Tyabb Air Show Report

This Spitfire HF.VIII was the very last example taken on charge by the RAAF in 1945. Originally restored by Colin Pay, it now wears the colour scheme of Wing Commander ‘Bobby’ Gibbes DSO, DFC and Bar, OAM. (photo by Matt Savage)
This Spitfire HF.VIII was the very last example taken on charge by the RAAF in 1945. Originally restored by Colin Pay, it now wears the colour scheme of Wing Commander ‘Bobby’ Gibbes DSO, DFC and Bar, OAM. (photo by Matt Savage)
This Spitfire HF.VIII was the very last example taken on charge by the RAAF in 1945. Originally restored by Colin Pay, it now wears the colour scheme of Wing Commander ‘Bobby’ Gibbes DSO, DFC and Bar, OAM. (photo by Matt Savage)

Tyabb Airshow 2016 – Winged Warriors

by Matt Savage

Every two years the peace and tranquility in the skies over Tyabb, Victoria  is shattered by a gathering of classic and warbird aircraft for what many consider to be one of the best “country” airshows in Australia. Tyabb is a small town an hour’s drive south-east of Melbourne on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, and punches well above its weight when it comes to flying displays. This year’s show took place on Sunday, March 13th.

The Southern Knights open the 2016 Tyabb Airshow! (photo by Matt Savage)
The Southern Knights open the 2016 Tyabb Airshow! (photo by Matt Savage)

While the weather gods gave us cloudy skies for most of the day, over 10,000 spectators and special guests were on hand to witness this year’s spectacle. The organizers, Peninsular Aero Club, focussed the event on “Winged Warriors”, and many consider this year’s effort as the best yet! The show is a charity event, with the majority of the proceeds going to Headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, which provides early intervention mental health services for 12 to 25 year olds. The Tyabb CFA, Mt Eliza Lions Club and local youth sports clubs also received supported from air show profits. Display aircraft came from across southern and eastern Australia and performed for an appreciative audience.

Luke Kempton arrives in his USAAF Vultee BT-13 Valiant, also known as the Vibrator! (photo by Matt Savage)
Luke Kempton arrives in his USAAF Vultee BT-13 Valiant, also known as the Vibrator! (photo by Matt Savage)
This Tyabb-based Commonwealth CA-16 Wirraway is owned by Borg Sorensen. (photo by Matt Savage)
This Tyabb-based Commonwealth CA-16 Wirraway is owned by Borg Sorensen. (photo by Matt Savage)
Matt Henderson’s immaculate O-1G Bird Dog, complete with 'Willie Pete' rockets for target marking. (photo by Matt Savage)
Matt Henderson’s immaculate O-1G Bird Dog, complete with ‘Willie Pete’ rockets for target marking. (photo by Matt Savage)
Paul Bennet in the Wolf Pitts flying his high-energy routine. (photo by Matt Savage)
Paul Bennet in the Wolf Pitts flying his high-energy routine. (photo by Matt Savage)
Jim and Jenny Wickham’s stunning Yak-52TW. (photo by Matt Savage)
Jim and Jenny Wickham’s stunning Yak-52TW. (photo by Matt Savage)
A gaggle of four DH82 Tiger Moths. (photo by Matt Savage)
A gaggle of four DH82 Tiger Moths. (photo by Matt Savage)

Show director, Judy Pay, contributed many aircraft from her Old Aeroplane Company collection, including the ultra-rare P-40F Warhawk (one of only two airworthy examples) and a Commonwealth CA-18 Mustang among others. The Temora Aviation Museum, located in south-western New South Wales, sent down three favourites from their stable; a brace of Supermarine Spitfires (a Mk.VIII and a combat-veteran Mk.XVI) and the locally-manufactured CAC Boomerang stop-gap fighter. The Tyabb Air Show marked the first time Temora’s Spitfire Mk.XVI had ever displayed away from its home base; a credit to the airshow organizers. The Boomerang’s arrival was a home-coming of sorts, as every production example had rolled off the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation’s  assembly line  at Fisherman’s Bend on the opposite shore of Port Phillip Bay. The sound of round engines was particularly loud this year as a couple of rare radials made their Tyabb debuts, including Stephen Carter’s Ryan SCW cabin monoplane resplendent in US Civil Air Patrol markings, Paul Bennet’s Grumman TBM-3E Avenger, and Graham Hosking’s immaculate Chance-Vought F4U-5N Corsair. The Corsair has quite a history, having originally served with the US Marine Corps during the Korean War, before joining the Honduran Air Force and later coming under ownership of Walt Disney Studios!

