Historic line-up at Scone | Defense News

Defense was proud to support the Warbirds over Scone Air Show from March 26-27 in the Upper Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, which aligned with the opening of the new Hunter Warbirds Aviation Center at the airport of Scone.

100 Squadron Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Philip Beanland, said it was a privilege to present the beautifully restored warbirds to the Australian community.

“It is a tribute to the dedication and skill of the maintenance crews at the RAAF Museum, now 100 Squadron and Temora Aviation Museum, that the aircraft of 100 Squadron are in such good working order “Wing Commander Beanland said.

Despite rain at the event, which curtailed the flight display on Sunday, air show attendees were able to get up close to see the Warbirds, which were a popular fleet in its early days.

Flight demonstrations showcased the heritage aircraft both individually and in formation with a mass flypast as the finale. A single Central Flying School Pilatus PC-21 Roulette was also part of Saturday’s flight demonstration.

Part of the RAAF’s historical range was a Pacific Aerospace CT-4 Airtrainer in static display from Point Cook Flight and the Commonwealth Air Corporation CA-18 Mustang, Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII and Lockheed Hudson from Temora Historical Flight housed in the Museum of Temora Air Force.

President and founder of the Temora Aviation Museum, David Lowy, assembled and operated a world-class heritage flight operation, then donated 11 heritage aircraft to the Air Force to preserve the collection in Australia.

Wing Commander Beanland said 100 Squadron is indebted to the passion and commitment of many people for the collection of perfectly preserved aircraft.

“It is a privilege to continue to operate these aircraft safely and professionally so the public can continue to engage with them now and in the future,” he said.

100 Squadron is a historic squadron, reformed in 2021 to coincide with the Air Force’s centennial.

Former Air Force fighter pilot and instructor Jack McDonald, left, sits with Ross Parker while relishing the chance to get up close and personal with a Wirraway aircraft during the Warbirds over Scone Air Show. Photo: Corporal Craig Barrett

Living Service Memories for a Retired Air Force Pilot

By Flight Lieutenant Nick O’Connor

For 92-year-old former Air Force flight crew instructor and fighter pilot Jack McDonald, visiting the recent Warbirds over Scone Air Show was a chance to take a trip down memory lane.

Mr McDonald was reunited with Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Wirraway A20-695, the very aircraft in which he trained student pilots at RAAF Point Cook in the mid-1950s.

“It was worth the nine hour drive from Brisbane to Scone to see this plane again,” Mr McDonald said.

“It’s fantastic to rediscover this aircraft. It’s one thing to stand by it, but to see it fly is incredible.

A Korean War veteran, Mr McDonald said his service in the Air Force will always remain the high point of his long and distinguished career in Australian aviation.

“I enjoyed my time in the RAAF and will always have fond memories of my time as an airman and instructor,” he said.

The CAC Wirraway was a military trainer and general-purpose aircraft (although some were made as fighter aircraft) with a total of 755 built between 1939 and 1946.

This Wirraway was decommissioned in 1957, with number 695 sold privately after being retired from the Air Force.

The aircraft changed hands privately a number of times after decommissioning, with Mr McDonald owning the highly regarded Wirraway for a period in the 1980s.

In 1993 a pilots union purchased number 695 and began a full restoration of the aircraft.

Former Air Force pilot and current co-owner Ross Parker said the 1997 revival of this iconic aircraft was a milestone for the warbird community.

“We basically brought the aircraft out of the wilderness and completed a comprehensive restoration and rebuilding program,” Mr. Parker said.

“It took us four years of hard work before we were able to get it to test flight after restoration in July 1997. It was a really proud day for us.”

Today, the CAC Wirraway A20-695 joins just two other airworthy Wirraways that grace the skies of Australia’s east coast and it remains a highlight of air shows and various commemorative ceremonies.

To learn more about the Air Force Heritage Aircraft Collection, visit: www.airforce.gov.au/about-us/history/historic-aircraft

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