This yearly event run by the AAAA is in honor of the Auster aircraft. Auster's wingspan almost qualifies them as gliders. They've also been used as tugs over the years. They are a bit faster than the Falke (which is not real hard) and they've got stacks of character - as do the majority of Auster 'drivers', which makes for a fantastic weekend.
The AAAA runs a few fly-in events a year. The first one Phil and I attended some 10-15 years ago was at Kyabram. Since then, the events have grown and have generally been held at larger centres. It was really nice to go back to a simple grass paddock and a low key event this time. Phil and I managed to sneak out of Melbourne in the Pacer on Friday afternoon. All up, I believe about 50 aircraft turned up, which is excellent considering the wet weather on Saturday morning.
It was great catching up with all our friends from around the country, telling people all about my big adventure. I think I set a new record for time spent saying goodbye on the Friday night. It must have taken us 2 hours to get out the door after I kept running in to people I hadn't seen in a while on the way out.
The Awards dinner was held on the Saturday night. The tables were decorated with little flying Snoopys and windsocks to add to the atmosphere. After the presentations, an auction was held selling off the flying Snoopys for the Stand by You Cancer Foundation. The Association had included information about my trip and the links to my blog and donation page in their quarterly magazine so many people from the AAAA had already made generous donations (THANK YOU!). They knew I was a bit short of the $5,000 target and wanted to help close the gap. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Association members as the donations on the night (on top of those already made!) doubled the 'gap' amount. Thank you so much for your support AAAA!
|Arriving on the Saturday afternoon - quite a few planes here already, looking fabulous.|
|Prime parking spot next to a few Austers|
|This camera makes the cockpit look so roomy!|
|Boats zooming around on a full Lake Eppaloch|