Australian International Airshow

Australian International Airshow

The Australian International Airshow is a large airshow held every two years at Avalon Airport, between Melbourne and Geelong, Victoria. It has been said by air show organisers to be the largest airshow in the southern hemisphere. It regularly features planes from the United States Navy and the United States Air Force.


The first air display at Avalon was in 1957 when the head of the Port Melbourne Government Aircraft Factory G.J.Churcher OAM decided to put on a display for the employees. As the employees at the factory only ever saw the individual parts of the aircraft it was decided that there would be a display for the workers at Avalon to see the finished version of their work.


In 1988 as part of the 1988 Bicentennial of Australia, the first major airshow in Australia was held in Sydney Australia at the RAAF Air Force base at Richmond in the outer suburbs of Sydney. It was organised by members of the Schofields Flying Club, which had been running small-scale airshows at the small strip at Schofields Airfield.


In February 1991 a second airshow was held at Richmond, to celebrate the RAAF Anniversary. This was the last airshow run by the remnants of Schoe's, who provided the prime impetus to get the Aerospace Foundation of Australia up and running. The Foundation is responsible for forming AirShows DownUnder.

The Avalon airshows began commercially when Airshows DownUnder was formed, after the success of the 1988 Bicentennial of Australia Airshow and the RAAF anniversary airshow.


The 1992 Avalon airshow, held in October, more commonly known as the Avalon 'Boat Show' after heavy rains almost washed Avalon off the map. The flight display line was perpendicular to the runway.

The move to Avalon in 1992 was hoped to be the first many locations, however the weather caused financial difficulties that resulted in the airshow remaining in Avalon for many years.


The 1995 Avalon airshow was held on March 21-26.


The 1997 Avalon airshow was held on 18-23 February, with an attendance of 171,168 and a $63 million contribution to the Victorian economy. [ [ Australian International Airshow and Aerospace Expo 1997] ]


There were 472 exhibitors from 26 countries in 1999, which included a huge B-52 bomber. It was opened by Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett on 16 February 1999.


It was held on 11-17 February 2001, which celebrated Australia's 100 years of federation and 80 years of the Royal Australian Air Force. About 100 United States Air Force pilots took part in the airshow in 2001. Planes included were a B-1, two F-15s, two F-16s, a B-52 and a C-17.


In 2003, there were 440 exhibitors from 30 countries. There were more than six hundred aircraft on the field. The central theme was the Centenary of Flight dating from the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk. It included replicas from the early 20th century, such as a 1910 Hanriot replica and 1911 Curtiss Model D Pusher replica. There were also Tiger Moths, Sopwith Pup, Bleriot XI and a scale version of a Wright Flyer B and other similar aircraft. For jets it had a MiG-15, Meteor and Vampire. Some American planes such as the F-117 had been cancelled, due to possible anti-war protests. There was a model made of wood and fibreglass of an F-35. A Chinese military delegation was given a tour of the airshow.


The theme in 2005 was "The Shape of Things to Come". The airshow increased Geelong's economy by $15.6 million. [ [ BRUMBY ANNOUNCES GRANT FOR AVALON AIRPORT UPGRADE] ] It was held from 15-20 March 2005, which featured many planes from ultralights to large military aircraft, such as:
*F/A-18 Hornet
*F-15 Eagle
*B-52 Stratofortress
*F-16 Fighting Falcon
*General Dynamics F-111
*P-51 Mustang
*CAC Boomerang


The theme of the 2007 airshow (held between 20-25 March) was "Breaking the Barriers", as it was the 60th anniversary of the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager (who himself was the guest of honour at the show). It was also the 60th year of the United States Air Force, which once again participated largely in the event. The F/A-18F Super Hornet display was made possible by United States Navy aircraft from VFA-102 off of the USS Kitty Hawk. Military aircraft featured included the F/A-18 Hornet, General Dynamics F-111, F/A-18F Super Hornet, BAe Hawk 127, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, C-17 Globemaster III, C-27J Spartan and C-130 Hercules, along with military helicopters including the S-70 Black Hawk and Eurocopter Tiger. The RAAF's first C-17 Globemaster III transport was on display and there was a USAF B-52 bomber flyover. The Roulettes, the RAAF's aerobatic display team, also took part in their Pilatus PC-9 aircraft.

A large number of civil aircraft were on display, which included modern-day light and sports aircraft, along with large, modern jet airliners including the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and Boeing 747. A large number of warbirds and older aircraft also took part, such as the P-51 Mustang, P-40 Kittyhawk, Douglas DC-3 and Lockheed Super Constellation.

It is claimed that there were about 1,000 aircraft on display in total at the 2007 show, with over 200,000 spectators attending.


The 2009 Australian International Airshow will be held from March 10th to the 15th.It is rumored that at the 2009 Airshow, there will be a range of new aircraft; including the Airbus A380, F-35 Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor and the Boeing 787 may be another surprise.


External links

* [ Official Australian International Airshow Website]

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