Parkes Aero Club celebrates 70 years of flying

Parkes Aero Club is turning 70. Pictured are members Darren Mann, Erik Lensson, Brett Preisig, Maggie McConnell, Warwick Tom, Wade and John McConnell, and Bill Barber.
Parkes Aero Club is turning 70. Pictured are members Darren Mann, Erik Lensson, Brett Preisig, Maggie McConnell, Warwick Tom, Wade and John McConnell, and Bill Barber.

The Parkes Aero Club (PAC) has racked up 70 years of all things flying and to celebrate an unforgettable Air Display involving the Parkes community, flying clubs and professional organisations is being organised. 

The Parkes Aero Spectacular will be held on Saturday, April 14, from 10am - 4pm at the Parkes Regional Airport.  

Committee Chairman Warwick Tom said everything is on track for the big day.

“We hope to have four or five multi engine aircraft as well as an acrobatic team and the Roulettes,” he said.

President of PAC Erik Lensson said the 70th anniversary celebrations are a once in a lifetime event.

“Both the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) and Parkes Shire Council have given their full support to the day and negotiations are currently underway for the RAAF and other major service organisations to participate in this air display,” he said.

“It’s going to be a fantastic day for the whole family.

“People who book online will be eligible to win amazing prizes including REX flights and helicopter joy flights.

“We hope the day will also stir up some interest in flight training in Parkes.”

The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS), has a satellite branch based here, the Parkes Aviation Museum. 

Exhibits include a RAAF Caribou, a Harvard, a Jindivik drone and aviation military and civilian technology exhibits. 

A Convair CV 580 recently completed its last ever flight to Parkes and an ex RAAF Lockheed Neptune is currently in restoration ready for display at the museum. 

Warwick said a core of PAC members participate in the museum activities.

“Mike Delahunty has committed HARS to providing full support to the planning and execution of the PAC70 event, including appropriate aircraft flypasts, on ground aircraft tours and museum exhibits,” he said. 

“Over the years, PAC Inc has organised and hosted numerous flyins, competitions and national events, such as the Australian Aerobatic Championships, Major PAC airshows in ’85 & ’95 featuring the Air Force Roulettes. 

The Roulettes and several multi engine planes from HARS will be on show as well as Paul Bennett’s aircraft performing their amazing routine.

Parkes Aero Club was formed in 1948 shortly after the RAAF Station was decommissioned and is a not-for-profit community sporting organization, operating out of the recently upgraded Parkes Regional Airport.

The club represents one of the oldest continuously operated aero clubs in Australia, supporting primary and advanced recreational (RA) and general (GA) aviation training in the Central West of NSW.