Never having been & after travelling all day excitement mounted as we were finally at our destination, Temora, for the annual air show, a highlight of the weekend would be the old military planes flying as well as a huge static display at the Aviation Museum which is a multi-awarding winning facility in the NSW tourism awards.
Following a quick tour of the main street looking for something to eat, we finally found a pizza shop that was open so settled for that & got to the camp ground in the dark to be directed to the back of some sheds near the air field by the parking official as all the sites had been taken bar this one, so set up camp there. How lucky were we, I thought. We were going to sleep in the truck & our son was assigned to a fold up camp bed in the closed in Fiamma awning that I salvaged from a Toyota camper van which I had sent off to the wreckers due to severe roof rusting & had fitted it to the roof rack of the Landcruiser to give us more usable space.
The next morning we realised why that particular site had not been occupied, it was right on top of a huge ants nest & the occupant of our fold up bed was in the process of being carried away by these tourist-eating insects.
We walked to the air show from the camp, amidst thousands of other people on a day that was getting unpleasantly hotter by the minute. People were arriving in private planes & any other conceivable mode of transport for what promised to be a great spectacle.
The show did not disappoint & proved to be incredible with many flybys during the morning of these beautifully restored war planes that are part of the Museum’s aircraft collection. They ranged from two of the 3 flying Spitfires in Australia, a Canberra Bomber, Boomerangs, Wirraways, a Vampire, Lockhead Bomber, a vintage Tiger Moth; in fact the oldest still flying here, the beautiful Ryan STM S2, Gloster Meteor, Dragonfly, P51 Mustang & the fascinating CA 27 Sabre jet. Wow! a warbird lover’s paradise with the display encompassing a great section of the aircraft that were used during armed conflicts over the decades.
When the two Submarine Spitfires had a mock dog fight, the sound of those 27 litre liquid cooled V-12 piston Rolls-Royce Merlin 70 1710 horse power engines equipped with a two speed, two-stage supercharger at full noise was the most beautiful you will ever hear, enough to make any good old air force pilot want to stand to attention.
The Gloster Meteor F.3 was the first Royal Australian Air Force operational jet fighter in 1946. They were finally adopted for full time regular service in 1951 during the Korean war against the very fast Mig 15 & was the “baptism of fire” for the F.8. This version that the museum acquired was owned by a private collector in the UK after it had been retired from RAF service, dismantled & transported to Bankstown NSW where it was reassembled & then flown under its own power to the museum at Temora in 2001. Of the 1522 F.8s produced, this remains the only airworthy & flying one left in the world.
Another rare war plane to fly at Temora was the English Electric Canberra TT.18 bomber that was powered by Rolls-Royce RA.3 Avon Mk. 1 Jet Turbine engines. Some of these (48 out of 926) were manufactured in Australia, some were built in America whilst the majority was made in England.
This particular plane was from England & has a history of being damaged then repaired a few times. It had been stationed in Germany after the war, severely damaged which resulted in 12 months in the repair hanger, then damaged again by a flock of birds whilst on a low level training mission soon after returning back into service. After being repaired again, the plane was reassigned back to the UK where it was reconfigured to be a target tow aircraft but placed in storage for a few years. The subsequent return back into service resulted in an incident that saw the navigator being ejected. More repairs, back into target towing without further incident for about 8 years then finally retired in 1991, finally acquired by the museum in 2001. It is maintained in an airworthy condition & remains to this day the only English Electric Canberra flying in Australia.
Flying with the English Electric Canberra TT.18 on the day was the only Australian built flying DH-115 Vampire T.35 left in Australia & was also the first jet engine built here. A total of 3,987 were built between 1943 and 1961 in six countries, including Australia. These aircraft featured a wooden body pod with the wings, booms & tail made from metal.
During the weekend a beautiful Ryan STM S2 was flying which was designed as a 2 seater training aircraft & the first low-wing trainer to convince the Army to break away from their 30-year precedent of biplanes being used for initial instruction of aviation cadets.
The planes were utilised for recognisance as well when the war in the Pacific was getting more intense with many pilots strapping an 18 litre fuel drum into the front seat to give it a longer range.
Being quite a light plane, the Menasco C-4S “Pirate” supercharged 150hp engine, made it very agile & although not very fast, thus while some were shot down by the chasing Japanese aircraft, others simply stayed out of the Zero’s firing range, even engaging in dog fights with them & out manoeuvring the much faster & heavily armed long range fighter. Contrary to popular belief, the Ryan’s were never armed with under cowl machine guns.
Another highlight of the day was the very rare Australian built RAAF CA-27 Sabre jet which hadn’t flown for many years & had only recently taken to the air again. This aircraft has also had a chequered past. It was involved in a wheels up landing in 1959 which caused extensive under fuselage damage. It was rebuilt, put back into service, dismantled in 1963 & placed into storage. In 1966 it was rebuilt used for training till 1971 when it was shipped to Butterworth Malaysia for transfer to the RMAF, used until 1976 & then once again put into storage waiting disposal.
The seemingly unwanted plane was then acquired by the RAAF & after a lengthy 12 month service was until 1978. It was shipped back to Australia, restored for making public appearances until 1984 when it made a forced landing & overshot the runway, which resulted in severe damage for a second time.
Like a Phoenix, it again rose after the Museum acquired the Sabre in 2006, restored to fly on the day we were there. To hear the sound of its jet engine pierce the tranquillity of the surrounding country side made the hairs on the back of my neck stand upright. We have learnt that it has again succumbed to the Gremlins that have grounded the plane with ejector seat malfunctioning.
We looked around through the impressive static display inside the museum & being a long weekend with a huge storm threatening the following day, decided to leave early to explore Young & its surrounding area.
The trip to the museum is well worth the effort, with the 2020 Air show scheduled for the 17th/18th October provided recovery from lock down is on track & promises to be huge as this is the 20 anniversary.
The Temora Aviation Museum is open 10.00am to 4.00pm seven days per week excluding New Years Day, Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Temora Aviation Museum has put some extra procedures in place.
The health & safety of the public, as well as our staff and volunteers is paramount. We are implementing several procedures to ensure we abide by the Government recommendations.”
For more details on each of the planes in the museum’s collection & to see some incredible videos/photographs as well as all the latest news plus accommodation offerings, visit their website.