Last month we held the club Fly Victoria event visiting various destinations around Victoria. There were four aircraft and eight people involved.
It was not a very auspicious start with the first of the severe winter fronts arriving over southern Australia on our planned departure day of April 14th.
First stop was going to be at RAAF Base Pt. Cook near Melbourne to visit the RAAF museum, one of the best aviation museums in the country but it was not to be.
It rained cats and dogs all day with winds gusting up to 50 knots.
Plan B was invoked the next morning when the wind and rain had subsided sufficiently to consider committing aviation. This involved tracking from Adelaide direct to Benalla and all meet there for a lunchtime BBQ hosted by the Benalla aviation museum. During WW2 Benalla was a large military flying training school with over 100 Tiger Moths based there.
The museum is housed in an original wartime Bellman hangar and focuses on military training aircraft and the Air Training Cadets. Three of their aircraft are maintained in airworthy condition and it is possible to book an adventure flight.
We also browsed around the various glider hangars operated by the Gliding Club of Victoria.
That night four of us sampled the joys of sleeping in the ex military barracks, basic but a steal at just $30 per night!
The next day was a short hop northwards to Yarrawonga then on to Swan Hill. Although the wind had completely subsided by now we were left with fog, which eventually lifted to low cloud. This enabled a departure about an hour late.
At Yarrawonga we were treated to morning tea at Hangar 19, owned by Peter and Anne McLean. They operate a flying school concentrating on weight shift aircraft training and a very comprehensive aviation shop selling everything from aviation oil to GPS systems.
We departed for Swan Hill with steadily improving weather as we headed west. After arrival we organised a minibus to drive us to the Lake Boga military museum. Lake Boga was a secret seaplane maintenance base during WW2. The museum contains a fully restored Catalina flying boat as well as lots of other military paraphernalia.
In the evening we enjoyed an Italian meal followed by a trip to the Swan Hill Pioneer Village to take in the new laser light show. Very impressive.
The last day was beautiful weatherwise, and some of us took the opportunity to drop into Nhill on the way home. Another WW2 training base, now houses a museum showcasing an Avro Anson restoration. There is also a Tiger Moth and just last week a Wirraway arrived to add to the public display.
It is great to see local volunteers everywhere collect what had become farmers “junk” postwar and restore it to its former glory to be preserved for generations to come.
Chris Dearden and Barbara Jansen took lots of photographs during the trip and they are posted along with a report on the club website.
Last week, on Anzac day I had the privilege of flying in a three ship Tiger Moth formation over Adelaide city. It is not often one gets a view over the city at 1000’ from a vintage aircraft.
Next weeks guest speaker is a member we do not see a lot of these days but is still active in the aviation community. Harold Walton, a flight test engineer and flying instructor has put together a talk about his days as a flight test engineer during the introduction of the F111 into RAAF service. To my knowledge he is the only civilian to have completed the RAAF F111 conversion course. It should be very interesting.