The Australian International Airshow 2013 gave the cadets of the Australian Air League’s Sunbury Squadron a very unique opportunity to get up close with jet fighters from both theUnited States and Royal Australian Air Forces.
To the envy of the gathering crowd and under the watchful gaze of security, the cadets aging from 9 to 15 were permitted into Avalon’s very restricted Combat Jet Display Area. There, they were given rare guided tours of the USAF’s renowned combat fighters, the F-16 Viper and F-22 Raptor.
With the cadets climbing all around the F-16, then getting as close as any non-USAF person can get to a Raptor, they learned about the reasons for the design of both aircraft, theirdifferences, performance and armament and the demands placed upon the pilots who fly them. Our hosts also answereda range of questions from the cadets about flying the Viper and Raptor and even how long the tyres lasted (17 landings on average)
Very soon after, the squadron became the guests of our own RAAF’s 77 Squadron. Flight Lieutenant Michael Leonard, himself a former AAL cadet, provided a personally guidedtour of his F/A 18A ‘Classic’ Hornet, painted out in its green70th anniversary livery. The cadets had their education tested in identifying a range of aircraft parts on the Hornet as well as learning about the various weapons and sensors that were on display.
Each of their visits concluded with some treasured photo opportunities and their day was completed by watching high-energy air handling displays of each of the aircraft they had visited, as well as nearly 50 other aircraft flown on the day.
Photos from the day can be viewed online here.
Sunbury Squadron would like to thank Captain Branzwyskiand Master Sergeant Bruckner of the United States Air Force F-16 and F-22 Demonstration Teams and Flight Lieutenant Michael Leonard of RAAF 77 Squadron for their wonderful hospitality to our squadron whilst at Airshow 2013.