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Annual Report 2013-14

Feature articles

Celebrating the world's second oldest Air Force


This year marks a century since Australia's first military aircraft took off in 1914 and our Air Force is still flying strong.

Australia's first military aircraft took off in 1914, initiating what would become 100 evolving years of air power. Exactly a century later, to the minute, at 7:40 am on 1 March 2014, a replica of the same Bristol Boxkite historically soared in a celebration of 100 years of military aviation.

A Bristol Boxkite replica, built to commemorate 100 years of military aviation in Australia climbs into the morning sky over RAAF  Williams - Point Cook.

A Bristol Boxkite replica, built to commemorate 100 years of military aviation in Australia climbs into the morning sky over RAAF Williams - Point Cook.

The Centenary of Military Aviation Air Show was held at RAAF Base Williams–Point Cook and gave Defence the chance to showcase the work of the military's aviation sector over the past 100 years.

Speaking at the air show, Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, acknowledged the tremendous evolution of Australian air power over the last century and stressed the need to continue to learn from the past.

"The Air Force has evolved so much in the past 100 years; however, we must continue to acknowledge the lessons of the past and remember those who came before us. As the Air Force hosts this celebration, we are also focused on maintaining the traditions of service that we have built in the world's second oldest Air Force", he said.

The air show was a success with crowds of up to 33,000 witnessing the scope and variety of military aviation, from the Bristol Boxkite replica to the C-17A Globemaster, proudly displaying the past, present and future of flying.

An Air Force Aeronautical Information Service chart was created to display a left-to-right evolution from a simple historical aeronautical road map of 1914, to a current more complex aeronautical chart. This demonstrated the outstanding work the Air Force has done to enhance the clarity and effectiveness of navigation, eliminating many hazards during training and operations.

To acknowledge the efforts of those who came before us as the RAAF enters a new century, the book An Interesting Point: A History of Military Aviation at Point Cook 1914–2014 was launched at the air show. After 20 years of collecting information and stories from the many 'olds and bolds' of the forces, author of the book, Squadron Leader Campbell-Wright said he was inspired to write it because of his love of Point Cook.

"Military aviation in Australia had a birth place. It was wonderful to put all the information together in the one document to tell the story of that birth", he said.