eventto charities including Headspace, CFA, Legacy, Men’s Sheds, Literary Villages,Rosebud Hospital Maternity Wing, Hastings SES, Bays Hospital and this year,Riding for the Disabled.This year’s theme for the Tyabb Airshow is War and Peaceand, as Ian Johnson, publicity manager for the event explains “we will beshowcasing warbirds from WWI to the present day… as well as a collection ofcivil aircraft both old and new.

” The line-up also includes the Australiandesigned and built Boomerang fighter, a formation of Australian designedmilitary trainers to the world’s only flying Hudson Bomber”.According to Mr Johnson, crowd favourites include “the WWISopwith Snipe or Pup replicas, to the roar of the Merlin powered Mustangs, orthe excitement of the Southern Knights doing a formation aerobatic routine intheir smoke trailing Harvards. The Paul Bennet Air Show “Sky Aces” team alwaysthrill with their high powered low level aerobatic displays whilst the spitfirealways thrills. However almost everyone always talks about the RAAF Roulettesand the other RAAF displays long after the show”.

But, as Mr Johnson explains, it might be another aircraftthat looks to be the drawcard to the event, “perhaps one of the most excitingaspects of the Airshow will be the CAC Mustang CA-18 Fighter A68-199”. A68-199, paired with the A68-200 were bothdelivered to the RAAF in 1953 “but 200 was wiped out during a forced landing atWommera SA, leaving A68-199, as the world’s youngest Mustang standing”. Originallyplanned for the British as a medium-altitude “pursuit” fighter to defendagainst German air raids in 1940, the Mustang soon found fame in the offensiverole and will no doubt be a spectacular sight for viewers, as well as aninsight into the history of aviation.Mr Johnson explains that the amount of detail in organisingthe event has been growing alongside increasing audience numbers each year.

“Itis really only made possible through the tremendous effort of the nowexperienced team of volunteers who recognize and are motivated by the communitybenefits which accrue from running the show”. “In fact,” he continues, “some ofthese volunteers, who have been working on the show planning for the whole twoyears…may not even get to see the flying display because of their duties on theactual show day”. “It does entertainthe general public who are not usually very aviation minded” says Mr Johnson,”it helps educate them a little about the legacy of aviation as well in boththe civil and military arenas. It will also encourage some younger visitors toconsider a career in aviation. Overall it must be said that the public enjoythe show because they support it in increasing numbers each time”.

The Yarram Centenary of Flight will also be celebrated in Marchthis year to commemorate the first military air mission over Australian soilduring WWI based out of Yarram, Victoria. On 20 March 1917, McNamara earned his VC while flying aMartinsyde as one of four No. 1 Squadron pilots taking part in a raid against aTurkish railway junction near Gaza. McNamara had successfully dropped three shellswhen the fourth exploded prematurely, badly injuring his leg. Having turned tohead back to base, he spotted a fellow squadron member from the same mission,Captain Douglas Rutherford, on the ground beside his crash-landed B.

E.2. McNamarasaw that a company of Turkish cavalry was fast approaching Rutherford’sposition. Despite the rough terrain and the gash in his leg, McNamara landed nearRutherford and successfully rescued him under heavy fire while also negotiatingengine damage. Promoted to captain on 10 April 1917, McNamara became aflight commander in No. 4 Squadron AFC but found he was unable to continueflying due to his leg wound. Found to be medically unfit for active service,McNamara was discharged from the Australian Flying Corps on 31 January 1918.

Paniccaused by the intrusion into Australian waters of the German raider, Wolf,resulted in him being recalled to the AFC and put in charge of an aerial reconnaissanceunit based in Yarram. Piloting a FE2B aircraft from Yarram, he set off into BassStrait looking for the German raider which  was laying mines in the area. McNamara was thefirst Australian aviator—and the only one in World War I—to receive theVictoria Cross. He later became a senior commander in the Royal Australian AirForce (RAAF).The celebration of the centenary of McNamara’s flight will includea full Paul Bennett Airshow as well as adventure rides and a hangar convertedto feature the story of the mission and the aviation history surrounding the area.Like the Tyabb Airshow, Warbirds Over Wanaka had small beginnings in what generalmanager Mr Ed Taylor describes as a “sleepy little town just over the hill fromQueenstown NZ”. The Airshow’s founder, Ser Tim Wallis was involved in severalventures in farming and tourism, but his passion was Warbird aircraft.

