Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Whitsunday Airport Grand Airshow - A Closer look at Maxx-G Aerobatics - Pilot Paul Bennet

Maxx-G Aerobatics (Paul Bennet Airshows) presented several fantastic aerobatic and flying displays at the Whitsunday Grand Airshow on Sunday 1 May, filled with smoke, noise and excitement.

Paul Bennet flew both the world famous Pitts Special S1-SE aerobatic bi-plane VH-IPB, and the thunderous Grumman TBM-3E Avenger Warbird VH-MML.

The aerobatics display in the Pitts was 10 minutes of high energy, engine screaming precision aerobatic manoeuvres taking place from the initial dive height of 2500ft right down to ground level. The Textron Lycoming Lycon engine delivers 250HP, and speeds reached during the performance are in excess of 300km/h and -100km/h with G-forces reaching +10G and -8G.

Manoevres performed include classic competition figures such as rolls, hesitation rolls, hammerheads, vertical rolls, inside and outside loops. Some gyroscopic manoeuvres like multiple snap rolls, torque rolls, shoulder rolls and tumbles are also performed.

The display finished with a ribbon cut to open airshow.

Paul also performed low level formation aerobatics with Phil Unicomb in another Pitts Special S-2A, VH-PDU. Phil is also from Maxx-G Aerobatics. Together they are the Sky Ace Formation Team. Phil led, with Paul on the right or left wing. This formation flying added another dimension to the aerobatics displays at the Airshow.

Another Pitts Special S-1S, VH-ABT, was also on hand, and was the 'spare aircraft' for the Maxx-G Aerobatics crew, should one of their Pitts aircraft run into problems. This Pitts is privately owned in Central Queensland.

One of the highlights of the day though was the sight and sound of the Grumman Avenger and it's 1950HP Curtiss-Wright radial engine. The massive plane graced the skies over the airport in two powerful displays. This ex-US Navy warbird is owned by prolific warbird collector and enthusiast, Steve Searle, who owns the Wirraway Aviation Museum in South East Queensland.

For more information on Maxx-G Aerobatics, visit their website HERE.

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