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Watch: RAAF F-35A shows off at Wings Over Illawarra

written by Hannah Dowling | November 30, 2021

A Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lighting II aircraft performs an aerial display at the 2021 Wings Over Illawarra Airshow, in NSW. (Defence)

Australia’s largest air show, Wings Over Illawarra, was finally able to take place last weekend, after the 2020 show was cancelled and 2021’s event was postponed earlier in the year.

Australian Aviation was lucky enough to attend the spectacular event, which ran across Saturday and Sunday, 27-28 November.

The energy was high at the event – despite the grey skies and the rain – as attendees enjoyed static and aerial aircraft displays, food trucks, classic car exhibits, carnival rides and the iconic vintage aircraft over at the nearby HARS Aviation Museum.

While poor weather conditions unfortunately meant that much of Saturday’s aerial displays were cancelled, Sunday thankfully saw better flight conditions.

Notably, the Australian Defence Force was also present, with plenty to celebrate and commemorate.


This year of course marks 100 years of the Royal Australia Air Force, however the RAAF also took the opportunity of the air show to mark the retirement of its Classic Hornet F/A-18 aircraft, which formally took place on 29 November.

The ADF also chose Wings Over Illawarra as its stage to showcase the Hornet’s replacement, the F-35A Lighting II, for the first time in a public setting.

If you missed the air show, check out some of the incredible photos and videos captured below.

On YouTube, user @TGBN caught on video the F-35A Lighting II’s full show, marking its air show debut.

Also on YouTube, user @Nigel Woolley uploaded this fantastic video of the last ever air show display of the RAAF Classic Hornet.

Over on Twitter, user @JoelArmstrong47 also caught on video the RAAF’s new F-35 showing off for the crowd.

Meanwhile, Twitter user @ScaleAussie captured some beautiful photos of both the Classic Hornet and the Lightning II.

As did user @fluidprojectth1.

Plus, the RAAF took to YouTube to upload this round-up of its experience at Wings Over Illawarra 2021.

If you want to hear more about Wings Over Illawarra, check out our latest podcast, where the team sits down with RAAF C-130 Hercules pilot Flight Lieutenant Brendan Smith, the Australian Association for Uncrewed Systems’ Greg Tyrell and working dogs handler, Leading Aircraftwoman Lowana McDougall.

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Comment (1)

  • Craig H


    I wish airshows would do away with the music. Everyone wants to hear the planes

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