Col Pay was born on 26 October 1932 and from an early age he developed an interest in flying and all things mechanical. He learned to fly at Narromine in western NSW using all he could afford from his wages to satisfy the passion that continued throughout his life. After gaining his licence he flew a variety of aircraft and later became an instructor at the Narromine Aero Club. His first aircraft was a De Havilland Tiger Moth and with this he established Pays Aerial Service which later became one of the largest and most successful aerial work companies in Australia.
Col was one of Australia’s pioneers of aerial topdressing, spraying and crop dusting and helped to develop many of the techniques now common practice in the industry. From his base in Scone, NSW the business expanded to include operations outside Australia and further diversified to include aerial fire fighting and aircraft sales.
Col’s passion for aviation led him into the realm of “warbird” operations before that term had even been coined. In partnership he owned an Australian built Mustang fighter that was kept at Narromine and later reluctantly sold to buy a washing machine. Today such a thought would not be contemplated, but in the 1950s and 1960s the warbird movement did not exist and few such aircraft were permitted to fly. Col again renewed his acquaintance with the Mustang when he purchased and restored the pillar box red VH-AUB at his Scone maintenance facility. With this aircraft repainted in its former RAAF markings Col became a regular performer at air shows throughout NSW.
Col expanded his interest in warbird aircraft with the purchase of a Spitfire Mk.VIII from the estate of the late Sid Marshall. This aircraft required a complete rebuild and many overseas commentators believed that the task could not be performed in this country. The aircraft’s first flight was the crowning achievement of the warbird movement in Australia up until that date, and its operation by Col between 1985 and 2000 brought this legend to thousands of enthusiasts and veterans alike. Col maintained his association with the Spitfire following its sale to the Temora Aviation Museum and flew it at Temora whenever the opportunity arose. Other wartime fighters and trainers became part of his collection including Australia’s first airworthy P-40 Kittyhawk which again emerged from his workshops as one of the best examples of its type anywhere in the world. At the time of the P-40’s first flight, Col’s collection boasted an example of each of the most significant fighter aircraft operated by the RAAF during the Second World War. Through Col’s efforts, Scone became a Mecca for aircraft enthusiasts and this was enhanced through the bi-annual “Warbirds over Scone” air shows that brought spectators from every state and overseas.
In addition to the aerial work operations, Col’s business expanded to include the acquisition and sale of a variety of ex-military aircraft. This greatly diversified the range of types flying in Australia and saved most from potential scrapping. With others he retrieved North American T-28s from Laos, Cessna O-1 Birdogs from Thailand and Vietnam and Cessna A-37 Dragonflys from Vietnam. Other types were also obtained from as far afield as Italy. It can truly be said that the nature and range of the Australian warbird movement as we see it today is due in no small part to the efforts of Col Pay.
Col was an astute businessman, hard bargainer and was both well liked and respected throughout the Australian aviation industry. He was a highly skilled and experienced pilot in a wide variety of aircraft types from the Wright Flyer replica to jets. He was a regular performer at Temora’s flying weekends bringing his Mustang or recently restored P-40, thrilling the crowds with his professional displays.
Col is survived by his wife Dianne, son Ross and daughters Jillian and Helen.
He shall be greatly missed by everyone at Temora and across the Australian aviation industry.
Do you still need to find the perfect gift for your special someone this Christmas?
Check out the Temora Aviation Museum’s online shop. We have recently added many new items to our unique range of online merchandise.
The Temora Aviation Museum online giftshop has a wide range of aviation related items ranging from books to clothing, hats to toys. The clothing section features our new Spitfire t-shirt and matching hooded sweat top. New hats include the Spitfire-inspired beanie and a Spitfire Mk XVI baseball cap.
You now have the opportunity to own a piece of aviation history with the purchase of the Canberra start cartridge and storage tin. These cartridges have been used to start the Museum’s Canberra bomber and make a fantastic and unique gift.
As a SPECIAL OFFER, all orders over $20 placed before Christmas Day 2007 will receive a FREE ANNUAL PASS to the Museum valued at $40.
