Some people watching the air display will end up taking up the challenge and learning to fly. Once you’ve got your pilot’s licence, you may choose to take up aerobatics.
Arguably the best aerobatic trainer in the world is the ACA Super Decathlon, and a blue and white “Decath” will be putting on a display at Lilydale Air Show.
The Decathlon first flew in 1972, and is still in production today. Variants produced by Champion, Bellanca and ACA include the Decathlon 150 hp, Super Decathlon 180 hp, and the Decathlon Xtreme 210 hp. The Decathlon is purpose-built for aerobatics, and has a steel tube frame covered with fabric, and inverted fuel and oil systems. It was a derivative of the earlier Citabria, which in turn was based on the 65 hp Aeronca Champ of 1946. The Decathlon is a very capable and responsive aerobatic trainer and competition aircraft, which is a joy to fly.
The Police Air Wing just paid us a visit at Lilydale in one of their impressive Dauphin helicopter. They are planning to drop in again tomorrow to show off their capabilities. The Dauphin is a twin turbine-engine four bladed helicopter operated out of Essendon.
Lots of other interesting things are happening… don’t miss the Air Show!
For a few skilled pilots, one of the most rewarding types of flying is formation flying. This involves flying very close to other aircraft. If it seems close when viewed from the ground, it is even closer when you’re up in the sky!
Aircraft fly with a gap of about a plane length between. The lead aircraft pilot is the only one who knows where they are; the others are all concentrating solely on their position relative to the next aircraft in the formation. Formation flying requires skills, precision, discipline, trust and teamwork. And the smaller the aircraft, the harder it gets.
There are two formation teams appearing at Lilydale Air Show. The main formation is made up of one Cessna 177 Cardinal (leader) two Piper Warriors and two Piper Archers. The other special formation is made up of one Beechcraft Bonanza and two Yak 58s.
There’s a special type of flying called “aerobatics” or aerial acrobatics. When you see Paul Andronicou flying his Extra 300SC, you’ll be left in no doubt why it’s called such!
The Extra 300SC is a purpose-designed unlimited aerobatic competition aircraft. It is lightweight and powerful, with an engine three times as powerful as a Piper Warrior, but roughly the same weight. It has a symmetrical aerofoil wing, which means it can fly upside down as well as it can right side up. The engine has oil and fuel systems which allow it to keep running upside down too.
Immensely strong, Paul will be manoeuvring the plane to +6G and -3G during his display, but the Extra is stressed for +10 and -10G… which is more than a normal human can withstand without losing consciousness! Put simply, at 6G the aircraft and pilot weigh 6 times as much as when standing on Earth.
With so much forces on Paul’s body, 10 minutes in an aerobatic display is equivalent to an afternoon at the gym!
The Extra is a German design, and is built of composites around a steel tube fuselage and carbon fibre wing.
One of the most recognisable aeroplanes of all times is the de Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth. Tigers were produced in huge numbers to provide trainers for the air forces of pretty much every country in the British Commonwealth during World War II. Over 1000 were manufactured in Australia alone. After the War, Tiger Moths became the standard equipment for most flying schools.
The two seat open cockpit Tiger Moth has a steel-tube fuselage, shaped with wood and covered with fabric. The wing is all wood, and also covered with fabric. This type of construction is often called Rag and Tube. Some Tiger Moths in the UK were made in furniture factories! Their simple but rugged design has proved the test of time, and over 1000 are still flying around the world. Lilydale hosts Vintage Airways, which operates two Tigers along with some other classic aeroplanes. And they offer joy flights in the Tiger from Lilydale.
Open cockpit flying over the Yarra Valley in one of the greatest of all aeroplanes? Where do I sign up?
As well as some awesome aircraft in the sky, you will be able to see some pretty amazing flying machines on the ground in the static display. You’ll get to see a good range of the common general aviation aircraft up close, as well as some unusual ones.
One example is an amphibian aircraft, a RANS S7S Courier owned by Grant Farrow.
As the name implies, an amphibian aircraft can “alight” on land or water.
There are plenty of other interesting aircraft to see on the ground, including the Victa Airtourer, a highly respected Australian aircraft made by the Victa mower company in the 1960s.
And there will be some really old aeroplanes too, including an extremely rare 1930s Miles Falcon (one of three still airworthy in the world!), and a BA Swallow (one of only two in Australia).
This is not a pretty aeroplane.
But wow, what it lacks in looks it makes up for in performance!
It’s known around Lilydale as “The Green Machine”. Sometimes it’s called a Fletcher, and other times a Cresco, but technically it’s a PAC 08-600. See, even the name is ugly! The PAC stands for Pacific Aerospace Corporation; that’s an impressive specialised aircraft manufacturer in New Zealand. (Their other famous product is the CT-4 Airtrainer, which is a derivative of the Australian-designed Victa Airtourer.)
The Green Machine operates regularly out of Lilydale as a sky dive aircraft with Skydive Yarra Valley. The sky divers are loaded into the back of the aircraft through a massive door into a very sparse interior. The aircraft has an extraordinarily powerful PT6 turboprop engine, which gives it an amazing short take off roll. It climbs very quickly to height, drops its cargo, and descends quickly to a short landing ready for the next load. (Another affectionate name for this aircraft is the Meat Bomber! Think about it!)
If you would like to try sky diving yourself, ask for information at the Skydive Yarra Valley office right here at Lilydale. It’s a thrill that might turn into an obsession!