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On display for all

Monday, 21st October, 2013

By By Ethan James

A host of memorabilia and vintage aircraft was on display at the Broken Hill airport over the weekend, giving visitors the chance to take it all in.

“I thought it ended up being bigger than Ben Herr!”

That was the verdict from Vice-president John MacLeod following the Aero Club’s 75th anniversary celebrations on Saturday.

“It was a huge success and I don’t think I’ve heard a bad word said about it from anyone,” he said.

Visitors also had the chance to take scenic and acrobatic aerial tours of the city.

Over 200 people attended the official engagements, while over 100 planes flew in to Broken Hill from as far away as Papua New Guinea.

“We also had some people who were coming from Tasmania but they couldn’t make it through due to the weather,” Mr MacLeod said.

One to make the flight was Mildura resident Brian Roule.

“It was just a couple of hours flight down the road. We have been up here quite a few times, so we’d thought we’d check it out,” he said.

In amongst the many aircraft parked on the airfield, Brian and his wife arrived in arguably one of the smallest.

“We took one of the original Jabirus... this one is number 24 out of the factory and there’d be thousands of them now, so it’s one of the very early ones,” he said.

Manufactured in Bundaberg, Queensland the light aircraft is mostly used for recreational flying and is designed specifically to transport one pilot and a passenger.

One main attraction on display was the historic ‘Drover’ aircraft - the first model used by the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

“They were designed and built in the Australia and the one on display is the last one of 20 built in 1952,” engineer Jim Marshall said.

“It was converted to a passenger plane with QANTAS and was then privately owned and did seeding, so it’s had an interesting life.”

The Drover is currently housed in Albion Park near Wollongong Sydney and according to Jim, is still “very reliable and comfortable to fly in”.

The Aero Club’s celebrations included a dinner and trip to Silverton, where an auction raised $7440 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

They are hoping to hold another anniversary bash to celebrate their 80th year in 2017.

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