ON THE WATER: Network Ten's Bondi Rescue lifesaver Matt Dee is in the Whitsundays visiting his best friends and checking out the sights.
ON THE WATER: Network Ten's Bondi Rescue lifesaver Matt Dee is in the Whitsundays visiting his best friends and checking out the sights.

Air show to mark milestone

WHITSUNDAY Airport is turning 50 and to celebrate, the airport will be holding a Grand Air Show on May 1.

On the day, the Whitsunday community and the region's visitors will be invited to the runway to see some of the aviation industries most notable performers in action.

Among them will be the RAAF Roulettes and one of Australia's leading air show performers Paul Bennet from MaxxG Aerobatics.

Both performers were in the Whitsundays two years ago when they performed at Whitsunday Airport's first ever air show, marking the official opening of Whitsunday Aviation Village Estate (WAVE).

Also performing on the day will be CHC rescue who will put on a rescue display while Australian Air Force Cadets from across North Queensland will be part of a ceremonial display.

Whitsunday Airport owner Jeffrey Ruddell took over the reigns from Kevin and Susan Bowe in 2001 after the Bowes owned and operated both Air Whitsunday and the airport for more than 20 years.

When Mr Ruddell bought the airport, he said the airport was nothing much more than a gravel and grassy runway.

Since then, the Strathdickie born canefarmer has revamped the airport and was the mastermind behind the country's first airpark, WAVE.

Over the past 50 years Whitsunday Airport has become an icon of the Whitsundays and Mr Ruddell said he wanted to host the air show to acknowledge the support of the Whitsunday community.

He said it was his way of putting something back into the region and helping the town get back on its feet.

With about 6000 people flocking to the airport in 2009 for the Airlie Beach Air Show, Mr Ruddell hoped the upcoming air show would attract the same response to recognise such a momentous milestone.

In next week's edtition of the Whitsunday Times there will be a commemorative 12 page feature to celebrate Whitsunday Airport's 50th birthday.

The feature will give an insight into the history of the airport and how it has transformed over time.

It will also provide a detailed outline of the air show and what amazing spectacles people can expect to see on the day. The feature will also look at some of the airport's most iconic characteristics and what has made it an icon of the Whitsundays.


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