Warbird restoration enthusiasts will have been following the restoration of Ralph Cusack’s DAP/ Bristol Beaufort for some years. Recently there have been some developments in the progress of this restoration and it’s timely for an update.
The Beaufort’s home for the past few years at Caboolture airfield has become unavailable and as such the aircraft has had to find new premises which also slowed progress on its restoration. Shortly the fuselage and center section (mounted on its landing gear) will be relocating to a new location for display for a couple of years whilst major sub-assemblies are rebuilt and completed at Caboolture in new premises. This will not hold the project back significantly, but is inconvenient. Behind the scenes work is continuing to locate suitable long term accommodation in which to complete the aircraft and then operate it into the future. The group restoring the aircraft would appreciate any assistance in locating and funding such a location.
One major hurdle for some time has been the lack of a serviceable main spar for the port outer wing – the original was suffering from manufacturing flaws and as such was unusable. A wing was located in the USA which was recovered in the 1970’s by David Talachet from Tadji in PNG and is an ex DAP manufactured component and over a period of time was acquired by the project. This wing has now arrived and been dismantled – the spar appears to be in good condition however it is being examined and tested to determine its serviceability. A new jig has been manufactured and the wing which has largely restored is mounted awaiting the installation of the spar which will complete the major structural work on the aircraft.
Work on completing the movable tail surfaces has also proceeded and they were recently covered and doped for fitting which again was a milestone for the project.
Whilst the past year has been difficult it has not seen a wavering in the commitment and enthusiasm of the team restoring this magnificent Warbird which will be the first one to fly in 65 years. As always any assistance in financial and in kind would be gratefully accepted.
The restoration group can be contacted at http://www.beaufortrestoration.com.au/ or Ralph Cusack, Australian Aviation Heritage Centre (QLD), Unit 4, No 5 Lear Jet Drive, Caboolture, QLD 4510. Phone: 61 7 5495 4951 Fax: 61 7 5428 1613. Mobile: 0417 731 585.
© John Parker 2013