2023 TBM Gathering Expecting 10 Avengers Plus an SBD, P-40, P-51s and more!

A glorious sunset formation shot of three TBMs. TBM-3E Bu.85650 is in the foreground with TBM-3E Bu. 85882 ‘Ida Red’ in the middle and Brad Deckert’s TBM-3E Bu.85828 in the background. (photo by Greg Morehead, courtesy Warbird Digest magazine)

What began as an opportunity for TBM Avenger owners to meet and share mutual concerns regarding best operating practices related to the type, the annual TBM Gathering has fast become a hugely popular event on the air show calendar. TBM-owner Brad Deckert organized the initial three-day event at Illinois Valley Regional Airport (KVYS) in Peru, Illinois back in 2016. Ten TBMs took part – coming from as far away as Massachusetts – but an additional 200 aircraft ( including 52 warbirds) also flew in during the weekend, with a crowd of roughly 10,000 spectators on hand to witness the proceedings (see our 90 Tons of Turkeys Invade Illinois report).  Given the overwhelming success and a strong, positive response from the public, it was only natural that Deckert chose to host similar events in subsequent years (see further reports HERE).

Eight of the ten TBM’s that flew from Peru, Illinois during the Avenger Gathering in 2016. (photo by Greg Morehead)

The Gathering seems to continually grow, with this year’s iteration featuring a full air show on each day of the event, scheduled to take place on Friday May 19th and Saturday May 20th at Illinois Valley Regional Airport in Peru, Illinois.

Tri-State Warbird Museum’s TB-25N Mitchell will attend this year’s TBM Gathering in Peru, Illinois. (photo by Mike Fuller via TBM Avenger Reunion)

Presently, the owners of ten TBM Avengers have confirmed that their aircraft will attend. Several other warbird types are also scheduled to take part, including a P-40 Warhawk and P-51 Mustangs. Furthermore, the Tri-State Warbird Museum’s North American TB-25N Mitchell Yankee Doodle and CAF Airbase Georgia’s Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless will be making their debut appearances at the event this year. For those interested in taking a flight aboard the Dauntless, tickets are available for direct purchase from the link HERE.

Regarding this year’s event, Deckert stated: “We are excited to be back with the gathering and honor our Veterans. The event has grown tremendously in just a few years, and it has become a tradition for our small community. Thank you, everyone, for your support, and don’t forget to have May 19th & 20th marked on your calendars for the event….and May 20th and 21st for aircraft rides!”

Given the intimate nature and success of previous installments, the 2023 TBM Gathering seems destined to be a great experience for all who attend… one of the ‘best little air shows of the season’, so be sure to make your plans to join in the fun!

For more information about the event, please visit www.tbmreunion.org

The team which made it happen. (photo by Greg Morehead, courtesy of Warbird Digest magazine)


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