Wings Over Illawarra annual airshow soared to new heights of popularity this year. More than 33,000 happy patrons flocked to the Illawarra Regional Airport for Wings Over Illawarra 2017, a record for the event.
There was constant activity both in the air and on the ground, from thrilling displays of aerobatics to punters of all ages being able to immerse themselves in aviation history by wandering through rare displays of vintage and classic aircraft. The excitement associated with flying demonstrations aside, patrons could also meet the likes of Red Bull pilot Matt Hall. Wings Over Illawarra’s equivalent of a rock star, Mr Hall’s aerobatics in his Extra 300L aircraft proved a crowd-pleaser. The former RAAF Fighter combat instructor is the only Australian ever to compete in the Red Bull Air Race. He was a popular figure throughout the show, as attendees regularly sought autographs and photos. “Wings Over Illawarra has the best of everything… Plus the atmosphere and the people are amazing,” he said.
Meanwhile, the rare German Focke Wulf Fw-190 made its air show debut at this year's show. Owner Chris Mayr flew his restored aircraft into Albion Park Rail from Albury, one of only four flying in the world. The craft was built in 1944.
The rare bird was among dozens to take to the skies both Saturday and Sunday to impress the crowds along with the RAAF Roulettes, RAAF F/A-18 Hornets and a World War I Fokker DR1. A crowd favourite was Paul Bennet Airshows’ Sky Aces. Among their performances included Mr Bennet’s solo flying display in his Wolf Pitts Pro aerobatic biplane. The group also took to the skies in warbirds such as the Grumman Avenger and T-28B Trojan.
Event organisers, Mark and Kerry Bright would like to thank the volunteers and pilots who took part and help make the event a success.
It’s the best event we’ve ever had, We are really looking forward to 2018! Bring it on!