Friday, April 13, 2012

ANZAC Day warbird flight

Bill Kiernan of the Northern Rivers Aero Club looks over the Vietnam O-2 Skymaster warbird in preparation for an Anzac Day flyover.

NORTHERN Rivers Aero Club in Lismore is giving kids the chance to win an Anzac Day flight in an old war bird.

Northern Rivers Aero Club chief pilot Bill Kiernan will take the winner up in a Cessna 0-2 air control plane, which was used in the Vietnam War.

"I'll line it up and fly down over the main drag in Lismore, where the Anzac parade will be," Mr Kiernan said.

"I'll just come down the line and at the last minute I'll pull up. It will be an over-fly, a salute to the diggers and then a pull-up as a farewell to all the guys that didn't come back."

To enter, kids must write half a page about what Anzac Day means to them and send it to Northern Rivers Aero Club.

Mr Kiernan said the ride was worth about $500 and a rare opportunity.

"You just don't get to ride in things like these any more. This warbird is as it came out of Vietnam," he said.

The plane's cockpit still carries a vintage 1970s radio that was used to talk to troops on the ground and co-ordinate fighter-bomber attacks.

"The other little bit that is a real rarity is this bullet hole," Mr Kiernan said, pointing to the plane's right wing.

The plane is in tip-top flying condition, though, and Mr Kiernan said the old war bird would ensure the competition's winner had an authentic flight experience.

"Generally, to get kids interested, you've got to show them exactly what it was like," he said.

"Kids need to see what other young people went through.

"The kids flying these things were 21 and 22, and it's not that they were heroes. They were just young people who were called in to do a rotten job and did it to the best of their ability. They were the sort of people who make a real community."

Send entries by Friday to Northern Rivers Aero Club at, fax 6621 7609 or PO Box 113, Lismore 2480.

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