High-flying 70th birthday for Parkes Aero Club

The Orana region is set for an aerial display the likes of which has not been seen in the area for 23 years.

On Saturday Parkes is staging a massive show including aerobatic and historic aircraft, which have been arriving in the town since Monday for the Parkes Aero Spectacular.

A 1940s-1950s Gruman Avenger (a US aircraft carrier based plane used in World War II), a one-seater Wolf Pitts (an aerobatic plane belonging to Paul Bennet Airshows) and an American 1960s Convair all touched down at the Parkes Airport earlier this week.

There will also be an L300 – which will join the Wolf Pitts in the sky on Saturday for some dual aerobatics – and the Wirraway, which was developed in the early 1940s.

Parkes Aero Club will be celebrating its 70th anniversary of flying operations, which started two years after the Royal Australian Air Force base closed down. The club is one of the oldest continuously operated aero clubs in Australia. 

On the event radar are the RAAF Roulettes, an aerobatics team and multi-engine aircraft.

There is plenty to see on the ground.

The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) runs the Parkes Aviation Museum. 

Exhibits include a RAAF Caribou, a Harvard, a Jindivik drone and aviation military and civilian technology exhibits. 

A Convair CV 580 recently completed its last ever flight to Parkes and an ex-RAAF Lockheed Neptune is currently in restoration ready for display at the museum.

Static displays, entertainment for children and food will be available all day. 

The gates will open at 10am, with the air display starting at midday. Parking is available adjacent to the airport entrance.

HARS and Parkes Shire Council have given their full support to the event.

Parkes Aero Club has had great support from gold sponsors, with Destinations NSW providing a grant for the total promotion, Northparkes Mines volunteers providing security and guidance, and Parkes Services Club making its courtesy bus available. 

The club was formed in 1948 after the RAAF closure and is a not-for-profit community sporting organisation, operating at the airport. 

The club supports primary and advanced recreational (RA) and general (GA) aviation training in the Central West.

Over the years, the club has organised and hosted numerous fly-ins, competitions and national events, such as the Australian Aerobatic Championships and major club airshows in ’85 & ’95 featuring the Roulettes.

Club president Erik Lensson said the 70th anniversary celebrations are “going to be a fantastic day for the whole family. We hope the day will also stir up some interest in flight training in Parkes.”