The 2018 edition of the biennial Warbirds Downunder took place on 12 and 13 October 2018 at Temora Airport,
New South Wales, Australia and home of the Temora Aviation Museum.
The Aviation Magazine visited this event on Friday 12 October 2018 only. Under blue skies the public
witnessed an impressive line up of aircraft on static display and a varied late afternoon / early evening
flying program - a mix of current Australian Defence Force hardware and warbirds. The Aviation Magazine
was privileged to gain media access to the other side of the runway in this normally for the general
public backlit event. Unfortunately due to relocation of the media pit (due to snake activity) not
every single aircraft was in reach of the camera.
Australian Defence Force
The display was opened by The Roulettes, Royal Australian Air Force's display team flying one of the
teams final displays in the Pilatus PC-9/A before being replaced by the Pilatus PC-21. Australian
Defence Force flying displays continued through the late afternoon and early evening with the C
-17A Globemaster III from 36 Squadron / RAAF Base Amberley, the Hawk Mk.127 from 76 Squadron / RAAF
Base Williamtown and the E-7A Wedgetail from 2 Squadron / RAAF Base Williamtown.
As mentioned before not every single aircraft was within reach of the camera, especially during
the displays of the warbirds. Warbirds Downunder 2018 was dubbed the largest gathering of warbirds
in Australia and on display were not only the aircraft from the Temora Aviation Museum but also
aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force Museum, the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society,
the Vintage Fighter Restorations, Paul Bennet Airshows amongst many others. Performing aircraft
were a Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI, a Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII, a Cessna A-37B Dragonfly, a
Lockheed Hudson, a CA-13 Boomerang, a CA-16 Wirraway, a Gloster Meteor F.8, a Cessna O-2A, a
Hawker Hurricane Mk XII / XIIB, North American P-51 Mustangs, Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks,
Cessna O-1 Birddogs, CAC Winjeels, CT4A's and a Grumman TBM-3 Avenger.
Some additional info regarding some of the captured warbirds
CT4A A19-077, Royal Australian Air Force Museum
Developed in New Zealand by New Zealand Aerospace Industries as a military training version of
the Australian-designed Victa Aircruiser, the prototype of the CT4A first flew on 23 February
1972. Ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force as a replacement for the CAC Winjeel, the first
of 51 CT4As arrived in Australia in January 1975, with the final aircraft delivered in June 1982.
Nicknamed the "Plastic Parrot" in RAAF service, the CT4A commenced service as a basic training
aircraft at No 1 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Point Cook in late 1975. In addition to
service at 1FTS, the CT4A was also operated by the Aircraft Research and Development Unit at
RAAF Base Edinburgh in South and the Central Flying School at RAAF Base East Sale for training
Royal Australian Air Force flying instructors. The retirement of the CT4A from service in 1993
also meant the end of military flying training at RAAF Base Point Cook, an activity which had c
ontinued unbroken since 1914.
Stored since retirement from 1FTS in 1993, CT4A A19-077 has been returned to airworthy condition
by the RAAF Museum's Technical Staff and Volunteers. The last CT4A to enter RAAF service, A19-077
took to the skies over RAAF Base Point Cook on 27 November 2006 for the first time since 27 May 1994.
Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII VH-JFW ‘V6748’, Vintage Fighter Restorations
This former Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft, VH-JFW / serial number 5481, arrived in Australia
on 7 April 2014 from Canada. This aircraft has undergone an extensive refurbishment program by
Vintage Fighter Restorations at Scone, New South Wales. In early 2016, the majority of the airframe
had been refurbished and the wings refitted to the aircraft. The Hurricane was moved to the paint
shop at Vintage Fighter Restorations, where the camouflage and aircraft markings were applied. The
colours and marking applied to the aircraft are extremely detailed and were researched as closely
as possible to represent the aircraft of Battle of Britain pilot John Dallas Crossman, an Australian
who flew with 32 Squadron and 46 Squadron and was killed on 30 September 1940. He was shot down in
his Hurricane I (V6748) by a Messerschmitt Bf 109E. The scheme was specially chosen to honour the
pilot who was from the New South Wales Hunter Valley region of Australia, close to Scone. Vintage
Fighter Restorations arranged all the appropriate inspections and reports to be carried out and
filed with the appropriate authorities for its first flight in Australia on 2 October 2016 at Scone
by pilot Ross Pay. The flight commemorated the last flight of John Dallas Crossman 76 years and 3
days earlier in the original Hurricane I (V6748). The Hurricane remains at Scone NSW in the care
of Vintage Fighter Restorations.
