Open cockpit weekend
4 July 10
So under the guise of showing the planes to the girls, I convinced David to take us to the QAM at Caloundra on Saturday morning. The museum is the largest civil and military air museum in Australia, and their Open Cockpit Weekend attracts exhibitors of other vintage machinery and related interests.
The museum was very easy to find — located just opposite the Caloundra aerodrome. It was reassuring to see little pointer signs advertising the museum as we approached the turn-off.
QAM charges an entrance fee, and their Open Cockpit Weekend fee is only slightly higher at $25 for a family. (But when the man at the desk looked at our children, he only charged us for two adults — I guess we’re not a proper family yet.)
There was a lot to see, and it wasn’t all about planes. Many private exhibitors were showing their restored machines, motorbikes, vehicles and antiques. A couple of fairground attractions (jumping castle, etc) were off to one side, but they cost an extra $4 , so we gave them a wide berth.
The Indian is the motorbike that was made famous twice — once when new Zealander Burt Munro broke the land speed record in it (for its class) in 1967 and secondly when Anthony Hopkins starred as in Munro in The World’s Fastest Indian.
The museum exhibits sprawl across quite a large area are also located in several hangars. David and I became separated very early on in the morning, however I managed to find our friends the Rattenburys and decided to stay with them until David and I could meet up again.
This HRD Vincent motorbike was a racing bike that carried two people. The driver steered and controlled the bike, and the passenger hung off the side or on the back, adjusting his weight as necessary so the bike wouldn’t tip over. Have a look at these photos taken at the Sydney Speedway.
Overall, the exhibits were very good. The QAM volunteers were exceedingly friendly and helpful, very patient with the endless numbers of children who just wanted to press all the buttons and throw the levers about.
Next July, if you’re in the area, and have even the slightest interest in machinery, history or planes, plan on attending the Open Cockpit Weekend. It’s held on the weekend in the middle of the July school holidays and is absolutely fascinating!