We are only 1 month out from the Airshow and things are really starting to hot up. There are many people working behind the scenes to make the 2020 Tyabb Airshow the best yet.
I am incredibly proud of everyone on the Airshow Committee and the members who have stepped up and taken on the challenge of putting the show on this year. To be honest I had my doubts we could pull this off after the Council directed us to stop operations and we were forced to cancel the Airshow in August.
This year we have organised a free hangar party for the PAC volunteers, pilots, aircraft owners, ground crew and sponsors. PAC members are most welcome to attend, although there will be a small charge if you do not fit into the above participant categories.
Of particular note this year is the 50th anniversary of the Angel of Mercy, which was the genesis of our airshows. The airshow was conceived to raise money to operate the Angel of Mercy and provide emergency medical services on the Peninsula. The Angel was the brainchild of Frankston Doctor, and PAC member, Dr Tom Ready, who convinced his friend, and fellow PAC member, Mr Bill Vowell to purchase a helicopter and run the world’s first emergency medevac helicopter service, based on the Mornington Peninsula.
Over the years the Angel of Mercy saved many lives and became an international success story where the concept has become ubiquitous and expected with emergency services around the world.
Today the legacy of giving to the community by PAC members lives on and I am pleased to announce that the major beneficiary this year will be Chasing Change. Chasing Change is a volunteer organisation that works to prevent suicide through the promotion of community, conversation and collaboration. I think this is a worthy organisation that meets our ideals of being local and is making a difference in supporting the community and in particular our youth.
Over the past weeks we have been supporting the firefighting air operations by providing fuel for firebird spotters, which are the main coordinators of any aerial water bombing programme.
During the fires on French Island we had an aircraft over the fires and took photos and called in the emergency. I spoke with the CFA Fire Chief and was informed that these photos were of great value to them and has helped them to better understand the origin of the fire in terms of how and where it started.
Fortunately the bush fires have so far spared the Mornington Peninsula, but it doesn’t mean we as a club haven’t been touched by the fires. In early January “Desert” Dick Lang the outback pilot and his son lost their lives in the fires on Kangaroo Island. I know many of you knew Desert Dick as I did, and always enjoyed his company. Dick actually saved the life of a friend of mine when we were in outback SA in the early 90s, where Dick came to the rescue and airlifted my mate to Adelaide after a snake bite.
Sadly I must mention the loss of Ethan Slade’s (PAC Instructor) father Bill Slade. Bill lost his life when a tree fell on him while fighting fires in Omeo. We are all united as a Club in our thoughts and prayers for the Slade family. We are full of respect for the devotion of service Bill Slade offered to the people of Victoria over a 40 year career as a firefighter.