Red Radials return to Cowra's skies

A Yakovlev Yak-52 flown over Cowra during last year's visit. Photo: Tom Fisher
A Yakovlev Yak-52 flown over Cowra during last year's visit. Photo: Tom Fisher

Formation flying and flour-bombing returns for its fourth year in Cowra with the Red Radials flying in from October 12 to October 18.

The flying group has become a popular local spectacle drawing many crowds to the Cowra Airport to see the planes in action.

The aircraft will be flying throughout the week with pilots performing close formation flying, tactical formation flying and advanced handling and tactical application activities.

What makes this group of former military and commercial pilots so special is their preference for Yak-52 and Nanchang CJ-6 aircraft, Russian and Chinese training aircraft.

The Yakovlev Yak-52 first flew in 1976 by the Soviet's and is still being produced in Romania by Aerostar.

The Yak-52 was designed originally as an aerobatic trainer for students in the Soviet training organisation, for both civilian sport pilots and military pilots.

The Yak-52 is made for serious flying fun with unlimited aerobatics with no limit on what can be achieved to thrill a pilot or passenger. As such many Yak 52s have been exported to the west since the early 1990s and fall of the Soviet Union.

The Nanchang CJ-6 is inspired by the Yak 52 but was completely transformed by its Chinese designers.

A Chinese twin-seat basic trainer, it first flew in 1958, before being introduced in 1961 and mass produced from 1962.

The Nanchang CJ-6 is a graceful performer and each plane is the "pride and joy" of their respective pilots.

Neither of the aircraft are high speed or noisy, but will be flying in formation at low levels conducting flying training with some aerobatics during their visit.

Pilot Sean Trestrail, who flew during last year's event, said the group enjoys working out of Cowra.

"Honestly, the air field here is so pro-aviation, and the support we get from the council, the Rotary, the Ladies Inner Wheel... it just makes life really easy for us to be able to come here, do what we need to do," he said.

"The airspace is free, the town is great and it's an ideal place for us to do it."

The Red Radials again thanked the Cowra Rotary Club and Cowra Inner Wheel Club for catering them at the Airport Rural Fire Service Building.