Wings event hoping for 100-year crowd

ORGANISERS of this year's Wings Over Illawarra believe they have put together a program for the event that will allow them to top 2013's crowd figures.

The event, which will take place at the Illawarra Regional Airport, features an increased focus on past and present military aircraft as well as an increase in aerobatic displays.

"Last year we had somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 people come through the gates and we've worked hard to come up with a program to increase that, and we're hoping for somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 people this year," WOI event organiser Mark Bright said.

"With it being 100 years of military aviation in Australia we thought that would be a good point to focus on and we've got a great range of vintage military aircraft coming along this year."

While WOI will be celebrating a century of Australian military aviation, Mr Bright said the majority of the vintage aircraft would only stretch back to World War II.

"We've got a great range of military aircraft from World War II through to the Vietnam War and to the present, and a lot of them will be taking part in flying displays as well as static ones.

"Because of how rare and how valuable planes from the World War I era are, we haven't been able to secure any. We were hopeful, but to get them here from across the country just wasn't viable."

There will be some rare planes on display though, with the only privately owned Sabre fighter jet in Australia set to make an appearance.

"The Sabre was a fighter used by the RAAF during the Vietnam War era and proved very successful," Mr Bright said.

"The one we've got here is flying up from Victoria and the owner has put in a lot of time and effort in restoring it, and it's a great opportunity for people to have a close-up look at this piece of military history."

The WOI program on May 4 features more than 20 fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.

For tickets and more information head to wings

overillawarra.com.au.

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