Adem Olsen (from Corlette)

Since moving to the Bay nine years ago, I’ve probably driven past Fighter World at Williamtown on hundreds of occasions.
From the outside, it’s a couple of big tin sheds and I’ve always thought to myself ‘‘nah, they couldn’t fit more than a handful of exhibits in there. Not worth the money’’.

After years of nagging, my son Reagan, a long-time fan of the RAAF and its aircraft, finally twisted my arm and convinced me to take him to Fighter World for his birthday.

My wife and I turned up with two girls and four boys and for the price of a CD had one of the most entertaining family outings we’ve had in years.

My daughter Sydney (who was dragged there kicking and screaming) had a ball ‘‘flying’’ in one of two cockpits available to visitors to sit in and experience the real thing.

My wife was blown away by the hundreds of handmade wooden aircraft models, painstakingly carved over several decades by a Nelson Bay local.

The boys and I were in heaven marveling at the beautifully restored Mirage, Vampire and an array of hands-on exhibits.
The viewing platform with a speaker allowing visitors to listen in to exchanges between incoming pilots and the control tower was an added and unexpected bonus.

Best of all were the volunteers, who give their knowledge and time to make the experience extra special.
Even a bloke at the ticket window who told me he was named ‘‘Cranky’’ by his workmates (without a hint of irony) was a thorough gentleman.

Do yourself a favour and make the journey to this tourism treasure right in our own backyard ... and tell ‘‘Cranky’’ that Adam sent you.