The Avalon Australian International Airshow 2017 had many aviation highlights but the key flying displays of the show were those featuring many of the aircraft in the RAAF, Royal Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy air fleets. These included older and brand new aircraft currently in operation or soon to reach operational status in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Super Hornet & Growler
Part of the show opener was an impressive display by an RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet aka “Rhino” multi-role fighter. Unfortunately I was caught a fair way off from the flight line as I was checking out static displays at this stage but managed to get a reasonable look at the flying performance (I missed the Royal Australian Navy AS350B Squirrel helicopter duo formation performance that soon followed). On the ground were static displays of another armed Super Hornet and importantly a brand new RAAF asset, a Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft variant of the Super Hornet (I love the vicious looking engine intake covers!).
Hawk, Tiger, Taipan & King Air
A zippy performance by an RAAF BAE Hawk 127 lead-in fighter jet trainer kept people entertained as did the impressive tactical helicopter display by Royal Australian Army Aviation helicopter assets. A pair of ARH Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters and MRH90 Taipan Multi-Role Helicopters flew close along the crowd line to show off their capabilities. They were soon followed by a unique formation flying display by a four ship group of RAAF Beech King Air 350 light transports.
The army aviators were soon followed by a unique formation flying display by a four ship group of RAAF Beechcraft King Air 350 light transports. 8 King Air 350 aircraft are operated by RAAF Number 38 Squadron in a logistical role and by Number 32 Squadron at East Sale as the School of Air Warfare’s training aircraft to conduct training in roles such as navigation, low-level tactical fast-jet operations, maritime patrol and air battle management (depending on their role students may sit in the co-pilot’s seat or in the rear of the aircraft at specially fitted consoles).
My next post will cover the ADF Showcase operational capability display featuring RAAF, Royal Australian Army Aviation and Royal Australian Navy aircraft. It was a fantastic part of the air show!