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Community & Business

15 April, 2023

“Winging it down the Castlereagh” with novel Tooraweenah air rally!

Aerial skills, including landmark and vision-based navigation, are to come to the fore in an air rally being organised in late May at the Tooraweenah aerodrome.

Planes will be “winging it down the Castlereagh” for this novel event, recently given the green light by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). The Arthur Butler Aviation Museum at Tooraweenah is organising the “Winging it Down the Castlereagh” flight that will take competitors along the Castlereagh River from its headwaters near Coonabarabran, to Coonamble, before returning to Tooraweenah.

Using mostly-lost landmark navigation and dead-reckoning techniques that go way-back before the days of radar and radio, the aeroplanes will fly-over the communities of Binnaway, Mendooran, Gilgandra, and Gulargambone.

Museum president, Mark Pitts, said that the rally will return aviators to pre-1948 flying days when there were none of the modern aids to navigation that pilots enjoy today. “It will be a real test of basic navigation skills which are being forgotten with the introduction of GPS devices,” Mr Pitts said.

Mr Pitts added that local community organisations in Tooraweenah are coming-together for the event to create a village fair atmosphere on the aerodrome to add to the entertainment.

“People will be able to get ‘up close and personal’ with the planes and their pilots, while sampling the wide variety of produce and products from Tooraweenah,” he said.

There are hopes that the novel event, seeking to recreate the romance and adventure of air travel from a bygone era, will become a yearly and exciting feature of the aviation calendar.

“It will introduce Tooraweenah and surrounds to a growing group of ‘grey nomads’ who fly over this wide land, instead of dragging their homes across it,” Mr Pitts said.

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