All orders are shipped within 24 hours of receiving them and online payments are secure.
Have a look at the Temora Aviation Museum online shop, we have the gift you are looking for.
It was fantastic to see such a large number of visitors join us for the final Flying Weekend for the year on November 17th and 18th. Despite the very warm weather, our visitors enjoyed viewing the comprehensive collection of aircraft that we had on display.
A total of ten visiting aircraft combined with the Museum aircraft to create an unforgettable show. A Kittyhawk owned by Allan Arthur, joined Col Pay’s Mustang, the Spitfires and Boomerang in a WWII aircraft formation. Doug Hamilton’s Harvard also flew along with his shiny ‘new’ Lockheed 12A, which made its debut appearance here at Temora. The Museum was also fortunate to exhibit Ian and Ellen Sylvester’s T28 Trojan. The final double of visiting aircraft were Gordon Glynn’s Birddog and Lars Larson’s Cessna 180, which is painted in its original Australian Army Scheme. The Museum’s Vietnam-era aircraft were joined by the Huey Helicopter which visited from the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra. We are looking forward to having all these aircraft back again at a future Temora Aviation Museum Flying Weekend.
Museum-owned aircraft that contributed to the flying displays were the Tiger Moth, Ryan, Hudson, Boomerang, Wirraway, Spitfire Mk VIII, Spitfire Mk XVI, Vampire, Meteor, Canberra and Dragonfly. Tom Moon’s Extra flew on Sunday in an amazing flying display by Frank Versteegh. Frank is well known around the world for his participation in the Red Bull Air Race World Series and his expert aerobatics.
VOLUNTEER PRESENTATION AND WHEELIES WITH WINGS
Two official presentations were made over the weekend. Eleven Museum volunteers were presented with their latest volunteer hours certificates. These awards recognise the amount of hours contributed by each individual. Volunteers are a very important part of the way the Museum functions, and we appreciate every hour they are able to help.
Wheelies with Wings, is a group which aims to help people who are disabled learn to fly. They presented their latest achievement awards to several inspiring individuals who had achieved this dream through the organisation.
CANBERRA CITY BAND
Nothing beats live music, and the Canberra City Band, demonstrated their musical expertise during the breaks in Sunday’s flying program. We look forward to having them play again in the future.
The next Flying Weekend is on 9 & 10 February 2008. Begin planning your trip now!
At a Gala function in Sydney last night for the 2007 NSW Tourism Awards, Temora Aviation Museum received an Encouragement Award in the category of tourist attractions.
The Museum, which has been open to the public for the last six years, is honoured with this recognition from the industry. Established to collect and maintain in airworthy condition, historical military aircraft types flown by or in conjunction with Australian military forces, the Museum and Temora have become destinations for thousands of tourists. The benefits this creates for Temora and the Riverina Region has played a significant role in helping to weather these tough times.
Temora Aviation Museum is still growing and will continue to improve its facilities, operations and flying days.
The Museum is continuing its tradition of displaying historical aircraft this weekend when it holds its last flying days for 2007. Formations of World War II aircraft including the Spitfire, Boomerang, Hudson and Mustang will enthral yet another group of visitors who have made the pilgrimage to this small country town. While the power of the classic jet fighters will get hearts racing.
Our Congratulations go to the winners of our category the Pet Porpoise Pool at Coffs Harbour. We wish them success in the coming year.
Join us for the last Flying Weekend of 2007. It is shaping up to be a big event with the inclusion of three visiting World War II aircraft. Col Pay will be bringing his P-40 Kittyhawk and P-51 Mustang. Allan Arthur will also bring along his P-40 Kittyhawk – don’t miss the two Kittyhawks at Temora! We also look forward to a special appearance from the Iroquois (Huey) helicopter from The Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra, NSW.
Bell Iroquois UH1-B, Serial Number: N9 – 882 (897) was bought from Bell helicopters in 1964 and served with 723 Squadron until 1987 when it was taken out of service and given to Australia’s Museum of Flight, Nowra NSW, as it was then known; (the Museum has since been renamed to The Fleet Air Arm Museum).
