Original record breaking Gypsy Moth touches down at Archerfield Airport, 88 years on

NEWLY restored de Havilland Gypsy Moth, VH-UQH, flew into Archerfield Airport on Sunday April 14, with a supporting flight of five other 'Moths' to mark 88 years since it broke the England to Australia solo flight record.

Not only that, Tim Barron, the grandson of aviator Captain Charles Kennedy Scott who flew the Gypsy Moth on that historic journey, flew in his gransfather's restored aircraft, having jetted in from the UK a few days earlier, to participate in the commemorative flight.

Mr Barron was a passenger aboard the newly restored de Havilland Gypsy Moth, VH-UQH, flown by his grandfather 88 years ago to set an England to Australia solo flight record and become the first aircraft to land at Archerfield Airport on its opening day in April 1931.

Sunday’s flight into Archerfield Airport commemorated these historic events, and was the  aircraft’s first major flight since the 1950s.

The Gypsy Moth arrived among a gaggle of other Gypsy Moths and Tiger Moths at about 2pm for an airside presentation and series of TV interviews, in front of the Archerfield Airport Terminal Building. 

The aircraft was piloted by Captain Charles Kennedy Scott in 1931 to set a world flight record from London to Darwin of 9 hours, 4 hours and 11 minutes. This broke an earlier record set by fellow aviator, Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, by 19 hours.

Scott then flew to Camooweal and Longreach, before heading to Brisbane to land the first aircraft at the then brand-new city airport at Archerfield.

English-born Captain Scott left the RAF in 1926 to emigrate to Australia. He was one of the original pilots for the fledgling outback airline, Qantas.

Today, his aircraft, VH-UQH, is co-owned by Ed Field of the Sunshine Coast and Peter Gartshore of Brisbane. Ed Field flew the Moth with Mr Barron aboard, from Caboolture Airport, where the aircraft is hangared, to Archerfield Airport. The flight was its first major flight since the 1950s.

Ed Field found VH-UQH and two log books among a shed full of Tiger Moth parts in the outback WA town of Trayning. The aircraft had been damaged in a cyclone in 1953 and was considered beyond repair. 

After researching VH-UQH and discovering its historical significance, Mr Field brought the Gypsy Moth to Melbourne, then Caboolture. Its on-and-off restoration project started in the mid-1980s and was completed only last week, returning VH-UQH to as it was 88 years ago – including the original British registration markings (G-ABHY) which required special approval by CASA.

VH-UQH will be accompanied to Archerfield Airport by two antique aircraft owned by Bill Finlen of Boonah: Gypsy Moth VH-UMK – which was involved in the search for Lassetters Gold Reef in 1930 – and a Tiger Moth originally from the RAF in England and used as a wartime trainer.



New Joint Strike Fighter maintenance facility in Queensland

TAE AEROSPACE will develop its Turbine Engine Maintenance Facility (TEMF) in Bundamba, South East Queensland, to support in-country sustainment of Australia’s fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike fighter jets.

The TEMF will enable deeper-level maintenance, where JSF F135 engine modules are disassembled, repaired and reassembled for testing, according to Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne. 

“TAE Aerospace’s new facility will support maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) activities for not only Australian F135 engines but also engines from around the Asia Pacific region and the world,” Mr Pyne said.

“TAE Aerospace is 100 percent Australian-owned with 237 employees at several sites across Australia, with contracts to support Classic Hornet, Super Hornet, Growler and M1 Abram tank engines. 

“The addition of the F135 engine MRO&U activities will add a minimum of 15 aerospace technician jobs to its workforce and up to 85 additional jobs as part of the future F-35 Global Support Solution.”

The Australian Government has approved the acquisition of 72 F-35A JSF aircraft to replace the current fleet of 71 ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets. 

“The global F-35 Program has had a positive impact on Australia’s growing defence industry, which has collectively been awarded in excess of $1 billion in production contracts and will support up to 5000 Australian jobs by 2023,” Mr Pyne said.




Western Sydney Airport tallies a year in business

WESTERN Sydney Airport Company (WSA Co) has marked its first year in business, moving from a ‘startup’ phase and into infrastructure delivery.

The Australian Government established WSA Co just over a year ago, following through on its equity investment of $5.3 billion to build and operate Western Sydney Airport.

“This time last year, we established WSA Co with four board members charged with delivering one of the most significant transport infrastructure projects in Australia,” Federal Urban Infrastructure and Cities Minister, Paul Fletcher said.

“The full board complement was appointed by November 2017, resulting in a board of seven with the right mix of skills and expertise to lead the delivery of Western Sydney Airport. 

“WSA Co has since transitioned from start up to delivery. The company has established its base in central Liverpool and has its first critical project well underway – the nearly $100 million project to move an overhead high voltage cable is already well ahead of schedule.

