I have long been a devotee of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) Boomerang fighter – a great little Australian Battler!
Then after some thought I decided to actually do something about my passion by owner/builder constructing a CAC Boomerang aircraft of my own. In 1994 I obtained a stripped CA-12 frame from Tocumwal,NSW and commenced collecting Boomerang fighter parts. In those days it was still possible to come across the odd part here and there and I slowly built up a good collection with which to start. My CA-12 frame did not have a traceable identity so in 2003 I bought the cockpit and rear frame of A46-147, a CA-13 from Greg Batts in Queensland and this project benefited from my previous collection of parts.
When I commenced restoring my original frame, I consulted with Matt Denning about which parts I should begin fabricating based on rarity. I began making the oil cooler ducting and other cockpit items including seat poles using Boomerang A46-25 parts for reference (the fuselage of which was then located at Moorabbin Air Museum, Victoria). For many years I remember being very frustrated at how hard it was to obtain missing original parts for the restoration. However I am continuing to work towards my goal of a complete CAC Boomerang fighter.
In 1995 I commenced a fitting and turning apprenticeship at General Motors Holden and this obviously benefited my manufacturing skills and I was also able to make quite a few Boomerang parts and also tooling using their facilities.
A46-147 was stripped to a bare frame, sandblasted and painted. Parts that I had previously made were incorporated into the restoration where required and original parts were slowly restored and reinstalled onto the frame. Many parts have been made over the years and swapped or sold to other restorers
The R-1830 Twin Wasp twin row radial 1,200hp engine has been built up from various sources without internals. I would eventually like to acquire a runnable engine.
Many years ago I had the wooden shell formers laser cut and had a cabinetmaker shape the forward longeron beam. I have only recently focused on making the wooden shell (approx. 2 years ago). The wooden shell has really made the aircraft actually look like an aircraft! The shell is a very complex structure, and it took me a long time to build up the courage to attempt assembling it.
The concept of the project on A46-147 is to rebuild her as a very accurate static machine as far as possible. This decision was based upon two factors. Firstly it’s a lot cheaper to build a static machine. Secondly a lot more original CAC Boomerang material can be used in a static rebuild as the parts don’t have to fly. This has the added advantage in that one can utilise discarded material from the host of airworthy rebuild Boomerang projects.
CAC Boomerang A46-147 history
CAC Boomerang A46-147 was constructed as a CA-13 and was delivered from CAC to the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) on 7th October 1943 to 1Aircraft Depot at Laverton Victoria.
The aircraft then served with 83 Squadron from 1st November 1943 and was coded as MH-F and carried the nose art of ZOOT and featured a Crow leaning on an ashtray. A46-147 went to 3AD at Amberley, Queensland on 25 November 1943. For some reason however it returned to 83 Squadron on 18th January 1944 and remained there until 23rd November 1944, when it was transferred to storage at 6AD Oakey Queensland. It was then authorised for write off in May 1946 and was struck off charge in November 1948. As is common with Boomerangs, it is likely the wings were scrapped for the alloy content but the fuselage survived.
At some stage in the 1960s the remains of the aircraft were obtained by Harold Thomas of Camden Museum of Aviation NSW and from there was purchased by Greg Batts and then passed to me in 1994.
The aircraft now resembles a near complete fuselage, although there are still a myriad of small tasks to be completed. Once this is done, it will be back to the conundrum of wings and centre section. Along the way with this fantastic aircraft I have made many friends and received much sage advice and assistance.
I have no time frame to complete this iconic Australian Warbird. In classic aircraft restoration parlance “it will be finished when it’s finished”. It will however, be a proud day and one I will remember forever.
Nick Knight 2013