It’s not every day you get to soar over the Sunshine Coast in a former Soviet spy-plane – but that’s precisely the experience on offer from Paradise Seaplanes, based at Maroochydore.
The adventure happens in a ‘Wilga 80’ – a Polish-built military aircraft which, rumour has it, formerly patrolled the Berlin Wall. Designed for surveillance and reconnaissance, the Wilga offers expansive views from the cabin.
Chief pilot, Shawn Kelly, can’t praise his retired ‘cold’ warbird highly enough. The aircraft was built in 1980, based on a 1950’s Soviet design that was so successful, it persisted – unchanged – right up until the year 2000.
Shawn has made one minor alteration, however. He replaced landing wheels with floats – creating a one-of-a-kind aircraft in Australia that’s perfectly designed for coastal touring. Visibility, reliability and stability combine for an awesome flight.
Using the Maroochy River as a picturesque runway, Paradise Seaplanes offer a variety of aerial excursions – from 10-minute flights over Maroochydore to longer jaunts up the coast, to Noosa and Double Island Point.