A pig may fly again at Evans
HOPES are high in the Evans Head community for the return of at least one "pig" to the proposed new airpark at the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome.
"Pig" is the affectionate name given to the iconic General Dynamics F-111 fighter-bombers that operated at the Evans Head bombing range from the 1960s until the last sortie on December 3, 2010.
Richmond Valley Council and Evans Head Airpark Pty Ltd have signed a heads of agreement to establish an airpark at the heritage-listed Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome, which could see an F-111 displayed there.
Rod Kinnish, president of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Association said it would be fitting to have an F111.
"The community has a very strong emotional attachment to these planes, from pilots through to ground crew and support staff and families," he said.
"They are an awesome aircraft that over the years allowed us to sleep well at night knowing they were protecting us."
"It would also be very special for the RAAF veterans who come here every October for their reunion."
Peter Lynch, Director of Evans Head Airpark Pty Limited said the first step in the project will be to restore the historic Bellman hangar.
"This is the last remaining Bellman hangar and it will be provided free to the Heritage Association to house the museum," he said.
"The defence department should recognise the historic link between the bombing range and the community and house an F-111 here.
"It would complement the expanding range of exhibits planned for this important community and tourist facility."
"The airpark is a project that will ensure the future sustainability of the heritage features of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome," Richmond Valley Council general manager Brian Wilkinson said.
The development would incorporate a 70-lot residential airpark, 14 commercial hangars and light industrial lots for aviation-related businesses, a boutique hotel/convention centre and camping facilities.
The Federal Government announced in September that up to seven retired F-111 fighter jets would be available to Australian aircraft museums and other historical organisations.
A decision regarding the F-111 is expected early next year.