The 2018 Queensland Aerobatic Championships were held at Watts Bridge Memorable Airfield on the 27th to the 29th of July. We had 16 contestants of which 6 flew up from south of the border to help make this event a must do on the Australian calendar of aerobatic competition. Michael Chlepko flew his laser up from Melbourne, and regulars Cassandra Muller and Pete Townsend up from Sydney with 3 of their students competing in the Entry Grade.
The weekend was a huge success for our club with quite a few visitors to the airfield over the three days which gives good recognition to our community here at Watts Bridge. I would like to thank the Board of Management for their continued support to the AAC QLD Chapter and this annual event. We had no noise complaints or safety issues over our competition days which I thank the organisers for their professional work effort and all the pilots for their high skill level in the performance zone and in the circuit area.
Our southern competitors just love coming up here to Watts Bridge, a combination of the beautiful area here at Watts Bridge and the hospitality of the Queensland Chapter, maybe the great food has a lot to do with it. These events don`t just benefit the AAC QLD Chapter, but the area as well, with accommodation, food, avgas just to name a few in helping the local economy.
The full list of results can be found on our website, congratulations to our own Mark Galletly for the overall highest percentage winner and the 2018 Tony Gordon Memorial Trophy recipient. The 2018 State Championships may have concluded, but work on the 2019 Championships are under way, can`t wait.
Brendan Scilini - President AAC QLD Chapter
[ Click the thumbnail photo's below to find all the winner's details. ]
For the last 14 months or so a small band of dedicated volunteers have been hard at work making and installing tables and seating within the shelter shed. Prior to making the frames a lot of time was spent checking out the design of various picnic table settings in public parks to come up with a simple, people friendly design.
Peter Freeman cut and welded the steel components prior to having them sent out to be hot dip galvanized. This then allowed Mark Purdie and his helpers to get on with all the timber work and painting of the table tops and bench seats. Meanwhile Peter, his builder mate Richard Riedel and Watts member Brian Fitch tackled the concrete work with many Wednesday Working B's spent tackling one area at a time until finally the job was done. The tables and seating were then installed, ready to go.
Then there is the container donated by Bob Dennis, which he had delivered and positioned on a concrete base previously prepared by Mark and crew. The work was completed just in time for Red Thunder 2018, with the crowds taking full advantage of the undercover seating. From here on out airfield events such as Watts 4 Breakfast will be so much easier to stage without the need to set everything up prior to the event and then pull it all down again afterwards.
So the next time you're sitting under the shelter shed enjoying the new amenities, just say a little silent "Thank You" to all of those who made it happen. OK?
Saturday 7th July 2018. The day dawns gloomy. Make that very very gloomy indeed, with a cloud base lucky to be 2,000' and light showers on the ranges any point to the east of the field. These are not exactly ideal conditions for a fun flying event which requires pilots to navigate to various airfields in the district, collect a poker hand of playing cards and ultimately return to club HQ at Watts Bridge..
For the rest of the morning, conditions didn't really improve all that much. A couple of diehard aviators got their hands completed early in the day, ensuring that there was going to be an overall winner. However, the BBQ was simply not doing the roaring trade it should at flying events, much to the disappointment of the organizers who could only stand around, scan the skies and remain ever hopeful.
With midday fast approaching, the weather suddenly made a remarkable change for the better. Those monitoring the VHF were pleasantly surprised to hear multiple contestants inbound for airfield. By the end of the competition over 20 aircraft had arrived, most with 2 or more players, making for a most successful and enjoyable days flying. As it happened we waited until the very last aircraft, a Cessna from Archerfield had arrived to find the winner for the day. The poker run trophy for 2018 was then formally presented to pilot Chris Spencer-Scarr and team who won with a remarkable hand of 3x Ace's and 2x9's. Well done everyone, contestants and organizers alike!!
And what a simply superb air show it was with an estimated 11,000 people attending the two days that was the Red Thunder Air Show 2018.
First and foremost were the airshow aircraft featuring a wide range of warbirds and general aviation aircraft with a definite accent on WW2 and 1950's types. Lots of radials, lots of horsepower and best of all... lots of high octane aviation noise!
All the display pilots performed faultless, exhilarating routines, amply demonstrating the remarkable capabilities of their chosen aircraft. As an aside, it should be noted that the MK16 Spitfire on the flight line is believed to be the very first original WW2 Spitfire to operate at Watts Bridge. On static display were many aircraft regularly seen at the airfield. An excellent commentary, broadcast over field's PA system, kept the public well informed about what they were experiencing - minute by minute.
But Red Thunder had much more to offer than your average biennial airshow. A wide range of classic, vintage and hot rod motor cars plus the gorgeous pinup models fitted in perfectly with the show's theme of 1950's glamour, lifestyle and culture. The military hardware and associated exhibits reminded everyone of the airfield's beginnings, born in conflict, now celebrated in peace. Numerous food stalls, offering a wide range of tasty snacks, meals and thirst quenching drinks kept the aviation enthusiasts well satisfied. VIP Gold Pass holders gained entry to the prestigious Red Thunder Club where hospitality and out standing service was the order of the day. Saturday evening rocked on till late with excellent live entertainment.
From the airfield's perspective, Red Thunder was an unparalleled success for Watts Bridge, promoting the field as the premier recreational aviation hub in SE Queensland. The three Homebase groups (AAC-QC, BVSAC and QWVAA) all participated strongly in the event with great support and many enquiries about their respective activities. In support of the local community, the vast majority of the airshow's goods and services were provided by local businesses in the district.
With just 30 photographs it is impossible to adequately capture the mood, feel and atmosphere that was Red Thunder Air Show 2018. Stay tuned for the comprehensive photographic display which will be on the website as soon as we have waded our way through hundreds and hundreds of photographs.
Speaking of photographs:
Watts Bridge sincerely thanks the photographers who made their work available for publication!
A big thank you to.....
Mark Greenmantle - Mark Greenmantle Photography - https://www.greenmantle.biz
Kevin Litchfield - Kevlyn Imaging - http://kevin-litchfield.squarespace.com
Pete Walker - PIX by Pete - https://www.facebook.com/pete.walker.7374
Peter Biddle, Peter Freeman and Jim Bowling from Watts Bridge.
Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield is strongly committed to a "Fly Neighbourly" policy ensuring good working relationships with other land owners in the district.
Pilots are requested to download the Fly Neighbourly Chart to be aware of and avoid where operationally possible, noise and over-fly sensitive locations adjacent to the airfield.
Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield requests that all members and visitors using the airfield's internal roads adhere to the signposted maximum Speed Limit of 20kph.
The Speed Limit maximises safety for all motorists and pedestrians, significantly reduces damage to the airfield's roadways and minimises the generation of dust which has an adverse affect on aircraft, buildings and human health.