RAAF RICHMOND – RAAF 90th ANNIVERSARY HERITAGE DISPLAY

MAR 2011 – I have been invited to display some of my RAAF flightgear and documents at a special 90th Anniversary event of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in April 2011 at RAAF base Richmond in western Sydney, Australia.

I will be taking various flightgear helmets, manuals, flight suits, boots and misc items to showcase where the RAAF has come in the last 90years of service.
I will have a variety of people from ranks and senior brass on the base inspecting my displays potentially.

I hope the heritage display will encourage some within the RAAF to take a deeper interest in preserving their past.

I was given this chance , as i met a person at the Avalon airshow from the base and it has developed from there for me to showcase heritage and for me to network i hope.

RICHMOND HERITAGE?
Ideally a museum or a area for heritage should be established at Richmond to ensure the base knows it own history and also to allow the public to see it. Many aircraft could be found easily and would enable tourism to flourish.
RAAF bases Amberley and Williamtown have museums type operations on the bases that are tourism drawcard or soon to be.

Maybe one day it might happen at Richmond…..

RICHMOND AIR BASE – HISTORY
Richmond is nearly as old as the RAAF it self. Richmond was started in June 1925 and it has grown from what was once bush/farmland, into a small base and then into a large logistic hub serving the area with jobs.

EARLY DAYS
RAAF Base Richmond was the location of the first Air Force base in New South Wales and the second within Australia, Point Cook been the Home of the RAAF.
In 1925, No 3 Squadron, was formed at Richmond as the first Air Force unit in New South Wales.

During the 1920 and 1930s, RAAF Base Richmond was also used as a backup airport for Sydney. Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith landed the famous Southern Cross at the airfield after his trans-Pacific flight in 1928, and female aviator, Miss Jean Batten landed after her solo flight from England in 1935.

WW2 OPERATIONS

At the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939, No 3, 6, 9 and 22 Squadrons were based at Richmond, together with No 2 Aircraft Depot.

No 8 Squadron formed on 11 September 1939 and No 11 Squadron two weeks later.

During World War 2, Richmond developed into a base of major importance to Australia’s defence, and has since evolved from a combat centre to become the home of most of the Air Force’s air transport fleet. As such, the base is now the hub of logistics support for the Australian Defence Forces.

RICHMOND – RAAF OR CIVIL FUTURE

Richmond has faced off many attempts to close it down and remove it. Many people would like it to become a Williamtown operation – defence and civil side by side. Many want it left as it is – defence only.

AIRCRAFT AT RICHMOND

RAAF Squadron aircraft that have operated from Richmond include – Royal Aircraft SE5a, Airco DH9, Westland Wapiti, Hawker Demon, Ansos, Hudson, Wirraway, Boston, C-47 Dakota , DHC-4 Caribou, SP-2E/H Neptune, various C-130 Hercules A/E/H/J models and ex airline converted for tanker/cargo roles Boeing 707s .

A large variety of movements from others squadrons around Australia and foreign aircraft has made Richmond a hive of activity over the years.

RAAF HISTORY – FINAL BOEING 707 FLIGHT JUNE 30 2008
I was lucky to be present at the last Boeing 707 cargo/tanker flight in 2008 – and can now share my photos. This is history that i was lucky to get to see.

I am aware 3 years on nearly, that a plan to restore some of the RAAF 707s to flight for heritage purposes again is potentially on the books but whether that will actually happens – who knows.

RAAF Boeing 707 Tanker/cargo transport aircraft
A20-624 was the last 707 in service and carried the special artwork on tail -“Farewell 707” logo and another “29 years of service to the nation” on forward fuselage.

2ND LAST B707 FLIGHT
The last ever flying RAAF Boeing 707 aircraft went up earlier in day for a final flight over NSW and Sydney. It took off around 950am and came back later around 1145am.

She is seen taxiing out to take off on the 2nd last ever military flight.

The engine noise was loud loud and smoky. The B707 was ready to release brakes and roll..

After flying around for a while over NSW and Sydney with media onboard, she returned to base and then the formal ending of B707 service began……

LAST EVER B707 FLIGHT IN RAAF SEVICE
The last flight took off at 123pm. She would be doing a flypast and then a flyover of the base south to north i recall it was over a parade display.

After going to end of runway for running up for one last time, she accelerated down the runway and noisly and smoking leap into the cool winter air.

And airborne….

The J3TD engines smoke trails were a classic signature of the 707 operations.

FINAL GO AROUND – MISSED APPROACHED AND LANDING
She flew on a racetrack pattern and made a final flight over the base and then did approach with a overshoot.

And across the threshold for one last time…

It landed at 223pm – ending a fond and long era of B707 use by the RAAF but tinged with a loss of a B707 which crashed off Victoria in 1991 with all crew killed.

OTHER TRAFFIC IN THE CIRCUT
USAF KC-10 Extender flying into the base

A RAAF C-130J Hercules flying out for a training mission.

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