Avalon 2017 was a big success for our little Colt winning the 'Best Contemporary Aircraft' award (1954 - 1970) from the GA Society. Sunday morning, Angus in VH-ITE was delayed leaving Coldstream with Heather Brennan and myself (and one other) because of low cloud at Avalon, so we missed the departure briefing at Avalon and the presentation of awards at 10:00am.
After arriving at Avalon I was approached by the judges around 11:30am, suggesting that I hunt down the above mentioned trophy. It was a wonderful surprise to me but a real compliment to the Keith Morgan (previous owner) and Scott Taberner (our Guest Speaker in November) and Jimmy Williams of Classic Airplanes Albury, who rebuilt the Colt and it's engine in 2006. We are the lucky beneficiaries of that restoration and are only too happy to keep one of these beautiful old aircraft in the public eye.
- Spirit of the Airshow: - Tim Brownridge's Stinson
- Best In Show - Antique: - Mike Dalton's Cessna 195
- Best Presented Classic: - Matt Henderson's O-1G Birddog
- Best Presented Contemporary: - Chris Ashdowne and MikeWelsh's Piper Colt
I managed to achieve a couple of personal milestones as well. Ten years ago I left my Dad's old 16mm movie film reminder at John Pettit's hangar at his property, Wooloomanata, behind the You Yangs, after showing him and a few other members of the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia, dad's aviation movie footage from the 1950's. I kept in touch with John and threatened that one day I would fly into Wooloomanata and pick it up again. On Thursday last week I managed to finally achieve that goal when the Antiquer's congregated at Wooloomanata for a mass fly-in arrival to the Avalon show. Unfortunately co-owner Chris Ashdowne was not able to be present due to personal commitments.
I'm still training for my PPL so to fly in to Avalon main strip (with Ian Ryan instructing) was a huge treat. And to top it off, fly UYS solo back on Sunday was even greater. The plane was at 1,500 feet but I was at about 50,00 feet!
Congratulations to Heather Brennan as well. She faced the same trauma flying in on Wednesday and putting the Tecnam P92 on display for YVFT. And thanks to all the people who have supported me with their words of encouragement and coaxing. Particularly Ian, Ray, Muzz, Gavin, Bob and Chris.
One thing I have worked out through this experience is just how many people admire the little Colt. I'm still trying to pin down what the X factor is but I think it is something to do with the neat simple design and the classic smell and stance of a contemporary aeroplane. She has Chris and I hooked.
I must have had about a dozen young kids (and big kids), jump into the left hand seat and sit there planning their path into a flying career, including a distant relative (Dean Bedford) who made it through to PC9's in the RAAF and has 400 hours on gliders. I think I have him convinced to get back into it and stop having babies. Let's hope those younger ones go on to fly F35's.
As for the rest of the show, well, after 12 times at Avalon the F22 display is still nearly the best. Nothing yet has been as impressive as the 1995 SU27 Cobra Strike or Bob Hoover's Shrike Commander dead stick display. Even watching Malcolm welcome the two new F35's 01 and 02. My distant relative mentioned above, went through his training with the pilot of 02 (WGCDR Andrew Jackson) but Dean couldn't cope with the navigation component and bombed out. If only.
Now for the AAAA National Fly-In at Echuca on 17th March.
Onwards and upwards.