Pitch Black Open Day attracts record Darwin crowd

A record crowd of  more than 18,000 people were drawn to RAAF Base Darwin on Saturday 13 August to get up close and personal with Australian and international military aircraft during the Exercise Pitch Black Open Day.

Interactive exhibits and displays, rides and performances from the Air Force Band were just some of the attractions enjoyed by all ages at the free family friendly event.

The Open Day followed a flying display performed at Mindil Beach on 11 August, including a handling display by an Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet, international four-ship formation display and low-level flypasts from a number of aircraft participating in the exercise.

Head of Special Events Air Commodore Chris Sawade said the Open Day and flying displays at Mindil Beach provided an opportunity for the Air Force to thank the Northern Territory community for their continued support for the important exercise.

“With up to 115 aircraft and approximately 2800 personnel from 10 countries taking part in this exercise we wanted to say a big ‘thank-you’ to the Northern Territory for hosting us and our international partners during Exercise Pitch Black 2016,” Air Commodore Sawade said.

“We could not achieve essential military training in the Top End without the support of the community.

“The Open Day and the Mindil Beach flying displays showcased Air Force’s capabilities to the public and provided them with the opportunity to talk to military personnel.

“Exercise Pitch Black injects a major boost into the Northern Territory economy and employment with the exercise expected to generate approximately $25 million locally.

“Support from the local community is extremely important for the Air Force to train its people and conduct activities in preparation for operations around the globe.”

Exercise Pitch Black is the Air Force’s largest training activity and is conducted in the Northern Territory from Friday 29 July to Friday 19 August..

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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