Drifting above Arnhem Land today, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon took part in aviation activities at the Garma Festival as part of Exercise Arnhem Drifter.
Mr Snowdon said the Garma Festival is an annual event and brings many local Aboriginal communities together for several days of activities.
“This year’s festival also brought a world of aviation education with the Air Force Hot Air Balloon,” he said.
“Depending on the weather, I hope to join members of the Aboriginal community during a tethered flight in the balloon. This will be a fantastic introduction to the earliest form of flying.”
From 28 July to 31 August the balloon will visit 23 communities across the Territory including a stop over at the Garma festival.
“This balloon visit is something unique for many of the communities. It allows the Air Force to connect with people in these communities and for them to experience something a little different.
“The balloon has been travelling through Arnhem Land, The Kimberley Ranges and central Australia as part of Exercise Arnhem Drifter bringing Defence and career possibilities to Indigenous Australians.
“The feeling you get as you drift away from the ground lifted by hot air is quite exhilarating,” Mr Snowdon said
The Air Force Balloon, unlike a fighter jet, is able to operate in almost any cleared area, giving the public a hands-on experience. The balloon has provided opportunities for the Air Force to connect with local communities throughout regional areas since 1990, contributing to local community events, regional shows, charitable organisations, visits to primary and secondary schools and other major events.
Norforce is also a regular attendee at Garma and will take part in the festival again this year.
For more information on the program visit http://www.airforce.gov.au/Balloon
Further Information: Defence Media Operations - 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664
Media Contacts: Minister Snowdon’s office - Erin White 0400 045 999