MrTaylor explains the story, “over the years Tim Wallis amassed a world-classcollection of Warbird aircraft including the likes of the Spitfire, Hurricane,Corsair, P51, Polikarpov and many others. The Airshow was… quickly establishedas the biggest Warbirds Airshow in the Southern Hemisphere – a title the eventstill boasts today”. Held over Easter this year, Warbirds Over Wanaka iscelebrating its 30th anniversary by bringing back some oldfavourites. “We are bringing back some popular acts which haven’t performed atWanaka for a number of years” says Mr Johnson. The line-up includes a “massformation displays of up to 13 North American T-6 Harvards, a ‘Big-4’ WWIIfighter display, a stunning glider display set to classical music and a displayby the Royal New Zealand Air Force RNZAF B757. The RNZAF will also beinvolved for the first time with the free community Airshow event on the Wanakalakefront late on the Friday afternoon with the C-130 Hercules set to put on acrowd-stopping display. The NZ Air Force will be joined by Hawk Jets and aSpartan display from the RAAF along with participation by the French and US airforces”.  Unsurprisingly, it’s the Spitfire that boasts the eventsmain attraction.

Ever since the public of England were encouraged to raisefunds to build Spitfires during the war, the aircraft has always been thepeoples’ plane. And its no different here. “the Airshow always has at leastone Spitfire at the show”, says Mr Johnson. The unique location of the Airshowalso affords the unique experience of seeing the Catalina Flying Boat land onLake Wanaka. In terms of gear, trade stalls and are often just as busy asthe display area with international brands including Pilatus, Hawker Pacific,Cirrus, Bose, Garmin and Bremont all staking out a claim in the mass ofmarquees. “We have exhibitors…sellingeverything from aircraft to earplugs” says Mr Johnson. In addition, adesignated area, WOW Mart, is dedicated to aviators looking to buy, sell orswap spare parts has been allocated for serious aircraft-related business.

Pilots participating in the Airshow include New Zealand’sKeith Skilling who has displayed in every Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow sinceit’s beginnings. Overseas pilots include John Romain, World Aerobatic ChampionJurgis Kairys of Lithuania and ex-USAF Thunderbird F-16 display team pilot Paul’Sticky’ Strickland. But with such big names in the aviation sphere making anappearance at the event, Mr Johnson says that “the event it has not lost its’country fair’ feel and the pilots mingle with the crowd and are more thanhappy to chat – especially about anything to do with flying and Warbirds”.Wings Over Illawarra, coming up in May, has the distinctionof performing displays against the scenic backdrop of the Macquarie PassNational Park. Last year, over 30,000 people converged on the IllawarraRegional Airport, a record for the show, with many more tuning in to a livefeed of the event on Facebook.WOI 2018 is expected to host the largestcollection of Australian Defence Force aircraft ever seen in the Illawarra.

Andalthough the ADF is yet to confirm exactly what aircraft will be attending thisyear, the expected line-up includes the RAAF F/A-18A/B Hornet, C-17AGlobemaster III, C-130J Hercules, RAN MRH90 Taipan and S-70B-2 Seahawk and theUH-60 Black Hawk.  Among the static aircraft anticipatedto be on display will be many of theHistorical Aircraft Restoration Society’s ventures including the F86 Sabre,Neptune, Catalina, DC4, Super Constellation and Boeing 747-400. Other staticdisplays include the Consolidated PBY Catalina, Lockheed1049 Super Constellation, De Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth and Douglas C-47Dakota. Of particular interest is a F-111C bomber. DesignatedA8-190, the F-111 is an ex-United States Air Force, seeing combat in Vietnam.Purchased by the RAAF in 1982, A8-109 became the world’s last operational F-111when its engines were shut down for the final time on 3 December 2010.Towards the South of the airfield you’ll find Aviatex, a commercialtrade show aimed squarely at the light sport, recreational and general aviationmarkets. Held concurrently with the Illawarra Airshow, Aviatex exhibitorsinclude the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, AirServicesAustralia, Recreational Aviation Australia, Gliding Federation of Australia, HangGliding Federation of Australia and the Antique Aeroplane Association ofAustralia.

