‘Ol faithful CJ6 VH-ALO has come out of an extensive 5 month rebuild program with a fresh paint job! The first order in the world for this specialised PPG flat grey 2 pack paint. The results are great, the aircraft looks proper military in it’s non-glossy paint in keeping with it’s past in the Air Force.
The engineers took the opportunity to replace all the original steel fasteners with stainless steel, new windscreen, overhauled and painted the propeller, repaired some fabric and many many other small jobs that has now got ALO a new hALO of good looks.
Come fly it at Moorabbin or Barwon Heads on a Combat Flight or Aerobatic Flight. We have Melbourne covered.
Occasionally passengers do not heed the advise in the pre-flight briefing, and put their arms up on the combing. With occasionally eye-popping results!
Be sure to keep the canopy closed people! It is completely harmless if it does open - except for perhaps requiring a change of underwear from the extra dose of in flight adrenalin rush.
In summer we regularly fly with canopies open, it is windy, loud, but on a 38°C day very refreshing!
Finally! Barwon Heads Airport has got 800m of the smoothest tar south of Avalon. Boardman Earthmoving did a terrific job removing the old goat track. The runway now is a constant gradient over 80% of the length, flattening out slightly at the southern end.
Regular operators Warbird Air Adventures, Skydive The Beach & Great Ocean Air are stocking up on new tyres, a small price to pay compared to propeller dings and pummelled undercarriage. The Barwon Heads Airport Runway Upgrade is much welcomed by both the regular commercial users of the airfield, along with all the local private and itinerant users.
Combat Flights Melbourne also operates from Barwon Heads Airport. The runway upgrade means year-round usability, previous winters meant the runway turned into a mud track and was not usable after rain, and sometimes barely usable for weeks at a time.
The Barwon Heads Airport Runway Upgrade was funded through the Regional Aviation Fund, a sub program of the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund. Latrobe Valley Regional Airport was the first to receive funding from the RIDF in 2000, followed by Shepparton, Portland, Mildura and Warrnambool. The RAF was created as a $20 million fund specifically targeted at aviation infrastructure in Victoria. Many regional communities have benefited from runway improvements for medical evacuation, charter flights and fire fighting capabilities. These include Hopetoun, Cobden, Mallacoota, Lethbridge, Tyabb, Coldstream and of course Barwon Heads.
Thanks to the proactive management at Barwon Heads Airport, Boardman Earthmoving and the Regional Aviation Fund, Combat Flights Melbourne has a fantastic all weather satellite field from which to operate from year-round.
Unusual Wedding Gift Ideas Melbourne
Another milestone for Combat Flights Melbourne this week as it flew another of it's unique combat flights over Barwon Heads on the Victorian surf coast with its partner Warbird Air Adventures.
Daniel and Amanda from Melbourne were given the one of the most unusual wedding gift ideas Melbourne has ever seen.
The couple have done several tandem sky-dives with Skydive The Beach but this combat adventure flight was a major step-up in the potential adrenalin rush for Amelia!
Amelia and Dan would now experience the thrill of a combat flight as a couple, giving them a chance for a 'friendly' fight together and something to talk about for many years!
The two aircraft launched for the second time that day and climbed up to 4,500 feet above the spectacular Geelong/Torquay surf coast. Once again the team performed some tight formation flying together as the broken low level cloud made the scenes below even more breathtaking.
After some of what fighter pilots call ' hack, rack and zooming' in the aerial combat position the winner of the dog-fight just had to be Amelia!
After the combat-like flying, the two aircraft once again separated to conduct individual aerobatic routines, including the now benchmark high 4.5 G force vertical-roll and stall turn hammerheads!
Yet another successful mission first for Combat Flights Melbourne and a very happy couple who can now share the DVD they purchased of the dog-fight with their family in the future.
This will prove: 'Mum and Dad were not always boring!'
********As a special offer if two combat flights of 30 minutes are purchased, Combat Flights Melbourne will include a free bottle of Mumm champagne, the drink of Formula 1 champions, to celebrate your victory - or commiserate your loss!********
Combat Flights Melbourne " Air to Air Dogfighting " First Flights Performed This Week!
Finally, months of getting crews trained, aircraft prepared and regulatory approval came together as Combat Flights Melbourne flew the first of its unique combat flights over Barwon Heads on the Victorian surf coast with its partner Warbird Air Adventures.
