Avalon Airshow (Melbourne, Australia)

12-13 March 2009

The program notes: "After nearly 45 years flying in RAAF colours - including distinguished service in Vietnam - the remarkable Caribou STOL [short take-off and landing] tactical transport's career is coming to an end."

One of the RAAF's F-111s doing a "dump&burn" of fuel. Many aircraft (also airliners) have the capability to dump fuel, because when an emergency happens just after take-off, the plane is generally too heavy to land safely, especially if the runway is short or wet. The F-111 is special in the sense that it can burn the dumped fuel using the afterburner. This gives a spectacular torch behind the aircraft. Except for emergency situations and airshows, the dump & burn is said to be practical in cases where some extra illumination is needed...

Although the Australians seem to be very happy with their F-111s, the aircraft will retire next year.

[HDR] <Quote> The “Spirit of Go For Broke” one of Hickam’s [US Air Force based in Hawaii] C-17 Globemaster III aircraft that was named in honor of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and their motto. The 3800 soldiers of “Go For Broke” were composed entirely from volunteers of “Nisei” (second generation Japanese Americans) and was one of the most highly decorated World War II combat units. <Unquote>

One more weirdo... This guy has what everybody dreams of (or at least it's getting close to it): his own Jet-pack! Unfortunately the thing only flies for 33sec, but it's still cool. He told that the first jetpack (then called "rocket belt") was invented as long ago as 1953 by Bell Aerosystems, and explained how difficult it was at first to operate it. He had it suspended from some crane, but the immense power made him go around in all directions. Now he got the thing under control and some pictures of his performance follow below.

This RAAF F/A-18 Hornet just took off to gather with some friends and return for some spectacular formation flight performances.

4 RAAF F/A-18 Hornets in formation flight

F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet of the US Navy's Strike Fighter Squadron 122 (VFA-122), also known as the "Flying Eagles".

(same as above)

Jet Pack International flight display. Enormous clouds of exhaust gasses at the initial take off, then a nice climb, with incredible speed along the runway (hard to take follow him with the camera!) and then a nice and smooth descent and touch down.

The finale of the "Night alive" at the Avalon airshow is traditionally the "wall of fire", where the runway is set ablaze and some stunt aircraft fly through / over it or so. However, this year, because of the devastating forest fires were still fresh in everyone's memory, they cancelled that and had a small "bomb drop" (one of the fighters actually missed / no ignition) with some fireworks and a line-up of rescue workers with the big closing fireworks.

It is nice to see these cool aircraft with amazing power and capabilities from an engineering point of view. But when I walked around all the stands and saw all this "defense" or better "warfare" related business, I have to admit I didn't really feel great about it. It's such a waste of money...
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