What a massive change a couple of weeks can bring. We would normally be getting into the full swing of the air show season right about now, but sadly the pandemic has postponed our usual experiences. Indeed, it will likely be some time before another air show takes place anywhere in the world. However, two weeks ago on March 8th, the performers at Tyabb Airport on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia were able to hold their event. Our regular Antipodean correspondent, Phil Buckley, was on hand to record the action, and we are happy to bring you his report below.
Tyabb Airshow 2020
by Phil Buckley
In what was a short notice air show lead in, that meant the aviation event was lucky to even go ahead, the 2020 Tyabb Airshow held at Tyabb Airfield in Victoria, Australia once again lived up to its drawcard appeal, attracting around 9,000 people to the exciting day. The 2020 show had been facing cancellation sadly, not due to any medical emergency, but due to last year’s efforts by the local council to shut it down – and the airport too. This fate may still await the airport sadly, if the council gets it way…..
The Penisula Aero Club (PAC) has overseen the show for many years, and worked hard to create a successful aviation event for enthusiasts of all ages. All funding raised flows back into assorted local community organsiations and operations. The event is supported by passionate pilots who provide their time for free, displaying their aircraft in the air and on the ground. With a single runway flanked by a lone taxiway just a few yards from the crowd line, the Tyabb Airshow allows the general public to see taxiing aircraft up very close. They can also view the static aircraft displays arrayed in front of behind the cordon as well.
Over the years, the Tyabb Airshow has attracted a range of warbirds, military participants and general aviation aircraft. Indeed, Tyabb is currently home to several famous warbirds including Judy Pay’s Old Aeroplane Company collection (CAC Mustang, P-40F Kittyhawk, T-28 Trojan, T-6 Harvard and more) as well as the only Vought Corsair currently flying in Australia (Graham Hoskings F4U-5 Bu.124493). Across the day, a mix of displays took place. They ranged from a single ship, right up to large formation flights. Mixed in the planned program were several deHavilland Tiger Moths which, unfortunately, could not fly due to strong winds. Legacy warbird trainers varying from former RAAF CT-4s, Winjeels and a Harvard, took to the sky and were welcomed warmly. The event also had a few T-28 Trojans in Vietnam War-era colors flying. The popular Southern Knights aerobatic display team with their North American Harvards always gets people’s attention with their elegant displays, vibrant colors and smoke systems… not to mention the throbbing roar of their engines.
The Tyabb event was largely a fighter affair, with various WWII-era pursuit types zooming through the skies, either singly or in formations throughout the day. The Temora Aviation Museum brought their CAC Boomerang and Spitfire, the RAAF Museum flew their newly airworthy CAC Mustang, a P-40N made the trip down from Wangaratta. The locally-based P-40F and Corsair joined the previously mentioned fighters and others types for the final and truly spectacular, massed formation flyby.
Giving the event a little generational diversity, the Royal Australian Air Force brought a few of their currently active types, including a No.35 Squadron C-27 Spartan from RAAF Base Amberley, the RAAF Roulettes display team from RAAF Base East Sale. The Roulettes used their spanking-new Pilatus PC-21s, which replaced the earlier PC-9/As just last year. The former PC-9/As are now being sold off in Australia, with a few heading to the USA for future training work. Another RAAF participant included a massive No.36 Squadron C-17 Globemaster, which flew in from Queensland. This behemoth participated in the final displays of the day.
Overall it was a marvelous event, and we do hope that the Tyabb Airshow will still be able to take place next year with the same thrilling displays and radial engine music. More importantly, we also hope that the airfield’s long term future as a going concern can be secured by then too!
Many thanks indeed to Phil Buckley for his report and images. We hope you all stay safe out there, and stay home. Be well everyone!