SOME grand old warbirds will take to the skies over Bathurst this weekend as around 16 pilots and support crews descend on the area for a training weekend.
It will be the first time the Australian Warbird Association Ltd (AWAL) has held the FAST formation training camp in Bathurst and pilots will be flying in from Queensland, Victoria and across NSW to take part.
Event director Tammy Camilleri from Bathurst's Panorama Airways said the first planes, dating from the 1960s to 1980s, would arrive at the Bathurst Airport on Friday afternoon ahead of the two-day camp.
"It's not an air show but there will be plenty of chances for the public to see them when they're out flying over the weekend," Ms Camilleri said.
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"It's the first time we've held this event in Bathurst and we're very excited to have it here.
"A lot of the pilots will be bringing their partners and they will be staying here all weekend until Monday."
Ms Camilleri said members of the public could also view the planes on the ground from the airport car park, or from outside the airport.
She said AWAL had been established to promote old warbirds within the community and to keep them flying.
"The training is what we call a FAST formation clinic, where pilots maintain recency and improve their formation flying skills," Ms Camilleri said.
"This training is to assist with safety whilst flying in close proximity to another aircraft and the FAST clinics are hosted by AWAL three to four times a year around the country.
"Pilots attending are from various flying backgrounds, including some are air show pilots, airline pilots, military pilots and private pilots, all with an extreme passion for flying these unique warbirds and promoting the warbird community."
Bathurst Regional Council voted at its last monthly meeting to waive more than $1500 in landing fees to support AWAL in hosting this weekend's event.
A report to councillors by corporate services and finance director Aaron Jones recommended councillors waive the fees, estimating the investment would be repaid many times over in the Bathurst economy.
"The event director is anticipating 15-20 attendees to the training, with a visitation of up to 40 people staying a minimum two nights in Bathurst," Mr Jones said in the report.
"Based on the Tourism Research Australia's tourism metrics for the Bathurst Region LGA (2016), the average spend per domestic overnight visitor is $371 per night. Accordingly, this event has the potential to inject up to $30,000 (approximately) into the local economy."
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