Getting the Avenger ready to start. (photo by Matt Savage)
Getting the Avenger ready to start. (photo by Matt Savage)
Judy Pay’s Commonwealth CA-18 Mustang departing for the Balbo. (photo by Matt Savage)
Judy Pay’s Commonwealth CA-18 Mustang departing for the Balbo. (photo by Matt Savage)
This Spitfire LF.XVIE is a combat-veteran that served with 453 Squadron RAAF and flew over Normandy on D-Day. Post-war, it was a movie star in the film ‘Reach For The Sky’. (photo by Matt Savage)
This Spitfire LF.XVIE is a combat-veteran that served with 453 Squadron RAAF and flew over Normandy on D-Day. Post-war, it was a movie star in the film ‘Reach For The Sky’. (photo by Matt Savage)
Paul Bennet in his TBM Avenger with Peter Clements flying Graham Hosking’s F4U-5N Corsair. (photo by Matt Savage)
Paul Bennet in his TBM Avenger with Peter Clements flying Graham Hosking’s F4U-5N Corsair. (photo by Matt Savage)
A trio of de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moths depart as Peter Clements shows off the folding gull-wings of the F4U Corsair. (photo by Matt Savage)
A trio of de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moths depart as Peter Clements shows off the folding gull-wings of the F4U Corsair. (photo by Matt Savage)
Guy Bourke brings Judy Pay’s rare Merlin-engined P-40F Warhawk back to earth after the Balbo. Only two examples of the P-40F are currently airworthy worldwide. (photo by Matt Savage)
Guy Bourke brings Judy Pay’s rare Merlin-engined P-40F Warhawk back to earth after the Balbo. Only two examples of the P-40F are currently airworthy worldwide. (photo by Matt Savage)

As in previous shows, the Australian Defence Force made a contribution to this year’s event. The Royal Australian Air Force brought down a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter from 36 Squadron at RAAF Amberley in south-east Queensland for a handling display. The massive cargo plane certainly created an ‘aluminium overcast’ over Tyabb! The Royal Australian Navy also showcased a Bell 429 training helicopter on static display. Jet-powered action wasn’t limited to the ADF however, as a SIAI-Marchetti S.211 and Let L-39 Albatross put on a kerosene-fuelled act as well. Their performance was hampered slightly by the low cloud base, but thrilling nonetheless!

A C-17A Globemaster on final approach to Tyabb as part of its handling display. The rare Ryan SCW is on the taxiway in the foreground. (photo by Matt Savage)
A C-17A Globemaster on final approach to Tyabb as part of its handling display. The rare Ryan SCW is on the taxiway in the foreground. (photo by Matt Savage)
Aluminium Overcast – A RAAF C-17A Globemaster III flies a low, dirty pass down the Tyabb crowd line. This aircraft has been adorned with the White Ribbon, part of the Australian Defence Force’s support of preventing violence against women. (photo by Matt Savage)
Aluminium Overcast – A RAAF C-17A Globemaster III flies a low, dirty pass down the Tyabb crowd line. This aircraft has been adorned with the White Ribbon, part of the Australian Defence Force’s support of preventing violence against women. (photo by Matt Savage)
A Royal Australian Navy Bell 429 from 723 Squadron. (photo by Matt Savage)
A Royal Australian Navy Bell 429 from 723 Squadron. (photo by Matt Savage)
Stephen Gale prefers to look up at the world in his S.211. (photo by Matt Savage)
Stephen Gale prefers to look up at the world in his S.211. (photo by Matt Savage)

When not flying, aircraft were available for close-up public inspection on the apron. Until you stand next to a TBM Avenger on the ground, it’s hard to appreciate just how BIG the aircraft is! Numerous hangars were opened up for show-goers, with owners, pilots and ground crew answering questions from young and old alike. Several vintage cars and members of local re-enactment groups were also on hand to provide an interactive experience. Collector David Perrott also brought down his Hawker Hunter cockpit section, and part of a very rare Fairey Battle cockpit as well.

Paul Bennet salutes the crowd as he taxies in from his Avenger flying display. (photo by Matt Savage)
Paul Bennet salutes the crowd as he taxies in from his Avenger flying display. (photo by Matt Savage)
Ex-Singapore Air Force Hawker Hunter nose section (front), with Fairey Battle cockpit section (under cover). (photo by Matt Savage)
Ex-Singapore Air Force Hawker Hunter nose section (front), with Fairey Battle cockpit section (under cover). (photo by Matt Savage)
Some of the classic cars on show. (photo by Matt Savage)
Some of the classic cars on show. (photo by Matt Savage)
Re-enactors representing the US Marine Corps (left) and Army Air Force (right). (photo by Matt Savage)
Re-enactors representing the US Marine Corps (left) and Army Air Force (right). (photo by Matt Savage)

Several themed aerial displays flew throughout the day. The RAAF Heritage Trainers, flying no less than five CT-4 Airtrainers & three CA-25 Winjeels, flew  precision formation and solo acts, along with the Southern Knights aerobatic team in four North American Harvard trainers. Australian aerobatic champion Paul Bennet and his Sky Aces team put on a high-adrenaline display in their Wolf Pitts & Pitts Special. Long-time air show performer and thirteen-time Australian Aerobatic Champion, Chris Sperou, also flew a spirited routine in his Pitts Super Stinker, including barrel rolls around Warren Stewart’s Sky Blazers Beech Debonair.

