HERE was no shortage of recreational
aircraft on display at Avalon’s Australian
International Airshow 2015.
Intermingled with massively impressive ADF dis-
plays and demonstrations were stands by local aero
clubs such as Lethbridge, Geelong, Royal Victorian
and others manned by well-known recreational air-
craft suppliers such as Foxbat, Brumby and Tecnam.
This year’s Avalon was ranked by the organisers
and the best ever. Recreational aviation enthusiasts
also called it a great event all round. For regular visi-
tors to Avalon displays were easy to find. But several
first timers commented that because our end of the
flying industry was dwarfed by the big displays, next
time it might be worth investing in some high and
bright signage and markers to ensure everyone can
find all the recreational aviation related displays.
The flight displays were awesome and drew
crowds from opening day until the closing moments.
The RA-Aus stand attracted about 3,000 visitors on
the public days, which kept the staff busy. Imagine if
just some of those dreamers decide to start learning
Recreational displays showcased aircraft ranging
from the only WWI replica E.III Eindecker (see story
this edition) at the eastern end of the field in the TA-
VAS display, through to the sleekest Sonex on the
western end. The various types of light and sports
aircraft spanning the site ensured there was no lack
of inspiration for future flyers, among them quite a
few ADF personnel itching to get up close and per-
sonal to their favourite ultralights.
Michael Hooker’s Murphy Renegade was a popu-
lar stop for visitors, alongside a mirror finished Sonex
which won best ultralight on display, while Lethbridge
Aero Club’s expansive stand covered everything
from the Bundaberg manufactured Jabiru through to
a variety of kits and imported aircraft.
Steve Biele flew his latest Lightning, considerably
smaller than the jet fighter his son Mark commands,
though it was hard to figure out who was proudest.
Steve recalled one air show he remembers as the
“I remember way back, it would have been about
eighteen years ago, when my wife shouted Mark and
I gold passes to Avalon,” said Steve. “The first thing
I did was buy Mark an air show shirt. It had a big pic-
ture of a Hawk on the front. I remember holding it up
saying ‘Are you ever going to fly one of those, son?’”
“You know, I’ve still got that shirt,” said Steve. “I
never even thought about where Mark would end up
when we started flying. All the kids are now in the
RAAF, with our daughters Sarah and Kate both at
When I asked more than one RAAF jet fighter pi-
lot what three things were most similar about flying
a tiny glider or ultralight compared to a modern jet
fighter, the answer was almost the same from each
- it was the perspective, the freedom and, of course,
the opportunity to go where no one else can.
So while the big guns were doing big business,
for the most part the rest of us were satisfied simply
absorbing the feel, the sound and the atmosphere,
making new friends and catching up with old ones.
Roll on the next Avalon.
18 Sport Pilot. FOR RECREATIONAL PILOTS FOR RECREATIONAL PILOTS. Sport Pilot 19
“Big guns doing big business”
Caboolture’s Trevor Mills flew the E.III
Eindecker in the Heroes of the Sky battles
Damian Croatto, Peter Ryan and Jeff Cottrill love putting aerochutes on
display every year
#RA-Aus had a big team on hand including Janelle Wayling, Jill Bailey,
Kelly Stirton, Michael Linke and Maxine Milera
Westland and Vickers names evoke a sense
of aviation history - Bruce Vickers and Andrew
Westland are both Geelong Sports Aviators