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RAAF Base Wagga

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Fri, October 19, 2018 22:43:54

The base opened in 1940 and was perhaps best known for being the home of 31 Squadron flying Beaufighters operationally in WWII. Since the war it has operated in a training role.

In 1995 a small heritage centre was opened at the front gate. The external aircraft are always on show and the free to enter museum is open Wednesdays and weekends. There is also a small memorial garden.

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Vampire A79-612

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Thu, October 18, 2018 10:24:04

On the main highway through Wagga Wagga is former RAAF Vampire T35. It used to be on the main gate of the nearby airbase but in 1998 was mounted on to a pole at the side of the road, to mark the 50th anniversary of the RAAF apprentice scheme, where it has remained for twenty years. I managed to stop and take a couple of pics a few days ago.

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Warbirds Down Under 3

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Wed, October 17, 2018 09:51:41

A few pictures from the Saturday show. A I mentioned, the two days were a little different. The heritage flight with two F18s was not repeated on Saturday, instead we had one F18 with a Meteor - this is the former UK based aircraft called Winston. Saturday was the only day that we saw the Catalina, Hudson and Caribou and there were extra displays by the WWII fighters. It's worth noting the Temora is home to the only two airworthy Spitfires in Australia and the visiting Hurricane is the only example in the country. We are very spoilt in the UK!

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Warbirds Down Under 2

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Mon, October 15, 2018 23:09:45

So here's some live action from the Friday show. It was called an evening show as it ended as the sun was going down. The finale had meant to be a display by the HARS Constellation but, unfortunately , it had to stay at Albion Park with a tech issue smiley

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Warbirds Down Under 1

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Mon, October 15, 2018 10:02:29

After a slight satellite delay due to poor wi-fi in our last hotel it’s back to Warbirds Down Under. We’ve had up and down weather whilst we’ve been away but the air show weekend was grand. It was a two day event with an ‘evening’ show on Friday and a full show on Saturday. We drove over from Canberra on Friday and arrived in plenty of time to have a mooch along the flight time before taking seats in the grand stand – we went the Gold Pass route to save standing! The stands were a little cosy but everyone stayed seated so no obstructions to views which was good. And the chap next to me was a friendly guy who was able to share a lot of interesting info.

The show itself was pretty well executed with minimal delays in acts as aircraft took off early to hold for their slots. There was also some participation from the RAAF. Although similar in content the two days were different and it was certainly worth attending both.

Anyway, there was lots of content that I had not seen before, although a couple of the aircraft were in the HARS hangar when we visited last week, so I’m going to put this up in multiple posts and start with some flight line and static shots.

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AviationPosted by Peter Smith Fri, October 12, 2018 14:26:18

So we arrived at Temora today which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere! However, it does have a nice Aviation Museum and plays host to the Warbirds Down Under airshow. We did the evening show today and will be at the full show tomorrow. Reports 'in due course' smiley

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G for George

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Thu, October 11, 2018 12:20:07

G for George is Lancaster W4783 and with 90 missions over occupied Europe is the second most prolific surviving Lanc, behind S for Sugar in Hendon. At the time of completing 90 missions this Lanc had one of the highest tallies of the day and was retired from front line service. After a major overhaul George flew to Australia and helped raise war bonds in a publicity trip. After a time at RAAF Base Fairbairn the Lanc was transferred to the Australian War Memorial in the 1950s and has been there since. A five year restoration was completed 15 years ago and George now features in an impressive sound and light show in the main aviation hall designed to give a glimpse of the atmosphere of a bombing raid.

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Australian War Memorial

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Wed, October 10, 2018 13:29:41

The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars. It is situated in the capital of Canberra and we went for a look today. You could easily spend a day or more going round but we were a little restricted with parking time. The WWI displays really bring home the horror of life in the trenches and the disaster of Gallipoli for the ANZACS. Moving through to WWII there is quite a lot about the RAAF supported by some impressive aircraft exhibits. However, as I was discussing with a chap from the Netherlands, the Memorial is not really a museum and is not conducive to getting good shots of the exhibits, especially as lighting is very low. I guess I can understand the latter as it perhaps adds some atmosphere to quite sombre subject matter and probably helps stop light damage to the aircraft, many of which appear to be in pretty much original unrestored condition. It is also free to enter.

