The Avalon Airshow, held every two years, is now the fourth largest airshow in the world.
The 2019 Avalon Airshow took place between 28 February and 3 March and comprised trade days and public days. Once again, CASA played a role in making the event a success.
John Costa, CASA Certificate Team Manager, Southern Region, says that the 2019 show was used as a dress rehearsal for the 2021 show, which will mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force. Therefore, a large number of state and military aircraft were in attendance, along with dignitaries.
The increased presence of military aircraft and dignitaries saw added security measures, such as a bomb squad, dog squads, special forces teams, facial recognition software and undercover operatives.
Increased security was also required in response to the ongoing focus on drones at the airshow, which included specialised drone activities, drone sales, and drone-racing displays. The 2019 airshow incorporated drone detection measures (software) which spanned a 50-kilometre radius around the airport. Two reports of illegal drone releases during the practice days were followed up by Victoria Police.
Those lucky enough to attend the airshow witnessed a world first when the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk (unmanned surveillance aircraft) landed, during daylight hours, after a 13-hour trip from the United States.
CASA used its recently updated Air Display Procedures Manual to formally assess and approve the Avalon Airshow’s assessment procedures. Eleven instruments and approvals of various kinds were issued to support the show, along with several permissions and approvals from Airservices Australia and CASA’s Air Navigation, Airspace and Aerodromes Branch and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Branch.
CASA’s team conducted a range of surveillance activities across the entire show, and interacted with private and commercial pilots to discuss issues such as fuel management, fatigue and aircraft maintenance.
Visitors to the CASA stand kept staff busy with questions on topics ranging from drones, fatigue and the Visual Flight Rules Guide, to the carriage of firearms and ways of securing animals.
Staff from CASA’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Branch teamed up with aviation community members to deliver information on the latest in drone technology and safety. CASA’s team used the opportunity to help educate interested attendees about the recreational rules and to answer any technical questions from industry members, including queries around the battery provisions and safety aspects of owning a drone.