A BIRTHDAY present doesn't get much better than a joy flight in a Second World War Yakovlev fighter plane.
Well, maybe it does - if it's your 77th birthday present.
Norman Taylor was one of many aviation enthusiasts that flocked to the Old Station Fly-in and Heritage Show at Mt Larcom on Saturday to see a collection of vintage planes, cars and trucks, as well as live music and Red Bull Air Race legend Matt Hall in action.
Mr Taylor grew to love flying when he worked as a mechanic in the Northern Territory when he was 23.
He would fly to Arnhem Land in a Cessna every Monday.
"I have a thousand hours up in them," he said. "I had more time up in them than half the pilots that were driving them.
"It's just freedom. It's good.
"These (fighter planes) are a bit faster. I have never ridden in one of these so I thought I'd go for it. Why not?"
Also taking the leap was Bobby Haigh, who got to experience the thrill of aerobatics and air race manoeuvres in the two-seat Red Bull Air Race plane.
"I like going on rollercoaster rides and I watch the Red Bull race with a mate," he said.
"It's just something that you don't get a chance to do, a bit of a once-in-a-lifetime thing."
However, a rollercoaster ride may well have been a gentle stroll in comparison.
"Up there was great. It was amazing. It was like a hundred times crazier. I have been on some good ones too."
After 18 years in the air force, where he was a pilot and wing commander, racing was the perfect challenge for Mr Hall.
"To have the experience of flight is one thing but to do it in a plane like this is just unique," he said.
"We're always getting around to different events. It's something we take to the community as much as we can because I love aviation and I love sharing aviation with the community."
The highlight of the three-day event was the air display, which involved tight manoeuvres three metres above the ground and speeds of 400kmh.
The Old Station Flying Club holds the event every year, with proceeds going to the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service.
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