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Sleek F-111 is centrepiece

MIGHTY IMPRESSIVE: Evans Head Heritage Aviation Museum volunteer Rod Kinnish crouches beneath the polished nose of the F-111.
MIGHTY IMPRESSIVE: Evans Head Heritage Aviation Museum volunteer Rod Kinnish crouches beneath the polished nose of the F-111. Hamish Broome

NOTHING quite prepares you for the sheer size and immensity of seeing an F-111 'in the flesh'.

It is perhaps not unlike going face to face with a great white shark.

Sleek, massive, and deadly, this mean machine of the skies watched over Australia's frontline for 30 years.

"There's not a single person who wouldn't look up at the sky and say 'wow' when an F-111 flew over," Rod Kinnish, of the Evans Head Heritage Aviation Association, said of the retired fighter jet.

And now Evans Head can claim one of its own.

This Sunday morning the shiny F-111 will go on public display for the first time at the preview of the Heritage Aviation Museum.

A group of tireless volunteers have spent the past few weeks chipping away earnestly to ensure the museum is up to scratch.

Between them there are several decades of aviation experience and a deep appreciation of Evans Head's place in aviation history.

Securing one of six F-111s available for one museum in each state last year was a cornerstone of the project.

It took two years of paperwork patiently lodged with the Department of Defence.

Since last October the volunteers, with help from Richmond Valley Council, have completely deconstructed the historic Bellman hangar, which now houses the museum, rebuilding it from scratch.

Alongside the prized F-111, there is a Russian-built Mig-15 Korean War-era fighter, and a host of aircraft which celebrate the evolution of local aviation.

For those who enjoy immersing themselves in the history of the place, there will be historical posters, photographs, memorabilia, and television displays.

Not a bad achievement for something which Mr Kinnish recalled starting with "a couple of guys having a coffee one Sunday morning".

The museum opens to the public from 9am-noon this Sunday prior to its official opening in the afternoon. It will then be open 10am-4pm every Saturday and Sunday.

Topics:  evans head aerodrome f-111



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