Massive flyover added to Bicentenary celebrations

Renowned aviator and Flyover director Matt Hall at Bathurst Regional Airport. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Renowned aviator and Flyover director Matt Hall at Bathurst Regional Airport. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

By Dave Lyall

A flyover of the Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Oberon and Bathurst involving up to 300 different aircraft is being planned as part of the activities marking the Bicentenary of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth’s Blue Mountains crossing.

It is hoped that everything from helicopters to small private fixed wing aircraft to World War II fighters and modern day military jets will take part in the event on May 25 next year.

Organisers are working with the RAAF for their assistance with resources such as staging areas and aircraft participation. Once airborne participants will follow a similar path to that blazed by the three explorers in 1813 with viewing areas planned for Penrith, Glenbrook, Springwood, Hazelbrook, Wentworth Falls, Katoomba, Blackheath, Mt York, Lithgow, Oberon and Bathurst.

Aviator Matt Hall in a F-18 flying along the East Coast of Australia coming back from Darwin after Pitch Black.

Aviator Matt Hall in a F-18 flying along the East Coast of Australia coming back from Darwin after Pitch Black.

Former RAAF Wing Commander Matt Hall, Australia’s leading aerobatic display pilot, is coordinating the event on behalf of Businesses Supporting the Bicentenary and Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism.

Discussions are also underway about a public event at Bathurst Airport where the flyover will conclude, allowing spectators to see the aircraft on the ground, take joyflights and purchase memorabilia.

Businesses Supporting the Bicentenary director Philip Hammon, who owns Scenic World at Katoomba, came up with the idea of a flyover to enable thousands of people to view the event and celebrate the Bicentenary from within their local communities.

“A flyover is something that demonstrates just how far we have come in the last 200 years since Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth made their historic journey,” Mr Hammon said.

“With viewing areas all the way from Penrith through the Blue Mountains to Bathurst people will be able to see what is going to be a spectacular event that the entire community can get involved in.”

(l-r) Businesses Supporting Bicentenary member Philip Hammon with Flyover director Matt Hall and Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism board member Eric Sward at Bathurst Regional Airport. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

(l-r) Businesses Supporting Bicentenary member Philip Hammon with Flyover director Matt Hall and Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism board member Eric Sward at Bathurst Regional Airport. Photo: David Hill, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Hall, who served time in combat over Iraq while on exchange with the US Air Force in 2003, said the flyover had the potential to be one of the largest gatherings of aircraft in Australian history.

“We are looking for aviators with aircraft of all shapes and sizes to be involved in what will be a truly unique experience,” Hall said.

“To be involved in a co-ordinated flyover like this is something that’ll be pretty cool and we will be calling for participants before the end of the year.”

Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism chairman Randall Walker congratulated Mr Hammon on instigating the flyover.

“This event promises to be one of the most spectacular ever to have occurred in the Blue Mountains. To celebrate a crossing by foot 200 years ago with a crossing by air, with historic aircraft will be an unforgettable experience,” Mr Walker said.

“To celebrate one milestone in the nation’s history by creating another is a wonderful masterstroke of visionary Philip Hammon.’’

For more info on the Blue Mountains Crossing Bicentenary:www.bluemountainscrossings.com.au.

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