Warbirds Online attended the “Flight of the Hurricane” at Scone airfield on the 12th of November 2016. This event was to mark the first public appearance of Hawker Hurricane Mk XII / IIB, Serial No 5481 C/N 60372 which had flown for the first time on 2nd of October 2016 after a thorough refurbishment over the last 2 years by Vintage Fighter Restorations, part of the Pay’s Group based at Scone, NSW.
The event was very well organized and a large crowd attended with some travelling from the UK, USA, New Zealand and Japan. On Friday the 11th most of the invited Warbirds began arriving at Scone with the ex -Pay Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII VH-HET, A58-758 being the crowd favorite as she returned “home” to where she had been rebuilt in 1982-85.
Other aircraft which flew in included Paul Bennet’s Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger VH-MML, North American T-28B Trojan, VH-FNO, CAC Wirraway VH-WWY, Wolf Pitts Pro, VH-PVB and Yakovlev Yak 52 VH-FRI. Other aircraft which flew in to join in the Air Show were the Historic Aircraft Restoration Society’s DHC4 Caribou A4-234, a privately owned 1935 De Havilland DH.85 Leopard Moth VH-UUL C/N 7111, DH60 Moth VH-UOL, 1935 De Havilland DH.83 Fox Moth C/N 4015, CT4s VH-CTQ and VH-WCT.
Pay’s also provided several aircraft from their Warbird collection to the display schedule including the magnificent CAC Mustang (VH-AUB) A68-107 and North American Harvard T6G VH-HAJ and also provided one of their Air Tractor Fire Boss float Fire Bombers which gave a dramatic demonstration of its capability for the crowd.
On Friday prior to the Air Display, the Hurricane flew once to practice for the next day whilst the Mustang took off late in the day to formate on the TAM Spitfire as it flew in. For those of us who can remember the days of the airshows in the 1980s and 1990s the sight of these two milestones of the Australian Warbird history together again was very special.
The weather forecast for the Air Show on the 12th was dismal and contributed to some people opting to stay home, however early in the event the skies cleared and we were treated to a fantastic day of flying.
The highlight of the day naturally was the unveiling of the Hurricane to the public who were free to wander through the Pay’s/Vintage Fighter Restorations hangar prior to the show to inspect the aircraft and restoration projects including Supemarine Spitfire Mk IXs MH415 and MH603 which will be next off the Vintage Fighter Restorations “production line”. At 11.00am the Air Display commenced with the unfurling of the Australian flag and a parachute drop.
The display moved ahead at great pace with Paul Bennet’s air display wowing the crowd along with the Avenger, T28, Wirraway and CAC Mustang all putting on very spirited performances with the Pays Fire Boss dramatically dropping the full 3200 liters of water on the Airfield. What a sight!
For most however, the highlight of the day came with the takeoff of the Hawker Hurricane in company with the TAM Spitfire. The two aircraft flew combined and single displays and were flown with high energy for the very appreciative crowd. The Hurricane in particular was very dramatic in its display and flown by Ross Pay in a perfect demonstration of the Hurricanes handling characteristics. The sight of the two aircraft flying down the runway together was also very memorable and a sight likely never seen before in Australia and the first time a Hurricane had been seen flying in Australia since 1944.
Following the flying, a lot of the crowd lingered inspecting the static parking area and the Hangar again. Special mention must be made of the tremendous effort on the part of Pays/ Vintage Fighter Restorations staff who worked tirelessly to bring the show to the admiring public and to the people of Scone who got behind the event so well.
We all hope this will be the start of more air displays of this type and our thanks go to Ross Pay and his team for allowing Warbirds Online to report on this great day.
© John Parker 2016