31 March 2021

Canberra the centrepiece for mass flypast to mark the centenary of the RAAF

| Michael Weaver
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Three P-8A Poseidon aircraft

Three P-8A Poseidon aircraft flying in formation with an AP-3C Orion in preparation for the Air Force centenary flypast in Canberra on 31 March. Photo: FLTLT Andrew Gill, Department of Defence.

More than 60 historic and current aircraft will mark the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force this Wednesday (31 March) with a wave of flypasts over Lake Burley Griffin from 11:25 am.

The public is encouraged to find a vantage point on Lake Burley Griffin.

Also keep a close eye on About Regional for a full wrap-up of the event, with photos of the flypast.

From about 11:45 am to 12:00 pm, the Air Force Roulettes will perform a public display over the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin. Aircraft groups will track west to east along Lake Burley Griffin. You can find out more about the route and timing at Air Force 2021.

Flight path

A map of the flight path of aircraft over Canberra for the Air Force’s centenary. Image: Supplied.

The flypast will commemorate the more than 350,000 men and women who have served with the Air Force and the 11,191 RAAF members who died in service.

Region Media photographer and Air Force veteran Michelle Kroll said her 11 years’ full-time service in Defence shaped her life.

She served in Timor, the Middle East and several operations closer to home, mostly with 1 and 6 Squadron at Amberley, uploading and processing aerial film for F-111s. Both Michelle’s parents also served with the Air Force.

“I owe it to my brother who told me that I could get paid for taking photos if I join the Air Force,” she says. “My photography training was at RAAF Base East Sale and was nine months long but was recognised as a three-year degree.

“It was absolutely the best training I could have received. This instilled in me a habit to always produce the absolute best I could, something I share with many Defence veterans.”

A flag-raising ceremony featuring ADFA’s Air Force first, second and third-year training officers will be held at 7:00 am at Commonwealth Place near the international flags on Wednesday.

At 8:00 am, the Warrant Officer of the Air Force will raise the RAAF Ensign at Regatta Point at Blamey Square at Russell Offices. There will be six flags raised by six airmen/airwomen, representing the enlisted ranks of the Air Force.

These events are open to the public to attend from a distance at the perimeter of each location.

That will be followed by a private Queen’s Colour presentation parade at Government House at Yarralumla, featuring the Governor-General, representing the Queen. The last time this occurred was 1986.

The official celebrations will conclude with the Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial at 4:45 pm, honouring the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Royal Australian Air Force. The ceremony will also be broadcast online through the Australian War Memorial website.

The Air Force Band will also play a prominent role in marking the centenary, with performances at all of the events.

To begin proceedings, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from around Australia, in partnership with Air Force personnel, collected pieces of country, with the soil, sand and shells deposited in the Australian War Memorial’s For Our Country sculptural pavilion on Monday (March 29) to mark the start of centenary celebrations.

Air Force Indigenous liaison officer Flight Lieutenant David Williams said the respect for culture and country was strong.

“The recognition of the First Nations people and to the spirit of country means a lot to traditional custodians because of the strong connection to the land,” he said.

“The smoking ceremony and the gift of soil from country is a very meaningful way forward to embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and traditions.”

Michelle Kroll

LACW Michelle Kroll in 1993 doing air-to-air photography. Photo: Supplied.

Michelle Kroll will be among those watching.

“On reflection of the RAAF’s 100 -year anniversary, I wear my medals proudly, and I reflect on the friendships I have made. The photographer in me is excited to see the 60 ship flyover on Wednesday!”

Original Article published by Michael Weaver on The RiotACT.

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