• Last dance? RAN Squirrels perform at Wings over Illawarra 2017. The type has since been retired. (Steve Hitchen)
    Last dance? RAN Squirrels perform at Wings over Illawarra 2017. The type has since been retired. (Steve Hitchen)

Wings over Illawarra  (WOI) organisers are expecting a comprehensive line-up of Australian Defence Force flying assets for the 2018 air show.

WOI is on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May at Illawarra Regional Airport at Albion Park, NSW, and is the largest annual air show held in Australia.

The ADF attendence this year is shaping up to be the largest ever committed, depending on operational availability on the day. The current Royal Australian Air Force flying schedule is:

  • Roulettes
  • Hawk 127 Lead-in fighter
  • F/A-18A/B Hornet
  • C-17 Globemaster III
  • C-27J Spartan
  • C-130J Hercules
  • P-8A Poseidon

The C-17 and C-27 will fly only on the Saturday and the C-130 and P-8A only on the Sunday. In addition, Hawk 127 and F/A-18 Hornet are programmed for static display on both days.

WOI organisers Bright Events are still waiting final confirmation from Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army, but they are expected to conduct flying displays by MH60R Seahawk Romeo and Army Blackhawk on both days and static displays of the MRH-90, B429 and EC135-T2+ from the RAN and a S70 Blackhawk from the Army.

Bright Events' Mark Bright said the ADF support is one of the things that sets WOI apart from other air shows.

"The ADF is definitely a vital element of the show and we have worked hard over the past years to develop a relationship," he told Australian Flying.

"It does differentiate us from other regional events, and we certainly appreciate the support we receive from the ADF, which is why we work so hard to make the event as successful as possible for them. 

"ADF support is a major selling point and we have no doubt that without it, numbers would be down, after all they certainly add significantly to the event.

"I believe we could put on a great event without the ADF, but to achieve the 'wow' factor generated by the ADF support, we would have to step things up considerably as far as participants are concerned, not only in numbers, but also in the variety of aircraft and displays."

Illawarra Regional Airport is also home to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society–which is expected to have the vast majority of their collection on display–and the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame (AAHOF).

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