Gloster Meteor F.8 VH-MBX 'A77-851 / ex VZ467, Temora Aviation Museum
In May 1946 a Meteor F.3 was taken on charge by the Royal Australian Air Force, becoming the
first jet fighter in the history of the Royal Australian Air Force. It was not until 1951 that
Meteors entered regular service wand then they did so with a true “baptism of fire”. Meteor F.8
aircraft were taken into action by 77 Squadron, in Korea, against the MiG15.
The Meteor F.8 in the Temora Aviation Museum’s collection was built by Gloster in 1949 and
carried Royal Air Force serial number VZ467, serving until 1982. Its last military role was
as a target tug. After being retired from the RAF, the Meteor was privately owned and operated
in the United Kingdom. Upon being purchased by the Temora Aviation Museum, the aircraft was
disassembled, transported to Australia and reassembled at Bankstown Airport. In August 2001,
the Meteor flew from Bankstown to its new home in Temora, where it is maintained in an airworthy
condition, making it the only Gloster Meteor F.8 flying in the world.
Since being re-painted by the Temora Aviation Museum, the aircraft carries the markings of a
Korean War era Meteor operated by 77 Squadron and flown by Sgt. George Hale.
CA-13 Boomerang, VH-MHR / ex A46-122, Temora Aviation Museum
The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) Boomerang was built in response to Australia’s
urgent need for fighter aircraft in World War II, the Boomerang utilised the design principles
and construction techniques of the CAC Wirraway advanced trainer, already in production. From
the time of official approval by the Australian Government to proceed with the Boomerang production,
to the time of the first official flight was a little over sixteen weeks, a remarkable achievement
by world standards. The Boomerang still remains to this day the only fully Australian designed and
built fighter aircraft to see production.
Following the flight of the first Boomerang on 29th May 1942, a further 249 Boomerangs were
constructed under four separate contracts between 1942 and 1945. Model designations were CA-12,
CA-13, CA-19 and one CA-14 experimental turbocharged version.
This Boomerang was built in 1943 and flown by 4, 5, 83, 84 and 85 Squadrons in a home-defence
role, undertaking escort duties for shipping convoys and in operations against the Japanese.
It excelled in low-level army cooperation work over the New Guinea jungles, tasks which
included directing artillery fire, marking targets for Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks and providing
aerial protection for ground troops.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII VH-HET / ex A58-758
This aircraft was the last Spitfire acquired by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It was
built by Supermarine in England in 1944, test flown and then shipped to Australia. The Air
Force took delivery of the aircraft in April 1945, and, with World War II drawing to a close,
the aircraft was not required on active service and was instead placed into storage. After the
war, the aircraft was utilised at Sydney Technical College as an instructional airframe. It was
then acquired by Sid Marshall who stored it, disassembled, at Bankstown until 1982. Colin Pay
btained the Spitfire and began a detailed restoration program, which was completed in 1985 when
The aircraft flew again.
The aircraft is painted in the green and grey camouflage colours worn by the Royal Australian
Air Force aircraft defending Darwin during World War II and in operations in the South West Pacific.
The aircraft carries the markings of Wing Commander R.H. (Bobby) Gibbes.
David Lowy acquired the aircraft in May 2000 and donated it to the Temora Aviation Museum in
July 2002, where it is maintained in an airworthy condition.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI VH-XVI / ex TB863, Temora Aviation Museum
This Supermarine Mk XVI Spitfire is an ex-wartime example, built at Vickers Armstrong’s Castle
Bromwich “shadow factory”, near Birmingham, in late 1944.
