Rounding out the Watts Bridge fly-in schedule for 2012 is the "Gathering Of Eagle's - Australia". Building upon the success of last year's inaugural event the gathering promises to bring together aviators of all persuasions to celebrate the Freedom Of Flight.
Expect to see a wide cross section of aircraft including a smattering of vintage aircraft and warbirds as well as a wide cross section of general aviation and light sports aircraft. As always there will be catering on-field, avgas in the bowser and absolutely no landing fees. Download the poster for all the details.
Always good to see different types of aircraft at the airfield. Recently Peter and Yoshi flew in from Caboolture in their Tailwind and Dragonfly. Homebuilt aircraft such as these add colour and interest for those at the airfield. Thanks for dropping in guys!
Watts Bridge was once again the venue for the hosting of the Australian Aerobatic Club (Queensland Chapter) State Championships held over the June Long Weekend, the largest AAC Queensland Chapter flying and social event of the year.
Nineteen pilots from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria competed in five categories for the title of Queensland Champion, making it one of the largest competitions in recent years. Numerous supporters and spectator watched the event and joined in the social activities and enjoyed Merryn Scilini's excellent catering each evening.
After seven straight weeks of near perfect flying weather leading up to the competition, the forecast for the long weekend gave organisers the warning that weather may be a challenge, and sure enough, on cue, it was. Strong winds, low cloud and intermittent showers passed through late Saturday afternoon and persisted for the remainder of the weekend making flying challenging and ultimately cutting the competition short. Despite the challenging flying conditions, all categories were able to fly and a result was reached.
Ben Brazier of Queensland flying his Pitts Special S-1S was the winner of this year's Tony Gordon Memorial Trophy for the highest overall score for his performance in the Intermediate Category with a score of 80.936%. Queensland's Alan Kilpatrick took out the Unlimited category beating Paul Bennet of New South Wales by less than 1/100 of a percent. Alan flew his new One Design, which he shares with fellow Airbus Captain Greg McConnell. Greg, from Victoria, won Advanced in the same aircraft. Club President, Stephen Hudson of Queensland made it across the line in Sportsman in a Pitts Special S-1D with Kingsley Just of Victoria flying a Decathlon taking out Graduate for this year. Click here for complete results.
Watts Bridge is without doubt one of the best venue for aerobatics in Australia, with a permanent aerobatic performance area and the excellent AAC clubhouse for accommodation and enjoying the social side of flying. The AAC Queensland Chapter is looking forward to next year's competition already and to welcoming more people, pilots and supporters, to Watts Bridge.
The First Flight Of Scott Hendry's Ninja Skyranger
Scott Hendry - he's the guy on the left in the first photo - recently completed the final assembly of his Ninja Skyranger at Watts Bridge. The 15th of June was the big day when "Kitty Hawk" took to the air for the first time with Greg Robertson at the controls.
Scott goes on to say..... "Greg reports that it flies very well but has a little overheating problem (which was expected). Greg took Kitty Hawk up for a second flight shortly afterwards and then I took her up for a quick circuit after that. The weather was glorious; still clear and cool. There was little or no thermal activity and no wind at all. Greg is a very experienced pilot of these airplanes, but I am not. I'm pleased to say that I made a very smooth, if somewhat long, landing on my first try."
Congratulations Scott on the successful first flight for "Kitty Hawk" !!
19th May 2012
And so did the pilots and passengers of the 135+ aircraft that made the trek to Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield for the annual All-In Fly-In. The weather leading up to the event made the decision to go really easy - over two weeks of lovely sunny autumn days with almost no wind.
A light fog greeted the dawning day, not unusual for this time of year. But as the fog burnt off the arrivals began. First one, then two. Then up to six aircraft in circuit all at the same time. Upon arrival the ground marshals saw to it that everyone was parked quickly and efficiently without hint of bother or drama. Throughout the morning the main parking area was quickly filled with the secondary parking area beside the windsock being brought into action. And it filled too!!
The photograph above was taken around about midday and shows 105 aircraft on the ground. There are already several gaps in the lines of aircraft due to early departures. And then there were the late arrivals, still winging their way in. Certainly no one could remember having this many aircraft all parked on the airfield at same time. It certainly makes for some great plane spotting!
As per usual the Esk community group "Beyond Limits" and the airfield homebase groups did a magnificent job with the catering keeping everybody well fed and content. It's a pretty fair bet that there will be an All-In Fly-In 2013 - so check the website for this and other great aviation events to be conducted at Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield.
With over 500 photographs to wade through, it's taken a while to compile the photo gallery for the AIFI 2012.
But all done now. Click here to the view the All-In Fly-In 2012 Photo Gallery.