Warbirds Online attended the Brisbane Valley Airshow at Watts Bridge on the 26th and 27th of August 2016. Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield is a historic ex WWII airfield and is located about 130 kms North West of Brisbane, Qld. The airfield houses an eclectic range of Warbirds, classic veteran aircraft and general aviation machines and sits in a beautiful rural valley overlooked by mountains. For some years the airfield has hosted some very impressive fly-ins however on this occasion it was the first time it had been the venue for a fully-fledged airshow. The airshow strives to showcase South East Queensland based aircraft to highlight the diversity and richness of the local Queensland Aviation scene.
There was an excellent attendance of aircraft over the two days of the event , both Warbirds and classic historic aircraft including two Mustangs and Yak3U Steadfast as well as several North American T28 Trojans, Harvards, Grumman Mallard VH- CQA and Grumman TBM Avenger VH-VTB, CAC CAC Winjeal, and Beech T34 Mentor to name a few. The Classic aircraft were also a very diverse and interesting collection including many DeHavilland Moth variants, including de Havilland DH.85 Leopard Moth VH-UUL, 1939 Waco YKS-7 NC20905, Fairchild 24W-41A VH-CMB Cessna’s and rare types including L200D Morava VH-OKP.
The flying program featured some excellent displays by the Warbirds and classics – in particular the WWII fighter display by two Mustangs P51D VH-FST and CAC Mustang VH-MFT and the Yak 3U was very well received by the large crowds.
A scale homebuilt FW190 and Spitfire also put on spirited dogfight performances and were very convincing. The FW190 especially really looks the part in its German camouflage scheme.
Another unique fly-past was the combination of the Czechoslovakia built Aero Vodochody L39 Albatros and L200D Morava which contrasted with each other very well. The beautifully presented Morava proved to be a very agile and fast performer alongside the jet powered Albatross.
The highlight of the second day was the much anticipated display by an RAAF C17. The huge RAAF transport flew in across the strip illustrating its size and nimble handling and then did several passes around the surrounding hills with the trees as a backdrop – it was a not to be missed sight and on completion did the types signature rapid climb out over the airfield to much applause from the huge crowd.
This was the first Air Show at Watts Bridge airfield with the Airfield being recently acquired by a local group who intend to develop the field and hold more shows in the future in order to raise funds to contribute to the maintenance and upgrading of the strip. The first show was a great success and we wish them well for the future.
Warbirds Online was fortunate to be able to fly into the airshow in the Caboolture based Cessna O1 Bird Dog VH-XVB under the capable hands of pilot Noel Spalding. Our thanks go to him, Ralph Cusack and Ron Lee for making the trip possible and we hope to return as soon as possible for a future air event at the beautiful Watts Bridge.
© John Parker 2016