First World War plane in Grafton

VIDEO: Historic plane flies into Grafton

GRAFTON Aero Club member David Mackey spent the weekend admiring some of the many planes at last weekend's Wings Over Illawarra air show, in particular a replica World War I RAF plane.

So you can imagine his surprise on his return home while mowing the South Grafton Aerodrome, the vintage plane appeared on the horizon and spent the night in his hangar.

The plane was making the return trip from Illawarra to its home in Caboolture, but owner Andrew Carter said headwinds made the trip in the 1917 plane slower than expected.

"On the way back here due to head winds and end of daylight we stopped in at South Grafton, and the people here have been incredibly friendly and helpful and very supportive of we're doing," he said.

"They've given us time to leave it here until we got more favourable weather.

"Going down the headwinds halved our speed, and we were only doing 35 knots, which is about 65kmh... in it's day it was considered quite a fast plane but by modern standards it's quite slow."

Andrew Carter of Caboolture of Australia Vintage Aviation Society - with his replica an 1917 SE5a World War I plane.
Andrew Carter of Caboolture of Australia Vintage Aviation Society - with his replica an 1917 SE5a World War I plane. Adam Hourigan

Mr Carter is from the Australian Vintage Aviation Society, who maintain the only collection of flying World War I replicas and reproductions, and his plane, an SE5A is painted in the colours of an extraordinary member of our own flying corps.

"It has the colours of D6995, which was flown by Australian Frank Alberry, who became a fighter ace with just one leg," he said.

"The planes take a lot of commitment and a lot of time... but it has to be done. We do it to educate Australia the significant part we played in World War 1 - most people don't realise we had our own flying corps, let alone our own aces.

"We've done a lot of work on it, put original instrument panels and done work on the weapons, and it turns heads wherever it goes."



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