Roulettes COI

The Airtourer Association was on display at the recent Australian International Airshow held at Avalon Airport over 26th February to 3rd March. The airshow included a GA Airsport section and the the Airtourers were given a prime corner location facing the display line.

 

Originally five aircraft planned to be on display but the inevitable unforeseen events reduced this to three for the duration of the show. COI from Queensland was the first to arrive followed by Jon Merridew from Lilydale Flying School in ECI and Jon Pels & Monique Gillett in LVU.

The Lilydale team had a number of charters to Avalon and while the passengers enjoyed the show, a variety of pilots, mostly instructors, answered questions about the Airtourer as well as the school. Others on hand over the show were the author, Jon and Mon, Gerry and Denise Pels, Ivan Porteus and Andrew Clement.

We were looked after well by the airshow organisers with an undercover area to display association information. This area was shared with two other exhibitors, one of whom was East Coast Aviation at West Sale Airport. East Coast have maintained Airtourer 115 TWE and are currently rebuilding MTP after an engine failure some years ago. The rebuild includes a metal tank which led to some interesting discussions, particularly regarding Henry's design philosophy with regard to the safety aspects of the metal tank and the implications on AD/VAT/28.

The airshow organisers also provided a dedicated area for GA Airsport exhibitors to relax with barista coffee for $2 a cup and a good supply of water. The water was particularly important with sunny skies and hot dry northerly winds raising the temperature to the high 30s each day. This area included a section fenced off from the crowd and with an unobstructed view of the flying display. An army of aviation minded volunteers provided great support and interesting conversations.

Some members would be dissuaded from flying into the airshow by the Class D airspace, requirement to talk to ATC and the high traffic density. The procedures were simple and clearly published with an online slot booking system. While there were some computer "glitches" with the bookings, the actual arrival and departure on non-show days was a non-event. Monique elected to depart with LVU on Sunday immediately after the show finished at 4PM. Although slot times had been allocated the parking arrangements made adherence to them impractical. The organisers therefore elected a "Le Mans" style departure. This is where the ground volunteers shone in assisting moving aircraft and giving start and taxi instructions to facilitate an orderly and efficient departure.

The author was surprised by the number of visitors who personally knew Henry or his family. Additionally there were the inevitable "I learned to fly in a Victa" observations. See the accompanying photos for some of the Association members, and others, who stopped by.

The next Avalon airshow will be held in 2021 and will celebrate the centenary of the RAAF. I'm hoping the Airtourers will once again be invited and would like to see the progression of aircraft variants from a 100 to the Aircruiser and the CT4. This would demonstrate the progress of Henry's design culminating in the CT4 which trained thousands of RAAF pilots over 40 years.

ECI Team

The Lilydale Flying School team with Airtourer 150 ECI in prime position on the corner of the GA Airsport display area.

AndrewGormley

Andrew Gormlie from Tauranga in NZ who is restoring a couple of Airtourers.

DaveBrown

More Kiwis! Dave Brown (L) and Bill Lamb who fly Airtourer T6 ZK-CPG. Dave is also the CFI with the NZ Warbirds Association.

HSJ

Association members and owners of Airtourer 100, VH-RKL, Bronwyn Hicks and John Stewart-Jones operated a booth at the airshow selling John's aviation sketches. When the author visited they had sold out of Airtourer pictures.

DaveProsser COI

The author caught up with an old friend he hadn't seen since the late 1970s, Dave Prossor. Many of you will know of Dave through his columns in Australian Aviation magazine. He is currently the President of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia. The AHSA display included a back issue of their magazine Aviation Heritage with the cover photo showing Dave flying Airtourer 100, VH-CTM, as it was before Doug Stott upgraded it to Super 150 standard.

DaveProsser CTM

Plaque

Plaque presented by the airshow organisers thanking the Airtourer Association for attending.