F35A Fighter centre-stage at Central Coast Airshow

Photo: Mark Jessop

The Central Coast Sky Surfers (CCSS), based at Point Clare, will just one of the many groups exhibiting at the inaugural Central Coast Airshow at Warnervale over the weekend of May 22 and 23.

The paragliding and hang-gliding enthusiasts are not a small group of “crazies” who jump of cliffs, says President, Guy McKanna.

“There is a lot of training that you have to go through to become an accredited pilot,” McKanna said.

“You have to be a regional club member, which is part of a state organisation, as well as belong to the national Sports Aviation Federation of Australia (SAFA).

“It is highly regulated, and safety is paramount, and we have a local teaching school on the coast with Cloudbase Paragliding.”

McKanna said an increasing number of women were joining the local free flying community.

Some of them will be at the CCSS stand at the Central Coast Air Show to discuss their sport.

Kristen Rickard, who has been a pilot for seven years, says she did not consider herself a “thrill-seeker”.

“Rather, I enjoy the liberating feeling of being off the ground and flying like a bird,” she said.

“The local sea eagles also like to soar with us.”

The Central Coast Sky Surfers and Cloudbase Paragliding are donating a prize of a tandem flight to one attendee at the airshow.

The show promises something for everyone, from the die-hard aviation enthusiast to those just looking for a fun weekend out with the family, with a huge line-up of aircraft.

Leading the charge will be a display by the cutting-edge fighter jet, the RAAF F-35A Lightning II.

This will be the debut of a new performance from the aircraft and the first with its own dedicated RAAF display pilot.

Support from Defence Australia and the RAAF will continue with an appearance from the Air Force Roulettes.

The insane aerobatic displays will continue with performances from champion pilot, Paul Bennet, in his Wolf Pitts Pro, and one of Australia’s favourite aerobatic formation groups, The SkyAces.

A whole roster of rare and unique warbirds will be turning back the clock with their own displays and special guests will include extreme motorsport legend, Matt Mingay, and the Stuntz Inc Hot Wheels Stunt Team.

There will also be a heart stopping stunt involving freestyle motocross daredevil, Jacko Strong, and his crew, with a high-performance aerobatic plane and a huge ramp.

The festival across the airport will also feature street food, local markets, amusement rides for kids, RAAF displays.

For more information go online to centralcoastairshow.com.au

Terry Collins and Sue Murray