The Returned & Services League in Western Australia has expressed its deep disappointment at an air traffic control decision that saw the cancellation of a fly-past over the State War Memorial on the 100th Anniversary of Armistice last Sunday.
RSLWA Chief Executive Officer, John McCourt, said the non-flypast was not only embarrassing but a slap in the face for thousands of West Australians who gathered at Kings Park to witness the historic commemoration.
Mr McCourt said it had been common practice for many years to have an Air Force flypast over the State War Memorial at 11 o’clock on Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day.
“We have been faithfully supported by a very professional Royal Australian Air Force who have undertaken the flypasts year after year,” Mr McCourt said.
“The non-event last Sunday was in no way the fault of Air Force. An Air Force Squadron Leader based at RAAF Pearce was airborne and ready to fly over the memorial but needed clearance to fly through controlled airspace.”
Mr McCourt said the Department of Defence had informed RSLWA that the RAAF had submitted prior notice and documentation to Perth Air Traffic Control in support of a fly-past.
Regrettably, the aircraft were not provided with the required clearance by Perth Air Traffic Control and the Air Force jet was diverted.
Mr McCourt said Perth Airport does get busy but he was at a loss why a brief clearance window of approximately two minutes could not be granted, given the importance of the flypast.
John McCourt | 08 9287 3799 | 0429 946 777
15,000 + people gathered to remember those who fell. Image by Bruce Fraser