Ray Vuillermin lands in Bundaberg for the airshow in a Chipmunk plane.
Ray Vuillermin lands in Bundaberg for the airshow in a Chipmunk plane. Mike Knott

Airshow touchdown

IT MAY have been up against a raging headwind, but the first of more than 100 planes expected to touch down in Bundaberg for the upcoming Wide Bay Australia International Airshow landed in the rum city yesterday.

The Chipmunk aircraft had a slow journey from its home at Caboolture, facing a strong headwind, but veteran pilot Ray Vuillermin brought the 60-year-old plane in for a smooth landing.

Mr Vuillermin has been flying for more than 50 years and has the huge job as the 2011 airshow display director.

“For this show we’ve been planning for about 18 months but intensely planning for 12 months,” Mr Vuillermin said.

This is the pilot’s third year as display director for the biennial airshow and he will be doubling his duties, both flying in and directing the show.

In his vast career, Mr Vuillermin has flown with airlines, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, acted as a flight instructor and flown corporate jets.

About 50-60 display aircraft will be featured in the airshow with about 100 other private aircraft expected to fly in to watch.

“We aim to have a lot of variety, from the vintage aircraft to the normal sprinkle of warbirds,” Mr Vuillermin said.

“Everybody loves the Mustang and at the moment we’re hoping to have a Hawker Hunter come as well.”

The always popular Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes will also make two appearances, flying on both Saturday and Sunday.

“We’ll also have the Russian Roolettes flying formations,” Mr Vuillermin said.

“They’re a group of larrikins and have a lot of fun.”

Among the exciting flying displays will be Paul Bennet, one of just two people in the world who can do a triple ribbon cut in one pass.

The stunt involves Mr Bennet using his aircraft to cut three ribbons placed about 5m off the ground, using his wings to cut two of the ribbons and the inverted tail of his aircraft to cut the third.

“There are only two pilots in the world who do it and he’s the only one in Australia,” Mr Vuillermin said.

“There’s going to be a lot of fun flying going on.”

The airshow will kick off next Friday, with a trade day from 10am-4pm which costs $15 for entry.

The aerial action will begin at 10am on Saturday and Sunday with tickets costing $40 per day for adults and $30 for children or $60 for adults for both days and $40 for kids.



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