The UH1B Iroquois is recognised by its iconic shape and its classic chopper sound. The ‘U’ stands for utility, as opposed to attack or cargo helicopters. The initial designation of the UH1 was HU-1 (helicopter utility), and this led to its nickname, Huey. The UH1B is best remembered for its extensive use in the Vietnam War throughout the 60′s, and was assigned to 135th Assault Helicopter Company (part of US 214th Combat Aviation Battalion), before its return to Australia and HMAS Albatross.
Don’t miss all these visiting aircraft perform their flying displays both days during the weekend.
The Museum also has a long list of aircraft anticipated to perform in the weekend’s flying. They include the Canberra, Hudson, Meteor, both Spitfires, Vampire and many more…
CANBERRA CITY BAND
The Canberra City Band will be joining us on the Sunday of the Flying Weekend to provide entertainment at various times during the day. We look forward to their performance.
Remember to pack your sunscreen, a hat, and a light fold-up chair (if you have one) when visiting the Flying Weekend. The Museum will open at 10.00 am, with flying beginning at 11.00 am. The Museum closes at 4.00 pm. Food and refreshments are available on site.
We look forward to seeing you here on the weekend!
Temora Aviation Museum is a proud supporter of “Spitfire Guardians” a new documentary film screening on The History Channel for Remembrance day November 11, premiering at 6.30pm QLD time, 7.30pm AEDST. Featuring narration by Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, rare WWII archive footage, and of course Temora’s MKVIII Grey Nurse Spitfire.
The echoes of war rippled throughout the world in 1939, reaching the ears of young men eager to prove their worth in the coming battle. Engineers, bankers, farmers and schoolboys answered the call. Hundreds of thousands entered service for their country.
The Supermarine Spitfire was the pinnacle of fighter plane technology at that time, capturing the imagination of the people for its valiant defense of England in the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire fought in every major theater of war, from the deserts of the Middle East, the jungles of Burma, the scrub of Australia, the skies of England and France, and the islands of the Pacific and Mediterranean. The experiences of the pilots involved in the Battle of Britain are well documented, what is not well documented is the varied experiences of the Australian men who were trained then scattered to the far corners of the globe. Their only knowledge was of their job, their trust in their ground crew and the Spitfire fighter aircraft.
Spitfire Guardians has captured their essence, their pain, sorrow, joy and affection. Narrated by Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, their stories are from a time of uncertainty, their world a cockpit and gun sight. Even today the Spitfire still captures the imagination of generations, the men who flew and maintained it are part of a select few who understand its true charisma.
Australian Premiere 11 November 2007
Directed by Simon Van Der Spoel
The 2007 Defence Air Show is on this weekend, 27 and 28 October 2007, at Edinburgh, Adelaide, SA. There will be a variety of different aircraft on show including Royal Australian Air Force’s F-111s, Hornets, Hercules and the new C-17 Globemaster, as well as a display by the Roulette Aerobatic Team.
There will be aircraft from the Royal Australian Navy such as the Seahawk, Sea King helicopters and the Squirrel helicopters. There will be aircraft from the Australian Army, civilian sports aircraft, as well as historic warbirds such as the Neptune and Catalina.
Four of the Museum’s aircraft collection will be attending the event. They are the Hudson, Canberra, Cessna 0-2A and the Meteor. The Canberra and the Meteor will be performing displays over the weekend and are planning to arrive at Edinburgh around mid afternoon, Friday 26th October. The aircraft will stay for the whole weekend and then plan to leave Edinburgh again around midmorning on Monday 28th October. Make sure to keep your eye out for the Museum’s aircraft during the weekend!
MORE FLYING DATES
The Museum is releasing some more flying dates for 2008. They are:
19 & 20 July 2008
30 & 31 August 2008
11 & 12 October 2008
LUKE’S LAST DAY
Today is aircraft engineer Luke McCrae’s final day working at Temora Aviation Museum. Luke is one of the longest serving employees at the Museum. A Temora local, he started out as an apprentice aircraft engineer back in 2001, and progressed to become the skilled aircraft engineer that he is today.
