GROUNDED: Evans Head memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Museum president Rod Kinnish in the new bomber cockpit at the Evans Head site. Photo Marc Stapelberg
GROUNDED: Evans Head memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Museum president Rod Kinnish in the new bomber cockpit at the Evans Head site. Photo Marc Stapelberg Marc Stapelberg

Evans Head aerodrome adds Bomber and simulator to collection

IT'S been a big second year for the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome which has seen the acquisition of the world's only fully intact B2 Canberra Bomber cockpit and the installation of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter's simulator.

Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome president Rod Kinnish said the cockpit, which will be on display at the Great Eastern Fly-In in January, was a huge win for the new museum.

"This was the very first of the nuclear strike bombers developed in England by the British," he said.

"This is unbelievable to get this because it allows people to actually climb inside the cockpit and see the conditions and the environment that the bombardiers, the pilots, the navigators were working in during that cold war period."

Before the Canberra Bomber, the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome was purportedly the largest Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) training base in the Southern Hemisphere during the Second World War.

More than 5000 trainees passed through the base which was home to the RAAF No 1 Bombing and Gunnery School.

Of those, about 1100 lost their lives both in training and in battle.

Bomber on show at Evans Head: British Electric Canberra B-2 Bomber on display at Evans Head.
Bomber on show at Evans Head: British Electric Canberra B-2 Bomber on display at Evans Head.

"After the war the Canberra Bombers were used extensively on the weapons range down here to train people," Mr Kinnish said.

"These are iconic because the people of Evans Head and surrounding areas remember seeing these things flying over, dropping very large, heavy weapons at low level and hearing the thud resonating through the town of the explosion."

As well as the Canberra Bomber cockpit, the museum has also added the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter's Dauphin simulator to its rapidly growing display collection.

Mr Kinnish said museum visitors would be able to climb into the seat and fly the simulator when the display is fully set up for the Great Eastern Fly-in.

He said the simulator used an identical control system to the real Westpac Helicopter and would be housed in a helicopter cockpit bubble with participants able to fly missions over a simulated Evans Head.

Leah gives helicopter simulator a try: The Northern Star's Leah White gives the new Westpac Helicopter simulator at Evans Head Aerodrome a try.
Leah gives helicopter simulator a try: The Northern Star's Leah White gives the new Westpac Helicopter simulator at Evans Head Aerodrome a try.

"We've been planning and working hard for two years now to get a simulator in here and this partnership with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter came at the perfect time," he said.

The Great Eastern Fly-In will be held on January 9 and 10.

The Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 4pm. Entry is $5 or $15 for a family.