Flights of fancy

Royal Australian Navy Squirrel helicopters perform aerial displays over Caloundra yesterday. Photo: Cade Mooney/175859
Royal Australian Navy Squirrel helicopters perform aerial displays over Caloundra yesterday. Photo: Cade Mooney/175859

Looking to the skies yesterday, Caloundra residents would have noticed millions of dollars worth of Royal Australian Navy aircraft hovering over the Queensland Air Museum.

As part of the annual open cockpit event at the museum this weekend, the Squirrel helicopters were practising their moves over Coast airspace.

QAM spokesman Cameron Elmes said this year marked the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, and the Squirrel helicopters would perform a choreographed routine for visitors today and tomorrow.

The Squirrel and Seahawk aircraft will be on display throughout the weekend and locals will have the chance to get up close and personal to find out what it would be like to be behind the controls of one of the aircraft used in the Australian Defence Force fleet.

Mr Elmes said the Seahawk, the navy’s anti-submarine attack helicopter which normally operates at sea aboard the Anzac and Guided Missile Class Frigates, would be on static display while the Squirrels would perform aerial routines.

He said the Australian Defence Force would also be recruiting during the weekend.

Locals will also have the opportunity to sit in the hot-seat of some of Australia’s most impressive aircraft, including the World War II Spitfire and one of the oldest DC3 aircraft in Australia.

Mr Elmes said that as part of the annual event, the canopies and cabin doors on 15 aircraft would be open so visitors could take the controls of a variety of historic aircraft including military jet fighters, bombers and trainers.

The open cockpit weekend is on today and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Entry is $9 for adults, $6 for children, $7 for concessions and $22 for a family pass for two adults and two children.

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