The (Grumman) Avengers

I was heading back home from Sydney just after Christmas, and drove past Maitland airport. Maitland has always had at least some interesting aircraft – years ago you could see active Tiger Moths and the sad remains of Sea Otter VH-BQI; most recently Grumman/General motors TBM-3E Avenger VH-MML has been parked there.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first time I saw VH-MML was at Temora in 2009, being displayed in company with fellow TBM-3E VH-TBM. Photos don’t really do these aeroplanes justice – for single-engined aircraft they are huge, standing head and shoulders over Spitfires and Mustangs!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALoomingAbove – VH-MML does a good job of looming over the crowd as Cessna A-37B Dragonfly (VH-DLO?) takes off, Temora 2009.

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Mustang VH-BOB

These photos were taken at Maitland aerodrome, NSW, in 1973. ‘BOB is a Commonwealth CA-18 Mustang Mk 21 A68-104, and was owned by Bob Eastgate at the time. In recent years it has been operating out of Point Cook in Victoria. In early 2008 ‘BOB suffered a wheels-up landing, but she should be back in the air this year, according to http://www.mustangjoyflights.com.au

In those days I couldn’t afford a good quality camera so these shots, like so many others, were taken with a Russian Zenit 35mm SLR with a pair of binoculars used as a crude telephoto lens. There are times when you just have to record history with whatever comes to hand.