Make way for the warbird

When flying a World War II bomber, it’s advisable to not wear white clothes.

“I love flying warbirds at the moment. I get a good rush from flying them, but you do get dirty and oily so don’t wear whites,” show pilot Ben Lappin said.

The 25 year-old Traralgon pilot landed the Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber at Latrobe Regional Airport on Monday after performing in an air show at Port Lincoln.

The 1941 Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber was flown during World War II around the Pacific and New Guinea before coming to Australia.

Lappin said the 8000 kilogram aircraft was a “big heavy thing to fly”, heavy on the controls with 1900 horsepower.

“You have to fly it very smooth and operate it smoothly, you can’t just jam the throttle,” Lappin said.

“It’s gorgeous to fly, it takes you back to what the boys were doing back in the day.”

Lappin said he wouldn’t be flying if not for his late mother, Michelle, who died in April this year.

He said his mother was one of the chief flying instructors at the airport after the family moved back to the Valley from New South Wales.

Lappin said she had always commented that he should fly the old warbirds and “get into the good toys”.

“I wouldn’t have been doing it if not for her. I was competing in aerobatics from 16,” he said.

The plane is owned by Paul Bennet, who Lappin works for. performing in aerobatic displays.

Bennet restored the bomber about six years ago with Air Gold Coast before purchasing it. He flew the plane to Maitland on Tuesday.