This year’s air show went ahead on the 13th & 14th of March at the Cessnock Airport after having been cancelled in 2020. The event could go ahead with 10,000 permitted to attend on both days & turned out to be an amazing line up of planes along with many ground activities which kept everyone amused.
There was the Hot Wheels Stunt Team with Matty Mingay providing great entertainment during the drifting display that saw father & son pit their driving skills against each other in friendly family rivalry. Their suburb Mack truck was fitted out with basketball hoops, PlayStations & plenty of showbags proving to be a big hit with the crowd.
There were amusement rides, a small aviation expo, a static display by Defence Australia, lots of food & market stalls. There were also many cars & military vehicles on display as well.
Those who had their own planes & flew in were catered for with excellent conditions & security for their aircraft with online instructions so that they would get the most out their visit.
The show was kicked off with Paul Bennet circling the descending parachutist with the Australian Flag & was a spectacular display, gladdening anyone’s heart who is proud of this country.
The RAAF had recently re-formed the 100 Squadron after having been disbanded in 1946 to put on an incredible flying display of old military fighter planes which included a Spitfire MK VIII, ( love that sound of the supercharged engine at full noise), the Boomerang, a Corsair, Hawker Hurricane, Grumman Avenger, a C-18 Mustang, P-40 Kittyhawk, T-28 Trojan, an L-39 Albatross, the CAC Wirraway, the short take off & landing Caribou and Hudson. This group was formed from surviving members from the British RAF no.100 Torpedo Bomber Squadron who had escaped to Malaya & started flying Australian -built Beauforts, playing an important part in additional torpedo bomber training & anti-submarine patrols in Milne Bay, PNG and helping sink some Japanese ships. The Air Force aerobatic team, the Roulettes were also on hand, thrilling everyone with some precision flying that left little room for error whilst guiding six Pilatus PC-21 aircraft through their breath-taking manoeuvres, having flown from the Central Flying School at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria.
More sensational remarkably close proximity flying displays were put on by the SkyAces team flying in variations of the Pitt’s aerobatic planes, thrilling the crowds.
We went on the sunny Saturday after being receiving tickets from my son & his wife as Christmas presents, just as well as the heavens opened on the Sunday with a huge downpour, delaying the flying.
On a minus side, we both agreed that there were a few things that could be improved upon for next year’s show to make it an even better experience for everyone. If anything, the parking although being plentiful ended up being quite far away for older people to walk to the entrance gates, though in saying that, there was a shuttle bus available to assist those who needed it. The que from our spot was about 1 km long and those who thought that they would park closer actually had to walk back to our spot, join the que then walk back to where they had originally started from.
Advertising for the show said that tickets could be booked online and make for a quick entrance into the venue, well it seems that everyone had decided to take this alternative because the que was long, whereas the buy the tickets at the venue had no one waiting to get checked by the security making sure no one had drinks which you had to buy there.
The other thing was the lack of shade, something that I found out as I ended up with heat exhaustion, as it was quite warm on the day. Apparently, this was rectified, and more marques were erected overnight, turning out to be a blessing because of the deluge the following day.
All in all, it was a great show that we both thoroughly enjoyed & would definitely go again. There is something quite enticing at seeing & hearing these planes go through their paces.
Special thanks to Vicki for her great lead photo in capturing a difficult shot as these planes do not hang around. She also took many of the other photos as well.