Ready for take-off

Scone is no longer just Australia’s horse capital. With Hunter Warbirds, the Upper Hunter is full throttle taking to the skies.

This March, Hunter Warbirds, an immersive, one-of-a kind aviation experience will throw open its gigantic hangar doors in Scone. Continuing the Upper Hunter’s proud heritage in civil and military aviation, it’s the largest aircraft museum constructed in the Southern hemisphere in the past three decades.

The purpose-built facility, almost the size of a football field, is a project of Upper Hunter Shire Council and supported by Pay’s Aviation, Vintage Fighter Restorations and Hunter Fighter Collection Inc. who will provide aircraft exhibits and display content.

Scone local Col Pay’s extraordinary warbird collection forms the core of the exhibition. It’s an incredible selection of 15 military aircraft, complemented by audio visual experiences and wonderfully detailed, interpretive dioramas, artefacts and informative displays guiding the visitor through aviation history from World War I to the present day. They are telling the warbirds’ fascinating stories and those of the men and women whose lives intersected with them.

From a Cessna 0-1 Bird Dog to a Mustang VH AUB and a Tiger Moth to a Boeing Stearman, most of the aircraft on display are in impeccable flight condition. Book a joy flight with a specially trained pilot, buckle up and watch the hangar doors glide open as your warbird moves from the exhibition to
the runway. Soar to the skies in a North American Harvard or Winjeel A85-426 and take in Lake Glenbawn, Liverpool Range and the Wingen Maid from way up high in a once-in-a lifetime experience.

Or test your own aviation skills at the controls of a Spitfire or a Bristol Fighter plane in custom-built, sophisticated flight simulators. Take to the skies over Europe and experience the blood pumping adrenaline rush of defending the airspace against enemy planes.

With a café, giftshop and the vast hangar available as a function space, the new venue has plenty on offer. Behind the scenes tours showcasing ongoing restoration projects are planned for later this year. Visitors of the bi-annual Warbirds over Scone festival will be the first to experience the exhibition on 26 and 27 March. From 28 March, Hunter Warbirds will be open to the public.

Find Hunter Warbirds at Scone Airport, open Mon – Sun, 10am to 5pm, last entry at 4pm;

Story by Cornelia Schulze, photography courtesy of Hunter Warbirds and Duncan Fenn