Vimy to Fifth Generation in 100 Years.

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RAAF Base Edinburgh has just commemorated 100 years of Aviation in South Australia with a worthy showcase of military aviation combining civil flying with historic defence force aircraft.

This weekend’s Air Show – the first for 12 years at this base, salutes the centenary of the epic flight in November 1919 of notable South Australians Sir Ross Smith and his brother, Sir Keith Smith, who flew from England to Australia in 1919 in a converted war-surplus Vickers Vimy bomber, to win the Great Air Race.

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The public had the opportunity to see some of the Australian Defence Force’s most advanced military aircraft displayed in over four hours of flying including: 3 Squadron RAAF’s fifth-generation fighter aircraft, the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, with a freshly-minted display flown by Pilot Wardy; P-8A Poseidon (Edinburgh is home to the mighty 11 Squadron RAAF, the storied maritime patrol unit), the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU), also based here, had aircraft in the static park including two PC-21s delivered that week, while the RAAF Roulettes appeared with their newly developed Pilatus PC-21 routine.

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Here were 1 Sqn flying their F/A-18F Super Hornet and Classic Hornets from 75 Squadron Magpies, Security Dogs, defence and science technologies showcasing advances in aviation technology during the past century, all popular with youngsters and aviation enthusiasts of all ages. 6 Sqn had an EA-18G growler electronic warfare version of the Super Hornet in the static park. Historic Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) were present with a good selection of their Illawarra, NSW- based warbirds, the SP-2H Neptune, Catalina, Caribou and recent addition, Orion; though the Dakota remained unserviceable at Mildura, Vic (in good company – a Navy 816 Squadron MH-60R Seahawk also sat out the airshow awaiting repairs). One example, as flown by 816 squadron, did fly in the display over the weekend.

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RAAF Transport aircraft (strategic and tactical) included 35 Sqn Alenia C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter, 36 Sqn C-17A Globemaster III, 37 Sqn C-130J Hercules, and special appearance by a visiting Royal Air Force 70 Sqn A400M.

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Private warbirds including Australia’s only flying Hawker Hurricane, and a North Africa-themed RAAF P-40E Kittyhawk, were flown by well-known pilots such as Paul Bennet and Ross Pay. Temora aviation Museum (TAM) brought a stable of warbirds and jets (Gloster Meteor, Commonwealth Boomerang (of which two were flown together in the display), Spitfire Mk.XVI, the world’s only airworthy Lockheed Hudson, and Cessna Dragonfly. Two Mustangs, VH-MFT Snifter of the Mustang Fighter Trust and Geoff Trappett’s A68-118 made another “rare pair!” (if only on the ground). There was even a specially-painted logo-jet Fokker 70 of Alliance Airlines, featuring images of the celebrated four-man Vimy crew. Rescue aircraft were also represented in the form of a Bell 412EP and AMSA Bombardier CL-604.

During the week, to publicise the airshow’s local connections, 75Sqn RAAF, conducted a three-ship formation flight around Adelaide, with F/A-18A and -B Classic Hornets, currently based at RAAF Base Tindal, NT. Pilots for this flight originally hailed from Adelaide, Port Pirie and the Flerieu Peninsula.

Photorecon.net made the hike up the Bluff at Encounter Bay, near Victor Harbor to bring you the included image taken in stunning sunshine (minutes after a passing squall), of the formation flight, at 11.40am, over the ocean at Encounter Bay.

Our thanks to the team at RAAF 28 Sqn Media Ops for making us welcome, and to the teams and Squadrons appearing, for their professionalism and availability over the weekend.

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Dion Makowski

A keen photographer from an early age, Dion developed a genuine interest in all things aviation. After cutting his teeth on historic aircraft restoration and dabbling in model plane building, Dion took things further with a passion for collecting 1:1 scale and helped establish an aviation metal fabrication shop. With a former museum colleague, together they formed the Clyde North Aeronautical Preservation Group in 1989. Many years later, Dion published the Aviation Historical Society's of Australia's Journal Aviation Heritage and News and is currently active on the Society's committee. Today, he concentrates on aviation photo-journalism, specialising in current ADF activities and as always, fast jets, warbirds and antique aircraft historical research, remain his core passions.

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