After several weeks of near perfect weather (albeit a tad cool, at least by Queensland standards), the weather turned with drizzle and low cloud, but thankfully no wind, on the day of the Maryborough Wings and Wheels fly-in which was held on Saturday, August 24.
However, the drizzle was intermittent and visibility, by and large, was well within VFR criteria.
Thankfully, the day saw a large contingent of aircraft make the journey to what is becoming an iconic event on Queensland’s Fraser Coast.
As usual, the warbirds of Toowoomba based Aviation Company Aerotec, made the trip and conducted Adventure flights in its immaculate T28 Trojan, Winjeel and Yak 52 aircraft for most of the weekend.
Aerotec Chief pilot and warbird pilot extraordinaire, Matt Handley, put the T28 through its paces in two displays during the day, much to the pleasure of the large crowd.
Wayne McLucas, who was visiting Maryborough from his home in Bundaberg, said the sight and sound was awe inspiring.
“There is just no other sound that can match that of a radial engine in full song,” Wayne said.
“I came here just to listen to it.”
Jim Brown, a Maryborough local, said he looked forward the fly-in every year.
“I really enjoy the day at the airfield,” he said.
“I used to fly many years ago in the likes of Tiger Moths and Chippy’s but those days are long behind me.
“These little planes are really pretty special and they are so well put together and maintained.
“In my day we’d turn a blind eye to some oil leaks and the like, because if you didn’t, you would never get to go flying,” he laughed.
Another visitor who used the fly-in as an excuse to go flying was AOPA Sport Editor, Brian Bigg.
Brian flew up from Camden in his Atec Zephyr and said the last leg up from Ballina was smooth sailing and very enjoyable.
“Apart from being held at 500ft over water off Wollongong, the trip was great.
“It was really bumpy and being only 500ft above the water can sometimes become a bit hair raising.
“But it was either that or travel inland, so I decided to take the lesser of the two weevils,” he joked.
Brian built his aircraft from a kit a number of years ago and, apart from having a series of well publicised issues with the brakes, has had no serious problems.
If any members run into him around the traps, ask him why putting the brake master cylinder rubber cups in backwards doesn’t really work in the long run!
Event co-ordinator, Karin Middleton, said the Maryborough airfield was a vital attribute to the war effort in the 1940s.
“Maryborough’s association with aviation dates back to the late 1920s and reaching its peak during the Second World War when it became a base for the RAAF No. 3 Wireless Air Gunner School and No. 3 Air Navigation School,” Karin said.
“It was also an important staging point for military aircraft heading north to the New Guinea battlefields.”
But it wasn’t just the aircraft which drew over 5,000 visitors to the aerodrome during the day. Various car clubs including vintage, hot rod and speciality clubs also took the opportunity to display their well cared for toys.
More than 160 cars, hot rods and motor cycles, both vintage and modern, were polished up and shown off.
There were even medieval battle displays to keep the young ones interested.
Despite the weather, which improved as the day progressed, the event was well organised and very well attended.
The 100th anniversary of the first flight in Maryborough will be on August 10, 2020 and the Wings and Wheels fly-in will be based around that date.
It will be a special day and one well worth attending.