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THE Centenary of Military
Aviation 2014 (CMA14)
air show at RAAF Williams
Point Cook was universally
lauded as one of the best air shows
the ADF has ever put on.
Its significance was not lost on
the up-to 33,000 people who attend-
ed the two-day event as it celebrated
to the day – and minute – the first
time a military aircraft was flown in
Australia by Army Lt Eric Harrison
Chief of Air Force Air-Mshl
Geoff Brown said it was important
to remember the contribution past
aviators had made to the ADF of
Both history and the future were
on display at Point Cook as every
type of aircraft imaginable, includ-
ing Army aircraft and those used
in Army cooperation and support
roles were exhibited for the crowds.
Aircraft included a Cessna 180, a
Cessna 0-1 Bird Dog and Bell
UH-1 Iroquois, which were all used
in the Vietnam War, and a CAC
Boomerang from WWII.
There were 63 different aircraft
in total along with displays by drug
and bomb detection dogs, heavy
machinery crews, telecommunica-
tions ground displays and weapons
and ground patrols.
Taking up a large area opposite
Air Force’s F/A-18, Hawk 127 and
a mock F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
were three assets from the School
of Army Aviation at Oakey – an
MRH-90 and two Tiger helicopters.
OC ARH Wing School of Army
Aviation Maj Jaime Martin said the
Army was there to show people its
capability and technology.
“They had an opportunity to see
what we do and what our aircraft
look like,” he said. “We had heaps of
people looking over the Tiger. They
climbed up to see the cockpit and
spoke to various personnel who took
turns to speak, at times for hours, to
Maj Martin said everyone loved
something with weapons on it,
especially the children.
“There were lots of questions,”
“They told the public all about
what they and the aircraft could do.
The crew loved it.”
On March 1, it was 100 years
after Lt Harrison first flew a Bristol
“Eric Harrison was part of the
Army Flying Corps,” Maj Martin
said. “So, thanks [to the Air Force]
for putting on a nice air show for us!”
A hundred years after an Army lieutenant flew the
ADF’s first aircraft, crowds flocked to see how times
have changed, Cpl Aaron Curran reports.
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BOXKITE TAKES TO THE AIR
Cpl Aaron Curran
THE morning dew was still holding
on to the grass on the western
runway at Point Cook when at
exactly 7.40am on March 1, the
RAAF Museum’s Bristol Boxkite
glided effortlessly into the air for an
The flight mimicked the first ADF
flight conducted in a Boxkite at the
same time and date 100 years prior.
It was Army Lt Eric Harrison who
had taken the challenge in 1914.
Onlookers held their breath as
the aircraft was carefully flown at a
height of 50 feet along the length
of the runway by Sqn-Ldr Steve
Bekker, a test pilot from the Aircraft
Research and Development Unit at
RAAF Base Edinburgh.
Half an hour before the flight, the
aircraft was carefully pushed from
its hangar by members of 1 Sqn
and the RAAF Museum up to the
northern end of the runway.
At 7.27am the engines were
turned over for the warm up, then
less than 10 minutes later the wheel
chocks were taken away and Sqn-
Ldr Bekker gave a confident thumbs
The Boxkite then rolled towards
its starting point and took to the air,
heading in southerly direction.
“There was a little bit of
crosswind but luckily it was within
limits,” Sqn-Ldr Bekker said. “We
conducted a perfect flight.”
Although the timing and
unpredictable weather worked
against the team involved,
everything fell into place – much to
“It is kind of like operating a
balloon,” Sqn-Ldr Bekker said. “You
have to have very light winds and
very calm conditions, and on top of
that it was a challenging aircraft to
fly. Although it’s a simple aircraft it
needed a bit of preparation.
“To fly an aircraft like this really
reflected what those guys were
going through back when Australia
was a young nation.
“At the time the technology was
cutting edge. They had the foresight
and vision to see that this would be
a big part of how we would defend
our country in the future. We have
come a very long way since 1914.”
Everyone who was there cheered
when Sqn-Ldr Bekker safely landed
“It is still hard to believe I was
given the opportunity to fly the
Bristol Boxkite,” Sqn-Ldr Bekker said.
“Once back on the ground, I thought
to myself ‘did that really happen?’.”
Historical flight: Aircraft Research and Development Unit test
pilot Sqn-Ldr Steve Bekker pilots the Bristol Boxkite replica
during the Centenary of Military Aviation Air Show. A hundred
years earlier Army Lt Eric Harrison was the first to fly the aircraft.
Photo by LAC Brenton Kwaterski
Army aviation: Capt
Dave Hanssens, of the
Army Aviation Training
Centre, shows visitors
Photo by Cpl Aaron Curran
Back into the sky: A trio of Wirraway
aircraft rumble into the sky during the
Centenary of Military Aviation Air Show.
Photo by Cpl David Said
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