Mr Pilot (as you may have guessed from his nickname) has been into planes for a very long time. Last year, we fulfilled a bit of a dream of his – flying over to New Zealand and attending the Omaka Classic Fighters Airshow. Well, I was hooked. (It was either the Spitfires or the triplanes that got me) So, when Mr Pilot suggested we attend an engine run day at the Queensland Air Museum, we made the preparations and headed north to check it out. (The preparations mostly consisted of hearing protection for Squirm. The engines can be very loud and we wanted to ensure his hearing was protected.)
After Mr Pilot completed his own flying lesson, we headed up the Bruce Highway to Caloundra. The museum is right near the Caloundra air field, which is just outside of the main centre of Caloundra. It was really easy to find and we found a park easily.
There was a small admission price ($12 per adult usually, $13 for the engine run days) and then we were inside the main museum building. There we immediately saw a scale reproduction of a Spitfire, along with lots of other models and partial planes. Immediately I was impressed by the amount of information that accompanied each display – there was a lot of history here!
We headed outside, past several other planes to the open hanger which contains the bulk of the collection. One thing, which really impressed Mr Pilot, was the number of engines they had. Unfortunately, to get those engines into working order costs a lot of money, and the longer you have to wait to collect that money the more it costs. We didn’t have much time to look just at that moment, though, since the engines were about to be run.
We put Squirm’s little ear muffs on (which worked perfectly) and went out to watch the engines. They had four on display at the front, although they were only able to run two. Then they also had a giant one, mounted on a truck . Along with this was an actual plane which they need to run to keep it in good condition. Mr Pilot could tell you about all the engines in a lot more detail, but I can tell you they were very loud! Once the engines were finished running, we enjoyed a sausage sizzle and explored the rest of the big hanger before a brief look through the museum entrance building. Before we went home, we were amused to see a little ukulele in the Charles Kingsford Smith display and hear the story about Kingsford-Smith and ukuleles.
This is a great little museum which seems to be running on the love of the volunteers, membership fees and the small admission costs. I always love seeing people who are passionate about things the way they were here. You could spend ages going through the whole museum, but it would be good for a short visit as well if you have a little plane enthusiast. I’d love to head out for the open cockpit day they hold in the middle of the year, where you can actually sit in some of the planes!
If you live up that way – you might also be interested to check out their corporate event and birthday party deals – a nice way to support this museum which having an unusual place to hold an event!