Luke will be leaving the Museum to experience a sea-change, with a position in the marine industry. We wish Luke and his family all the best in their relocation!
The Temora Aviation Museum is very excited to announce that it is a finalist in the New South Wales (NSW) Tourism Awards under the award category of Tourist Attractions.
NSW Tourism Awards recognise and celebrate the diverse range of tourism products throughout NSW and the outstanding individuals who promote and support the industry. The awards are held annually and are a submission and inspection-based competition.
To gain the chance to become a finalist in the awards, the Museum was required to submit a detailed 2007 Tourism Award submission for Business Excellence in the category of Tourist Attractions. The submission outlined areas within the Museum such as the overview/history, our product, our facilities, our business plans, marketing, our commitment to environmental sustainability and areas of business innovation within the Museum.
The aim of the NSW Tourism Awards is to encourage and celebrate creativity, professionalism and innovation within the industry, promote business planning amongst NSW tourism operators, provide a benchmark for best practice within the tourism industry and to reinforce the value of the tourism industry. The awards are also an opportunity for successful entrants to progress to the Australian Tourism Awards.
Winners of each category will be announced at the 2007 NSW Tourism Awards Gala Dinner, which will be held on Thursday 15 November 2007.
Keep you fingers crossed for us!
A very busy time was had by all at the Temora Aviation Museum over the September Flying Weekend (15 & 16), particularly with the notable appearance of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F/A-18 Hornets from Williamtown, NSW which were a big attraction! In total, three Hornets visited Temora for the Flying Weekend. One Hornet performed a flying display, a second Hornet was used for flying display backup and the third was on static display, manned by RAAF personnel for visitors to check out more closely.
The F/A-18 flying displays were performed by Flight Lieutenant Aaron Ward. It was a spectacular sight to watch the Hornet perform a full high energy low-level aerobatic display, including manoeuvres such as a ‘dirty pass’ which involved the flaps, gear, hook and speedbrake extended, a ‘square loop’, a ‘high alpha pass’ and a ‘vertical departure’ to 10,000 feet. On the Sunday afternoon, visitors that were still at the Museum around 4.00 pm were fortunate enough to see the three Hornets perform a couple of formation top-side passes and a bomb-burst on departure, which featured the centre Hornet soaring vertically into the sky. The RAAF Hornets, along with their personnel were made welcome at the Museum over the weekend, and we look forward to their attendance again for future TAM Flying Weekends.
As well as the Hornet’s involvement, the Museum also exhibited an extensive flying program, which saw other visiting aircraft such as Doug Hamilton’s Harvard, Steve Death’s Trojan, Allan Arthur’s Kittyhawk, Gordon Glynn’s Cessna O-1 and Lars Larson’s Cessna 180. The Museum’s aircraft that featured in the flying program were the Tiger Moth, Ryan, Wirraway, Boomerang, Spitfire Mk XVI, Vampire, Meteor, Canberra and Dragonfly.
Our final Flying Weekend for the year will fall on 17 and 18 November, so don’t miss it – start planning your trip now! For photos from the September Flying Weekend check out the photo gallery page.
The Model Jet Flyers Association of NSW will hold their Annual Model Jet Championships at the Museum this weekend – 22 and 23 September. The Model Jets Association have used the Museum as a venue for their championships over the past few years and we are happy to have them back again this weekend. Come along to see miniature versions of the F-16s, F-18s, BAE Hawks, Cougars, Panthers, Lightnings and many more sport aircraft compete for different titles. The Museum will be open both days from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, with flying occurring all day, both days. Cost is normal Museum admission; $10 for adults, $7.50 for people over 65 years and $5 for children. Food and refreshments will be available throughout the weekend for purchase through the Museum’s canteen, the ‘Mess Hall’.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will fly F/A-18 Hornets at Temora Aviation Museum on 15 and 16 of September to participate in the Museum’s Flying Weekend. It is extremely rare for a current front line fighter to participate in a regional flying display. The F/A-18’s presence at Temora Aviation Museum is a unique opportunity for Museum visitors to see the aircraft up close and meet the pilots and crew.
