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By the Seat of their Pants – Australian Airmen and their Machines 1915-1918

December 11, 2012 @ 8:00 pm - December 12, 2012 @ 3:30 am

The Great War saw the emergence of an Australian Flying Corps (AFC), which by 1918 was making a tangible contribution to Allied air operations in the Middle East and on the Western Front. Over the operational phases of the war, the airmen and ground crews adapted to new aircraft types while facing a determined enemy with first-class machines of their own. Some Australian airmen became ‘aces’, others were shot down and captured; many were killed or disabled. But the war in the air had its own character and culture, and chivalry remained despite the ferocity of the combat.  Almost 100 years on, this symposium aims to explore growing interest both by academic and professional historians in the Australian Flying Corps during these years, especially with regard to the many human factors involved as well as the evolving aircraft technology and tactics.

Where did the Australians fit in to Allied air operations? How did they rate as pilots and units? How did they adapt to new aircraft types and tactics? How did they fare against a skilful and well-led enemy? What was their POW experience? Who were our ‘aces?’ How were airmen and the air war represented in an emerging media? These are some of the questions this symposium seeks to address.

This one-day conference presents papers from a range of historians, authors and other subject matter specialists in and around the setting of the aircraft and displays of the RAAF Museum at the historic Point Cook base. A Panel session will conclude the day’s proceedings before attendees are invited to further explore the Museum and its facilities.

2012 marks 100 years since the Federal Government purchased the land at Point Cook which became the home of the first AFC flying school. The facility trained many Australian airmen before and during WWI; a role it continues to play today. Through the generous co-operation and good will of the staff concerned, the conference will take place in the heart of the RAAF Museum surrounded by the aeroplanes, artefacts and displays that represents the rich history and the very essence of AFC/RAAF aviation.

Exclusive Use

The RAAF Museum at Point Cook has given MHHV exclusive use for Monday 12 November 2012 to hold this important and engaging one day conference, which will be held right in the Museum itself among its heritage collection of WWI aircraft and artefacts. Delegates will be able to purchase items from the Museum shop.

Flight by Sopwith Pup

Point Cook is the cradle of Australian military aviation, and as a special event during the conference for our delegates, a live flight of the Museum’s heritage Sopwith Pup is planned during the lunch break.


This special MHHV Event will provide a discounted entry for Concession holders and MHHV Organisation Members and MHHV Individual Members. Seating will be limited to 80, on a first in, first served basis, regardless of MHHV membership.

Included in the ticket will be morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

Click here to purchase your ticket online

Click here to download the registration form to pay by cheque

Click here to download the full Conference Programme 12 November 2012

Conference sponsored by:


December 11, 2012 @ 8:00 pm
December 12, 2012 @ 3:30 am

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