Originally an Ansett engine/structures guy and builder of experimental kit planes, and now running an aviation manufacturing company, choosing to restore a Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) Boomerang fighter was a completely new concept for me.
In 2006 I had the opportunity to purchase a CAC Boomerang fighter from Malcom Thompson of Tullamarine, Victoria. As you can see below there wasn’t much left after many people had picked it apart in the years leading up to my acquiring the aircraft. However, I was lucky to have a complete matching fuselage frame, identified as CAC Production No # 913/G5 A46-90.
Now having the basis of a Warbird restoration project I spent the next few years collecting parts and acquiring as much knowledge as I could about the aircraft and the process of rebuilding it. With the lack of available drawings/blue prints, some things had to be reverse engineered from basic drawings and photographs.
By November 2011 I was ready to commence the rebuild of the aircraft and things have progressed rapidly (for a Boomerang project!) and the fuselage is now largely complete and ready to be mated to the wing centre section. Fairly soon this will see the aircraft sitting on its own gear for the first time in at least 65 years. My ambition is to restore her back to airworthy condition over the next 2-3 years.
I have commenced the construction of 2 pairs of wings for A46-89 & A46-90 and reconstructing wing jigs as per the originals has been quite a challenge so far, but we are just about there.
History of CAC Boomerang A46-90
A46-90 is a CAC Boomerang with quite an interesting history (details courtesy of ADF Serials). It was built in 1943, like all Boomerangs at CAC Fisherman’s bend factory and delivered to the RAAF in May 1943. It then served with 4 Squadron (Sqn), then moving to 9 Communications Unit (CU), then 8 CU, 2 Operational Training Unit (OTU), 8 OTU and 83 Sqn. On 1/7/43 it was received by 4 Sqn from 13 ARD to replace A46-88 which had been shot down in error by a USAAC P38. Shortly after this, on 3/9/43 it was transferred to 1 Rescue and Communications Squadron (RCS) from 4 Sqn. On 4/11/43 it passed on to 9 CU from 1 RCS and then on 21/11/43 it was received by 8 CU from 9 CU, moving on again on 12/8/44 it was received by 2 OTU from 8 CU. On 31/10/44 A46-90 was received by 8 OTU from 2 OTU. Then on 5/2/45 F/Lt George Forrest Redman (407066) on returning from a training flight swung on landing and the port leg collapsed. Repairs were made and on 9/2/45, it was allocated to 6 Air Depot (AD) from 8 OTU initially for repairs then for storage. On 2/3/45 it was repaired at Parkes, NSW (unit’s base) by a detachment from 2 Repair and Salvage Unit (RSU) and then on 25/7/45 it was received by 83 Sqn from 8 OTU.
By then the Boomerang was getting tired and on 18/9/45 it was received by 7 AD from 83 Sqn for storage and on 26/1/46 the mainplane was removed from the aircraft at Tocumwal NSW and sent to Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for testing purposes. Finally on 17/2/53 A46-90 was sold to American Aeronautics Corporation California US, less its engine but presumably with its mainplane back for $91 (USD). However, the sale fell through and on 2/3/55 it was sold R H Grant Trading Co. The aircraft is now with me being restored to flying condition. Previously it was with Malcolm Thompson of Victoria, although little is known about its history once sold to Grant Trading Co.
I have now also acquired A46-89 and started it’s restoration to airworthy condition alongside A46-90. A46-89 and A46-90 served together for a short time in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Natzab in 1943. A46-89 was believed to have been with A46-88 when it was shot down by American forces and A46-90 was sent up to replace A46-88, the first CAC Boomerang lost in action.
I will detail the restoration of A46-89 in a later article and anticipate that A46-89 will be restored to airworthy condition a couple of years after A46-90 has been completed. Suffice to say I am now firmly “hooked” on CAC Boomerangs and Australian historic aircraft and can’t wait for the day I will get to fly both of these beauties.
A46-90, as with most CAC Boomerangs served with a number of different colour schemes and it has not yet been decided which one I will finally finish it with but it will be finished in a genuine scheme for the aircraft. A number of photographs exist of A46-90 and A46-89. However, I am always on the lookout for more and would really appreciate any leads on photographs or more detail on the aircrafts history. I can be contacted at email@example.com.
Ian Baker 2013