Defence flies the flag at the Hunter Valley Airshow

The ADF was front and centre at this year’s Hunter Valley Airshow, with all three services supporting the biennial event.

CAPTION: Air Force aerobatic team, the Roulettes, performs an aerobatic display with six Pilatus PC-21 aircraft from the Central Flying School during the 2021 Hunter Valley Airshow. Photo by Sergeant Nunu Campos.

The show was held from March 13-14 at Cessnock Airport, NSW, and proved popular with locals and aircraft enthusiasts.

The Navy showcased the 723 Squadron EC-135 helicopter as well as two unmanned aerial systems from 822X Squadron, the ScanEagle and the S-100 Camcopter.

Lieutenant Rhianna Nelson, of 723 Squadron, said it was interesting to talk to members of the public at the airshow.

“From children who are interested in a career in aviation, Defence veterans, aviation enthusiasts, and everyone in between, they were all there,” Lieutenant Nelson said.

“I enjoyed answering a lot of technical questions about the (EC-135) aircraft and its capability as well as my role in the Navy.”

Airshow visitors were able to interact in a COVID-19 safe way with the Army displays of Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles (PMV) crewed by members of the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers, an infantry section weapons display and a PMV provided by the School of Infantry from nearby Singleton, an 81mm mortar display from the 9th Regiment Royal Australian Artillery (9 Regt RAA), and a HX77 truck from Army’s 176 Air Dispatch Squadron.

CAPTION: Army Corporal Chris Hunt, from the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers, chats to people attending the 2021 Hunter Valley Airshow. Photo by Sergeant Nunu Campos.

Gunner Max Miller-Williams, from 7th Battery, 9 Regt RAA based in Adamstown, NSW, said he was glad to be able to attend the airshow in an official capacity.

“This has been a great experience,” Gunner Miller-Williams said.

“I have spoken to so many members of the public who were all interested in what we do and expressed support for the role of the ADF in the community and for Australia.”

Meanwhile, the Air Force aerobatic team, the Roulettes, performed a 15-minute display with six Pilatus PC-21 aircraft from the Central Flying School at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria.

Flight Lieutenant Aimee Heal, known as ‘Roulette 7’, said it was important for Air Force to showcase the skills and expertise of RAAF pilots at such a high-profile event.

“It is particularly exciting for the Air Force to be involved in the community as we approach the centenary of the RAAF on March 31,” she said.

The Air Force’s No. 100 Squadron aerial displays featured three historic World War II aircraft – a Spitfire fighter, a Boomerang fighter/ground attack aircraft and a Hudson bomber – in mixed formation with civilian warbird aircraft, as well as solo aerobatic displays and static aircraft displays.

Ahead of this year’s centenary commemorations of the RAAF, No. 100 Squadron has been re-formed as the Air Force Heritage Squadron, operating from two locations, RAAF Base Point Cook in Victoria and Temora, NSW.

CAPTION: Navy aviation warfare officer from 723 Squadron Lieutenant Rhianna Nelson stands in front of an EC135 helicopter during the 2021 Hunter Valley Airshow. Photo by Sergeant Nunu Campos.

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