Wings Over Illawarra 2017: Warbirds Keeping History Alive

Wings Over Illawarra 2017 had plenty of great flying displays and no air show is complete without historic warbirds taking to the sky. There were some issues during the Saturday flying on May 6th, 2017, which meant not everything flew as planned but what did take to the sky still made it a fun day (I wish the Hawker Hurricane and Yakovlev Yak-3U had made it to the show. They were both in the official program but as is the way, mechanical issues etc. can change the best made plans). As the day rolled on the sunshine had given way to clouds and an ever darkening sky but luckily the flying went on.

HARS Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune

The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) former RAAF Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune (A89-273) maritime patrol aircraft was a big part of the opening to the show. No. 10 Squadron operated 12 P2V-7’s, later redesignated SP-2H from 1962 to 1977 until replaced by the Lockheed P-3C Orion. The Neptune is such a beautiful looking aircraft (more photos can be seen in my previous post)!

HARS ex-RAAF Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune maritime patrol aircraft at Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune – 1960’s to 1970’s era RAAF maritime patrol aircraft at Wings Over Illawarra 2017

TAVAS World War One Flyers

The Australian Vintage Aviation Society (TAVAS) sent two aircraft down from Queensland for the air show. Their replica/reproduction Imperial German Air Service “Red Baron” Manfred von Richthofen (80 victories) Fokker DR.I Dreidecker and Australian Flying Corps (AFC) Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a scout fighters put on some great World War One era simulated air combat. The S.E.5a D6995 is in the markings of Australian air ace Lt. Frank Alberry of C Flight, No.2 Squadron AFC from September 1918.

Fokker DR.I TAVAS Fokker DR.I Dreidecker Wings Over Illawarra 2017
TAVAS Fokker DR.I Dreidecker take-off Wings Over Illawarra 2017
TAVAS Fokker DR.I Dreidecker Wings Over Illawarra 2017
The “Red Baron” flies again!
TAVA S.E.5a Wings Over Illawarra 2017
The TAVAS S.E.5a D6995 is in the markings of Australian air ace Lt. Frank Alberry of C Flight, No.2 Squadron AFC from September 1918
TAVA S.E.5a Wings Over Illawarra 2017
TAVAS S.E.5a D6995
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 TAVAS Fokker DR.I S.E.5a
A duel between the Knights of the Sky
TAVAS Fokker DR.I Dreidecker Wings Over Illawarra 2017
TAVAS Fokker DR.I Dreidecker – an iconic World War One triplane design

Before joining the AFC in June 1918 Lt. Frank Alberry won a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) whilst in the 8th Infantry Battalion AIF during fighting in the Battle of Pozieres on the Western Front in July 1916 but later lost his right leg with an above knee amputation due to wounds suffered in the battle. His DCM award notice stated: “For conspicuous gallantry in action. He controlled four machine guns with great skill and determination, and did fine work with them throughout. He was wounded while being relieved from holding a strong post, and has since lost his leg.” – Commonwealth Gazette, No. 62, 19 April 1917)!

Following his recovery, Alberry requested permission to transfer to the Flying Corps, which amazingly given his physical status was granted and he began flight training in the summer of 1917! Alberry had an artificial leg fitted in England and was wounded again later in 1918. He ended the war credited with 7 German air to air victories –  2 Fokker DR.I’s and 5 Fokker D.VII’s.

TAVAS Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a & Fokker DR.I Dreidecker Wings Over Illawarra 2017
TAVAS Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a & Fokker DR.I Dreidecker

Spitfire & Mustang

Two RAAF stalwarts of the Australian warbird scene graced the skies over Illawarra, a Supermarine Spitfire (A58-758) and CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang (A68-118). The Temora Aviation Museum Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII “Grey Nurse” was built in England in 1944, it was the last Spitfire delivered to the RAAF in 1945 but was not required to join the flight as the war was ending. Post war it spent decades mostly in storage until purchased by the legendary Col Pay in 1982 and restored to flight in 1985. Purchased by the current owner in 2000 it bears the markings of RAAF ace and Wing Commander R.H. (Bobby) Gibbes OAM DSO DFC.

The Temora Aviation Museum Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII takes off at Wings Over Illawarra 2017
The Temora Aviation Museum Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII takes off at Illawarra
CAC Mustang take-off Wings Over Illawarra 2017
CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang take-off
RAAF legends - Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII and CAC Mustang Wings Over Illawarra 2017
RAAF legends – Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII and CAC Mustang
RAAF legends - Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII and CAC Mustang Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Rolls Royce Merlin powered beauties
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII and CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII and CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII "Grey Nurse" (A58-758)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII “Grey Nurse” (A58-758)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII "Grey Nurse" (A58-758)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII “Grey Nurse” (A58-758)

The CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang (A68-118) was delivered to the RAAF in 1948 and served until put into storage in 1955 and sold off in 1958. Flown in private hands from 1959 to 1960 it was grounded and did not fly again until 1981. Today it is owned by Jeff Trappett and is always welcome at air shows where it is great to see a fighter plane manufactured in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation.

Wings Over Illawarra 2017 CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang (A68-118)- inverted barrell roll
CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang (A68-118) – inverted barrel roll
CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang (A68-118) Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Classic Mustang lines
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang (A68-118) and Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII "Grey Nurse" (A58-758)
CAC CA-18 Mk.21 Mustang (A68-118) and Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII “Grey Nurse” (A58-758)

FW 190A-8 Flug Werk “Butcher Bird”

Unfortunately due to some mechanical issues the Albury based Focke-Wulf (Flug Werk GmbH) FW 190A-8 (1944 Werk Nummer 173056) did not fly on the Saturday I was at Wings Over Illawarra (intended to be her public flying debut). It was great to hear its engine fire up but when it shut down again and we saw it being towed back to the hangar, the disappointment was palpable across the crowd. Those lucky to be there on Sunday did get to see it fly though (I will have to keep an eye out for a future flying display). The aircraft sports the markings of JG 54, III Gruppe, 2 Staffel Commanding Officer Hans Dortenman (38 victories in 150 combat missions).