Anatole, with his combatant observer ( passenger) Luke in the back seat, flew Nanchang VH-ALO.
VH-ALO lead the 2-ship formation, with Matt paired with his fellow combatant Cameron, in Nanchang VH-NNM. The two aircraft performed a 'stream' takeoff due to the short runway and 20 kph cross-wind off Runway 08 at Barwon Heads on Thursday, 04 December, 2014.
Fortunately, the phrase: " A day that will live in infamy" (Franklin D Roosevelt) made three days later on 07 December (but 73 years earlier in 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour) was not relevant this day!!
The two aircraft launched and climbed up to 4 500 feet above the spectacular Geelong/Torquay Surf Coast and performed some tight formation flying together. The pair then moved into the approved combat position for more aggressive dog-fight manoeuvring.
The two combatants fought well, but ultimately there can be only one winner and all agreed that Luke and Anatole probably got the jump on Matt and Cameron and emerged victorious from the fierce battle in the skies above the beach!
After swapping lead for more air to air dogfighting, the two aircraft separated to conduct individual aerobatic routines including high (4.5) G force vertical-roll and stall turn hammerheads!
Cameron and Luke handled all the air to air dogfighting CFM could throw at them with ease - and would have been up for more- but time and fuel were running low so the aircraft returned to Barwon Heads to land.
If you would like to try the fantastic and unique experience just like Luke and Cameron did, point your gun sights ( browser) at:
Combat Flying or Air Combat Manoeuvring (ACM) is generally referred to as ' dog fighting'.
Early in World War I military leaders recognised the value of air power was more than just to annoy ground troops.
As aircraft developed rapidly and the weapons they carried improved, it was obvious that he who controlled the skies over the battle field would have a definite advantage.
Thus, the downing of enemy aircraft before they had a chance to release bombs, or strafe ground forces was essential. The best way to do this was with another aircraft.
The art of air combat manoeuvring gained the name of 'dog fighting' over the trenches in France with famous names such as Baron Manfred Von Richthofen ( the Red Baron), Billy Bishop and Rene Fonck all exceptional aerial tacticians and combat pilots.
Records of their heroism can be seen at the Musee D L'air at Le Bourget where the Paris Airshow is held. The ability to conduct combat manoeuvres since that time is an essential part of airpower.
All Air Forces of the world have dedicated flying squadrons that teach combat flying. In the RAAF, 76 SQN based in Williamtown near Sydney, trains initial fighter pilots in the basics.
They then proceed to develop these combat flying skills on posting to Squadrons (No's 3,75,77SQN and 2OCU) operating the Hornet, Super Hornet and shortly the F-35. Those that are the best of these combat pilots may go on to undertake Fighter Combat Instructors (FCI) course.
These pilots are the true ' top guns' of the Air Force and each operational squadron will have one FCI on strength to ensure combat tactics remain at the cutting edge.
The cost to train a pilot in the RAAF is estimated to be around 1 million dollars, another million to train them to be a basic fighter pilot and another million to make them fighter combat instructors.
Combat Flights Melbourne will introduce you to some of the gentler manoeuvres that these top guns perform but the basic principles remain the same - and it won't cost you that much money!
Unlike ballooning and skydiving, the weather for combat flights does not have to be almost nil wind or clear skies. With a cruise speed of 5km per minute the warbird aircraft used in combat flights can quickly find a favourable patch of sky. This allows Combat Flights Melbourne to have a very high dispatch rate with very few weather cancellations.
However, it is Melbourne, so the weather for combat flights can occasionally go below minimums. The minima weather criteria is generally overcast cloud below 4000ft. Wind does not have a significant effect on flights apart from creating some low level mechanical turbulence, which is quickly left behind as you climb up to combat altitude.
If the cloud is unbroken and lower than 3500-4000ft, and forecast to remain that way for the rest of the day, you will be contacted by one of the pilots and you can rebook the flight at your leisure.
A common belief is that the weather for combat flights is best when totally blue skies abound. This is not necessarily true! Some clouds make fantastic back drops for the inflight video cameras and also give a sense of speed as the zip past once you are below 3,000ft. In fact some of the best dogfights have been on those dark overcast days when no one else is up there but the bravest of the brave.