The Great Eastern Fly-In air display was held at Evans Head Airfield in Northern NSW from 10 to 12 January 2014. There was a particularly large number of Warbirds for a Fly-In event and it was well supported by a host of local and visiting aircraft.
Warbirds Online photographers attended the air display on the Saturday and a great time was had by all.
The air display is held on the Former RAAF field which is approximately 1 km (0.62 miles) north of the town of Evans Head NSW. During World War II the airfield was the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Evans Head hosting RAAF No 1 Bombing and Gunnery School and the RAAF No 1 Air Observers School. During the most intensive phase of its operations the airfield featured 3 asphalt runways and one grass strip and was the biggest training facility in the southern hemisphere. Warbird aircraft such as Fairey Battles, DAP Beauforts and Beaufighters were a common sight along with Airspeed Oxfords and many other types.
Warbirds in attendance on Saturday included the Rolph-Smith fleet from Archerfield Qld including North American T28 Trojan VH-TRO and Yakovlev Yak 52 VH-YRO, the later joined with two visiting Pitts specials to put on a great aerobatic display in very dissimilar types.
The T28 gave its usual spirited display as well as being available throughout the day for joy flights. Another display and joy flight Warbird was the always popular CAC Mustang VH-MFT from Caboolture which never fails to impress with the Merlin “Growl” and aggressive performance – pure magic.Two CAC Wirraways were in attendance VH-MFW from Caboolture and VH-WWY and they performed a great dual display in a RAAF WWII Memorial Fly Past for the crowd with DH82A. The group sounded great as well as being impressive performers.
3 North American T6 Harvards also attended; Caboolture based VH-NAG (fitted with a 3 blade prop), the beautifully restored VH-LNT (Finished in SAAF Colors) based at Toowoomba and VH-DGP in its Camouflage Green/Brown pattern looking immaculate. NAG and LNT put on a wonderful dual display which was another real crowd pleaser.
One particular aircraft which we travelled to the event to see was a personal favorite, the Grumman TBM-3 Avenger VH-MML, which was very much anticipated by the crowd. This Warbird put on a fantastic display illustrating the excellent handling characteristics of the type and was really popular with the photographers as it cruised past. I loved the solid look and feel of this aircraft and the tight maneuverability demonstrated in flight and on the ground; the wing folding on the move is a whole display in itself. We will be publishing another article on this wonderful Warbird as a special news feature in its own right.
Last of the Warbird types was the 1948 Grumman Mallard VH-CQA based on the airfield. This aircraft presented a stately display cruising around the circuit and was real sight to behold.
There were the usual a Fly-In types in attendance including a number of Bell C47 Choppers; really Warbirds in their own right. Also the NSW based rescue AS.365N2 helicopter of the AS.365N2 helicopter of Northern Region S.L.S.A. Helicopter Rescue Service flew a display and was open to the general public for viewing. There were also the usual assortment of ultra lights, autogyros and some pretty impressive model aircraft.
Much of the crowd also took advantage of the show to visit the newly opened Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Museum which is located on the airfield in a re-clad and refurbished Bellman Hanger from WW11. Inside there are many interesting displays and aircraft including an F111 (A8-147) which recently arrived. The Warbird and aviation collection will no doubt grow over the coming years and is a real asset to the region.
The days air display schedule was brisk with no stoppage in activity and was well worth a visit. I can highly recommend the Great Eastern Fly-In air display at Evans Head to all Warbird enthusiasts. Look out for the next event in 2015.
© John Parker 2014