FW 190A-8 Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Unfortunately due to some mechanical issues the Albury based Focke-Wulf (Flug Werk GmbH) Fw 190A-8 Werk Nummer 173056 (1944) did not fly on the Saturday I was at Wings Over Illawarra (it did on Sunday) – It sports the markings of JG 54, III Gruppe, 2 Staffel Commanding Officer Hans Dortenman

The FW 190A-8 has changed hands a number of times since its remains were recovered from Reims, France in 1989 (the stripped remains were buried in the rail yards there). Eventually in 2002 it ended up Don Hansen in America and PAI Aero were tasked with the restoration project with the aid of Flug Werk GmbH in Germany who produced major components and parts using original Focke-Wulf diagrams and specifications (from what I have read, very few original parts/components were used in the restoration – less than 10%). The engine fitted is a Russian designed 14 cylinder 1900HP Ash 82T not the original BMW 801D engine. The FW 190A-8 flew for the first time on October 9th, 2011 and underwent extensive engine tests and flight testing until 2014. By July 2015 it was in Australia after being purchased by Raptor Aviation P/L in Albury, ready for reassembly and was flying again by November 9th, 2015.

Paul Bennet Airshows Avenger & Trojan

Paul Bennet’s aircraft have dominated most air shows I have seen in Australia this year and Wings Over Illawarra 2017 included a number of aircraft from his stable. From the warbird perspective he flew his 1943 Grumman (General Motors) TBM-3E Grumman Avenger (Bureau Number 53857) torpedo bomber and 1954 North American T-28 Trojan trainer (Bureau Number 138122). The Avenger is painted in the markings of Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) which operated from USS Bunker Hill as part of Carrier Air Group 8 (CVG-8) from March 1944 and the T-28 Trojan is in US Army markings as it was transferred to them from the US Navy.

Wings Over Illawarra 2017 Grumman (General Motors) TBM-3E Grumman Avenger
Grumman (General Motors) TBM-3E Grumman Avenger
Wings Over Illawarra North American T-28 Trojan trainer
North American T-28 Trojan trainer

More Trainers

North American T-6 Texan/Harvard trainers and their Aussie cousin the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) CA-3 Wirraway conducted some spirited flying along with the Russian Roolettes flying Yakovlev Yak-52 and Nanchang CJ-5 trainers. Their Cold War jet trainer counterparts, an RAF BAC Jet Provost T5A and Czech built Aero L-39 Albatros took to the skies as did a more recent former Republic of Singapore Air Force SIAI-Marchetti S.211 jet trainer (the latter were operated in Australia by the Republic of Singapore Air Force).

North American T-6 Texan/Harvards & CAC Wirraway Wings Over Illawarra 2017
North American T-6 Texan/Harvard & CAC Wirraway
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 North American T-6G Texan & CAC Wirraway
North American T-6G Texan & CAC Wirraway
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 North American T-6G Texan & CAC Wirraway
North American T-6G Texan & CAC Wirraway
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 Russian Roolettes - Yak-52 and Nanchang CJ-5 eastern bloc trainers
Russian Roolettes – Yak-52 and Nanchang CJ-5 eastern bloc trainers take-off
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 Russian Roolettes - Yak-52 and Nanchang CJ-5 eastern bloc trainers
Russian Roolettes
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 - Russian Roolettes - Missing Man
Russian Roolettes – Missing Man
Wings Over Illawarra 2017 RAF BAC Jet Provost T5A, Czech built Aero L-39 Albatros and former Republic of Singapore Air Force SIAI-Marchetti S.211
RAF BAC Jet Provost T5A, Czech built Aero L-39 Albatros and former Republic of Singapore Air Force SIAI-Marchetti S.211

CAC Sabre

The sky was quite dark when the former RAAF CAC CA-27 Mk32 Sabre (A94-342) took flight. Seeing and hearing this Rolls Royce Avon powered jet fly was fantastic but my photos were so dark they do not do the aircraft justice!

Wings Over Illawarra 2017 CAC CA-27 Mk.32 Sabre
CAC CA-27 Mk.32 Sabre take-off

This CAC Sabre was delivered to the RAAF in 1960 and operated until 1972. It seems to have been an aerobatic favourite having flown at times with various squadron aerobatic teams – No. 75 Squadrons Black Diamonds Aerobatic Team, No. 76 Squadron Black Panthers Aerobatic Team and Red Diamonds Aerobatic Team!

Grey Skies - CAC CA-27 Mk.32 Sabre Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Grey Skies – CAC CA-27 Mk.32 Sabre

Presented by the Australian Government to the Indonesian Air Force in 1973, the CAC Sabre crashed during take-off whilst on its final delivery flight in Densapar, Bali. The engine was removed for investigation on the failure and the rest of the aircraft was returned to Australia to become an instructional airframe. It was sold to Jeff Trappett in 1982 and following a long restoration, was returned to flight in September 2013.

 

References:

Australian War Memorial – Frank Alberry DCM

The Aerodrome – Frank Alberry

Warbird News – Australia Has It’s First Flying Fw-190!

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Wings Over Illawarra 2017: Warbirds Keeping History Alive

  1. Another awesome photo set – thanks for sharing! It’s amazing how small those WW1 aircraft are. I saw some DR.1’s on static display in Sir Peter Jackson’s air museum near Blenheim. Not large. I thought they might be 3/4 scale replicas… but they weren’t.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s