Australia’s Few and The Battle of Britain

It was a battle fought entirely in the air and the defeat of the Luftwaffe by “The Few” was a turning point in World War II.

But what do we know about the Australians who were also involved in this major battle? Continue reading

Review: Queensland Air Museum Open Cockpit Weekend.

Aircraft or aviation related events are just one of the ways David and I choose to spend our weekends, holidays and any other free time we have when not at work.

But the Queensland Air Museum‘s Open Cockpit and 40th anniversary celebration was one of the most well organised events we’ve ever been to.

Celebrating 40 years of the Queensland Air Museum with the aircraft that started it all - a Canberra bomber.

Celebrating 40 years of the Queensland Air Museum with the aircraft that started it all – a Canberra bomber.

Let’s start with parking at the event. In our experience, it can either be really easy and straight forward or downright frustrating.

Take for instance the time we left Avalon (just as spectators, no media pass) one year in the dark, only to find that all the markers had been removed and with little to no light on the subject, let’s say it took us a while to actually leave the car park.

This wasn’t the case at QAM, where we were quickly directed to a park. If you couldn’t get a park near the museum, shuttle buses were running from a nearby car parking site which meant no long walks.

Getting into the event. Regardless of whether we go as media or as general spectators, the experience can be pretty much the same. But not so on the weekend. We did attend as media and found in no time we were in and directed to the media person who had us briefed and in an F-111 cockpit before we could say hi.

I’d love to know how the general crowd felt about entry, but it looked like it flowed well and the volunteers were numerous and extremely helpful.

Tiger Moths galore! These two were especially pretty.

Tiger Moths galore! These two were especially pretty.

Like everyone else, we love our food. And having great food is a bonus when working or just standing on a flight line for hours sometimes days.

The best we’ve had so far would’ve been at the Centenary of Military Aviation Airshow at Point Cook (Victoria) in March. To be fair, not all of us can be Melbourne but we weren’t expecting that anything would come close to being perfection like that airshow did.

But from the Vietnam Veterans’ sausage sizzle, to the Vietnamese pork noodle salad, the wood-fired pizza and I didn’t even get close to the dumplings – the food at QAM, came pretty close to Point Cook. The lines were kept moving and everyone seemed pretty happy and relaxed.

There was plenty of information about what was coming up during the day. The loud speakers weren’t trying to break decibel records and you could hear every announcement clearly and at the right volume.

So what were our highlights?

1)The Canberra bomber adorned 40th birthday cake

2) Getting Michael Veitch to sign his books and put on his one man show, Flak (genius!)

3) Checking out what had flown in or on display at the Caloundra Aerodrome (just wanted to use that in a sentence).

4) For me, I can’t not mention sitting in the back seat of the Wirraway while it did its engine run. Might have taken three goes, but we got there in the end – poor old girl.

Rhianna was a passenger of Matt Denning while he did the engine run in the Wirraway

Rhianna was a passenger of Matt Denning while he did the engine run in the Wirraway

5) Seeing a De Havilland Dove do a random fly by just be a part of the celebrations. Beautiful machine!

The only thing we would say is that the formal anniversary proceedings probably needed to be in an area of its own or at a different time. It was lovely listening to speeches between the Ventura and the Huey but the walk through traffic made it difficult to concentrate on what was being said and knowing where was best to stand.

After seeing the well oiled machine at work, it’s no wonder that the Queensland Air Museum has lasted 40 years.

We’ll definitely put this on our annual calendar of events to attend next year.

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