Avalon Airshow 2007
I haven't been to an airshow in 16 years. My last airshow was the RAAF 70th show at Richmond in 1991.
Since Deathstar, er, I mean Jetstar fly from Sydney to Avalon (which is where the airshow is held), I figured it would make a nice day trip.
So after getting up at 5am on a weekend, we drive to the airport and find a park in the surprisingly busy (and stupidly designed) domestic carpark. Since we have no bags to check in, we walk right past the check-in queues to the security checkpoint. I swear the security droid said "good evening" to me, even though it was 6:15am. Must have been a long night for him...
Once past security, we head for the Qantas pub, er club, to check in for our flight and have some breakfast.
Our plane was half an hour late in arriving at Sydney, so we didn't depart until about 8am. We lined up for takeoff, and then slowly taxied down the runway. WTF!? The pilot gets on the PA and announces that they had some technical problems and had to clear the runway to allow the Air New Zealand flight behind us to take off, so we taxi back to the start of the runway and finally take off, about 45 minutes behind schedule. Apparently the brakes hadn't cooled down enough from the previous landing, and they had to give them some more time to cool.
So now we're 45 minutes behind schedule, but at least we're on our way. We take off on 34R and head towards the city, then made a sharp right turn and head out over the water.. For a minute there it looked like we were headed for Auckland, not Melbourne! Eventually the pilot makes another right turn and we head south-west. We go feet-dry over Shellharbour, giving us a nice view of Kiama and Nowra until we hit the clouds.
The clouds covered the rest of the flight, and don't break up until we start circling to the west of Melbourne. You see, since we were late, we missed out landing slot at the airshow and had to wait for another gap :(
Eventually we land, and do a U-turn on the runway - the taxiway was filled with C-17s and E-3s. As we approach the terminal, the Roulettes fly over us, I caught a glimpse out the window. Thankfully we were in the first group off the plane (seats in row 2!) and managed to get on a shuttle bus to the airshow enterance.. which was about 500m away. The shuttle bus took about 10 minutes to get to the drop-off point. It had to go the long way...!
About 3 minutes after we got past the main gate, it started raining. Did I forget to tell you about the wonderful weather? well... it was 15 degrees, with wind gusts up to 50km/hr. The wind was front he west, which meant the 16/34 runway had a huge crosswind blowing into our faces. Thankfully the rain was only light, and stayed away for most of the day.
One day isn't enough to see the whole show. Since the aerial displays are non-stop, you don't really get a chance to see the static exhibits. Combine that with a lack of seating (unless you BYO) means you're standing up all day in a muddy field.
It was all made worth it by the photos I took in the afternoon. My morning photos were basically crap, as I was still on the steep learning curve of airshow photography. The photo of the F-15 taking off is rather nice, as is the F-111 dump n burn photo.