TAKE FLIGHT: Northern Rivers Aero Club head of operations Bill Kiernan invites anyone wanting a career in aviation to book in for the symposium on July 28.
TAKE FLIGHT: Northern Rivers Aero Club head of operations Bill Kiernan invites anyone wanting a career in aviation to book in for the symposium on July 28. Yvonne Gardiner

Secrets of aviation on show at expo in Lismore

THE magic of flight will be on show for two days this month at the Lismore Aviation Centre.

Anyone with the slightest interest in learning to fly is invited to the Northern Rivers Aero Club's half-day symposium on Saturday, July 28, from 10am to 2pm.

The following day, the airfield will play host to the Lismore Aviation Expo, an event that has grown over recent years to an extent that a crowd of 10,000 is expected this year - 2000 up on last year.

Saturday's symposium is more for those men and women interested in aviation as a career.

The aero club's head of operations, Bill Kiernan, says talks from experienced pilots will cover all anyone needs to know about recreational, commercial and air force flying.

"There's no commitment. There'll be adventure flights and a variety of flights available in any price range,” Bill said.

"The two-day event promotes the aero club, the benefits of an aviation industry and gives the region an economic boost.

"When people come to go flying, they'll potter around the place as well, go shopping.

"We always try and help one of the charities. We run discovery flights, where you come out on a nice day, we pop you in an aeroplane and take it for a flight - with an experienced co-pilot!

"The Northern Rivers is such a beautiful part of the world to fly. We charge $250 for the hour.”

Bill began his own pilot's training when he was 16, and still flies today at the age of 81.

He says one of his students was aged 71.

"At any one time, about 20 students are learning to fly at the club or adding to their skills, with ages from 15 years,” Bill said.

"Learning to fly is not as expensive as a lot of people think - $10,000 will buy you a learner's package.

"We say, come in, here's a program and away we go.

"We're fortunate in the calibre of flying instructors we've got. We're teaching from experience, not from a book.

"There's a tremendous opening for pilots at present. All the young kids we've put through are all working.”

Bill came to the aero club 10 years ago as its chief flying instructor.

"Pilots come from Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast to do flight reviews,” he said.

"Every two years, you've got to show that you can still fly aeroplanes.”

Pilots at the Lismore Aviation Expo on Sunday, July 29, will ably demonstrate that they can fly.

There will be gravity-defying aerobatics, magnificent warbirds and old-fashioned aircraft and helicopters, together with trade stands, joy flights, children's entertainment and food stalls.

Presented by Fast Aviation, the main event will run from 9am to 4pm at the Lismore Aviation Centre, Three Chain Rd, South Lismore.

The day will feature death-defying aerobatic displays by Paul Bennet Air Shows, adventure flights in WW2 Warbirds, joy flights and learn-to-fly discovery flights.

Bennet's talented team will thrill the crowd with demonstrations from the Sky Aces in their Wolf Pitts Pro and Model 12 Pitts, as well as demonstrations in a T28 Trojan, Yak 52, ¾ Spitfire and the Wirraway.

The expo promises to be a great event for aviation enthusiasts as well as those looking for an entertaining day out.

Back in 2008, the aero club staged a small show and the Lismore council helped out.

"Nowadays, it's a much better concept,” Bill said. "The council's job is to handle the logistics, advertising and that sort of thing.

"The council did the right thing and made it an event. They've been very professional in the way they do things.”

No onsite parking is available on the Sunday, so free shuttle buses will run from Oakes Oval, Lismore Lake and the Lismore Airport Terminal during the event.

Tickets for the public airshow are available at the gate, $5 for adults and free for under-16s. No eftpos so bring cash.

Bookings are essential for the Saturday symposium hosted by the Northern Rivers Aero Club via www.visitlismore.com.au.

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