In fact, should they have desired, members of the public could take a flight around Avalon Airport in one of Professional Helicopter Services choppers that were constantly flying around the Eastern edge of the Airport.
By the time the flying display started, most of the visiting corporate bizjets had moved on to other ports – as shown by Embraer Lineage 1000 PT-TOE which was being towed to the runway for the short hop to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport.
The flying display started with an overfly of three antique aircraft from Royal Australia Air Force (RAAF) Museum at Point Cook. CAC CA-25 Winjeel VH-PTS (A85-439) was joined by a pair of New Zealand Aerospace CT-4A training aircraft – VH-CTK (A19-040) and VH-NZP (A19-077).
Another antique aircraft in the form of Douglas DC-3C VH-AES which is based at, and maintained at, the Qantas hangar at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport. VH-AES wears Trans-Australia Airways (TAA) colours.
Then the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina VH-PBZ "Felix" (The Black Cat) displayed before a more recent RAAF maritime aircraft in the form of Lockheed AP-3C Orion A9-755 performed its solo routine.
Aerobatic displays consisted of Skip Stewart in his Pitts S-2S Special N540S.
He was later joined again by Melissa Pemberton in Zivco Edge 540 VH-IIG, who both, along with the pyrotechnic wizardry of Rich Gibson, then put on their "Tinstix of Dynamite" show of spectacular multiple head-on passes accompanied by up to a dozen explosions.
Later, Bob Charleton in his Start and Flug H-101 Salto N101AZ put on a display of silent flight, before he fired the little engine on the Salto to put on a full aerobatic display.
The aerobatics of these aircraft were no match though for the RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet A44-216 which put on a stunning single-ship display.
The RAAF “Rhino” performance might have been outdone though by the United States Air Force (USAF) Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor aerobatic handling display, which was very well received by the awe-inspired crowd.
The pace slowed a little as three Temora Aviation Museum aircraft put on a display. CAC CA-13 Boomerang VH-MHR took off first.
It was joined by the Museum’s Gloster Meteor VH-MBX and Commonwealth CA-27 MK 32 Sabre VH-IPN.
After this antique threesome, Curtis P-40N Kittyhawk VH-ZOC departed and also put on a stirring aerial display.
Australia's own 'Top Gun', former RAAF Fighter Combat Instructor, Matt Hall, put on a truly amazing and spectacular aerobatics display in his MXS-R aircraft VH-CQE.
After Matt returned he was introduced to the crowd – just as the RAAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III A41-206 completed its display.
The display I was looking forward to though was the USAF General Dynamics (Lockheed Martin) F-16 92-3894 which put on an absolutely fantastic solo flight.
The display was extended by a late go-around by the F-16 due to strong crosswinds on short final.
The Temora Museum’s Lockheed 414 Hudson VH-KOY then arrived and also put on a stirring display. It had attempted to land yesterday but was forced to divert to Point Cook due to the strong cross winds.
RAAF Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules A97-468 flew down to Avalon from Richmond Air Force Base near Sydney, and completed several passes – complete with the load master waving to the crowd from the back door!
It completed its brief display by performing a touch-and-go off a steep tactical approach. It then returned to Richmond – some 6 hours of flying during the afternoon!
RAAF formation flying wrapped up the flying program with the “Roulettes” - the elite formation aerobatic display team of the RAAF and their Pilatus PC-9/A aircraft - believed to have flown in from their East Sale base to perform over the Airshow.
The six “Roulettes” broke into a flight of four and two and put on some fantastic aerobatic flying. Eventually all six came together for a final pass before they all (plus the spare aircraft “Roulette 7”) touched down at Avalon for the weekend.
A flight of four RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornetts (Rhinos) wrapped up the flying program with their formation flying routine, followed by simulated airfield attack which culminated with a pyrotechnics display.
Overall, I had an absolutely fantastic time at Avalon. This was the first Australian International Airshow that I have attended, and I thought it was thoroughly and professionally organised, with some absolutely stunning static and flying display aircraft. Well done to all involved – I look forward to coming back in 2015!