Of increasing popularity is the flight simulation stalls, withsupplies for both the desktop pilot through to demonstrations for fullyenclosed simulators manned by professional pilots.Now, it’s true that aviation exhibitions do seem to bedominated with fixed-wing aircraft. But Rotor Tech, the helicopter showcase forAustralia, New Zealand and the Oceanic region has something to say about that. Hostedevery two years at the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, the Rotortech Conferenceand Exposition brings together operators, helicopter and equipmentmanufacturers, suppliers, service providers and of course, pilots andengineers.  On his first visit to Australia, one serious highlight inthe Rotortech program is a keynote address by Mr Chuck Aaron, the only pilotlicenced by the FAA to perform aerobatics in a helicopter in the USA – and oneof only three licenced in the world. As the 2013 inductee into the Living Legendsof Aviation and the recipient of the 2014 Pilot of the Year Award, there isn’tmuch Mr Aaron doesn’t know about flying, and conference attendees will be eagerhear first-hand accounts from the man behind dizzying feats like the openingsequence of James Bond’s Spectre.   Helicopter use in Australia sees a vast variety ofapplications, from air ambulance to tourism to cattle mustering, and each ofthese require a distinct level of expertise and skill.

To address current andfuture challenges the industry faces, organises of Rotortech have forgedseveral panels of participants whose combined experience spans the gamut of therotary wing operations.   Issues ranging from updated safety regimens to the future ofthe rotary regulatory landscape will be addressed across numerous paneldiscussions over the three days of the event. Topical for the season, afirefighting awareness workshop will also be held, with experts and keynotespeakers discussing the trajectory of Australia and its surrounds’ firefightingcapabilities. For those in the helicopter industry, it’ll be a priority on the wallplanner this year.

Over in Tamora, Warbirds Downunder is back for another roundtowards the end of 2018. But you’ll have to adjust the notes on your calendarto make the event this year. Previously in November, this year the event willbe held in October to avoid warm weather conditions. Warbirds Downunder 2015saw the largest gathering of Warbird Aircraft Australia has ever seen, and the2018 Airshow promises to be just as impressive – “with the possibility of someadded extras” according to the website. The full line-up of aircraft will bepublished as the Airshow approaches, but will include an evening Airshow on Friday12 October 12 2018 and a full Airshow programme on Saturday 13 October 2018.And for something a little different, Temora Shire Councilwill again be offering self-contained airfield camping. A ‘Glamping’ (glamorouscamping) option will also be available for those looking for the opportunity toliterally wake up and smell the Av gas in style.

Showcasing the multitude ofcareer prospects that aviation has to offer, Aviatex General Aviation Expo andCareers Showcase is due to arrive at Bankstown Airport this November. Geared towardsrecreational and general aviation enthusiasts, Aviatex provides attendees withthe opportunity to get up close to aircraft, equipment, simulators and serviceswith some of the best experts in the industry. In keeping with its goal tocomprehensively represent the GA market, visitors to the event will getinvaluable input from suppliers, buyers, associations, operators, media, pilotsand enthusiasts. The expo will feature briefings and seminars from Governmentauthorities including CASA (the Civil Aviation Safety Authority) and the ADF (AustralianDefence Force) along with workshops, information sessions and new innovationsfrom private enterprises. With a goal to enable youngadults who are weighing up career options, the careers component of theshowcase will have representatives from universities and TAFE colleges, airlines,military recruitment programs and flight training institutions, all aviationenthusiasts keen to impart some wisdom, a few stories and a nudge in the right direction.Aviatex will also include amixture of education sessions, networking opportunities, simulators andexhibits for attendees to get a taste of the aviation industry.

 According to the Aviatex website “Beingemployed within the aviation industry is more than just becoming a pilot. Forgeneral aviation to thrive in the future we need to cover all aspects of whatmake the industry tick. Aviatex will feature all fields within the aviationindustry including flight training, engineering, management, air traffic control,light aircraft to airlines, civil and military engineers, flight attendants andmore”.Airshows have been an constantpresence in aviation history since early pioneers took to the skies. And withso many of aviation-based goings on this year, the difficult bit might be narrowingdown options. Nevertheless, a new year means it’s time to mark up your calendars,plan your sick days off work and head out to see what the world’s finest inaviation has instore this time around.



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