“WSA Co has also awarded three major contracts, for early earthworks and multi-year contracts for delivery partners and project managers,” he said. “WSA Co is also engaging local Western Sydney firms, for example in site security, site maintenance, and for site preparatory activities.

“The company is on track to commence early earthworks at the Western Sydney Airport before the end of the year. Early earthworks will support up to 300 jobs in Western Sydney.”

Mr Fletcher said the Western Sydney Airport construction activity would support more than 11,000 direct and indirect jobs overall, “and WSA Co has also made a firm commitment to the people of Western Sydney, by setting strict local workforce targets”.

“The Australian Government continues to work closely with WSA Co to ensure the company meets its regulatory obligations and the project stays on track for the airport to open in 2026,” Mr Fletcher said.

Construction on Western Sydney Airport began on September 24.

Western Sydney Airport chief executive Graham Millett said it marked “both the end of a long journey and the start of an exciting new one”.

“It’s been talked about for decades, but now we’re ending the speculation – Western Sydney Airport is coming,” Mr Millett said.



QANTAS and Jetstar will operate from Western Sydney Airport. This follows the recent announcement that Virgin Australia intends to operate both Virgin and Tiger Airways flights from the new airport currently under construction.

The airport will have a 3.7km runway, capable of servicing the largest commercial aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747, and will have a high quality design reflecting the confidence and aspirations of Western Sydney, according to Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher.

“Reports which confirm that both major domestic airlines will operate full service carriers from Western Sydney Airport is great news for Western Sydney,” Mr Fletcher said.

“More than 2 million people live closer to Western Sydney Airport than the existing airport at Mascot, and being an international airport will ensure that the people of Western Sydney get access to the air services that they deserve.”


Federal Urban Infrastructure and Cities Minister, Paul Fletcher.

Archerfield Airport hosts Commemoration of the Centenary of the Armistice

AS A VITAL military facility for Australia during World War Two, Archerfield Airport will be a prime venue for a special Commemoration of the Centenary of the Armistice this Remembrance Day.

The event at Brisbane’s metropolitan airport is open to the public and will be hosted by Archerfield Airport Corporation (AAC) and the Forest Lake Squadron of the Australian Air League.

As part of the commemorations, bells in bell towers across Australia, New Zealand and the UK will ring to mark this significant anniversary of the end of the 1914-18 Great War – World War One – hostilities.

Cadets and guests of the Remembrance Day service at Archerfield Airport will ring hand bells after the minute of sacred silence. 

The commemoration program also includes a march by the Australian Air League, Forest Lake Squadron – attended by the Drum Corps, Flag Party and Squadron members – and prayers led by Pastor Robert Mann.

Archerfield Airport general manager, Heather Mattes, will speak about the airport’s key military role in the defence of Australia and its vital training drive before and during World War Two.

Archerfield Airport accommodated the RAAF, US Army Air Forces – under superem Allied commander in the Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur – the Royal Navy Air Arm and the Royal Netherlands Air Force during the Pacific Campaign.

The airfield was also a major offloading and maintenance port for military aircraft and equipment.



Date:  Sunday November 11, 2018

Time:  10.20am to 11.20am

Place: Archerfield Airport, Grenier Drive, Archerfield.


Singapore’s HES Energy Systems launches autonomous hydrogen aviation program in France.

SINGAPORE-BASED researcher and developer of high performance hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems for aerial platforms, HES Energy Systems, is expanding to France to work on the first decentralised hydrogen infrastructure for autonomous fuel cell powered aerial vehicles.

The move is part of HES’ broader goals to introduce long range zero emission aviation powered by renewable hydrogen, which it claims is “the most energy dense element in the universe”.

Thinking big yet starting small, the same company that started introducing its range-extending propulsion technology to small drones several years ago is now evolving towards manned aerial platforms, such as flying cars and inter-urban electric aircraft. 

From its lab in Singapore, HES has spent the last 10 years developing advanced ultra-light hydrogen propulsion systems that are up to 10 times lighter than batteries. Following a number of international experiments powering small unmanned aircraft for record durations, HES’s systems are now being scaled up to power larger manned electric aircraft, potentially revolutionising aerial logistics and mobility – increasing their flight range while eliminating carbon emissions.

A subsidiary of H3 Dynamics, HES is part of the France-Singapore innovation link that continues to intensify between both countries. Last year H3 Dynamics set the tone by opening its European headquarters in Paris with the hearty welcome of French President Emmanuel Macron. HES is now following suit and joining forces with France’s aerospace and hydrogen eco-system.

As part of its set up in France, HES is announcing its partnership with France’s leading professional unmanned aircraft builder, delair, and ERGOSUP, a French start-up developing energy-efficient hydrogen production systems.

Derived from a broader 2016 French National Call for Projects looking to deploy hydrogen technologies into airport applications in Toulouse, HES’s partnership will focus on creating infrastructure around smaller-scale hydrogen unmanned aircraft.

