MAY EXCURSION – WINGS OVER ILLAWARRA

Last minute notification from the WOI officials (e-mail received Friday evening) that the display vehicles had to be inside the grounds by 8.30AM and more importantly that the gates would be locked (for display vehicles) until 5.00PM – didn’t create much enthusiasm amongst the Z Car Club of Sydney members. As the members had to be informed of the changed hours before the event the return E Mails showed a number of cancellations.

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A hardy nucleus of members descended on the meeting place – McDonalds at Albion Park. Waiting in the queues for coffee and sustenance seemed to take forever. As such, food was gulped down and coffee was consumed a la “Bob Hawke’s record Ale drinking performance”. The only difference being the coffee was rather hot! A quick run to the Z cars, contorting bodies to fit through the low slung vehicles ignoring bad backs and ruined knees!

Start the engines, into gear and attempt to form a convoy to leave McDonalds – and wouldn’t you know it – Captain Pathetically Slow in the high powered Toyota Camry just has to push into the middle of the convoy blocking most of the members.

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Half the convoy had left and were turning at the traffic lights as the straggling other half managed to escape from McDonalds and took off in pursuit. A surge of speed was rewarded by catching up to the Z car in front (I hope he knows where he’s going!). Turn left at the lights and yes the flag marshals were there! After scanning the barcodes and entering the enclosure the Z car members recoiled in horror! After spending hours cleaning and polishing their Z cars to the pinnacle of perfection they were ushered to their display area. Not lush grass (as in previous years) – but all dirt!! Within minutes all the cars (including other clubs) had a heavy layer of dust covering their “pride & joy”.

Some members, because of the late finishing time had opted to park in the public car park and pay the extra entrance fees in order that they could leave at an earlier time. As such it took a while to catch up with all those who attended. The final count was 16 members and nine cars. However, the weather was improving by the hour. The earlier strong winds had abated and were now mere breezes and the sun was shining.

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After the opening ceremony the air show commenced . The first part included the Red Berets, RAAF Roulettes and a flyby by the de Havilland Caribou. This was followed by a Hercules, Neptune, Fokker DR1 and a Mustang.

Around 12.30PM the Supermarine Spitfire and a Hurricane appeared as well as the famous Wolf Pitts Pro.

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Following on was a Wirraway and the daredevil Russian Roolettes raising excitement levels in the crowd.

The Focke-Wulf made an appearance and other aircraft including a Jet Provost.

The Wolf Pitts Pro and two Pitts S1-S thrilled the crowd with their daring aerobatics at 3.30PM.

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Around 4.00PM some of the car club members were getting quite restless (not ours) and starting lining up at the locked enclosure gates. Inevitably the display cars were able to leave a little earlier.

The WOI air show was probably one of the best for a number of years with excellent weather for most of the day and all those Z car members attending enjoyed the day. However, there were some reservations regarding the “all dirt” display area and the 5.00pm exit time. Let’s hope the WOI organisers review these two issues for 2018.

– Ray