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RAAF Memorial Grove

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Tue, October 09, 2018 13:45:40

The Remembrance Driveway links Sydney with Canberra. The rest stops along the way are named after Australian VC winners. As we drove past the last rest area today the wingman spotted a sign mentioning an RAAF Memorial Grove so after checking in to our hotel we went back to see what we could see.

Set under the flight path of former RAAF Station Canberra is a Memorial Grove established to provide a place for reflection. It is dedicated to all RAAF veterans and features many specific plaques, some to squadrons, some to trades, some to individuals etc. There are also information boards detailing the aviation history of the area.

I'm glad we went back for a look and, despite the closeness to the main highway, it really is quite peaceful and serves the veterans well.

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VC Memorial

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Mon, October 08, 2018 14:05:48

At Bondi Beach today I came across this nice memorial to all Australians who have been awarded the Victoria Cross. Whilst no more worthy than any of the others it includes Frank McNamara with no1 squadron AFC in 1917, Ron Middleton with 149 Squadron in 1942, Bill Newton 22 Squadron RAAF in 1943 and Hughie Edwards of 105 Squadron in 1941. These and all the other recipients were very brave guys.

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AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sun, October 07, 2018 08:53:06

Yesterday was dry so we went sight seeing. Today wasn't! So we headed south to the Historical Aviation Restoration Society (HARS) a little south of Wollongong. This museum is on a live airport and as many exhibits are airworthy it is effectively in two live hangars. All visits are therefore escorted but it does mean you can get quite close to the aircraft but clear shots are restricted as the main hangar is pretty full! We were able to get in to a Dakota, a pretty cramped Neptune and also the 747 donated by Quantas that flew in back in March. The newly acquired Orion was on the ramp getting a good drenching. The Southern Cross replica has been undergoing restoration after bending a wing on landing some years ago when a wheel came off. It is close to having the engines put back after which it will fly once again. The Bf108 was apparently owned at one point by Franz Stigler, the Luftwaffe pilot that escorted the B17 Ye Olde Pub that I have mentioned previously. Anyway a few pictures from today.

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Powerhouse Museum

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Fri, October 05, 2018 14:40:34

The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is probably akin to our Science Museum. It is a museum of 'Applied Arts and Sciences' meaning that it has quite a lot to offer from transport, to clothing to space and historical artefacts of various descriptions. Consequently you can spend quite a while there which is just as well as it was pi$$ing down all day today! Anyway, amongst the transport stuff are a few aircraft strung from the ceiling including a Cirrus Moth, what appears to be an original Bleriot and a Catalina which, in 1951 flew across the Pacific from Sydney to Chile.

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Pembroke Dock

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Thu, October 04, 2018 23:37:28

'Roving reporter' Andrew from South Wales has been to Pembroke Dock recently. I hope to get there at some point but until then, with thanks to Andrew, here is his take on the museum there:

Pembroke Dock played host to a flying boat and seaplane dock during the 1930s and 40s. This was the country's largest dock of it's kind.

The first thing that you will notice is that it's only a small museum that is based in the old (pre-RAF) chapel that is within the old dockyard. Numerous other buildings are still extant, but they are mostly used for commercial purposes, with the exception of the storehouse that was later a customs house and is now used by the border enforcement agency. By all accounts, there is a flying boat shipwrecked within the dock. However, it is too difficult to recover it as the ferry operations (four a day) cannot be disturbed. However, divers have managed to retrieve one of the guns. All in all, it's quite an interesting little museum and worth a visit if you are in the area. If anybody is totally ignorant of the existence of flying boats ( I must admit that I was ) they will find it quite an eye opener!

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She lives!

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Thu, September 20, 2018 22:30:59

Tony Agar's impressive Mosquito, now based at East Kirkby, had a successful engine run yesterday evening and sounds grand. It's been a long time coming but the Mossie should progress to taxi runs in the not too distant future. Well done all involved.

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There's no eff in Pacific!

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Wed, September 19, 2018 17:57:22

Sounds like an old joke but ...

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