Where to see Air Force’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighter arrival flypast

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Members of the public will be treated to a formation flypast of two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters and up to three F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet aircraft along the Port Stephens-Hunter Coast prior to the aircraft landing at RAAF Base Williamtown on Monday, 10 December.

A single F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet aircraft will also follow the five-aircraft formation.

The aircraft will fly down to 75m along some parts of the coast, and not below 450m over built-up areas including Nelson Bay, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie areas, Raymond Terrace and Medowie.

The jets will travel at approximately 500-550km/h.

This is a significant event for the Hunter and Port Stephens communities, as the previous fighter aircraft type – the F/A-18A/B Hornet – arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown in 1984.

Please be advised in the event of poor weather or operational considerations the flypast may be cancelled.

Flypast route

  • The flypast is scheduled to commence from approximately 9:50am off Tomaree Head and into Port Stephens. The jets will fly in proximity to Nelson Bay and Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens, before heading out the Heads and turning south.
  • The formation will track along the Tomaree coast and Worimi Conservation Lands, to Nobbys Lighthouse and down the coast to Redhead.
  • Looping back over the top of Lake Macquarie, the jets will overfly Newcastle city at approximately 10:00am, before heading north towards Williamtown via Raymond Terrace and Medowie, landing at RAAF Base Williamtown by approximately 10:10am.

Air Force has organised the flypast to assist local residents to view our new fifth-generation aircraft at many locations rather than travelling to the base.

We encourage members of the public to head to these coastal vantage points for the best viewing conditions.

There will be very limited parking and public viewing areas around RAAF Base Williamtown.

Two small designated viewing areas will be marked at the end of the runway, near Nelson Bay Road and Medowie Road respectively. Limited car parking is available off Nelson Bay Road.

Air Force personnel will direct traffic and pedestrians.

Expect large crowds and significant traffic congestion in the area, particularly along Medowie and Nelson Bay Roads. Allow extra time for travel.

Important information

Port Stephens and Hunter residents are advised to head to any coastal vantage point or exposed location along the route to view the formation of up to five aircraft at least 30 minutes before the scheduled times.

We recommend spectators wear sun protection, including hats and practical footwear.

Share your photos on social media using #AusAirForce and tag us at @AusAirForce.

Please note that, as with all our flying operations, this flypast is subject to change. Flying may be cancelled in the event of poor weather or operational considerations. Keep an eye on this webpage and our social media channels for updates.

Learn more

The official arrival ceremony is invitation only. For more information, see our event page.

Regular updates on the Australian F-35A Project and F-35 Program are available from the Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.

Images of the F-35A are available on the Defence Image Gallery.

Learn more about the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter on our aircraft page.

Information on aircraft noise and current flying activities is available at http://www.defence.gov.au/aircraftnoise, or by calling 1300 DEFENCE (1300 333 362)