Monday, November 26, 2012

Ballarat Aero Club celebrates milestone

The Ballarat Aero Club has marked its 50th birthday on a high.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) roulette aerobatic team created a spectacular display in the skies over Ballarat on Saturday as part of a weekend of flying displays, exhibits and celebrations at Ballarat Airport.

Ballarat Aero Club president Matthew Chester said 60 planes had come from all over Victoria for the event.

“We have a number of modern aircraft as well as vintage aircraft,” he said.

“We were treated by a fly past this morning by a Mustang Yak and a Kittyhawk that flew in formation.

“The roulettes put on a spectacular show for us and there was quite a crowd by lunchtime.”

Training started at Ballarat Airport more than 50 years ago under the control of the Royal Victorian Air Club and in 1962 Ballarat Aero Club became an independent club.

These days, the club has 150 members and trains recreational pilots up to commercial pilots who are aspiring to a career in aviation.

Since starting offering training in a chipmunk aircraft half a century ago, the club has seen many changes to the types of aircraft available.

“There are now several different classes of aircraft for learning in, which allow a large number of people to be able to fly aircraft of all shapes and sizes,” Mr Chester said.

“It is a wonderful milestone that the Ballarat Aero Club has been in Ballarat for 50 years as part of the community.

“It has been a great asset for the people of Ballarat to come out and learn to fly. We are a major aero club in Victoria.”

Mr Chester said yesterday’s aerial displays involved a great deal of pilot skill and made a “wonderful spectacle”.

“It’ll be memorable for us for a very long time,” he said.

“There were a lot of families and a lot of kids and it was a good day out.”

Victorian Minister for Aviation Gordon Rich-Phillips also paid the club a visit, flying in on his own aircraft to attend on the day.

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