The Avalon Air Show is a bi-annual event held at Avalon Airport in Victoria, Australia. I have been to all 11 of these shows to date (1992, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013) and as it is the only major international air event in Australia it always draws big crowds and some spectacular aerial displays. This years show was dominated by the presence of the USAF Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor demo team, the RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets (“Rhino“) and an incredible variety of aerobatic performances!
Classic jet fighters and warbirds were not forgotten in the air displays. Many of the former fighters of the RAAF flew throughout the day.
Matt Hall, “Australia’s own Top Gun” performed an impressive aerobatic display. He is a former fighter pilot and Red Bull racer. He has flown over 200 aircraft including those flown by the RAAF and USAF.
The USAF Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air dominance fighter was described by the demo team announcer as a “first look, first shoot, first kill” aircraft. “Bring the Freedom Thunder“!
The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes display team are always a great hit at air shows around the country. They fly their Pilatus PC-9 turbo-prop trainers with great precision.
Another training aircraft of the RAAF is the BAE Hawk 127 lead in fighter trainer. This nimble little jet put on an impressive display!
The RAAF transport fleet were also busy during the show with a static display of the newest aircraft on the RAAF inventory the Airbus KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT that is equipped with both drogue and boom refuelling mechanisms) and flying displays by the newest Boeing C-17 Globemaster III and Lockheed C-130J Hercules. A now retired but revered aircraft in RAAF service the De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou also graced our skies once again.
The Caribou has been in use for 45 years and only retired from RAAF service in 2009! It is now operated by the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society who also operate the spectacular Lockheed Super Constellation “Connie” (the first large prop driven airliner) which was rescued from the Arizona desert a few years back, restored and returned to the air!
Although they are a mainstay in European air shows Breitling aircraft are a rarity down under, so it was a welcome addition to Avalon 2013 to see a bit of old school barnstorming with the Breitling Wing Walkers! Although the strong cross winds meant their aircraft could not fly in formation, these daredevil ladies brought some glamour to the air show and created a lot of interest in the crowd too!
A unique display by the Royal Australian Air Force of some formation flying in the new Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (“Rhino“) and then a ground attack demo was a fantastic finale to the air show. This was the first time I had ever seen the Super Hornet flown in formation with other Super Hornets. Great stuff!
There was something for everyone at Avalon this year and with sunny blue skies it was a fantastic day (although on the Saturday that I attended strong cross winds unfortunately prevented the Supermarine Spitfire and CAC P-51D Mustang from flying). The air show organisers also announced some great news that at least 5 more air shows have been guaranteed by the Victorian state government. Bring on Avalon 2015!