Photos: Lloyd Marken - The Main Hangar at FIghter World
Located just a 30-minute drive from Newcastle is Fighter World
at RAAF Williamtown, where aircraft that once flew thousands of feet above our heads and faster than the speed of sound can now be seen up close and personal.
Photos: Lloyd Marken Main Entrance to Fighter World at RAAF Williamtown
Waiting outside, I noted a large photo of a F/A-18 Hornet featured prominently at the entrance. As the current fighter aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force that made sense, but I mentioned that of all the aircraft inside - the Hornet would not be one.
A local turned around and said, "Don't worry, we'll have it soon enough
Of this, I have no doubt.
is a source of pride for the local community. It is through community effort that such a large amount of fighter planes have been collected and preserved.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - The 'Raymond Terrace' Sabre A95-959.
The first aircraft that broke the sound barrier in Australia was an Australian licence built CAC Avon Sabre. There are two Sabres kept at the tourist attraction. One is 'The Raymond Terrace Sabre' A94-959, which was obtained and kept by the Raymond Terrace Lions Club for 31 years before being transported to the aviation heritage centre. It now sits proudly out front, continuing to be preserved for generations to come, after hours of work from volunteers.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - Sopwith Camel Replica
The kind of volunteers who have built replicas of World War One era Sopwith Camel and World War II era Supermarine Spitfire.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - Just a few of the over 300 model aircraft handmade by Nelson Bay local Norman Forrester.
The kind of volunteers, like Nelson Bay local, Mr Norman Forrester, who over a period of 40 years made over 300 model aircraft that are proudly displayed around the main hangar. Impressively, every model was hand-made by Mr Forrester, mostly carved out of wood and with no pre-formed parts.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - Aircraft overhead at Fighter World.
As the Royal Australian Air Force turns 100 this year, the range of flying machines that served throughout is on full display at Fighter World
Early 20th century biplanes give way to the jet age and beyond.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - RAAF Dassault Mirage IIIs
Aviation enthusiasts can feast their eyes on a Gloster Meteor, a de Havilland Vampire, a Hawker Hunter, a pair of Dassault Mirage IIIs and of particular note, a General Dynamics F-111C bomber.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - The General Dynamics F-111C Aardvark affectionately known as 'The Pig'
The 22 metre long swept-wing medium range bomber, capable of speeds of up to Mach 2.5, flew 38 years for Australia retiring in 2010.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - The RAAF F-111C from the back.
Other displays show the inner mechanics of bombs, engines, missiles, ejection seats and guns along with flight suits, uniforms and historical documents.
Located next door to an operational air force base, there is a viewing deck to watch planes as they fly past.
There is also a café next door, well regarded by defence members and tourists alike.
Thanks to the ongoing passion of volunteers, the rich history of the RAAF can be seen by all at Fighter World
Photos: Lloyd Marken - Pilatus PC-9/A turboprop training aircraft.
is open 10am to 4pm daily.
Price of admission is $16 per adult and $10 per child aged five to seventeen years old.
Families with two adults and all dependents cost $42.
Pensioners with ID and service personnel with ID have free admission.
Photos: Lloyd Marken - Let Your Imagination Take Flight at Fighter World