Canberra Airport held a public open day between 930am to 130pm on Sunday 3rd April 2016. Located on the southern side on a taxiway, variety of civil, general aviation, military and warbird displays were arranged for inspection by the public, while located near the Brindabella business buildings were stalls covering a large array of aviation and commercial businesses for the public to inspect and buy items at.
The airport had a both Qantas and Virign Australia contributing aircraft and marketing to brighten up the day. A Qantas Boeing 737-800 in the heritage retro scheme of the 1960s V-jets made an appearance attracting much attention and comments from the public. A Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 also appeared attracting much attention from the general public too. Canberra airport fire rescue trucks were on display and kept the general public informed about their role. Throughout the day normal operations at the airport continued, which saw a variety of Qantas and Virgin domestic Boeing 737, Boeing 717 and ATR-72 flying in and out.
Canberra Aero Club brought a few of its fleet of aircraft around from the west side of the airport to put on display. Observing from the attention they attracted, the aeroclub hopefully sparked some interest in young and old to learn to fly. Canberra Helicopters brought along their high performance Augusta and Squirrel helicopters which had many of the public asking questions and checking out the features. A variety of aerial aerobatic displays by Red Baron and Fastrack Extra and others kept the crowd entertained during the day. A static display of hang gliders were also very popular. Wings4Kids also attended prompting its community role in helping kids with medical problems by flying them between locations for medical appointments.
The RAAF brought along the new hot air balloon but it was not deemed suitable to set it up or fly it on the day. A new RAAF transport the C-27J Spartan made its first public appearance in Canberra and was a big crowd attraction. The RAAF aerobatic team the RAAF Roulettes also attended with a great flying display with attracted much praise and interest.
AWAL members were very heavily involved in promoting aviation at the airport with several board members and general members assisting in manning the AWAL display stall, selling raffle tickets for a warbird ride, promoting warbird aviation by bringing along their own aircraft and answering many people’s questions throughout the day. The AWAl member aircraft seen on display were a mix of CJ-6A Nanchangs and Yak-52s. HARS brought their ever so popular fleet, a short trip across the mountain ranges from Albion Park – Lockheed Constellation, Consolidated Catalina PBY- 6/A alongside its former RAAF operated DHC-4 Caribou and C-47 Dakota.
The next Canberra Airport Open Day is expected to be held in 2018.