“Starting with smaller scale aerial vehicles help turn bigger visions to reality faster, and reduces the challenges related to commercialising complex technology” said Taras Wankewycz, CEO of HES and parent company H3 Dynamics.

HES plans to scale up the program to a continental network of hydrogen air bases for a fleet of autonomous, long-range and electric aircraft. The joint initiative will create economic and social benefits, Mr Wankewycz said, while starting the path to reducing carbon emissions in aviation.

“We are proud to start our initiatives in France and we look forward to bright outcomes together with our partners,” Mr Wankewycz said. “This is a major step toward an exciting prospect: zero emission aerial mobility”.

Aligning well with HES’s roadmap, more than50  global leaders in the energy, transport, and industrial sectors, led by the CEO and chairman of Air Liquide and the chairman of Hyundai, came together on September 14 to announce their landmark commitment to 100 percent decarbonized hydrogen for all mobility applications by 2030.

France’s government has meanwhile launched a national hydrogen plan to utilize hydrogen across all sectors.



Satellite technology lifts safety and efficiency in our skies

AIR TRANSPORT in remote and regional Australia is set to be transformed by a new satellite positioning technology currently being trialled by Geoscience Australia. 

The aviation trial is one of 25 currently being run across the country.

Airservices is leading the Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) project on behalf of the aviation industry, fitting SBAS technology into aircraft and testing it across regional Australia.

An operational SBAS would improve safety by guiding pilots with greater accuracy, especially those flying into regional aerodromes operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). SBAS technology provides accurate guidance for landing procedures at regional aerodromes where ground infrastructure may not be as advanced as that used at larger airports. 

Geoscience Australia's SBAS project manager, John Dawson said SBAS-assisted aircraft approaches were eight times safer than those that use ground-based navigation aids.

“This could mean a pilot can now attempt a landing without visuals down to 200 feet,” Dr Dawson said.

“The safety and efficiency benefits this technology provides will result in fewer flights being cancelled or diverted, and can also reduce the number of landing attempts flights may need to make during poor weather.”

This will be of particular benefit to services like the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which provides emergency medical transport and primary health care to rural and remote Australia, and often needs to undertake landings in varying weather conditions and at small, remote airfields and other locations where infrastructure and technology is limited.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, Geoscience Australia CEO James Johnson, and Airservices Australia CEO Jason Harfield, hosted an event at Canberra International Airport in April to demonstrate the technology to representatives from the aviation industry and media.

The event provided an opportunity for pilots to talk about how the technology would help Australian aviation. Aircraft present at the event included the Toll Air Ambulance, used for patient rescue, retrieval and treatment, in communities in New South Wales and the ACT, and an aircraft used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The aviation component of the trial will test two technologies: first and second generation SBAS.

Airservices Australia will receive up to $310,000 in funding from the Australian and New Zealand Governments to trial the technology.

The broader two-year SBAS trial program includes projects in the agriculture, construction, consumer and utilities, resources, spatial and transport industries. It is being funded with $12 million from the Australian Government and a further $2 million from the New Zealand Government.




General Aviation ‘Flight Plan’ takes off

LEADERS of Australia’s General Aviation (GA) Advisory Group has presented a plan to the Federal Government to help ensure the sector’s future, highlighting three priority areas.

Priorities are to develop a broad long term strategic perspective for GA; propose how air safety regulation can support GA through clear, consistently applied, and proportionally responsive administration; and maintain and enhance GA industry capability, through workforce development and access to airspace and infrastructure. 

GA Advisory Group chair and Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia CEO, Martin Laverty said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack had “given the GA Advisory Group freedom to identify our own opportunities for growth and to present its ideas on solutions to some of our challenges”.

Mr McCormack received the General Aviation Flight Plan from sector leaders in Canberra.

“The GA Advisory Group was established by the then-Minister Darren Chester in October 2016, to provide the very diverse GA sector with a forum to advise the government on its priorities,” Mr McCormack said.

“I welcome the establishment of the GA Flight Plan and I have asked the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to work with the Group in responding to these priorities.

“To ensure the group is able to complete the work outlined in the GA Flight Plan, the group’s membership and operations will continue for a further two years and I look forward to working constructively with the Group during this period.”

Dr Laverty thanked the Deputy Prime Minister for his strong backing of the GA industry.

“He has welcomed the Flight Plan, which addresses critical issues of regulatory burden and ensuring sufficient workforce to keep Australians flying,” Dr Laverty said.

CASA CEO and director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody welcomed the opportunity to work closely with the GA Advisory Group and to strengthen the safety regulator’s ties with GA.

“I’m pleased to have met with the GA Advisory Group, and to plan to use it as an ongoing reference group on safety regulatory issues relating to the GA sector,” Mr Carmody said.




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