What a difference a day makes!!
That's the takeaway from the Gathering of Eagles - 2017.
For weeks leading up to the fly-in the weather had been idyllic, perfect for the winter flying season. Unfortunately, come Saturday and the whole of S.E. Q'ld experienced cold howling winds with 35-45 knot gusts. With mountain wave to both the east and west of the field, it is not surprising that by midday only a handful of aircraft had arrived. Hats off to the intrepid Drifter Pilot!
Nonetheless a reasonable number of spectators came through the turnstile to poke around, over, and under the airfield's resident aircraft which had taxied to the flight line. Late in the afternoon everyone was thrilled when the planned air display featuring a YAK-52, Mustang P51-D and YAK 3 Reno Racer went ahead on schedule with a faultless display of aerobatics manoeuvres.
Sunday, seemingly against all prediction, the crazy wind is gone, replaced by a modest 10 knot breeze. That's much more like it!! With over 50 aircraft arrivals during the morning we finally have a fly-in worthy of all the effort of planning and running the event.
Once again the trusty spectators make the trek, this time with much more to see and do.
Come lunch time and the food vendors reported brisk business with hamburgers, cold drinks and "proper coffee" taking the limelight. Though not in the original schedule, the air display was repeated late on Sunday afternoon as a fitting finale for the Gathering of Eagles 2017.
So, was the event a success??
You betcha it was !! The weekend proved yet again that the weather cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty, but good contingency planning made the most of the conditions on offer, resulting in a fly-in which the participants and spectators alike enjoyed to the max!! And that's what it is all about isn't it??