Radschool Association Magazine

Avalon Air Show Special

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Like a lot of organisations, the Avalon Air Show has and relies on a large number of Volunteers to ensure the show goes ahead and runs efficiently. Both sides benefit from this situation, the organisers obtain a large and dedicated work force for minimum cost and the volunteers benefit by being part of an event about which they hold a keen interest. The available volunteering jobs are numerous and varied and there is virtually a job for everyone, they range from.


Aircraft services

Aircraft and Aircrew reception

Co-ordination centre

Aircraft Ground Operations

Flight Planning

Air Movements, flow control

Operations and weather

Airfield Preparation


Event Services

Exhibition Operations

Site operations

Customer Services

Car parking

Finance, Admin & Commercial Services


Event Transport

Car Park Fee Collection

Public Services

Programs, Production & Promotion

Entertainment Displays

Protocol and Delegations

Event Personnel

Pyrotechnics and fireworks

Ground Displays

Site Decoration

Media and Publicity


Safety, Security & Emergency Services

Security & Emergency Services

Public and Staff Welfare



In all, there were about 520 volunteers at the Show, all of whom were co-ordinated by theKaren Scott delightful and very efficient Karen Scott (right) (click the pic for a better view) and her little side-kick, Kelly McDonnell, who had the knack of being here, there and everywhere, all at the same time.


Being part of the Volunteer Group is like being in a small privileged community, people come from all parts of Australia, from all walks of life, with vastly different backgrounds and experiences but all with the one interest at heart, that of being around and involved with aeroplanes. Everyone bands together into one large happy group of people for the one purpose – to ensure the Air Show runs smoothly.


A lot of the volunteers have been to many previous shows and the ones we spoke with do not intend this one to be their last. Friendships are made and carried over to the next show – in a way, it is similar to holidaying at a large caravan park.


If you like being around aeroplanes and you get the opportunity to be part of the Volunteer Group at a future Air Show – our suggestion, grab it!!! You will meet and work with some very nice people, you will be part of an exciting event and generally you will have a lot of fun.


As as volunteer, you will be asked to arrive at the show a day or two before it starts, you will be ushered to the Event Personnel Accreditation Office where each person receives their photo ID cards, name tag, car parking instructions, meal tickets, free entrance tickets for family and/or friends and also a safety handbook and Air Show handbook.


It's a bit like doing your clearances really - except you don't have to salute...


Accreditation office


Accreditation girls


Two of the lovely ladies who ran the accreditation office, Pat Leviston (left) and Elizabeth Lloyd.

Both girls have been to six shows.

(Click the pic for a clearer view)


Lara Sporting Club



Volunteers are provided with tickets which allow them 3 meals per day. Breakfast and dinner at night are provided in Lara, a small township not far from the airport and where Volunteers have the option of choosing to eat at either the Lara Sporting Club or the local hotel.


Lunch was provided at the airport.


Volunteers wishing to camp while working at the Event are also provided (FOC) with non-powered camp sites at the Sporting Club and the organizers had brought in portable showers and toilet facilities to cater for the large numbers expected.



Lara camping ground


Hundreds of people set up their tents on the football ground with caravans and vehicles parked around the perimeter.


Lara Camping ground


Breakfast at Lara


Part of the huge volunteer force at Breakfast one morning, all tucking into their bacon and eggs on toast.



WOD of the breakfast nook was Marion Gooding, affectionately and popularly known to all and sundry as Madam Lash.


Madame Lash

Marion had the knack of being able to put many many people through breakfast with a minimum of fuss and in record time. Madam Lash, who turned 71 during the show, is on her 8th event and every morning would meet you with a big smile and the same old question, “continental or cooked, apple or orange, what table”.


How Madam Lash and her small team were able to provide hot and freshly cooked eggs and bacon on toast to all those people, with a wait time of only 2 or 3 minutes, when the same thing served at a restaurant or servo would take at least 20 mins, was beyond us.


Congratulations to them and a big thank you from all of us.



Bob Schouten, shown below in the ASDU Club and whose title was Event Personnel Induction Officer, held regular briefing conferences for new arrivals to ensure all volunteers were made aware of their responsibilities during the show, had a thorough knowledge of all emergency procedures and were current in their Workplace Health and Safety requirements. Bob explained the relevant sections of the material handed out at the induction centre.