The aircraft’s first action was on 24 March (wearing squadron code FU-P) when, laden with two
250lb bombs and a long range belly tank, the aircraft headed a flight of four Spitfires for an
armed reconnaissance; briefed to bomb rail targets in the Utrecht / The Hague / Leiden area
(The Netherlands). TB863’s cannons were fired in anger for the first time during a strafing
attack on a large railway coach by the four, claimed as probably destroyed, before returning
to altitude. The aircraft continued with these sorties flying twelve missions during its six
weeks on operations; 23 hours 55 minutes in total.
On 17 July 1951, TB863 suffered a take-off mishap and was struck off charge as scrap. The
aircraft was subsequently purchased by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a stage prop for their film on
wartime pilot Douglas Bader, filmed in 1955 as “Reach for the Sky”. Twelve years later, TB863
emerged to be dusted down for a further film role in the “Battle of Britain”. The aircraft was
utilized as a spares supplier for those aircraft actually flying in the film.
The aircraft was then transferred to a new owner and moved in December 1968 to Southend. In
October 1982, the aircraft was moved to Booker and work on its restoration began with the
aircraft receiving the civil registration of G-CDAN. The project was subsequently sold to
Stephen Grey of The Fighter Collection and restoration was begun in earnest in February 1986.
In 1987, the project was purchased by Tim Wallis who had dreamed of owning a Spitfire – this
ultimately led to the development of his Wanaka, New Zealand-based Alpine Fighter Collection.
On completion of the restoration, the aircraft was shipped to NZ where it was reassembled and
test flown in January 1989 as ZK-XVI, in the hands of Stephen Grey.
Tim received an endorsement on the Spitfire and flew the aircraft at many airshows throughout
New Zealand. Tim had re-painted the Spitfire in the exact livery of 453 Squadron including
the squadron and aircraft codes ‘FU-P’ it wore on its first operational sortie across the
English Channel in 1945.
Temora Aviation Museum acquired the aircraft in April 2006. The aircraft was disassembled
by the Alpine Fighter Collection Team and shipped to Temora where it was reassembled and
registered as VH-XVI. It is maintained in an airworthy condition.
Cessna A-37B Dragonfly VH-XVA / ex 68-10779
The Cessna A-37B Dragonfly is a development of an aircraft originally designed in 1952
as a trainer for the United States Air Force. The A-37B in its current configuration is
designed as a ground attack aircraft and was developed to meet the counter insurgency role.
The United States Government supplied 254 Cessna A-37B Dragonfly’s to the Vietnam Air
Force during the Vietnam War. Throughout the war, A-37s were used extensively in support
of Australian ground forces with many missions being directed by Australian Forward Air
Controllers. After the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, ninety-five Vietnam Air Force A-37B
aircraft were captured and incorporated into the Vietnamese People’s Republic Air Force,
the aircraft in the Temora Aviation Museum’s collection was among those captured. It was
used in active service by their new “owners” and played a part in several regional conflicts
In 1989, Colin Pay and Noel Vinson found several Dragonflies in Vietnam. Subsequently, ten
were purchased from the Government of Vietnam and brought to Australia. These aircraft were
fully restored to flying condition, and then two were acquired by David Lowy. These two
A-37B Dragonflies have since been donated to the Temora Aviation Museum by David Lowy, with
VH-XVA donated in December 2000. After extensive restoration work on VH-XVA by the Temora
Aviation Museum’s Engineering Team, the aircraft returned to flight in 2018.
The next Warbirds Downunder is scheduled for 2020. If you can’t or don’t want to wait until 2020,
you can always visit the Temora Aviation Museum Aircraft showcases which are scheduled through the
The Aviation Magazine would like to thank the Australian Defence Force Media Team and Team
Temora Aviation Museum (in particular Nicola Curry) for their assistance and support prior,
during and after Warbirds Downunder 2018.