On the 11th November 2018, the city of Adelaide, hosted numerous events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. At exactly 11am, Capt. Darryl Hill led a flypast of vintage aircraft and undertook a “poppy drop” overhead the Adelaide War Memorial. The flypast and poppy drop were witnessed by thousands of people and made headlines across Australia and around the world.
What many people viewed as a simple but powerful gesture of remembrance, was in fact a delicately coordinated event, which took months of detailed planning to overcome numerous challenges.
The first major obstacle was obtaining the appropriate permissions from CASA, Airservices Australia, Adelaide City Council, the South Australian Department of Veteran’s Affairs and others.
The second obstacle was much more practical: how to safely launch thousands of paper poppies from the back of a Cessna 180. Honourable Company Young Member Noah Beckmann volunteered to don the safety harness and be the loadmaster for the day.
The final obstacle was wholly aviation related: flying a Cessna 180 in formation with four Tiger Moths. Pilots will know that it is no small undertaking to maintain formation where Tiger Moths are flying at their maximum speed, and the 180 is close to its stalling speed. Luckily the weather was on Darryl’s side: smooth flying conditions in clear air.
On the morning of the 11th, the aircraft departed Aldinga Aerodrome and made several laps of Adelaide city, before embarking on the “drop run” over North Terrace. Timing was critical, as the flypast and poppy drop had to not only coordinate with the ceremony taking place on the ground, but also with passenger jet aircraft inbound to Adelaide airport.
Darryl’s airmanship, and robust exchanges with ATC on the day, meant that the poppies were dropped at the right place and the right time.
Importantly, the poppy drop and fly past represented an excellent example of community engagement. Leading up to the event, Darryl worked with schools and community groups, giving them the opportunity to write the names of the fallen and other service personnel on the poppies. This added an extra dimension to the event, and no doubt prompted considerable interest from the children running around the streets of Adelaide collecting poppies.
The sole reason that this event took place was Darryl’s dedication. It stands as an example to all in the aviation community what can be achieved through hard work and professionalism.
2019 Captain Darryl Hill
2018 Robert Moore
2017 Mr G A "Peter" Lloyd AC AO OBE
2016 John Graham Eacott MAP
2015 Harold Roy Walton CEng FRAeS FCILTA CPEng MIE(Aust) MAP
2014 Captain R A "Sandy" Howard
2013 Sue Ball
2012 Bishop Anthony Hall-Matthews
2011 Spencer Lyons Ferrier
2010 John Whittington
2009 Captain Warwick Balir Tainton MAP