There was an air of excitement in Parkes this week as a passionate group of 25 high school students managed to set a new world record building a BushCat aircraft in less than a week.
The grand finale of the first ever youth aviation engagement program put on by AirVenture Australia at the Parkes Airport will end in a grand finale on Sunday when the aircraft takes its maiden flight at the airshow.
“It is a great program and the kids’ enthusiasm has just blown me away,” said Errol van Rensburg, who supplied the aircraft kit.
“It is a fantastic career building program and has so much to offer.” Errol said he would love to see schools taking it up by buying a plane for students to build.
For technical consultant Darren Barnfield, who was also responsible for signing the plane off and licencing it, it had been an exciting week. “The aircraft kit is really just like a Meccano set that needs to be assembled following a manual. The kids have been brilliant to deal with.”
Ten of the 25 students selected from all over Australia are from Parkes. Ella Ross, the only girl in the team, said it was a great new experience. “I wanted to be part of it as I am learning to fly, and am very excited to see the BushCat fly on Sunday.”
For Scott Green it was a pretty good experience as he was learning a lot.
AirVenture’s Event Director David Young, who has brought the event to Parkes for the first time, said the interest in the program was huge from all over Australia. “We could have filled it twice with the amount of applications we received. It is an outstanding addition to our program, and we would definitely continue with it.”
David is very happy to make Parkes the new home of the annual event that is expected to attract hundreds of aircraft and thousands of visitors this weekend. “The Parkes Shire Council has been fantastic to work with. They’ve made it seamless and worked very hard for us.”
Parkes Shire Councillor and Chair of Economic Development – Airport Sub Committee Alan Ward said he was proud that the Parkes Regional Airport was chosen to host AirVenture.
“Hosting major events such as AirVenture in Parkes all adds up to building a robust and diverse visitor economy for the Shire.”
Sunday’s airshow has a full line of high energy aircraft supported by The Airplane Company and the RAAF including an FA18 Hornet. Find the full AirVenture program at www.visitparkes.com.au To avoid long queues and go in the draw to win a Bushcat, make sure to buy your tickets online at www.airventureaustralia.com.au