IN THE FAMILY: Airport owner Jeffrey Ruddell with his daughters Alice, Ellie and Joanna beside the P51 Mustang at the Airlie Beach Air Show.
IN THE FAMILY: Airport owner Jeffrey Ruddell with his daughters Alice, Ellie and Joanna beside the P51 Mustang at the Airlie Beach Air Show.

Air show sees crowd get close encounters

THE smell of jet fuel, the throngs of people, and the buzzing from above - the Airlie Beach Air Show is sure to have inspired more than a few to pursue the skies.

Whitsunday Airport owner Jeffrey Ruddell said he was ecstatic the event had gone so well, rating it "a 9.9 out of 10".

"I'm way less stressed today than I was on Friday," he joked.

Mr Ruddell said the local event was something of a rarity in its ability to get the crowds so close to the aircraft.

"I don't think there's anywhere else in Australia that you can stand next to the aircraft and see the (RAAF) Roulettes landing right in front of you," he said.

"You can hear it, you can smell it, you can touch it - it's a personal thing."

Airport CEO Brett Dwyer said the RAAF team had even made special mention of this up-close-and-personal approach.

"They said nowhere else in Australia can they fly as close to the crowds as here," he said.

Paul Bennet also spoke highly of the event, having performed at all three Airlie Beach Air Shows so far.

"They're great people to deal with, and hopefully they have another show next year, because it would be great to come back again," he said.

The feeling is mutual, it seems, as well.

"There's just nobody who can fly like he can," Mr Ruddell said.

Mr Ruddell said the air show was designed as a family event, and even got his three daughters in on the action.

"They were dressed up in the 1945 military uniforms," he said. "They all love aviation and come flying with me."

The airport thanked their exhibitors, volunteers, vendors, transport services and the public.


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