Bob Scouten


Bob is still with the RAAF, currently serving in the Reserve as a Sqn Ldr with 21 Sqn in Melbourne.


He joined the Permanent RAAF in 1975 and served as an Equipment Officer (now called Logistics Officer) at Point Cook (for 2½ years), Williamtown (2 years), 2SD (2½ years), Canberra (5½ years) then he conned a posting to St Kilda Rd where the RAAF left him for a further 16 years by which time he decided it was time to smell the roses and he retired from the Permanent RAAF only to find he missed the “action” and the camaraderie so he joined the Reserve. He’s been with 21 Sqn for 5 years and he thinks it might be getting close to time………


After inducting all Volunteers, Bob, who is on staff with the Show Organisation, switched roles and became the Night Duty Manager – a duty he reckons was awfully like the old days when he was on Orderly Officer duty.  He’s done 3 shows and reckons he’ll definitely back up for more.


After the volunteers leave Bob, they are sent to the Uniform section (L Group??) where each volunteer was kitted out with his/her uniform which consisted of 2 shirts, tie/scarf, hat and weather proof jacket which everyone thought was for service at the South Pole but when Melbourne’s weather turned to muck, as it usually does (for a banana bender) - it proved to be very handy indeed.





L-R:  Helen Weiler and Joy Jennings in her weatherproof jacket.



Helen and Joy are two of the ladies who work in the uniform shop. 2011 is Helen’s 8th show and Jenny has done 6, both enjoy it immensely and both insist, all being well, they will be here again in 2 year’s time.



The ASDU Club.


The ARDU Club


During the day, lunch was provided at the ASDU Club (Airshows Downunder – but called the Dubbo Club). The organisers had established the ASDU club for the use of all volunteers as well as Air Show Staff and participants.


These four lovely ladies worked every day in the ASDU Club where they served a good healthy lunch to the hundreds of volunteers, always with a howdy and a big happy smile.


Ardu staff


They are L-R:


Clare Gray, who is on her first Air Show, Antonia Megens, who is on her 5th, Fay Argento who is on her 3rd and Pat Bulger who is also on her 3rd.  (Click the pic for better view)


These ladies, like a lot of other Volunteers, must take part of their annual leave to be able to attend the show and all declare they will definitely be back for more.





With the huge number of people expected on the 3 public days, the organisers treated security and safety very seriously. The flying displays were scheduled non-stop and as a consequence, large numbers of aircraft and their ground support equipment vehicles were constantly on the move.


The Organisers had recruited many experienced personnel who were briefed with the task of keeping aircraft movement areas and roadways clear and safe.


Alek Miller


One such volunteer was Alek Miller. Alek is an ex RAAF Brat, passing out of Wagga as a Framie. He joined up in 1964 and was posted to 9 Sqn Vung Tau from 1968 to 1969. He finally decided he’s had enough of the RAAF and took his D in 1988.


This is his 5th show.



Aircrew Reception.


These people are part of the team that look after visiting aircrew and handle all sorts of requests, some of which Robbie says are ‘quite different’. Normally they meet visiting aircraft, transport the crew to and from briefing, arrange meals, accommodation, transport and generally act as concierge for crews.


Aircrew Reception


They are L-R:  Laura Dillon, on staff with the air show organisation, Mark Dean, on his 8th show, Robbie Pearce, ex Army artillery, on his 9th show, and Wayne Cook, also ex Army and also on his 9th show.



Guard Duty.



As there were many thousands of people at the show, it was necessary to have staff entrances manned in order to permit orderly flow of staff inwards and outwards.  One such entrance, which was for participants and event personnel only, was looked after by these two girls.



Heather Batson (left) and Shona McLean. (Click the pic for a better view)



Both girls are on their 7th show, and like all volunteers we met, love every minute of it and will definitely back up for more. One wonders whether the abundance of men in uniform has anything to do with it!!!!!  Mmmm.




The Briefing Office, Flight Planning staff.


Being an Air Show, the Pilot Briefing Office had an important role to play and was responsible for:


·       Providing direction and assistance to pilots and crews as required.

·       Providing appropriate briefing material to pilots and aircrew as required.

