- Australian International Airshow
The Australian International Airshow is a large
airshowheld every two years at Avalon Airport, between Melbourneand Geelong, Victoria. It has been said by air show organisers to be the largest airshow in the southern hemisphere. It regularly features planes from the United States Navyand the United States Air Force.
The first air display at Avalon was in 1957 when the head of the Port Melbourne
Government Aircraft FactoryG.J.Churcher OAM decided to put on a display for the employees. As the employees at the factory only ever saw the individual parts of the aircraft it was decided that there would be a display for the workers at Avalon to see the finished version of their work.
In 1988 as part of the
1988 Bicentennial of Australia, the first major airshow in Australia was held in Sydney Australia at the RAAFAir Force base at Richmond in the outer suburbs of Sydney. It was organised by members of the Schofields Flying Club, which had been running small-scale airshows at the small strip at Schofields Airfield.
In February 1991 a second airshow was held at Richmond, to celebrate the RAAF Anniversary. This was the last airshow run by the remnants of Schoe's, who provided the prime impetus to get the Aerospace Foundation of Australia up and running. The Foundation is responsible for forming AirShows DownUnder.
The Avalon airshows began commercially when Airshows DownUnder was formed, after the success of the
1988 Bicentennial of AustraliaAirshow and the RAAF anniversary airshow.
The 1992 Avalon airshow, held in October, more commonly known as the Avalon 'Boat Show' after heavy rains almost washed Avalon off the map. The flight display line was perpendicular to the runway.
The move to Avalon in 1992 was hoped to be the first many locations, however the weather caused financial difficulties that resulted in the airshow remaining in Avalon for many years.
The 1995 Avalon airshow was held on March 21-26.
The 1997 Avalon airshow was held on 18-23 February, with an attendance of 171,168 and a $63 million contribution to the Victorian economy. [ [http://www.tourismvictoria.com.au/index.php?option=displaypage&Itemid=232&op=page&SubMenu= Australian International Airshow and Aerospace Expo 1997] ]
There were 472 exhibitors from 26 countries in 1999, which included a huge
B-52bomber. It was opened by Victorian Premier Jeff Kennetton 16 February 1999.
It was held on 11-17 February 2001, which celebrated Australia's 100 years of federation and 80 years of the
Royal Australian Air Force. About 100 United States Air Forcepilots took part in the airshow in 2001. Planes included were a B-1, two F-15s, two F-16s, a B-52 and a C-17.
In 2003, there were 440 exhibitors from 30 countries. There were more than six hundred aircraft on the field. The central theme was the Centenary of Flight dating from the
Wright brothersat Kitty Hawk. It included replicas from the early 20th century, such as a 1910 Hanriotreplica and 1911 Curtiss Model DPusher replica. There were also Tiger Moths, Sopwith Pup, Bleriot XIand a scale version of a Wright Flyer Band other similar aircraft. For jets it had a MiG-15, Meteor and Vampire. Some American planes such as the F-117 had been cancelled, due to possible anti-war protests. There was a model made of woodand fibreglassof an F-35. A Chinese military delegation was given a tour of the airshow.
The theme in 2005 was "The Shape of Things to Come". The airshow increased Geelong's economy by $15.6 million. [ [http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/newmedia.nsf/0/628bbf669b194901ca2570850002489b?OpenDocument BRUMBY ANNOUNCES GRANT FOR AVALON AIRPORT UPGRADE] ] It was held from 15-20 March 2005, which featured many planes from
ultralights to large military aircraft, such as:
F-16 Fighting Falcon
General Dynamics F-111
The theme of the 2007 airshow (held between 20-25 March) was "Breaking the Barriers", as it was the 60th anniversary of the breaking of the
sound barrierby Chuck Yeager(who himself was the guest of honour at the show). It was also the 60th year of the United States Air Force, which once again participated largely in the event. The F/A-18F Super Hornet display was made possible by United States Navyaircraft from VFA-102off of the USS Kitty Hawk. Military aircraft featured included the F/A-18 Hornet, General Dynamics F-111, F/A-18F Super Hornet, BAe Hawk 127, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, C-17 Globemaster III, C-27J Spartanand C-130 Hercules, along with military helicopters including the S-70 Black Hawk and Eurocopter Tiger. The RAAF's first C-17 Globemaster IIItransport was on display and there was a USAF B-52 bomber flyover. The Roulettes, the RAAF's aerobatic display team, also took part in their Pilatus PC-9aircraft.
A large number of civil aircraft were on display, which included modern-day light and sports aircraft, along with large, modern jet airliners including the
Airbus A320, Boeing 737and Boeing 747. A large number of warbirds and older aircraft also took part, such as the P-51 Mustang, P-40 Kittyhawk, Douglas DC-3and Lockheed Super Constellation.
It is claimed that there were about 1,000 aircraft on display in total at the 2007 show, with over 200,000 spectators attending.
The 2009 Australian International Airshow will be held from March 10th to the 15th.It is rumored that at the 2009 Airshow, there will be a range of new aircraft; including the
Airbus A380, F-35 Lightning IIand the F-22 Raptorand the Boeing 787may be another surprise.
* [http://www.airshow.net.au/ Official Australian International Airshow Website]
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