On October 20th we celebrated a significant aviation centenary in South Australia. One hundred years ago Adelaide born brothers Sir Ross and Keith Smith successfully flew the first flight from England to Australia in under 30 days.
To recognise that amazing achievement a formation of 5 vintage aircraft departed Aldinga airfield, tracked up the coast and overflew all the significant places in Adelaide that related to the Smith brothers, as a tribute.
The role of substitute Vimy was played by Harvey McBain’s newly restored DH84 Dragon which led the formation. In left and right echelon position were 2 DH82 Tiger Moths flown by Tim Brownbridge and Steve Johnson. In line astern were 2 DHC-1 Chipmunks flown by Marc Michel and Jim Whalley.
I flew in Steve Johnson’s Tiger Moth as back up lead and navigator. The weather on the day was perfect and Adelaide ATC were most accommodating. The highlight was descending to 500 feet over Adelaide Airport and the Vimy memorial. A lot of video and photos were taken, some of which is already on our website. More will emerge in the coming weeks.
A lot of work goes into these events and thanks must go to Daryl Hill who organised all the clearances with CASA, and did the radio work from the lead aircraft. On the ground we had volunteers from our own club, the Honourable Company of Air Pilots, the Royal Aeronautical Society, The South Australian Aviation Museum and the Aldinga Aero Club. These folk assisted in car parking and crowd management at Aldinga and cooked up a delicious sausage sizzle for our return. At Adelaide Airport other volunteers assisted in managing the crowds who witnessed the flyover and got to go behind the glass walls for a rare up close viewing of the original Vimy Aircraft.
One of the legacies of this centenary year is raising public awareness of the historical significance of this flight. As astronaut Andy Thomas said, “it was the 1919 equivalent of man landing on the moon.”
As a result we will now see the Vimy moved from it’s current remote display hangar into a much more visible display area inside the new Adelaide Airport terminal extensions by 2021.
As most of you are aware we are having our Christmas dinner and awards night on Friday November 22nd and the Feathers Hotel. This means there is no regular November meeting. It will be a great night, with lots of prizes and fun. Tickets are available at $60 per person for a 3 course meal. Special dietary needs can be catered for. Greg Tabe is looking after ticket sales and payment may be made online to the club bank account. See below. Be sure to include your name on the transaction, and email Greg for any special dietary needs. Tickets must be ordered and paid for by midday on November 18th. Tickets may be collected on the night from Greg. Make sure you hang on to your tickets as they are numbered for the raffle draw. We expect to have enough prizes for one person in three to win.
There will be the award for the best club aircraft to have been completed and flown for the first time in the last 12 months. This year there are 4 contenders, the first time in club history I believe this has happened. Three of the 4 aircraft gathered at Murray Bridge airfield on Saturday where they were scrutinised by the dozen or so members present. They were Chris Moore’s Lancair 200, Richard Young’s scratch built Sonex, and John Heather’s Zenith Cruzer. Missing was Steve Biele’s Arion Lightning. They are each fantastic achievements in their own right and each is very different from the others, so the council will have a difficult task in choosing the outright winner.
I will also be announcing some new initiatives your club council has been working on for 2020.
So please, I encourage you to bring your partner along and support this event.
It’s a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realise that one’s safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract. – Astronaut Alan Shepard Jr.