2023 Avalon Airshow
After 4 years the airshow was back in Melbourne.
I'm glad I went, I met a whole bunch of interesting people and got a much better sense of what was going on in the aerospace industry. I also got to see some advanced tech up real close. Close enough that I could see the mach diamonds at the back of some aircraft that were using full afterburner with my own eyes! While seeing the aircraft performances was definitely a big part of going I found talking to various vendors and people involved in various projects to be the real highlight this time around. There's an undeniable energy being around people who are trying to make things which I think is perhaps the most important reason to get a manufacturing industry going locally. I remember being at the show 20 years earlier in 2003 and while it was great I had far less understanding of what was going on in many respects, engineering, aerospace, geopolitics, business, sales etc. But I had a newfound appreciation for many things in the aerospace industry this time around that I didn't even notice before.
The above photo is me in a Q400 waterbombing aircraft, was great to see some emergency services at the event showing people the interesting things they are doing in aerospace. I hope this inspires more people to get involved in this sort of work. Getting to and from the airport was a discussion I had with some specialized firefighting teams at the event, both by air and by land. It's common practice to have assets stationed at the airport ready to respond to any particular need.
One of the ironic things I couldn't help but reflect on is how long it can take to get to an airport on the ground. Back in the days when I used to fly out for consulting work on a regular basis I remembered a few times it taking longer for me to get to Melbourne airport than the time in the air to get to Canberra. Getting to the airshow reminded me of this, the amount of time just to get from the outside gate to the tarmac was extremely long just due to a huge traffic jam on a road that usually doesn't take that much traffic. And speaking of traffic there was a lot, the airshow completely sold out for the first time, there were an enormous number of people there. It took over an hour just to leave the event site on the way back home, for reference the flight time from Melbourne to Canberra is around 1 hour and 5 minutes in the air. That said, unlike being stuck in traffic on the way to and from the airport on a regular day this felt entirely worth it.