The Barossa Airshow thrills the valley

Proudly hosted by the Rotary Club of Barossa Valley, SA, the Barossa Airshow reached new heights in 2023.

Despite weather threatening its abandonment, the Barossa Airshow, held on Sunday, April 16, was a breathtaking success of magnificent flying machines. The high-octane aircraft show held the crowd in awe, with aerial displays that included death-defying stunts by Chris Sperou and South Australia’s own Silver Sharks; a stunning solo display by Lyndon Trethewey, who then teamed up with the Silver Sharks for a ‘hold your breath, knife-edge’ moment; the historical value of Whalley’s Warbirds; the Poseidon P8 fly-past; and a visit from 16-year-old pilot Alicia Hayes, who flew her aircraft like a veteran and performed a textbook landing in a difficult crosswind.

PICTURED: Safety checks in progress. (Photo: Bob Taylor).

The Australian National Anthem was performed by local artist Reo Gerhardy, while parachutists – one of whom carried the Australian flag – rained down from above. It proved a very moving experience The Barossa Model Aircraft Club proved that the ‘little guys’ can put on a great show too.

PICTURED: The Silver Sharks formation aerobatics team is made up of local South Australian lads Lyndon Trethewey (not pictured), James Hart, John Buttrose and Stewart Michael flying the CAP233, Vans RV6 and RV7 aerobatic aircraft (Photo: Bob Taylor).

Organised by Steve Ahrens, a member of the Rotary Club of Barossa Valley and founder of the Barossa Airshow, and a very dedicated committee, in just a few days a cropping paddock was converted into a bustling event site, complete with aircraft landing strip, food and market stalls, air-related displays, and patron facilities.

PICTURED: The Rotary District 9510 Mazda BT-50 and the Rotary Club of Barossa Valley’s promotional trailer were at the show for support.

“We estimate more than 6,000 people including volunteers attended on the day, considerably more than expected, which of course presented some challenges,” said 2023 Barossa Airshow Chairperson Keith Millington. “However, the wonderful result is that the Rotary Club of Barossa Valley and several other community and service groups can now provide substantial financial assistance to global and local activities and projects.”

PICTURED: 84-year-old Chris Sperou thrilled spectators with his death-defying stunts (Photo: Bob Taylor).

The full 2023 Barossa Airshow committee consisted of 11 Rotarians and two volunteers, who worked magic with promotional activities through social media and other publicity networks.

“The entire group did a magnificent job in assembling a complex event that was totally dependent on everybody doing their job,” said Keith.

And of course, the Rotary District 9510 Mazda BT-50 and the Rotary Club of Barossa Valley’s promotional trailer were there for support!