Daily News reporter Erin Smith and pilot Pete Lafrancke.
Daily News reporter Erin Smith and pilot Pete Lafrancke.

Anzac Day fly-over an 'awesome' experience

I AM going to be honest and admit that when I pulled up at the Warwick Aerodrome for my first ever flight in a Jabiru plane yesterday I was a little bit nervous.

Pilot Pete Lafrancke arrived on the taxi strip in his plane.

Now the last time I had been airborne was nine years ago, when we went on a school trip to Canberra.

Compared to that plane the little orange and white Jabiru was tiny- so tiny that I was taller than it.

Which for those who know me means the plane was small.

Pilot Pete, as he likes to be called, gave me a run-through of the emergency procedures and what I would have to do in case of an engine failure.

He reassured me that "that only happened on the odd occasion".

Now the reason I had been invited to take to the skies with Pilot Pete and three other pilots was so I could snap some photos of yesterday's Anzac Parade as the planes performed their first ever parade fly-over.

The plan was to fly-over in delta formation, like a big arrow.

The pilots had been practising in the lead up to the big day.

We came around onto the runway and before I knew it we had lift-off.

My first response, which made Pilot Pete laugh, was "this is awesome".

Once they were up in formation they decided they would end up flying over the cenotaph two minutes too early.

So we took a hard left and went around in a big loop.

It was a weird sensation the first time, like the plane was going to roll over, but by the end I had adjusted to it.

After a quick loop the pilots lined back up and headed over Fitzroy St for the main event.

It was great to see so many people down there looking on and supporting those marching in the parade.

To finish off we flew back over in a single line formation.

The feeling off being in that plane truly was amazing.

And to be able to say I was part of the first ever fly-over during the Warwick Anzac parade is just as cool.

I would like to say another big thank-you to Pilot Pete for inviting me.



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