Warbirds Over Scone 2022
VIDEO: On the Flight-line at Warbirds over Scone airshow 2022

Warbirds Over Scone 2022

Report and photos by Ryan Imeson

 

April 14, 2022

 

Returning to the Hunter Valley for 2022 was the Warbirds Over Scone airshow. Following its postponement and subsequent cancellation in 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19, the skies above Scone were alive again with the sound of merlin engines, radial engines and everything in between.

A major drawcard for many was the attendance of all four flyable P40 Kittyhawks from around the country. Making the trip north from Victoria were the Tyabb and Wangaratta based P40F and P40N, as well as the Albury based P40N from New South Wales. The Pays Aviation P40E, which is based at Scone, completed this incredible litter of kitties. For the first time since World War II, four P40 Kittyhawks flew in formation over Australian skies.

Warbirds Over Scone managed to also bring together three Spitfires from both New South Wales and Queensland. The RAAF 100SQN Mk.VIII Spitfire was joined in Saturday’s flying display by the newly restored Pay’s Aviation Mk.IX Spitfire, an aircraft making its debut public display. Unfortunately due to poor weather, the Bishopp Aviation Mk.XVI Spitfire was unable to make it to Scone until the conclusion of Saturday’s flying program. To see three Spitfire’s on the ground together though was a first for many.

Known as the Cadillac of the skies, the Mustang is always a popular airshow attraction in Australia. Like the Spitfires, three of these merlin-powered beauties were present at Scone. Once again Pay’s Aviation contributed by proudly displaying their Mustang, alongside the 100SQN Mustang from RAAF Base Point Cook. Along with the Mk.XVI Spitfire mentioned above, Australia’s only genuine P51D Mustang arrived late Saturday due to the poor weather. And the incredible attendees didn’t stop there.

My personal highlight for the show was seeing Chris Mayr’s incredible Focke Wulf 190 for the first time in the flesh. It would be a heavy understatement to say I was impressed by the sight, and sound of this WWII fighter. The ‘Wulf’ flew a magnificent solo display, including a simulated strafing run complete with pyrotechnics, prior to taking part in a three-ship tail chase display with two Spitfires. A sight never seen before over Australian skies.

Paul Bennet Airshows, who once again had a massive hand in successfully organising Warbirds Over Scone, rarely had a time when one of their aircraft wasn’t in the air. The Avenger, Wirraway and T28 Trojan were some of the warbirds owned by Paul Bennet that graced the skies over the weekend.

Aerobatics is always a strong feature of any airshow ‘PBA’ attend, and WOS was no exception. No less than 6 of their aircraft took part in some sensational aerobatic displays. This included the brand new Edge 540, which features a turquoise coloured scheme. Flown by Glenn Graham, the Edge will no doubt be a head turner wherever it goes.

The oldest warbird to take part in the show was the Bristol F2.B Fighter. The WWI era aircraft was piloted by none other than Paul Bennet, as he demonstrated what the performance of a frontline fighter of those years was like. The Bristol is another home based aircraft, now residing at Scone as part of the Hunter Fighter Collection.

Which brings us to just that, the Hunter Fighter Collection. Coinciding with the airshow, was the opening of this brand new aviation museum. Hunter Warbirds as it will be known, will house one of the most incredible aircraft collections of any museum within the country, perhaps the world. Aircraft attractions include the Spitfire Mk.IX, Macchi MB326, Messerschmitt Bf 109 (replica), Mirage IIIO, as well as the previously mentioned P40E Kittyhawk and CA-18 Mustang. The attraction will be boosted by the arrival of other aircraft in the not too distant future as well. Watch this space!

Warbirds Over Scone was a significant event for the area, with Upper Hunter Valley Mayor Maurice Collison telling local media it’s an incredible gain for the local economy. “We’ve had many, many challenges. I’m not sure what it’s going to be (the financial boost), but they’re talking a couple million dollars into the motels, food stalls”. You can expect this trend to continue with the opening of Hunter Warbirds.

Other warbirds to take to the skies over Scone included the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Caribou, the RAAF 100SQN Hudson, Graham Hosking’s stunning F4U-5N Corsair, as well as a gaggle of Harvards, CT4-s, Winjeels, Wirraways and Trojans. The RAAF also sent a solo Pilatus PC-21 from the Roulettes aerobatic team to complete a demonstration flight.

Sunday saw some horrible weather roll in, resulting in the cancellation of the day’s flying display. Mother nature had her say, but that wouldn’t stop the fun. The decision was made to open up the tarmac to all attendees, and give them the chance to walk amongst the aircraft. To be able to walk right up to a Spitfire, or perhaps a Focke Wulf, put a smile on the faces of many, both young and old, which was a credit to the organisers. The pilots were also positioned in front of their aircraft, allowing the public to engage with them, and ask about their amazing machines.

APD would like to thank Warbirds Over Scone, Paul Bennet Airshows, Pays Aviation, and all the other incredible organisers that put on such a wonderful weekend for all.

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor at Aviation Photography Digest
This author is a guest contributor for Aviation Photography Digest or the article is reprinted from another source.
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