Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Australia’s only Fw 190 has had a tumultuous relationship with Wings Over Illawarra. We have tried several times to make the Focke-Wulf 190 as a feature of Wings Over Illawarra, but luck just has not been on our side!
The aircraft, owned by Chris Mayr of Raptor Aviation, arrived in Albury, NSW in July 2015 and Wings Over Illawarra 2016 was going to be be the first opportunity members of the public had to get up close to this magnificent aircraft. Unfortunately, this was not to be. When getting ready to depart the Albury airport, where the aircraft was based, the canopy came loose and in fact dislodged from the frame, making it impossible to make the trip to Wollongong.
We tried again for Wings Over Illawarra 2017 when the aircraft did arrive at Wollongong ready for the show, but during the practice flight on the Friday before the show, brake issues were identified which prevented the Focke-Wulf from displaying in the Saturday. The team worked tirelessly during Saturday and overnight and the Focke-Wulf did take to the skies for the Sunday of the show. It was a magnificent sight to see the aircraft display in front of the beautiful Illawarra escarpment.
The Focke-Wulf was once again billed as a feature aircraft for Wings Over Illawarra 2018. During a practice flight we had a major scare when the aircraft once again had mechanical issues. After a dramatic landing along with many emergency vehicles on ground it was identified that the fuel pump had given way. This was an issue that could not be overcome quickly, so the aircraft was grounded for the show, and was on static display only.
We had the great pleasure of having the Focke-Wulf based the Illawarra Regional airport while the team sourced a new fuel pump from the USA and then found a great guy in Russia who came to Australia and assisted in fitting the parts ready for departure back to home base in Albury, NSW.
Last year, while we had advertised that the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 would be attending the show early in the year, as time came closer it became apparent that despite the best efforts of the engineers the promised maintenance releases would not be approved in time for the May deadline. So, once again the Focke Wulf was a no show!
And of course the big question is.... Will the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fly at Wings Over Illawarra in 2020? Given the past history that Wings Over Illawarra has with the Wulf we are not prepared to say yes or no, but rest assured we are trying!!