A CT-4 from the RAAF Heritage Trainers takes off for its display. (photo by Matt Savage)
A CT-4 from the RAAF Heritage Trainers takes off for its display. (photo by Matt Savage)
RAAF Heritage Trainers. (photo by Matt Savage)
RAAF Heritage Trainers. (photo by Matt Savage)

No less than four different Ryan monoplanes also flew, including Graham Hosking’s rare, machinegun-armed STA Special which once served in the Honduran Air Force. It was is the last survivor from the original ten examples, and of three which served in the FAH.

This rare Ryan STA-Special is a single-seater and armed with 1 x .30-caliber MG in a pod above each wing. Only 10 STA-Specials were ever made, with three of them purchased by the Honduran Air Force. (photo by Matt Savage)
This rare Ryan STA-Special is a single-seater and armed with 1 x .30-caliber MG in a pod above each wing. Only 10 STA-Specials were ever made, with three of them purchased by the Honduran Air Force. (photo by Matt Savage)
Another view of the Graham Hosking's Ryan STA-Special with his CA-25 Winjeel in the background. (photo by Matt Savage)
Another view of the Graham Hosking’s Ryan STA-Special with his CA-25 Winjeel in the background. (photo by Matt Savage)
The beautifully detailed markings on the former FAH Ryan STA-Special. (photo by Matt Savage)
The beautifully detailed markings on the former FAH Ryan STA-Special. (photo by Matt Savage)
The unusual, over-wing gun pod on the ultra-rare Ryan STA-Special. (photo by Matt Savage)
The unusual, over-wing gun pod on the ultra-rare Ryan STA-Special. (photo by Matt Savage)
A polished pair! Graham Hosking’s Ryan ST-M in Dutch markings (left) with Stephen Carter’s Ryan SCW. (photo by Matt Savage)
A polished pair! Graham Hosking’s Ryan ST-M in Dutch markings (left) with Stephen Carter’s Ryan SCW. (photo by Matt Savage)
Unit insignia on the Ryan SCW. (photo by Matt Savage)
Unit insignia on the Ryan SCW. (photo by Matt Savage)

Those “Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines” were represented by the RAAF Museum, flying their Sopwith Pup replica alongside a Sopwith Snipe replica built by local pilot and PAC instructor, Nick Caudwell. They flew both in formation and as solo acts. A fifteen-ship Balbo of fighters, ground attack and trainer aircraft wowed the crowd, concluding in a “Missing Man” formation which closed the show. All-in-all, the 2016 Tyabb Air Show proved hugely successful. Many thanks must go to the Peninsula Aero Club, The Old Aeroplane Company, Temora Aviation Museum, and the other aircraft owners, pilots, ground crew and volunteers for putting together a truly wonderful experience!

RAAF Museum Sopwith Pup replica. (photo by Matt Savage)
RAAF Museum Sopwith Pup replica. (photo by Matt Savage)
Michael Murphy’s Ex-Laotian Air Force T-28D Trojan. (photo by Matt Savage)
Michael Murphy’s Ex-Laotian Air Force T-28D Trojan. (photo by Matt Savage)
Michael Murphy’s Ex-Laotian Air Force T-28D Trojan. (photo by Matt Savage)
Michael Murphy’s Ex-Laotian Air Force T-28D Trojan. (photo by Matt Savage)

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WarbirdsNews wishes to thank Matt Savage aka Mach One Photography for his superb coverage of the Tyabb Air Show!

5 Comments

  1. True tremendous airshow again.Beautiful photo’s in this post and great reporting by Matt.A huge crowd on this day and calm weather to fly.Judy did a top job as the Director and great M.C ing by Peter Bernadi up on the stand.I see the whole show was filmed again for another memorable DVD of the airshow, to be coming out soon via the P.A.C.Thankyou and looking I’m forward to the March 2018 Airshow.Cheers.David

  2. It was a tremendous airshow again.Beautiful photo’s and great by Matt in this post.The crowd was huge and weather conditions calm and overcast.Thankyou to Judy pay as show director.The whole airshow and displays were excellent.The P.A.C. volunteers must be thanked very much-there must be a huge amount of planning and organizing to bring the airshow of.I noticed the airshow was being constantly filmed -out the front of the main stand-therefore another excellent DVD is coming out via the P.A.C.Looking forward to the March 2018 Airshow.Cheers.David

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