June 2011 – The first ever warbird aircraft cockpit gathering event has now been held in Australia. From afar came cockpits, people, ejection seats, panels and components all to showcase aviation history and to enlighten people to why they were built/used etc.

From the review of the day – the event was a resounding success, it seems as up to 50 people attended or literally dropped in off the local street during the day. Some people were driving past the house and wondered ” what is happening” and literally came up and looked at the event. I nearlydidnt make it for my own appearance, as i had a horrible ear ache on Friday… and didnt know if i could fly. Lucky my medicine worked.

Saturday June 18 was chosen as it nearly matched the UK much well known and much larger and public Cockpitfest which this Australian version was modelled on.

I think i claimed the prize for “ye who travel farthest” as i went 878km to visit the collection/event. I left Sydney early in morning – after rising at 4am to get ready….

Getting there was half the fun – cold clear night in Sydney – meant a nice sunny sunrise.

Finally Melbourne… lucky for me the South American volcanic ash over Melbourne had disappeared only 2 days earlier and flights were now resuming… otherwise i would never got off the ground from Sydney…

Finally in Tullamarine but a slight problem ..

As we taxied in the Airbus A320 APU failed for 5mins leaving the plane without any electrical systems. First time in 30years of flying I’ve ever had a APU fail on a airliner I’m in. Was a different way to end the flight.
After that delay, a friend of Paul met me at the airport and kindly drove me over to the event. Very considerate and much appreciated by me.

The informal and low key gathering was at a local collector’s house in Melbourne, where the owner Paul has cockpits sections from a ex RAF Jaguar and a SU-22 from Eastern Europe on display. A tail fin from the SU-22 was also present.


Stored along side was a K-36 ejection and sets of various Russian flightgear.

I caught up with a few people i have known from aviation internet forums today. Was able to discuss a few issues and ask questions.

Another collector Dave, brought his own single seat Hunter cockpit section which stood out the front as a advertising slogan nearly…He also brought numerous instrument panels, C flight helmet and a seat.

Some of these rare items included the first ever Royal Australian Air Force CAC Sabre Jet ejection seat on display. It was a NAA T-4E-1 seat but which the RAAF in the early 1950s highly modified with overhead pull handle and rather long it was. You wont see this type of ejection seat ANYWHERE else in the world except in Australia.

Numerous instrument panels from aircraft such as Lancaster, Wirraway, ME-109, Spitfire, Aussie Beaufort and more were all nicely laid out.

Components such as B-24 Liberator control stick, mixture controls and even a bomb aimer kept people’s attention focused.

My contribution was a backpack parachute, myself dressed as a 1960s USAF pilot in hi vis orange flight suit, HGU-2/AP flight helmet / MBU-5/P oxygen mask, B-3 gloves, CSU-3/P g suit and a flight cap. I also took some of my aviation patches and a Australian Pilot magazine edition down to showcase.

Coming soon PART 2 – with more photos and information.

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