Display sees Wings clipped by weather | GALLERY

Joshua Cato, 5, of Wollongong in a Sabre Jet, and one of the  F/A-18 Hornet fighters able to withstand the weather. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Joshua Cato, 5, of Wollongong in a Sabre Jet, and one of the F/A-18 Hornet fighters able to withstand the weather. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Wild weather prevented many planes from showing off their finest tricks at Sunday's Wings over Illawarra event.

A roaring westerly wind grounded nearly every aircraft in the popular air show except two F/A-18 Hornets, which were powerful enough to contend with the weather.

The hornets, which flew in from the Williamtown RAAF base near Newcastle, gave patrons a grand air show, adding to the ground displays of historic and military aircraft, freestyle motocross, classic cars and bikes and dozens of food and merchandise stalls.

Marketing manager Andrew Herring said crowd numbers were solid, despite the chilly weather.

"Over the last six years, we've had steady, stable and sunny weather; any breeze has been from the north east or the south and we've been able to manage it," he said.

"For the first time, we've been hit with this roaring westerly and these cross winds ... it's extreme weather, totally out of character for this time of year.

"We operated under the guise that anything that could fly, would fly, but we weren't prepared to break any safety restrictions to do it," Mr Herring said.

Patrons still flocked to the Illawarra Regional Airport for a chance to get up close to several aircraft, including the hornets, which were normally kept on the airfield.

Mr Herring said this year's event had benefited from a new layout, better facilities and an online ticketing system, allowing visitors to skip the crowds at the ticket gate.

"We're very grateful for the strong community support, people love the chance to see the aircraft," he said.

"We're obviously disappointed with the weather - it's not the air show we wanted to put on, but like any outdoor event, we're subject to the weather, we're just disappointed we weren't able to overcome it."

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