Looking Back at Tyabb Airshow 2020

Only weeks before lockdown, the Australian Tyabb Airshow in 2020 was an outstanding event

United Fuel Cells

By James Kightly, Commissioning Editor

The 2024 Tyabb Airshow at Westernport Airfield in Victoria, Australia is just a week away on Sunday, 10th March. Normally a biennial event, the Covid pandemic caused the intervening year of 2022 to be skipped, so here we take a look back at the last show, in March 2020. We will also be bringing you a report on the upcoming event from James Kightly and Nigel Hitchman. [Now published HERE.]

The CAC Wirraway operated by Paul Bennet Airshows tucks up its wheels on take off. Painted as A20-176, it is in fact a restoration based on A20-81 and is registered as VH-WWY. [Photo by James Kightly]
Peter ‘BD’ Clements keeps the Vought F4U-5 Corsair VH-III on Tyabb’s runway as the power comes up. [Photo by James Kightly]

Tyabb provides a premier version of the local aero club airshow seen worldwide. While most of these events have a selection of local aircraft, Tyabb is lucky to have an active and diverse range of unusual machines and can call in favors from other local operators to put on, in a small venue, a big show.

A quick zoom on the lens as the Temora-based Spitfire Mk.VIII taxis past. This example, A58-758/VH-HET, is painted in the colours of Australian ace Bobby Gibbes’ aircraft. [Photo by James Kightly]

Owned and flown by Rob Fox, and campaigned around shows in Australia for many years, this South Vietnamese Air Force marked Cessna O-1 Bird Dog has since been sold to the UK. [Photo by James Kightly]
Feeling for a three-point touchdown in the then-RAF Museum-owned CAC Mustang A68-170. Painted as the shark-mouth adorned A68-750, the aircraft is now operated by 100 Squadron RAAF. [Photo by James Kightly]
A bonus on the Saturday practice day was a trio of Boeing Stearman trainers – sadly the winds prevented the formation flying on the Sunday. [Photo by James Kightly]

Running from mid morning through the afternoon (the 2024 show will run from 10.00 to 4.00) the show provided a wide variety of flying, from unique aircraft to modern military, from inter-war trainers to today’s aerobatic teams, military and civil, and with an emphasis on local fighter warbirds.

The 2020 event was presented by Paul Bennet Airshows for the airfield operators the the Peninsula Aero Club.

Paul Bennet’s operation brings the hoopla expected of a crowd-pleasing show, including a wall of fire and a knife edge pass by the organizer himself. [Photo by James Kightly]

The program and poster design was by Matt Savage, of Mach One Aeromedia. Sadly Matt, a great Tyabb regular photographer, did not win his battle with cancer which he valiantly fought since the show. He will be missed. [Design by Matt Savage, Mach One Aeromedia]

Rare outside the USA, the Grumman Avenger is an impressive aircraft from the Paul Bennet stable, and a useful one too, able to carry a lot of kit from show to show! [Photo by James Kightly]

Known as Mornington Peninsula Airport, Westernport, or just Tyabb, the airport is run by the Aero Club, which has around 600 members and the airpark has approximately 170 aircraft based there, including several notable warbird operators and vintage aircraft restoration facilities.

There’s nothing quite like the look of the Corsair in the later marks and in exotic colors. Here, VH-III is in the markings of the Fuerza Aérea Hondureña or Honduran Air Force. [Photo by James Kightly]

As well as the private collection of Graham Hosking, Judy Pay’s Old Aeroplane Company is well known across Australia and beyond and both are key supporters of the event, offering the top line of WWII fighters to the show, among many other types.

The airfield was established in the early 1960s and has had local shows supporting important charities from even those early days; but by the 2000s, the biennial show was a regular highlight on the schedule.

Another American type, the popular Fairchild F-24, here being washed down pre-show. [Photo by James Kightly]


A typical ‘local’ show perhaps, but the exceptional element can be gauged from the fact the Aero Club Peninsula won the Australian Branch of the Royal Aero Club of the year award not once, but twice – in 2015, 2016.

While the weather was good visually, tricky winds prevented several acts from participating, but even so the feeling was it was an excellent general aviation airshow, strong in vintage, warbirds and some exotics (as seen here) but also modern military participation and aerobatic entertainment.

Modern military kit is a given, and a hit with the public, and thanks to good connections here a RAAF Boeing C-17 fills the show sky. [Photo by James Kightly]

The anonymous ex-Royal Rhodesian Air Force de Havilland Vampire is part of The Old Aeroplane Company collection and has been restored to ground running condition. [Photo by James Kightly]

Congratulations to the Peninsula Aero Club, Paul Bennet Airshows, and the many people who put on another excellent Tyabb Airshow today. A terrific effort. Well done.

The finale ‘Balbo’ formation seen with the Australian and Peninsula Aero Club flags. [Photo by James Kightly]

This report is an update, and reminder of a great event. We carried a contemporary report in 2020 from Phil Buckley, which you can also read here. And to finish, here’s the promotional video for the 2024 event. See you there! [Our report has now been published HERE.]



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