Sky’s the limit as Airport prepares for popular Open Day

Ian Bushnell 21 April 2020

The free Canberra Airport Open Day is very popular and this year you will need a ticket. Photos: Supplied.

There will be big jets, small planes and heritage aircraft on the ground and screaming aerobatic displays overhead to treat flight buffs on Sunday 8 April when Canberra Airport stages its popular free biennial Open day.

This year’s event has a new location in the airfield, a free park-and-ride shuttle bus to avoid parking hassles, and a ticketing system for a smoother entry.

It’s an opportunity to see two Boeing 737s and a Dash8-300 up close as well as a historic Convair 440, Caribou, Catalina and Dakota aircraft from the Wollongong-based Historical Aircraft Restoration Society.

Small planes include Cessnas, Pipers, a Beechcraft, American Champ Citabria and a Tiger Moth.

Aerial displays from aerobatic pilot Matt Hall and the historic warbirds Raptor Formation Team will thrill spectators.

Matt Hall and his aerobatic plane.

Matt Hall says on his website that he performs one of the most spine-tingling, high energy, progressive aerobatic routines on the planet in the MXS-R race plane (as seen in the Red Bull Air Race) or the Extra 300L – the fastest, most powerful and manoeuvrable one and two-seat aerobatic aircraft in the country.

In recent years, he has thrilled crowds at events around the country including Sydney Harbour’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, V8 Supercars events, Australian International Airshow and as a leading pilot in the Red Bull Air Race.

The Raptors include former RAAF and now commercial Qantas pilot Ian Eccles who operates Capital Warbirds from the Canberra area in his Soviet-era Yak 52, ex-Navy pilot Paul Duncan from Jindabyne in his ex-Chinese Airforce Nanchang CJ6A, and Wagga’s Alex von Mengersen also in a Nanchang CJ6A.

Committed to inspiring all those with a love of aviation, and furthering the cause of warbirds in Australia, the team uses the principles laid down by “FAST” (Formation and Safety Training) developed by the warbird organisations of many countries, to enhance safety and professionalism.

Getting there has been made easy with free park-and-ride shuttle buses to and from the airport. Operated by Transport Canberra, the bus will run a free loop service between the City Bus Interchange, Russell and Canberra Airport Open Day, leaving every 10 minutes from 8.30 am and continuing until 3 pm.

If you do take the car, parking is available at Majura Park near Catalina Drive. For people with a disability, accessible parking is available off Nomad Drive, opposite Canberra Helicopters, which allows you to park close to the event area and provides hard surfaces for wheelchair use.

There will be plenty of food stalls including snacks, sausage sizzles, Peruvian street food, coffee and fresh juices. An ATM will be available; however, it is recommended you bring some cash.

Don’t forget your printed tickets, a hat and sunscreen, earplugs, camera/smart phone, and gold coin donations to enter historic aircraft.

But with this year’s Open Day entirely located within the airfield, don’t bring anything you cannot take on board a domestic flight, including pocket knives, nail files and manicure scissors; dogs except for assistance animals, and excess items as they could cause delays during the required random bag checks in all locations.

To ensure an enjoyable and safe day, please follow directions from airport staff and security, stay within barricaded areas and do not touch the aircraft displays.

Visitors are also asked to keep off the grass, be mindful of your own and others’ safety, and dispose of in the bins provided as it can be hazardous to aircraft. Smoking is not permitted.

They may be also be requested to open bags for inspection, with random checks throughout the event, and the airport reserves the right to deny entry to any persons.

Date: Sunday 8 April, 2018
Time: 9 am – 3 pm
Cost: Free but tickets are essential
Tickets: Tickets are limited. Book online via Eventbrite.
Where: Canberra Airport, entry via Catalina Drive

For more information go here.

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