Monday, September 9, 2019

Some Photos from the 2019 Air BP Airlie Beach Airshow at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour

Stunning Whitsundays weather, and spectacular aircraft and helicopters, made the 2019 Air BP Airlie Beach Airshow at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour on Saturday 7 September simply sensational!

During the morning, a steady stream of people came through the gates to enjoy the static aircraft and classic car displays.  There was also remote-controlled model aircraft and numerous food and drink options to keep people satisfied.

One great interactive initiative was to invite the public onto the runway of the airport and write positive affirmations and other heartfelt messages to those living with mental illness.

The official part of the day then commenced during the latter part of the morning with the official opening of the 2019 Air BP Airlie Beach Airshow by Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox.

The flying program then started with a patriotic parachute drop from Paul Bennet Airshow's Cessna A185F Skywagon VH-NPW with the parachutist accompanied on his descent by Paul Bennet himself in his Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB.

Often locally-based Helibiz operated Bell UH-1H Iroquois 'Huey' helicopter VH-UHE - dubbed 'Eagle One' - completed a spirited handling display.  As mentioned previously, the big 'Huey' helicopter is a 1966-built machine and has had a long and proud history in the US Army seeing service in the Vietnam conflict and  Gulf War I, before finished her life with the Texas National Guard and Texas Search and Rescue Services.

Paul Bennet then took to the air in his lovely old CAC CA-3 Wirraway VH-WWY, performing some spectacular passes including some aerobatics.

This was followed by a spectacular aerobatic display from a new-comer to the Airlie Beach Airshow in the form of Paul Bennet's Amateur-built Rebel 300 VH-TBN.

It was followed by the spectacular sight and sound of Pays Air Service (of Scone, NSW) CAC CA-18 Mk21 Mustang VH-AUB (ex A68-107) which was piloted by Paul Bennet.

An interesting aircraft r in the form of Paul Bennet's Pitts Model 12 VH-TYJ large aerobatic biplane then took to the air.  The Pitts 12 is designed around utilising its 360hp Russian Vedeneyev M14P radial engine and it not only put on a great show but had the distinctive sound of the radial engine working hard.

For a change of pace, Paul then took the controls of a remote-controlled model jet aircraft.  Clearly a passion of his - and his Son, Jett - Paul 'piloted' the scale-model Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross jet trainer through a series of high-speed passes, coupled with some spectacular aerobatics.  The crowd held its breath as Paul then flew the model jet back to complete a 'textbook' landing.

Paul Bennet's North American T-28B Trojan VH-FNO then took to the air.  Always a spectacular sight and sound as the Curtiss-Wright radial engine powered the Trojan through the stunning Whitsundays sky, completing several passes and some aerobatics.

Paul Bennet then jumped back into his Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB and completed an awe-inspiring and truly spectacular aerobatics display.

Locally-based CQ Warbird Adventure Flights Yakovlev Yak-52 warbird VH-YAF was then put through its paces by one of Paul Bennet Airshow's pilots.

Then perhaps (in my opinion) Paul Bennet's most stunning aircraft in the form of the mighty Grumman TBM-3E Avenger VH-MML made a spectacular departure before performing some equally spectacular passes over the crowd.

Finally, the airshow came to a spectacular close with Paul Bennet in his Wolf Pitts Pro VH-PVB being joined by Amateur-built Rebel 300 VH-TBN and Pitts Model 12 VH-TYJ to form the "Sky Aces" formation aerobatics team.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day at the 2019 Air BP Airlie Beach Airshow at the Whitsunday Airport at Shute Harbour - it was a part of a massive weekend with a Fly-in seeing over 90 aircraft arriving during the previous week - with all the events culminating with the 2019 Runway Dinner event at the Airport on Saturday night.

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