·       Lodging VFR flight plans.

·       Maintaining the self-help briefing services.

·       Maintain a constant weather watch and provide current and forecast conditions to pilots.


It was a hard job but this mightily experienced crew made it look easy....


The Holden Team.

(Click the pic for a better view)


Briefing office


Back Row:  L-R

Trev Benneworth,1st Airshow.  Ex RAAF Radtech then Flight Service with DCA. Plan snatcher.

Glyn Butchard is on his 2nd Airshow and was responsible for slotting all aircraft into arrival and/or departure times (Flow Controller). When he’s not doing that important job, he has the menial task of flying one of Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A330/340’s.  

Mike Walden. Mike is in charge of the Pilot Briefing office and this was his 6th airshow, and when he’s not cracking the whip he’s an IFR pilot instructor.

Andrew Sheil is on his 5th Air Show. He’s one of the team leaders and when he’s not leading the team, is a commercial pilot.

Shane Smith is on his second airshow and holds a Private Pilot’s licence. Shane is currently in the hospitability trade and is trying to get into ATC.


Middle Row:  L-R

Rod Trower, This was Rod’s first airshow. He joined the RAAF in 1971 as a pilot and spent most of his career at East Sale at Nav School flying the HS748’s

Erin Muscat was on her 6th Airshow and is on staff with the Air Show organisation. Erin drives the computer and keeps track of all aircraft movements once Glyn has managed to find them a slot.


Front Row:  L-R

Stuart Robinson-Fox. Stuart was doing his second airshow and is an ex Singapore Airlines B747 pilot. He had the responsibility for weather briefing at the Air Show (a bit in-experienced, but we carried him).  

Luke Hodgson. 1st Airshow. Luke is a glider pilot in real life and was also a plan snatcher in the Briefing Office.


The Ford Team.

(Click the pic for a better view)


The “Ford” team, also part of the Flight Planning/Pilot Briefing section, were in later in the day, rostered on the afternoon shift.


The B Team



Davide Vaiano, is a Commercial Pilot and flies out of Moorabbin with MFS,

John Gleeson, a team leader, who learnt to fly along side Orville Wright, is an experienced powered and glider pilot and at previous shows, flew the glider tug when the gliders were an act. John is also heavily involved with Angel Flight and readily gives up his time to transport unfortunate but needy people in his own aircraft.

Dennis Chen, who is based in Hong Kong, flies with Cathay Pacific as a first Officer, flying the Airbus A340.

Emanuel Cutini-Calisti who is a commercial pilot and regularly flies a Cessna 206 for parachute enthusiastis as well as taking his life in his hands and flying a glider.



We were told that there is no truth in the rumour that the organisers took pity on John and gave him the benefit of a sleep-in most mornings and made sure there were some young blokes rostered on with him just in case he ran out of puff.



Air Ground Operations  (AGO).


Apart from the ladies who provided lunch each day, this was probably the most important section, operations wise, on the airfield.


Gordon Lind


Gordon Lind, who was with the Permanent RAAF as a sumpie from 1964 to 1995, then stayed on with the weekend warriors until 2005, worked in the Air Ground Operations (AGO) section of the air show.


The AGO was responsible for the following:


·       Co-ordination of aircraft movements between Avalon Tower and individual tarmacs.

·       Provide escort or follow me duties for aircraft under tow airside.

·       Maintain safety and security for airside areas with particular attention to eliminating FOD.

·       Provide adequate fencing and barricading to ensure the safety of the public.

·       Provide support to aircraft as required, including service and refuelling.

·       Loading and unloading of aircraft cargoes.

·       Making a video record of the event.

·       Provide and run an adequate stores depot with equipment to be used during the event.






The Avalon Air Show is a bi-annual event, with most of the ‘work’ being done by Volunteers. As a volunteer, you meet and work with people from all over the country, people with different backgrounds, different outlooks and different expectations, but all with a love of aeroplanes and a willingness to work.


The next show will take place in 2013, mark it in your diary and if you’re interested, be sure to volunteer. There’s jobs for everyone, the work is not demanding, there are plenty of facilities, you are well looked after – and as Pete DeJonge would say, “if a damn Radtech can do it, anyone can”.


It will be one of the best ’holidays’ you’ve ever had.




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