Last weekend's Ausfly national fly-in at Narromine billed itself with the tagline "all aviators under one sky", a spirit that was evidently present across the two days of the event.
Organised by the Australian General Aviation Alliance (AGAA), Ausfly presented one-and-a-half days of seminars and a half-day air show across Friday 18 and Saturday 19 October, attracting around 200 aircraft to the parking and camping areas and a similar number of cars in the public carpark.
From AOPA Australia and RAAus to homebuilders, pilots supplies, aircraft importers, EFB developers and CASA, Ausfly did indeed bring together aviators of all descriptions.
With no flying display scheduled to clash with seminars, most of the tent sessions attracted healthy audiences, with AvPlan well packed and OzRunways nearly at standing-room-only. AOPA Australia's own session went over time.
It was the second time in only a month that the general aviation community had been called to the region, with AirVenture Australia being held just down the road in Parkes only last month. Having the two events so close in both location and time was difficult for the GA community, with several exhibitors expressing a desire for only one event that encompassed the whole gamut of GA sectors.
Although RAAus did have a presence at Ausfly, it was relatively small compared to their contribution to AirVenture, which was to be expected given AirVenture is effectively an RAAus-motivated event. Their presence next to the AOPA Australia display was noted as interesting but perhaps symbolic of what the GA community wants: both organisations to exist side-by-side for the benefit of aviation as a whole.
Ausfly did, for the first day-and-a-half, have one great advantage not enjoyed by AirVenture: a lack of dust storms. That position was reversed on the Saturday when Ausfly organisers wisely moved the air displays forward by two hours to try to dodge the forecast high winds. Those winds, with the associated dust, were early, arriving just as the first display aircraft rolled out to the holding point.
Bullied by the blustering winds, the display pilots nevertheless put on a show for the crowd that was a testament to their flying skills and desire to show-off the best of general aviation.
The largest criticism of the show seemed to be that there weren't many people there, something that SAAA president Tony White put down to the display area being more spread out than at previous events, reassuring people that the attendance was up on Ausfly 2018.
AGAA has said it is committed to Ausfly and that it will continue to be held at Narromine.