The 2019 Edinburgh Air Show

Article and photos by Les Neistat, first published in 2019 in

Australia’s latest airborne defence capabilities were on show in Adelaide the weekend of November 9th&10th 2019, when the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) hosted its first major air show in more than three year’s, since 2017.

The Edinburgh Air Show in South Australia included air and ground displays of many of the Royal Australian Air Force’s latest acquisitions.

The Air Show coincided with the centenary of the first epic flight from London to Darwin by South Australian brothers Ross and Keith Smith.

These two South Australian pilots with distinguished flying records from the Great War, completed one of the most remarkable feats in aviation history.

The Smith brothers left England in their Vickers Vimy on November 12th and flew into Darwin on December 10th to claim first prize in the Great Air Race of 1919 in less than 28 days.

Being Edinburgh’s turn to host an ADF Airshow it was only appropriate to coincide the Epic Flight and theme the show, Vimy to Fifth Generation in 100 yrs.

The Air Show also celebrated the Fifth-generation air force – the latest technological evolution of aircraft, which included the Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (No.3 Squadron) and the Boeing P-8A Poseidon (No.11 Squadron) border patrol aircraft.

Other modern aircraft on display in the air and on the ground across the weekend included the (No.2 Squadron) Boeing E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, the (No.35 Squadron) Alenia C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter, the (No.36 Squadron)  Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, Boeing (McDonald Douglas)F/A-18A Hornets,

F/A-18F Super Hornets (No.1 Squadron), EA-18G Growler (No.6 Squadron), Lockheed Martin C130J Hercules (No.37 Squadron), Beechcraft KA350 King Air (No.32 Squadron), Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ (No.816 Squadron), and the (No.33 Squadron) Airbus KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).

A visiting Royal Air Force (RAF) Airbus A400M Atlas long-range strategic cargo transporter was also on static display.

Among the highlights of the non-defence planes included an aerial display by former RAAF fighter pilot Matt Hall who is the current Red Bull Air Race World Champion and thrilled the crowd in his MXS-R race plane with his aerial manoeuvres.

The Royal Australian Air Force’s aerobatic display team the Roulettes performed their first display at an air show in their new Pilatus PC-21 aircraft, which replaced the PC-9A earlier this year. They performed their high show, which is their full display, for the first time ever in the PC-21s.

Temora Aviation Museum were well represented with a variety of aircraft including Their Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII, Hawker Hurricane, Cessna A37 Dragonfly,P40 Warhawk, Lockheed Hudson Bomber,CA-13 Boomerang,P51 Mustangs, and F8 Gloster Meteor.

Classic Jets Fighter Museum, Sth Australia’s leading museum of military aviation flew their own CA-13 Boomerang together with Temora’s Boomerang, which was the first time I had ever seen two Boomerangs flying.

Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) were also greatly represented with their Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina, De Havilland DHC-4 Caribou, Lockheed SP-2H(P2V-7) Neptune and their latest acquisition a Lockheed AP-3C Orion.

Point Cook RAAF Museum’s Winjeel A85-439 and 2 CT-4A Trainers A19-040/A19-068 were also on display.

Head of Air Shows Air Commodore Noddy Sawade said almost all of the RAAF’s key aircraft had changed since 2007

RAAF Base Edinburgh is home to 3500 RAAF and Australian Army personnel and key defence primes including BAE Systems, Raytheon Australia and Airbus Group Australia Pacific. Major recent investments are being made to support the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicles, which will also be based at Edinburgh.

The Australian Government has committed to acquiring 15 of the Boeing P-8A Poseidons between 2016 and 2023 to replace its AP-3C Orion fleet.

All of those P8 aircraft will be based out of Edinburgh so they will be a familiar sight in the South Australian skies, as they did both static and flying displays at the air show.

It’s the RAAF’s major southern base and it’s had a lot of work done to it to accommodate the new P-8s and the Triton down the track.

The base has changed a lot and is considered extremely important in surveillance and response type operations.

Roughly around 30 to 45,000 people attended the air show on both days.

On the Friday before the air show (November 8), 600 Year 9 high school students  attended a STEM day, aimed at inspiring them to take up an aerospace career.

The air show also featured a commercial trades hall where more than 60 exhibitors had stands to showcase their capabilities to the public.

The Friday Nov 8th was also a great opportunity for Media to meet RAAF personnel who were extremely helpful in looking after the media contingent, as well as getting some great photo opportunities.

On behalf of, I would like to thank The RAAF Media team and all the personnel involved for staging an absolutely fantastic Air Show and look forward to the next one.

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