A replica Bristol Boxkite built at Point Cook has made its maiden flight.
With Air Vice-Marshal (retd) Mark Skidmore at the controls, the Boxkite flew successfully on Wednesday 11 September at RAAF Base Williams. The aircraft flew about 1000 metres and reached a speed of 42 mph.
“It was an exhilarating and humbling experience, I am honoured and proud to follow those aviators who pioneered military aviation in this country," said AVM Skidmore, a former F-111 and ARDU test pilot.
“I now also have the honour of being the only RAAF pilot who has flown both the fastest and slowest aircraft in the Air Force. The Bristol Boxkite has a rich history in the evolution of military aviation in Australia, it was the first official military aircraft built in this country and used to train our first military pilots.”
The brainchild of Group Captain (retd) Ron Gretton and Wing Commander (retd) Geoff Matthews, the Boxkite replica was painstakingly built at the RAAF Museum and will eventually be a showcase display for the public.
The Boxkite has a rich history in the evolution of military aviation in Australia and was the first official military aircraft built in Australia that was used to train Australia’s military aviators.
A Bristol Boxkite was flown in Australia for the first time on 1 March 1914, when Lieutenant Eric Harrison took one into the air at Point Cook. The airfield was then the home of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC).
Harrison’s flight is recognised as the starting point of military flying in Australia. In recognition of this historical significance, RAAF Base Point Cook will play host to the Centenary of Military Aviation in Australia event on 1 to 2 March 2014 with the Bristol Boxkite replica as a major draw card.