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The 2017 Kyneton Aero Club 50th Anniversary Airshow


Kyneton Charms Thousands

Located in the Macedon Ranges Shire, Northwest of Melbourne, Victoria, is Kyneton (YKTN), a small airfield near a cosy, small country town of the same name. With two runways, 18-36 and 09-27, of bitumen and grass respectively, Kyneton Aero Club and airfield celebrated their half-century in 2016. However, wet weather precluded the airshow go-ahead and it fell to 2017 to host the “50th Anniversary air show”.

Despite a cloudy start to the day, the skies cleared by early afternoon, allowing well-lit displays of aircraft against some spectacular cumulus formations, to the pleasure of the gathered aviation photographers!


Being a smaller show, there were few “heavy” aircraft displayed – the Australian Defence Force appeared in the form of a current Pilatus PC-9/A solo followed by a four-ship, showing that the predominantly red scheme on blue sky background still looks great!


CA-25 Winjeel

Warbirds and vintage types littered the field, with the usual suspects – Winjeel, Auster, Tiger Moth and CT-4A Airtrainer, complimented with Trojan and Avenger. For non-commonwealth readers, the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-25 Winjeel was a former Royal Australian Air Force training aircraft, featuring side-by-side seating (and a rear seat too, making them an ideal “family” warbird).


CT-4A Airtrainer

The CT-4 “Plastic Parrot” was an Air force training aircraft of the 1970s, and a successor to the Winjeel. The Auster was a British design, ancestry being the Taylorcraft series (a cousin to what became the J-3 Cub). Austers served in the British and Commonwealth as reconnaissance and liaison aircraft, both during WWII and postwar, in Malaya for instance. All were flown during the display flying.

We also saw Sopwith Pup, parachutists, SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 and Robinson R-22 handling displays. The Gippsland aeronautics/Mahindra aerospace GA-8 Airvan demo was classy, as usual. Yak-52s flew in formation and an Air Tractor AT-802 demonstrated as a fire bomber with a nice drop at crowd centre.


Peak interest for the reasonably large crowd was in the aerobatics flown by the Australian Unlimited Aerobatic champion & Phillips Cup winner, Paul Bennet of Paul Bennet Airshows. His 400hp Wolf Pitts Pro aerobatics were in some ways eclipsed by the Grumman Avenger for low-level high-performance aerobatics, a visual treat! Legendary 13 times Australian Aerobatic Champion, Chris Sperou, of South Australia, also flew displays, including a rare double with Paul Bennet, both up at the same time (admittedly performing a ‘fly-off’ which afforded a comparison of techniques which is quite something).

Pauses in the flying display were punctuated with some colourful radio control flying by the Central Highlands Area Model Plane Society (CHAMPS) based at nearby Metcalfe. Apart from an early, costly “excursion” by a jet-powered model (which collected a fence – thankfully on the opposite side to the crowd line), the members skilfully flew a variety of helicopters, aerobatic models and gliders to thrill the audience.

Photography was further enhanced by a full-colour sunset when some of the warbirds flew again, either as departures or for photo sessions. For this writer, the growl of round engines at high revolutions was unbeatable. A pleasant day out, with a difference!


World War I Aces Keep Flying

Enhc Patrouille de France cross over-5108

When the Patrouille de France travelled to North America in early 2017, they brought along a slice of French military aviation history with each of their Alpha Jets. All eleven of the trainers were emblazoned with a silhouette and name of a World War I ace of the Aéronautique Militaire, carried aloft each time the team flew. The sentimental nose art, applied under each jet’s canopy on the right side, was displayed as a commemoration to honor France’s Flying Aces.

PdF aces history

According to an Armee de L’Air press release, “The Flying Aces are a symbol of the French Air Force. The term Flying Ace was first used on 1915 to describe a military aviator whose name was listed in the Armed Forces official communiqué for shooting down five or more enemy aircraft. The process of accreditation was based on two criteria: shooting down an enemy aircraft over French territory, and confirmation of this by friendly troops on the ground or by two other pilots. For the US Tour, a portrait of a French World War I Flying Ace will be painted on the side of each of the Patrouille de France’s Alphajets”. Also, one of the Aces carried is the second highest scoring French pilot, Charles Nungesser, who went missing during a trans- Atlantic flight attempt one hundred years ago in 1927, at age thirty-five.

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75th Anniversary of the “Forgotten 18th Squadron”


Colonel Harold Jacobs, Senator Anne Rushton, Allen Day, Brian Coleman, Hans de Vries, and Leesa Vlahos

Written by Dion Makowski with Anne West

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning
We will remember them.

The Ode is taken from For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon, who passed away in 1943. Also in 1943, No. 18 NEI (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron began combat operations against Japan.

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Big Iron at Breckenridge TX, I Remember That!


It’s back!!!   After a 20 year hiatus, the Breckenridge (Texas) Air Show will take to the skies again. Over Memorial Day Weekend, specifically on Sunday May 28, 2017, the “resurrection” of this legendary air show will occur. There are some events occurring on the Saturday (practice day) and early morning before main gates open (sunrise photo tour) too. Back in the early 1990’s, I took two trips to the  beehive of warbird activity at Breckenridge. “Big Iron” was the draw… World War II fighters, trainers, and bombers were the main focus, but later-produced warbirds were represented in good numbers as well.  That seems to be the theme this year, too!

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