Wings over Illawarra (WOI) this weekend is scheduled to be one of the largest gathering of military and warbird aircraft in Australia this year.
On at Albion Park south of Wollongong, the two-day event is the largest flying display in the Sydney area, and this year will feature a line-up of aircraft from the Australian Defence Force and many private warbirds from around the country.
“The flying program promises to be full of action and excitement on both days," said organiser Mark Bright, "and will include classic warbirds conducting aerobatic manoeuvres culminating with the now-famed Wall of Fire starring the Hawk 127 jet on both days of the airshow.”
According to the flying program released yesterday, the ADF will again make up a large proportion of the flying display. The ADF views this event as important for their recruitment and PR programs, giving them a chance to show off their aircraft in front of such a large gathering of general public. Their contingent will include:
- C-130J Hercules
- Pilatus PC-21
- C-27 Spartan
- C-17 Globemaster
- MH-60R Seahawk Romeo
- P-8A Posiedon
- Hawk 127
Notably, there are no F/A-18 Hornets of any variety on the flying schedule. The Hornets have been a staple at WOI for several years, and will be missed by their fans in the crowd.
The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) will sortie their C-47 and Caribou, but the Neptune, Super Constellation and PBY Catalina won't be flying this year.
Private warbirds owners have always provided good support for this event, and many are returning for 2019. The antique and warbird program features:
- PT-17 Stearman
- Jet Provost
- Nanchang CJ6s and Yak 52s of the Russian Roolettes
- Beech 18
- Two CA-18 Mustangs
- T-6 Texan
- Yak 3
- T-28 Trojan
- TBM Avenger
The highlight of the planned warbird display is a four-ship formation of a P-40 Kittyhawk, CA-18 Mustang, Hawker Hurricane and Temora's Mk XVI Spitfire.
Jet warbirds on the program inlcude two S-211 Marchettis and Jeff Trappett's CA-27 Avon Sabre.
High-energy aerobatics will be provided by Matt Hall flying an Extra 300L and Paul Bennet's SkyAces formation aerobatic team with three Pitts, led by the aggressive and power Wolf Pitts.
As exciting as the line-up looks, the team at WOI caution that weather, availability and operational requirements can cause the program to be varied. This is the lot of just about every air show organiser in the world and the challenge always becomes to put on a seamless, entertaining show regardless of the glitches.
Download the complete flying schedule below.