The 2016 Tyabb Airshow held by the Peninsula Aero Club on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria had plenty of aerial action including a Commonwealth Aircraft Factory (CAC) CA-18 Mustang fighter (the Australian built variant of the North American P-51D Mustang). Other Mustangs were also present including aircraft and cars.
The flying CAC Mustang is owned and operated at Tyabb by Judy Pay’s Old Aeroplane Company. This Mustang, A68-105 is painted in RAAF No. 3 Squadron livery and markings to commemorate RAAF Mustang operations in Southern Europe during World War Two (from November 1944 RAF serialled North American P-51D Mustangs were flown by the squadron from Italy).
Mustang A68-105 was delivered to the RAAF in November 1947 but spent a number of years in storage before being sold by the RAAF in April 1958 (for scrap!). The aircraft ended up being displayed in the early 1960’s at the Shell Fleet Wings garage in Laverton, Victoria. By 1964 the Mustang was sold again to the first of numerous owners over the years and was displayed at various air museums in Victoria from 1964 to 1990 when purchased by the Old Aeroplane Company for restoration. The first post restoration flight was on December 18th, 1998.
The CAC Mustang was joined in the flying program by a 70% scale sized home-built replica, the Stewart S-51D Mustang “Hawkeye“. This zippy little aircraft is classed as an experimental type in Australia and sports some fantastic nose art. 2 other mini Mustangs “Bald Eagle” and “Merlin” (another great paint job) were also present in the static displays.
Mustangs Winged & Wheeled
Another CAC C-18 Mustang, A68-199 is currently under restoration at Tyabb (expected to fly again later in 2016). Delivered to the RAAF in July 1951 the aircraft was put into storage before being allocated to RAAF No. 23 (City of Brisbane) Citizen Air Force Squadron in January 1953. It was returned to storage in November 1953 where it remained until sold by the RAAF in April 1958. Since then this particular Mustang has had numerous owners, most notably Fawcett Aviation who operated it registered as VH-BOZ Zulu, conducting target towing duties from 1960 to 1970. By 2002 the aircraft was at Tyabb awaiting restoration. The current owner acquired A68-199 in 2012.
The Mustang restoration was on hangar display surrounded by Ford Mustang cars. When Mustangs meet the crowd soon follows. After the airshow the Mustang Club did an impromptu photo shoot of the winged and wheeled Mustangs.
Approximately 200 Commonwealth Aircraft Factory (CAC) CA-18 Mustang fighters were manufactured in Australia and the type began to enter RAAF service in 1945 to replace Supermarine Spitfire and Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk fighters but were too late to see combat. Later they were operated in Japan from 1945 to 1950 as part of the Commonwealth Occupation Force and then also operated in the Korean War from 1950-1951 (replaced by the Gloster Meteor Mk.8 jet fighter in April 1951, which were then operated until the cease-fire in 1953). A further 298 US lend-lease P-51D & K’s were also taken on strength and the last RAAF Mustang was retired in 1959. It is great to see another Mustang will soon join the warbird scene in Australia which just keeps going from strength to strength.