A CENTURY has passed since earth-bound residents first craned their necks to marvel at a flying machine dropping in to touch down at the Toowoomba Aerodrome.
Aviation devotees will get the chance to ride shotgun in a cloud-piercing war bird as the city celebrates 100 years of aeronautics today.
There is plenty to celebrate - from the first woman to fly from England to Australia Amy Johnson's landing in 1930 to the arrival of Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith in his legendary Southern Cross Fokker Trimotor, the site has been at the centre of some of the most important moments in Australian aviation.
The airport will be open to the public today with a full schedule for airborne thrill seekers.
Organiser and aerodrome technical officer Scott Williamson said he caught the "flying bug" early in life - a lifelong affliction he said was impossible to shake.
"Once it gets in your system, it never goes away," he said.
"The excitement of flying, especially if it's in an open cockpit, is something that always stays with you."
Mr Williamson said visitors to the aerodrome could take adventure flights in Second World War-era war birds, tour the facility or just relax to watch the spectacle unfold.
"Heliwest Toowoomba will also be taking people on chopper flights and we'll have static aircraft on show and other historical displays," he said.
"Skytrans will have a Dash-8 on display if anyone wants to climb onboard to look around the plane."
The real excitement will arrive late in the day, as experts from Gatton's Ripcord Skydiving plummet 1200 metres to earth for a demonstration jump.
"We have a landing zone as close to the spectators' line as we can get, so it should be spectacular," Mr Williamson said.
- Celebrations run from 9am to 3pm tomorrow at the Toowoomba Aerodrome. Entry is free.
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