The 2017 Kyneton Aero Club 50th Anniversary Airshow

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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!

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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!

 

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