On Saturday I was taking Kitt out to the Yarra Valley for a “Hen’s Party” winery tour (the “Buck’s Party” was last weekend – paintball – I’ve still got bruises) when I spotted a sign saying that Lilydale Airport (YLIL) was having an airshow. Neat! As I was thinking I’d better lock the date in to be there, I realised that the damned thing was happening TODAY!
Our route from Melbourne to Yarra Glen took us right past the airport (the road goes just south of the threshold of RW36) and after some frantic looking between the road and the airport, I did confirm the presence of a good lineup of aircraft. After getting Kitt to the meeting point and seeing her off with the other ladies (note: Hen’s parties are SCARY!) I ran a quick errand and then high-tailed it back to the airport.
On arrival I noted that there was no one taking the entry fee so I figured it must be getting close to the end of the day (it was 3pm by the time I got there). I walked in and started checking out the aircraft on display. The announcer was talking about Dick Hourigan’s Mustang (a license built and slightly modified P-51 manufactured in Australia during WWII) which was in the process of taxiing out to take off. Last time I saw this Mustang was at the 2002 Albury Airshow (scroll down the linked page to see photos of it) and it sounded great just taxiing in the distance. I didn’t bother with photos as I figured I’d get them when he came back in so I just enjoyed the take off. He did a low downwind pass then came back around a bit faster (and was that a tad lower?) for the upwind pass. Damn I love the sound of a Merlin! After that pass he left the area (which seemed to surprise the announcer a little) and that was the official end of the show.
Just as I was wondering who I’d have to talk with to get onto the flight line for some good photos, I realised that they’d dropped the barriers and we were allowed out with the aircraft. Wow. You have to appreciate that.
There was a huge line up to check out the Soko G2A “Galeb”, a Yugoslavian jet trainer that’s designed to operate from grass runways. Still flying under its Yugoslavian registration, it certainly did draw a crowd. As the only jet aircraft there it was like being the prettiest girl at the dance. Most people wanted to get their photo in the rear cockpit (mostly kids) and the pilot was on the wing helping them out. I managed to get some shots in the front cockpit and had a quick chat with pilot while this was going on. He’s been invited to the Avalon Airshow which is great as he’ll probably be parked on the warbirds tarmac where I’ll be working. Excellent!
I’ve loaded the photos I took into my photo gallery for you to enjoy. There were a number of aircraft there, including at least 3 Yaks. I just wish I’d grabbed a couple of shots of the Mustang in flight – oh well, maybe it’ll be at Avalon along with a few others like the 2007 show.
Some of the aircraft on display included:
- American Champion Super Decathlon (VH-JIR)
- Auster J1N (VH-SAH)
- CA18 Mustang
- CA22 Winjeel (VH-EDA)
- Cassutt Racer (VH-MXA)
- Cessna 206P (VH-TCZ)
- Cessna 337A (VH-NFW)
- Extra 300S (VH-XTR)
- Pacific Aerospace CT4A (VH-CTV)
- Piper PA22 (VH-RDB)
- Stinson L5B (VH-CDF)
- Soko G2A “Galeb” (YU-YEA)
- Yak 50 (VH-BYJ)
- Yak 52 x 3 (VH-RED, VH-YKK & VH-YLG)
There were other aircraft there, of course, including a few helicopters and lighties in the static area. After chatting with some of the folks working airside I headed out through the flight school to find out what the reason was for the airshow (“Oh, we just do them now and then”). After a quick chat I returned to the car and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with a friend who flies for Global Ballooning. We sat on his veranda and chatted as the afternoon drew to a close and a light aircraft practised aerobatics overhead. Not a bad way to spend a few hours.