Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Avalon Airshow beckons local museum

Benalla Aviation Museum has been invited to attend a prestigious air show.

ANGELA TOWNSEND September 6, 2012 4:58am

Benalla Aviation members Terry Kay, Doug Williams and Mark Carr are excited about the invitation to be part of the Avalon Airshow

Benalla Aviation Museum has secured a major coup, being invited to attend the prestigious Avalon Air Show early next year.

It is believed the invitation was extended to the group due to airline pilot Mark Carr’s unique working collection of Warbird aircraft, which includes a Winjeel, a Moth Minor and his latest acquisition, a former Chinese Air Force Nanchang. All are airworthy, and it won’t be long before Mr Carr will be offering adventure flights in the Nanchang as he does with his other aircraft.

It is believed the museum was approached after Avalon Air Show organisers read a six-page article on Mr Carr’s passion for his wartime collection in a Cathay Pacific magazine.

Members of the museum are rapt at the progress in putting together some of its own aircraft, including the British De Havilland Vampire (pictured above) which was widely used for advanced jet training in the 1950s.

The Vampire was found as a derelict ‘gate guardian’ at the former Somers airforce base, which later became a holiday camp, and was ‘rescued’ by Moorabbin Air Museum. The museum later donated the aircraft to Benalla Aviation Museum, and arrived at its new home after local members brought the large aircraft up Hume Fwy in pieces last December — the twin tails, fuselage and wings all making the trip separately.

The British-built De Havilland T33 Vampires were the first jet-powered training aircraft to be used by the RAAF and were in service from 1949 until they were replaced by the twin-engine Gloster Meteor in 1952.

Volunteers have worked hard to put the Vampire back together, and although it will probably never fly again, the aircraft will become a valuable ‘hands on’ static display at the museum.

It is anticipated the cockpit will provide a realistic experience for ‘grounded aviators’, with the dash being detailed and lit up.

Benalla Aviation Museum president Terry Kay invites anyone who is interested in being involved in the museum’s many projects to phone him on 57662455. Otherwise, call into the Bellman Hangar workshop on Wednesdays when the volunteers are working on a wide range of projects. Anyone with wiring skills is particularly welcome.

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