The F/A-18 Hornet is a multi role fighter designed for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions and is one of the most potent fighter and accurate strike attack aircraft in the world. Manufactured by Boeing it incorporates two 7,258 kg thrust General Electric F404 turbo fan engines which allow the aircraft to reach speeds of Mach 1.8 (2,220 km/h) and reach altitudes above 45,000 feet. The Hornets participating at the Temora Aviation Museum’s Flying Days are from RAAF 2OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) based at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW.
On both Saturday and Sunday one F/A-18 Hornet will be on static display inside the hangar allowing Museum visitors the rare opportunity to take an up-close look at this RAAF fighter aircraft. A second Hornet is scheduled to conduct a high energy, low level aerobatic display incorporating tactical and combat manoeuvres.
The weather is forecast to be brilliant for flying and we anticipate a huge weekend with the inclusion of Cessna Birddogs, T-28 Trojan, Harvards and Allan Arthur’s P-40 Kittyhawk (Saturday only). Visitors can also expect to see the Museum collection airborne including the Tiger Moth, Ryan, Wirraway, Boomerang, Canberra, Vampire, Meteor, Dragonfly and Spitfire.
Don’t miss out on this Flying Weekend. Museum doors open at 10.00 am, with flying beginning at 11.00 am. Museum closes at 4.00 pm. Don’t forget a light fold-up chair if you have one, and lots of sun protection. See you here!
George Spaulding Hale was born in Hobart, Tasmania on 30th October 1930. He grew up in the suburb of Claremont and from an early age loved everything to do with aircraft and aviation.
On 26th February 1951 he joined the Royal Australian Air Force and undertook his flight training at No.1 Flying Training School at Point Cook, Victoria, the Home of the RAAF. Here he trained on Tiger Moths and Wirraways and was highly successful being named Dux of the No.7 Post War Course.
He transferred to Williamtown RAAF base and converted to jets while assigned to No.4 Operational Training Unit (Fighter), where he flew the De Havilland Vampire Mk.30. He later noted that his conversion to jets involved no dual instruction, no mach meters and no ejection seats, something that would not be considered in today’s modern fighter training programmes.
Having accumulated a total of 288 hours flight time and with the rank of Sergeant, he was assigned to No.77 Squadron and flew from Australia to Iwakuni, Japan aboard a QANTAS Douglas DC.4 At Iwakuni he converted to the Gloster Meteor F.8 fighter in 14 days with a series of battle formation practice, live ground rocketry and straffing and mock dogfights finally completing his conversion on 12th December 1952. He flew from Iwakuni to Seoul, Korea on 13th December 1952 and joined 77 Squadron at their base at Kimpo (K.14). He described his initial impressions of Korea as being cold and bleak with inhospitable terrain.
He flew his first mission of the Korean War on 14th December 1952 on an Area Reconnaissance over the East Coast of North Korea. He later stated that on this mission they were flying close to MiG Alley and were told repeatedly to “Keep our heads up and locked”. George quickly fitted in with the other squadron pilots and undertook many armed reconnaissance, road reconnaissance and ground attack missions. He named his first assigned Meteor “Halestorm and Snow” a partial reference to his elder brother who served with the army in Korea and had flown with George in one of the squadron’s two-seat Meteor trainers.
He was assigned a new Meteor F.8, A77-851, which he named “Halestorm”. Although flying close to MiG Alley George indicated that he had not been briefed regarding potential MiG engagements and there no specific squadron orders regarding such engagements.
On 27th March 1953 at approx 1420 hrs while on armed road reconnaissance, Hale, with Sgt David Irlam saw two MiG.15 fighters which they immediately engaged but at the same time were attacked by two more MiGs. Irlam was hit and took no further part in the engagement. Hale engaged one of these MiGs scoring hits and observed the Soviet fighter roll over and dive from 4000 to 5000 feet emitting dense black smoke. Hale was attacked by two more MiGs which he also engaged then a third MiG pair attacked him from behind. Hale scored hits on the lead MiG of this third group which emitted dense white smoke or fuel vapour that almost completely obscured the aircraft. Both MiGs commenced a steep near vertical climb and Hale started to attack the lead’s wingman when his cannons stopped firing, out of ammunition. The MiGs departed and Hale turned and headed for Kimpo at low level. Hale was credited with one MiG probably destroyed and one MiG damaged. Thus ended the last air to air combat operation in which the RAAF has been engaged to this date.
