GUNNEDAH 2015 – AIRSHOW DISPLAY
Story and photos by Phil Buckley
Held biennially, the Gunnedah Air Show proved to be an exciting event this year over the weekend of March 14th/15th. Located in north central New South Wales, Australia about five hours drive north of Sydney, Gunnedah echoed to the lovely sound of radial engines intermeshing occasionally, letting everyone know there was some serious flying taking place above.
A number of warbirds took part in the action. The indigenous CAC Wirraway, flown skillfully by Glen Collins, looped, rolled and entered fast, banking turns, recreating some of the aura from 70 years previously when young pilots were training for the big fight in WWII. A Grumman Avenger, flown with real purpose by Paul Bennet, demonstrated how surprisingly nimble the torpedo bomber could be. Stephen Gale put his Italian SIAI-Marchetti S.211 jet trainer before the crowd while another pilot demonstrated the agility of the Aerovodochody L-39 Albatross. David Salter flew a fabulous aerobatics routine in his T-6 Harvard, trailing smoke at times to enhance his performance for the crowd. Then Cameron Rolf Smith flew the T-28 Trojan in a high-powered, aerobatic and low level display which was thrilling to watch. The Russian Roolettes aerobatics display team, using a mix of Nanchang CJ-6s and Yak-52s, flew a large formation display act with various routines from formation passes, bomb bursts to loops. A former US Army Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopter, now in civilian guise, also attracted a lot of attention with its bright pink colour scheme and was a favourite for kids to climb into for photos.
The Gunnedah Aero Club organized the show, assisted ably by aircraft operators such as Paul Bennet. While only three hours of air displays took place each day, it was a good mix of all things flying. The good news is that rural air shows are making a come back across Australia with many this year becoming two-day events. We look forwards to the continued growth of these intimate shows across the country!