Avalon Airshow
February 10th to 17th, 2003
I worked as a volunteer at the Avalon Airshow and was fortunate enough to be assigned to one of the groups responsible for marshalling aircraft (assisting them with parking, directing them to their areas, etc). I was also selected to be one of the ground crew for a group of replica 1909 to 1914 aircraft. Both of these roles meant that I was often in the right place at the right time to get "up close and personal" with many of the aircraft at the show.

This page contains the best of the many photos I managed to take during my week working there.
Click on an image to see a larger copy.
All images have been cropped and scaled-down from the originals for size issues.
Original images are better quality but much larger.
Images of specific people are not in the public domain!
All others can be used with appropriate accreditation.
Commercial Aircraft
Airbus A330
QANTAS flew the first of their A330's (referred to by maintenance as "The Princesses") to show her off.
Boeing 747-400
QANTAS had a 747-400 at Avalon undergoing routine maintenance - the aircraft departed during the show. They also had one of their new 747-400ER aircraft on site which came out for an engine run after the show.
Airbus Beluga (Transport)
The Beluga flew into Avalon with multiple NH-90 helicopters and support equipment. Quite an impressive aircraft, no?
A variety of bizjets were at Avalon either on display or delivering VIPs (sometimes both :)
Bombardier Dash-8
A stretched Dash-8 was on static display throughout the show, occasionally flying "demo runs" down to King Island (it never seemed to be gone long enough to have stopped so I don't think anyone got to buy lots of cream and such :)
Intersection Charlie and The Keyhole
There was always something "interesting" happening down at 'Intersection Charlie' and then things got somewhat crowded over at "The Keyhole"...
Various Commercial Aircraft
A number of aircraft came through Avalon ferrying passengers to and from the show. Some were also on display at various times during the show.

Antiques, Classics and Warbirds
Old Rhinebeck's Replicas
The crew from Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in upstate New York, USA, came to Avalon with replica 1909 to 1914 aircraft. An incredible group with some great aircraft, it was an honour (and a lot of fun :) to work with these guys. There was also a group from Ballarat TAFE with their Bleriot replica and another group with a replica of the Wright Flyer (and yes, they too were all a lot of fun to work with :)

Hanriot Replica
During one of his first public flights at Avalon, Bill (the Hanriot's pilot) took advantage of the flat lands around the strip to fly his first every circuit (their home strip in NY has high trees around it which prevent any chance of flying more than a simple up and down hop.

This was the aircraft I was assigned to and I worked with a team of ground staff to help ensure the aircraft was ready to fly and recover it at the end of its flight.

Curtis Pusher
This is a replica of the first aircraft to land on a ship. On the last day of the airshow, Dan kept getting higher and higher, finally commencing the first circuit he'd ever flown in the aircraft (just as Bill had done with the Hanriot). On his second flight for the day, he did it again and I managed to get a great shot of him going over the top of the Camel.

With both the Hanriot and the Curtis replicas doing circuits for the first time ever, the Rhinebeck crew will definitely never be able to forget their trip to Australia (some of the team wondered if they'd need an aircraft to get home as they looked like they were ready to float :)

First Meets Latest
Taking advantage of the opportunity, the Rhinebeck and Boeing teams decided that having a replica of the first aircraft to land on a ship and the latest US Navy fighter at the same airport was too good to resist. Accordingly, a photo shot was arranged comparing the two aircraft and the clothes worn by their pilots. Note the shots comparing the Curtis aircraft's "hooks" underneath it against the enormous arrestor hook of the F-18F.

Fokker Dr-1 (Triplane) and Sopwith Camel Replicas
These guys put on a great battle re-enactment, getting down low and throwing themselves around the place. At Avalon we also had the benefit of a number of other flying WW1 aircraft that could take part, thus helping to fill the skies behind the combatants. Great stuff.

The Temora Aviation Museum Collection
The Temora Aviation Museum brought a number of their aircraft to Avalon. It's always a pleasure to see these aircraft in action.

Cessna A-37 Dragonfly




Various Aircraft

Wright Flyer and Bleriot Replicas

RAAF Museum's Sopwith Pup

Beach 18's


Grumman TBM Avenger

HARS' Super Constellation

Hawker Hunter


Mitsubishi Zero


Sea Fury





Australian Army
Australian Navy

Military Aircraft

727 - RNZAF

B1-B - US Strategic Air Command

C-130 - US Marines

Caribou - RAAF
Wayne Buser's used these photos over at his site dedicated to the Caribou. They're on page 9 of the RAAF section. Well worth a visit if you're into the Caribou :)

F-15 - US Air Force

F-16 - US Air Force

F-18 - US Marines

F-18F Super Hornet - US Navy

F-111 - RAAF
Perhaps the best displays I've ever seen of the F-111 in Australia - the dump & burn routines (venting fuel out the tail) were much longer than previous ones and they were throwing the aircraft around much more than before (they actually looped it!).

KC-135 - US Air Force

AP-3C Orion - RAAF

P-3C Orion - RNZAF

Roulettes - RNZAF

Other Military Aircraft Photos

Other Stuff

Victorian Air Rally
During the airshow the final stages of the Great Victorian Air Rally were run. The last few stages involved flying into Avalon, having a gathering of all involved, then flying out around Port Phillip Bay and returning to Avalon.

Nice idea, only problem was that all the aircraft had to depart as quickly as possible, despite charter charter flights coming and going and the runway also being used by aircraft involved with the airshow, including the F-18F coming and going as it took various people on "evaluation flights."

The photos here are of the chaos as we tried to get all the Rally aircraft off the ground as quickly as possible. The last of the Rally aircraft were still waiting to get airbourne when some of the first ones started to come back and land. Combine that with a sudden storm that came in off the bay, the arrival of the aircraft from Temora and the F-18F coming back and, well, you can imagine the scene... (unfortunately I was too busy to get photo's during the latter part)

Going Home
On the last day of the show, a large number of aircraft were trying to beat the deteriorating weather and leave for home. A rather eclectic mix including a C-130, a P-3, a Carribou, a few jets, charter flights and an enormous number of light aircraft.

The Team
Note: Lynn's van hit a bump while racing down the grass next to the runway and wound up becoming fully airborne, thus the "Terrain Following Radar Equipped" sign that was put on the front :)

The Accident
Seems that one of the airshow staff stopped their car momentarily to watch the F-15 take off. Unfortunately, they were stopped on a grass taxiway and an aircraft had just come off the runway and was heading back to the main areas. The result - crash - written off car and plane... Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

Das Boot
This is how my boot looked after my final day with the airshow. All the running around, chasing aircraft and generally being on my feet resulted in a very dead set of boots :)

More photos at McHerron.com
If you want a copy of an original image (about 200-500kb) please mail grant@mcherron.com