Hale continued on operations with 77 Squadron in Korea until 14th June 1953 at which time he left for Australia having flown 131 combat missions including bomber escort, rocket strikes, road and rail armed reconnaissance, scrambles and combat air patrols.
Back in Australia he was transferred to 11 Squadron and converted to Neptune maritime reconnaissance aircraft operating at Pearce air base in Western Australia, attended the Australian Joint Anti-Submarine Warfare School at Nowra NSW and later qualified as a Neptune Captain. In 1954 he completed an Instructor’s Course at East Sale and again was Dux of the course later instructing on Wirraways at Point Cook where his RAAF career began. He joined the staff at the Central Flying School at East Sale and became an instructor and examiner on the Vampire trainer, Dakota, Lincoln, Wirraway, Winjeel and Neptune thereafter flying both the Mustang and single seat Vampire at the RAAF’s Air Armament School. He then was seconded to the De Havilland Company at Bankstown to check on the production of and to write the handling notes for the Vampire T.35A.
Hale left the RAAF on 21st March 1958 with the rank of Flying Officer.
He joined QANTAS and flew Dakotas, Lockheed Super Constellations, all models of the Boeing 707 and the Boeing 747 up to the 300 series. At QANTAS he was appointed Senior Check and Training Captain on both the 707 and 747 and finally retired on 28th February 1987. Despite his retirement he continued his association with QANTAS acting as a consultant for both pilot training and recruitment until 1992.
George Hale can easily be described as a “Man’s man”. His easy going nature made him an excellent instructor and his superb flying skills stood him in good stead both during his RAAF career and his subsequent professional life as an airline pilot.
He shall be remembered as the RAAF’s last air-to-air combat pilot, a consummate professional in all aspects of his flying career and a loving family man.
He is survived by his wife Helen, daughters Andrea and Jacqueline and son Robert.
George Hale became a Friend of the Temora Aviation Museum following the Museum’s acquisition of the world’s sole airworthy Meteor F.8. It was immediately decided that the most appropriate representative RAAF paint scheme for this aircraft would be that of George Hale’s “Halestorm”. Considerable effort was made to ensure that the work would accurately reflect his aircraft’s markings down to the minutest detail. The Museum was fortunate to have George visit on a number of occasions to watch his Meteor fly and to provide us with the details of his flying career.
We have prepared a special tribute page on our website to remember George Hale. You can find it in the section marked Photo Gallery.
The Royal Australian Air Force will fly F/A-18 Hornets to Temora on Friday 14 September to exhibit at the next Temora Aviation Museum Flying Weekend on 15 and 16 September 2007. The Museum is very excited to host the Hornets here again. Their last visit was in August 2006 and they attracted a large crowd, keen to view their unusual presence in Temora.
At least one of the Hornets will have a scheduled slot in the Museum’s flying program, and will exhibit spectacular handling displays on both Saturday and Sunday, while the other aircraft will be available for visitors to view up close.
Start planning your trip to Temora for the September Flying Weekend.
Low cloud threatened flying on Saturday’s Flying Day, but by 11.00 am the cloud had lifted and the show went ahead as scheduled. Visitors watched on as the Museum’s aircraft performed their aerial routines, which included the Tiger Moth, Ryan, Spitfire Mk XVI, Hudson, Boomerang, Wirraway, Meteor, Canberra, Vampire, 0-2 and Dragonfly and Steve Searle’s fabulous TBM-3 Avenger (VH-MML), which had the amazing capability of being able to fold the wings once the aircraft was on the ground. The Avenger was flown down from Coolangatta, Queensland by Temora Historic Flight Club pilot Tony Alder, and will surely visit again.
Sunday’s flying program went on as scheduled and the Museum was fortunate to get in all flying before a welcome downpour of rain at 3.00 pm that afternoon.
