Warbirds Online attended the Wings Over Illawarra (WOI) 2017 Airshow on the 6th and 7th of May. This show has built up a great reputation as one of Australia’s premier airshows over the past few years and this year’s edition was no exception.
From a Warbird perspective the first appearance in Australia of Focke-Wulf FW-190 VH-WLF at a display since it arrived in the country in August 2015 was much appreciated by the crowd on the Sunday. The aircraft did not fly on Saturday due to a minor mechanical issue but gave a fantastic demonstration on the Sunday. It was quite a sight to see Jeff Trappetts CAC CA-18 Mk21 Mustang and the Temora Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIIX VH-HET take off in sequence with the FW 190. This aircraft looks & sounds fantastic and will make a great addition to the WWII Warbird scene in Australia.
New to WOI included the BAC Jet Provost T5A VH-JPV of Zental Aviation, Andrew Carter from TAVAS arrived from Caboolture with the Fokker Dr1 replica and the new Se5A replica which both put on an excellent WWI “Dogfight”. At the other end of the age spectrum SIAI-Marchetti SRL S-211 put on an excellent display of this ex Singapore Air Force Jet trainer now registered VH-DZJ.
Also on flying display were Paul Bennet’s TBM Avenger, T28 and CAC Wirraway as well as locally based Boeing Stearman VH-ILW,L-39C Albatros VH-IOT and North American T6 Harvards VH-WHF and VH-NZX.
The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) is based at Albion Park so WOI is its “home” airshow. HARS put on an excellent flying and static display in support of the event and this year Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune A89-273 and de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou A4-210 were highlights of the flying program whilst in addition to all of the HARS fleet being on open static display the centerpiece was Convair CV 440 recently acquired from South Africa.
There was also an excellent range of aerobatic displays on view at the show including Nigel Arnot in the Sukhoi 26MX, Paul Bennet in the Wolf Pitts Pro, AOPA Freedom To Fly Formation Aerobatics Team, Russian Roolettes Formation Team, Fox Glider Aerobatic Display, Matt Hall in the Extra 300Land the Sky Aces Formation Aerobatics Display Team.
The RAAF and RAN were also well represented with static displays of RAN MRH90 Taipan, RAN S-70B-2 Seahawk and Army S-70 Blackhawk and excellent flying displays of the PC9s of the RAAF Roulettes Formation Aerobatic Team, Red Berets Parachute Display & Flag Drop, RAAF C-130J Hercules, RAN AS35BA Squirrel Pairs Display Team, Learjet 35 Formation Display, MH-60R Seahawk Romeo and RAAF C-17A Globemaster III as well as a pair of RAAF FA 19 Classic Hornets.
Another highlight of both days flying was Jeff Trappett in his CAC CA-27 Mk32 Sabre with the “Wall of Fire” Pyrotechnic explosion which certainly woke up the crowd.
Wings over the Illawarra airshow continues to grow- the displays, flying participants, organization and support arrangements are excellent and we can’t wait for the 2018 edition. Warbirds Online thanks the organizers, Bright Events Pty Ltd for their assistance as well as HARS for providing access to their facilities. We look forward to WOI 2018!
© John Parker 2017