Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Spectacular Start to the Airlie Beach Airshow at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour - And it Continues Sunday!

Stunning Whitsundays weather, and spectacular aircraft and helicopters, made Day One of the Airlie Beach Airshow at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour on Saturday 26 September simply sensational!

During Saturday morning, a steady stream of people came through the gates to enjoy the static displays and watch some of the Airport action as local operators Air Whitsunday Seaplanes and GSL Aviation operated their regular tourist flights.  The Whitsunday Tiger Moth - DH-82A VH-ARU - and Heli-Taxi Robinson R44s and R66s also operated regular scenic joyflights out of the Whitsunday Airport during the morning also allowing for some spectacular sights!

The official part of the day commenced around midday with local dancers preceding the official opening of the Airlie Beach Airshow by Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Jennifer Whitney.

Away from the aircraft movement areas and the runway, local car enthusiasts had some classic cars on display.

And there was a wide range of food and drink outlets that catered for all different tastes!

As the afternoon started, so did the airborne action with the local Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Cadets demonstrating their medical evacuation skills using locally-based Robinson R44 VH-RSU to evacuate an 'injured' cadet.

While it didn't participate in the actual flying program, CAC CA-25 Winjeel VH-SOB (A85-422) departed on a local air-to-air photo-shoot with CAC CA-18 Mk21 Mustang VH-MFT.

VH-MFT later performed a spectacular handling display.

Making a couple of spectacular passes - complete with simulated cannon-fire - was Amateur Built Spitfire Replica VH-KPW.

And certainly making a spectacular sight and sound during its handling flight was the mighty Avioane Craiova Yak-3U-R2000 VH-YOV.

However, perhaps the star of the airshow was Paul Bennet who had four fantastic aircraft take to the air during the afternoon - and Paul himself flew three of these lovely aircraft!

After a quick aerobatic demonstration flight in his new Amateur Built Pitts S1-11X (Wolf Pitts Pro) VH-PVX, Paul then took to the air in his lovely old CAC CA-3 Wirraway VH-WWY, performing some spectacular rolls and passes.

Paul then jumped back into his Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVX, and was this time joined by Aerostar YAK-52 VH-MHH to form the "Sky Aces" formation aerobatics team.

Finally, Paul jumped into (in my opinion) his most stunning aircraft in the form of the mighty Grumman TBM-3E Avenger VH-MML which made a spectacular departure before performing some equally spectacular passes over the crowd.

FastJet Adventure Flights Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatross VH-LCJ then demonstrated the speed and manoeuvrability of this sleek little fighter jet.

Not quite as fast, but certainly very manoeuvrable, chief pilot of locally-based Heli Taxi demonstrated what the Robinson R66 helicopter can do with a series of spins and backwards flying!

Finally, billed as the star attraction at the Airlie Beach Airshow, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) elite formation aerobatic display team - The Roulettes - didn't disappoint with a magnificent five-ship display in the clear blue Whitsunday skies.

I thoroughly enjoyed a full day at the Airlie Beach Airshow on Saturday 26 September - and there is another opportunity for you to join in the fun with another jam-packed day of joyflights, food, entertainment, other displays, and of course, spectacular air displays on Sunday 27 September at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour - see you there!

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