Day 3 of this airshow can be summarised by one thing: crazy lighties…
The day was running reasonably slowly so we took a break down near the entrance to Bravo. Soon enough, we had a number of light aircraft (Cessna’s, Pipers, Beechcraft and ultralights/RAAus aircraft) come in, most on runway 18R (the grass strip to the west) and many were classic “weekend flyers.” For every one that had read the briefing info, came in smoothly, taxied well and followed marshalling instructions, there were about 5 that were clueless. We had lighties that couldn’t figure out which one was 18R, didn’t know the approach procedures and lined up on 18C despite being told they were for 18R and that 18R was grass. Then there were the ones who came straight at you when you were trying to tell them to keep going the same way they were currently pointing, etc. Sure enough, it came down to us giving up on “normal” marshalling and just pointing them in the rough direction, often having to yell instructions.
Oh well, we survived and there were not crashes, collisions or injuries…
The RNZAF 757 came in to the usual collection of sheep & Kiwi jokes then the RAAF 707 came in, trailing more smoke than an aerobatic aircraft. The F-111 that had been doing engine runs yesterday evening went out for a test flight and came back shortly before an Atlas Air 747-400 freighter came in (under a QF7000 series flight number).
The freighter was here to pick up the Grand Prix Formula 1 vehicles and equipment. Quite amazing to see everything packed up and wrapped in cocoons.
Once the display started, we were able to take a break and have lunch. Part way through, the Atlas Air freighter left on the tail of a Jetstar that was leaving their terminal.
After the show, the RAAF 707 fired up in the keyhole and wanted to come out ASAP but Jetstar refused to let them pass behind them on Bravo. They waited for a while in the keyhole while a Caribou once again waited at the Bravo holding point with the old Ansett DC-3 behind it (VH-ABR). They were both eventually cleared and then we managed to sneak a bunch of lighties before the Jetstar aircraft at the terminal left.
The 707 came out of the keyhole and then wound up waiting at the Bravo holding point as a pair of lighties were allowed to land on 18C. One declared it couldn’t land on grass (a Rutan Long-EZ or something like that) and a RAAAus aircraft on floats that announced it was almost out of fuel due to being vectored a few times (possibly because they hadn’t read and/or understood the procedures info). They landed and then had to come off on Charlie, despite being told to go to Foxtrot, claiming they couldn’t go further. They then shut down still inside the runway boundaries, so had to be pushed further into Charlie. Eventually they were in and the 707 could go.
After another hour or two of marshalling lighties into fields there were no more, we’d hit 6pm and so it was time to call it a wrap. Another successful day completed but there’ll be a long one tomorrow. It’s going to be a busy time until next Monday :)