Canberra Airport open day gets thumbs up

Canberra Airport held its open day on April 6, throwing wide the doors to thousands of members of the public – and Air Force was keen to take up the challenge of wowing the crowds.

CAPTIONThe Roulettes aerobatic display team thrills at the Canberra Airport open day with formation flying in their PC-21 aircraft over the event crowd and a C-130J Hercules. Story by Flight Lieutenant Rob Hodgson. Photos by Flight Sergeant Kev Berriman.

On what turned out to be a bumper day for aviation enthusiasts and budding aviators, Air Force provided a bevy of aircraft in the air and on the ground.

The ‘in-air’ entertainment kicked off with 100 Squadron and featured a flypast display from the CAC Mustang.

The Roulettes also took to the air, demonstrating the precision and sheer nerve required for aerobatic excellence, as well as a providing a static display of their Pilatus PC-21 on the ground.

Also on the ground, it was hard to go past the 37 Squadron C-130J Hercules static display. The initial model, the C-130A, was delivered to Air Force in 1958, and more than 60 years later the J model continues to provide world-class capability in the airlift role.

CAPTIONFlight Lieutenant Joshua Tamm gives six-year-old Lachlan a close-up view of a Roulettes PC-21 cockpit.

However, the day was ultimately all about Canberra Airport and its relationship with the community – a community Air Force also considers its own.

Head of Aviation at Canberra Airport Michael Smith was quick to thank Air Force for its support and promote the close relationship the airport has with Defence.

“The Canberra Airport open day is a celebration of aviation and an opportunity to inspire more people to pursue careers in the field,” he said.

“We are proud to collaborate with the Air Force to make this event possible.”

100 Squadron’s contribution to the open day was not limited to the sky – it also staffed a marquee on the ground so unit members could interact with event participants.

CAPTIONAn Air Force CAC Mustang wowed spectators at the open day.

Flight Lieutenant Kristi Adam led the 100 Squadron contingent at the airport.

“Being posted to a unit that does as much community engagement as 100 Squadron has been really rewarding as there is great public interest in our historic aircraft,” Flight Lieutenant Adam said.

“100 Squadron is almost an operational museum, bringing out Air Force’s rich history. It keeps the memory of the men and women who served, and their achievements, very much alive.”

100 Squadron maintains Air Force’s heritage fleet of warbirds in airworthy condition and conducts flying displays to commemorate those who have fallen in service to country, to promote today’s Air Force and to inspire future generations.

With plans to run the open day biennially, Air Force would be keen to get the nod to participate again in 2026.


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