GROWING: The Centre’s Canberra Bomber and Sioux helicopter and (inset from left) volunteers Martin Van De Pol, Adrya Neibling and David Newsome.
GROWING: The Centre’s Canberra Bomber and Sioux helicopter and (inset from left) volunteers Martin Van De Pol, Adrya Neibling and David Newsome. LAC Brenton Kwaterski

Vietnam War aircraft on display

A RECENTLY restored Pilatus Porter army aircraft that was deployed during the Vietnam War is on display at the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre.

The centre has its monthly, free public open day this Sunday giving visitors a chance to not only see the extensive collection of restored military aircraft but to learn their story as well.

Heritage Centre officer in charge Steve Finch said the restoration of the Pilatus Porter was completed in June.

Flight Lt Finch said the main attraction for visitors was still the two F1-11s.

"People still have an association with that aircraft given it flew from Amberley for so many years," he said.

The Heritage Centre has a collection of 13 aircraft, including a Canberra Bomber and a Boston Bomber.

It also showcases WWII jeeps, a Land Rover Perentie used in East Timor and a range of uniforms. Other aircraft currently on display include an Iroquois "Huey" helicopter in 9 Squadron livery and converted to a 'Bushranger' gunship configuration and a Bell Sioux helicopter synonymous with the MASH television series.

Immediately outside the first hangar is an old workhorse of the RAAF, the Caribou Battlefield airlifter which will be open for inspection.

The adjoining hangar houses a display of RAAF aircraft that took us into the Jet Age. These include two iconic swing-wing F-111s, the French-built Mirage interceptor, and a Korean War vintage Sabre fighter.

Inspect the six metre long TF30 jet engine and afterburner which helped propel the F-111 to speeds in excess of 2500 kilometres per hour.

The early aviation display hangar features an enthusiast's interpretation of a 1909 Bleriot aircraft, the restored Douglas 'Boston' bomber rescued from a Papua New Guinea swamp, a Lancaster Rolls Royce Merlin Engine and a collection of memorabilia from the era.

The Air Combat Centre will again operate an F/A-18F Flight Simulator with visitors able to purchases a simulator ride at $40 for 20 minutes.

Due to RAAF security requirements all visitors over the age of 16 must provide photographic identification, and have their identification details recorded as a condition of entry.

The RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre is open this Sunday, and then on the third Sunday of each month, between 9am and 3pm.

Admission is free and photography is welcomed.