PHOTO GALLERY: Eyes to the skies at Great Eastern Fly In
THOUSANDS poured through the gates of the Great Eastern Fly In today to celebrate aviation and its rich history at the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome.
With about 200 aircraft onsite and in the air, Rod Flockhart was among the pilots to wow the crowd with his aerobatic display of "three-dimensional freedom."
Drawing on his 30 years flying experience, Mr Flockhart performed stall-turns, loops, rolls and tail slides in his German Extra 300 unlimited two-seater aerobatic aeroplane during his 10 minute freestyle acrobatic routine.
"I love it, because precision aerobatics is the ballet of the sky," Mr Flockheart said.
"Events like this are important because we don't have a big aviation contingent in Australia like they do in a America… It's a rare and awesome thing to experience."
While the flight demonstrations, the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Museum and aerial displays were crowd favourites, continuing tomorrow (Sunday) the event also celebrates the 80th Anniversary of the Empire Air Training Scheme Base, No.1 Bombing and Gunnery School and No.1 Air Observers School which ran at RAAF Station Evans Head from 1940 until 1945)
Evans Head Heritage Aviation Museum president Ken Duplock said they had about one thousand people visit the museum on Saturday.
"Everyone is loving the aerial displays my personal favourite is the Spitfire display," he said.
"This hanger here is part of the original air force base from World War Two.
"In 2010 we got the F1-11 and turned it (the hanger) into a museum. During the Second World War, bomb aimers and gunners were trained here and went off and fought in mainly Britain in the bomber command - but also in North Africa and the Pacific."
As well the events educational aspects, all types of planes are on show over the weekend, from the famous Tiger Moth biplanes, ex-RAAF military planes, CT-4, Winjeel, Harvard, to the T28 Trojan, Extra 300, the Wolf Pitts Special, Scale Spitfire, MASH helicopters, Microlights, Seaplanes, Gyrocopters and more.
Displays from the Evans Head Living Museum focus on those part of the RAAF Station Evans Head, the 5500 trainees, as well as all those who trained and supported them, from cooks to engineers, parachute packers to truck drivers, RAAF and WAAAF personnel, as well as some great objects from that era.
Chair of the Evans Head Living Museum Dr Richard Gates said the Great Eastern Fly In was a chance for the public to reflect on those Australians who served in the second World War as well as a celebration of the rich history of aviation
"This is a living memorial with an enormous and powerful history that reaches into all of Australia," he said.
"This is still a working airfield and is used extensively during bushfires and floods."
The event also boasts markets, displays, competitions, and kids activities such as face painting, a jumping castle, spray zone and fire trucks on display.
The Model Aeronautical Association of Australia will showcase three replica model jets, taking the 1/6th Scale F16 Falcon in the Belgium display Scheme "Dark Knight" into the sky.
For more info head to http://www.greateasternflyin.com/