The next Flying Weekend is certainly close, to be held on 15 and 16 September. Come along to see the Museum’s vintage ex-military aircraft in action. There is also a surprise in store with the anticipated arrival of three RAAF F/A 18 Hornets!
For accommodation in the township of Temora and its surrounding towns, visit the Museum website.
Temora Aviation Museum will be flying its Warbirds again this weekend, 18th and 19th of August. Flying Weekends are a great opportunity for visitors to experience the sights, sounds and smells of wartime vintage airplanes.
A welcome first-time addition to this upcoming weekend will be arrival of the TBM-3 Avenger (VH-MML). The Avenger is part of Steve Searle’s aircraft collection and will be visiting from Coolangatta, Queensland.
The Avenger was manufactured in the mid 1940’s by the Grumman Aircraft Company, which was based in Long Island, New York. Its main role during WWII was as a torpedo bomber. After their illustrious career as wartime bombers, many Avengers invariably ended up being heavily modified for operations as crop dusters and in a later development, as fire bombers. But as newer, more technically advanced aircraft types became available for fire bombing and farm work, the Avengers were once again facing redundancy.
Steve acquired his ex-fire bomber TBM in 2005, and proceeded with an extensive restoration of the machine to the glorious state it is in today, finishing in April 2006. The aircraft has been repainted to represent Avengers flown by Torpedo Squadron 84 from the Aircraft Carrier USS Bunker Hill circa 1944-45. It is distinguished by its US Navy Glossy Sea Blue fuselage and yellow nose ring.
Visit the Museum this weekend to watch the Avenger perform handling and aerobatic flying displays, along with other wartime aircraft from the Museum such as the Canberra, Meteor, Tiger Moth and Spitfire Mk XVI.
Flying action is on both Saturday and Sunday and Museum gates open at 10.00 am, with flying beginning at 11.00 am. Cost for adults is $15, adults over 65 yrs are $10.00 and children (3-18 yrs) $5. Children under 3 yrs are free. Food and refreshments are available on site, and don’t forget to bring along a light fold-up chair if you have one. Get along to the August Flying Weekend and check it out!
The Sabre, on loan from the Royal Australian Air Force, continues to undergo restoration in the Museum’s Aircraft Restoration Hangar.
In the last six months Aircraft Engineers Martin Lancaster and Ben Muller have completed several maintenance tasks on the aircraft. This includes the completed inspection and testing of the wing’s leading edges, the replacement of fuel seals and the inspection and testing of the fuel transfer system.
The engineers are continuing to overhaul the hydraulic system components from the wings and fuselage. This involves cleaning and checking parts for wear, corrosion and damage. This process can be time consuming, as a damaged part will either require repair or the outsourcing of replacements. Once inspected, these components are re-assembled and tested on a hydraulic test bench to check they operate correctly before being refitted to the aircraft.
The Sabre’s fuselage is made up of two sections, the front and rear, these will soon be separated to access the internal components of the fuselage, such as hydraulics, engine controls, electrical wiring, flight controls and air conditioning components. All these sections will require extensive inspection and overhauling. The internal structure and the engine bay will also require inspection to check for fatigue cracks, damage and corrosion.
SPITFIRE ANNUAL INSPECTION
Meanwhile, in the Aircraft Engineering Hangar our Engineering Team are carrying out an annual inspection on the Spitfire Mk VIII. As part of the maintenance, the engine has been removed to allow inspections to be carried out to areas normally inaccessible when the engine is installed.
It is the first time in over 20 years that this procedure has been done, and it will allow the engineers full access to inspect the engine mount, firewall and spar carry through members etc. The installation of new canopy perspex and windscreen will also be carried out.
METEOR DROP TANKS
Regular Flying Weekend commentator Peter Anderson has also joined the Museum team for a few weeks to prepare the Meteor wing drop tanks so that they can be used for the aircraft’s flight to Edinburgh RAAF Base SA in October. The tanks are being disassembled, paint stripped and fitted with new seals and gaskets prior to being re-painted and flight tested.