November 20 - 26, 2022: Issue 563


Wings Over Illawarra 2022: Some Brilliant New + Old Machines + Some History Of Pittwater's 'Aces'

Photos by Joe Mills and LAC Chris Tsakisiris

Joe Mills, who usually does a lot of the walks through our local reserves and bush areas with his mate Kevin Murray, went further afield over the weekend of November 12-13th 2022 - to the Wings over Illawarra airshow that happens at Shellharbour Airport, which is also home to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) Aviation Museum. The great people there are 'Dedicated to keeping Australian Aviation History "in the air" '.

Joe says it was a brilliant airshow, with something for all ages. As so many of us here are keen on all kinds of aircraft, we share some of Joes great photos, along with those taken by LAC Chris Tsakisiris (LAC - means Leading Aircraftman) and some insights by Flight Lieutenant Nicholas O’Connor.

Wings Over Illawarra is Australia’s largest annual airshow and is held in the Illawarra on the NSW south coast just over an hour south of Sydney. Situated in a picturesque location with an amazing backdrop of the Illawarra escarpment, it is the only major airshow experience within easy reach of metropolitan Sydney and Canberra.

Its’ diverse program includes ground displays and flying demonstrations of historic, military, modern and aerobatic aircraft as well as children’s rides, students information sessions and other aviation and technology related exhibitions.

This year they had a great range of historical aircraft on display - a Kitty Hawke, a replica of the Southern Cross, possibly Australia’s most famous aircraft as it was used by aviation pioneer Sir Charles Kingsford Smith to fly from the United States to Australia in 1928. This replica of the old Fokker aircraft was built in the 1980s.

Charles' brother Wilfred had a place in Pittwater at Taylors Point, around near Clareville, while their good friend Sir Gordon Taylor MC, GC had a family home at Bayview and was great mates with Cec Williams. 'Bill' Taylor was also the founder of the Loquat School at Bayview. There were also flights over Pittwater associated with early Pittwater Regattas and early shark patrols, while Charles Kingsford Smith also used to come out here to go surfing at Palm Beach and would have stayed with his brother Wilfred at Taylors Point.

You can read up about all that in:

Photo: Charles Kingsford-Smith – having a sunbake on a long surfboard, Palm Beach, outside Chorleys', late 1920's early 1930's. Photo: State Library of NSW

Arrival of Charles Kingsford Smith in "Southern Cross" at Eagle Farm after first crossing of the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco, 9 June 1928. Photo: Queensland State Archives

Taylor's de Havilland Moth outside his boatshed at Bayview, 1927. The wings could be folded to enable the aircraft to be winched inside. Image: Taylor family via Sarah Taylor

The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) Aviation Museum's Southern Cross replica. Photos: Joe Mills

There were also aircraft from all three arms of the Australian Defence Force, with air displays and static exhibits from the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army. There were Hornets, a Hercules and some great more 'modern' aircraft. What's more, you could get inside some of these and have a good look around.

Australian Defence Force personnel supported Wings Over Illawarra 2022, Shellharbour Airport, Albion Park NSW, from 12-13 November 2022 with a range of ground and thrilling flying displays and flypasts.

Aerial displays included the F/A-18F Super Hornet, Air Force Roulettes flying Pilatus PC-21 aircraft from the Central Flying School at RAAF Base East Sale, and Number 100 Squadron historic aircraft including aircraft based at Temora Aviation Museum: Hudson, Canberra, Spitfire, Boomerang, as well as Point Cook based T6, Winjeel and a CT4. 

Attendees also enjoyed the opportunity to get up close and personal with ground displays and interactive activities including a static display by the C-130J Hercules, Air Force Balloon burner and basket display, Navy’s Airbus EC135 helicopter and Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Army’s Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle and ADF Drone Racing. Additional activities and displays included flight simulators, working dog demonstrations, Air Force Band live performances and a Defence Force Recruiting display.

The RAAF Roulettes put on one of their great displays to open the show on the Saturday.

Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes aerobatic display. Photo: Joe Mills

The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes aerobatic display team sign autographs at the 2022 Wings Over Illawarra Airshow. Photo: LAC Chris Tsakisiris

The SkyAces Formation Aerobatic Team performs an aerial display at the 2022 Wings Over Illawarra Airshow. Photo: LAC Chris Tsakisiris

A CAC CA-18 Mustang aircraft performs an aerial display at the 2022 Wings Over Illawarra Airshow, in New South Wales. Photo: LAC Chris Tsakisiris

Aerobatic Pilot Paul Bennet in a Wolf Pitts Pro aircraft performs an aerial display at the 2022 Wings Over Illawarra Airshow. Photo: LAC Chris Tsakisiris

A Lockheed C-121C Super Constellation aircraft ‘Connie’ performs an aerial display at the 2022 Wings Over Illawarra Airshow. Photo: LAC Chris Tsakisiris

Matt Hall from Matt Hall Racing performs an aerial display in an MXS-R aircraft at the 2022 Wings Over Illawarra Airshow. Photo: LAC Chris Tsakisiris

Flight Lieutenant Nicholas O’Connor filed this report:

A vast array of flying and static displays thrilled the crowd of more than 35,000 people who flocked to the Illawarra region to attend the breath-taking two-day event.

100 Squadron Commanding Officer Wing Commander Philip Beanland said participating in the Air Show gave Air Force an opportunity to engage with the community.

“There was a really good mix of aircraft, old and new, on display,” Wing Commander Beanland said.

“Showcasing to the public and notably the next generation provides awareness of what we do every day in the ADF.

“Who knows – some of the younger members of the crowd may one day become aviators of the future.”

Highlights of the air show included a high-speed aerial display from an F-35A Lightning II as well as the historic 100 Squadron aircraft which flew in from Point Cook and Temora Aviation Museums.

“The Air Force Roulettes once again proved to be a crowd favourite with a jaw dropping six-ship flying display,” Wing Commander Beanland said.

Exciting and cutting edge ground-based attractions which piqued air show patrons’ interest included:

  • Air Force’s C-130J Hercules, Pilatus PC-21, Air Force Drone Racing Team and the Air Force Balloon
  • Navy’s Airbus EC135 helicopter and unmanned aircraft systems
  • Army’s Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle and the Army Drone Racing Team

There were also flight simulators, military working dog demonstrations and Air Force Band live performances.

Supporting Wings Over Illawarra provided not only Air Force, but the entire ADF, with the opportunity to showcase its capabilities and meet thousands of aviation enthusiasts.

(L-R) Joseph, Daniel, Tim and Brooklyn from the Edmund Rice College check out the DHC-4 Caribou aircraft at the Wings Over Illawarra Air Show 2022 Schools and Careers Open Day in New South Wales. Photo: LAC Chris Tsakisiris

Below runs more of Joe's great pictures from the 2022 Wings of Illawarra airshow, including some photos of the many aircraft on display: BAE Hawk 127, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, EC-135, Boeing 747-400 (main deck only), General Dynamics F-111, Consolidated PBY Catalina, English Electric T4 Canberra, Douglas DC4, DHC-4 Caribou, Lockheed 1049 Super Constellation, Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune, Douglas C-47 Dakota, Grumman S2 Tracker, Westland Wessex, De Havilland DHA-3 Drover, De Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth, De Havilland DH-115 Vampire, Auster Autocar, Cessna 310B and many more