The Hawker Demon was an important aircraft to the RAAF in the inter war years. In 1934 a batch of 18 were ordered from the UK for use as general purpose/fighter aircraft. A further two batches of 36 and 10 were ordered giving a total of 64 aircraft. The Demon provided the RAAF with a relatively modern aircraft with which to rebuild following the reduction in capability which had occurred since WW1. The Demon also served as a trainer and Army co operation aircraft in 1, 2, 3, 12 and 22 Sqns plus No1 Communications flight. The Demon was even utilized in the secondary roles throughout WW11.
Only one complete, restored example of an RAAF Demon exists, A1-8 which crashed on 3 February 1937 in Tasmania and was recovered in 1986 by the RAAF. It was restored and handed over to the RAAF Museum in 1997 where it remains on display to this day.
One of the team who worked on the restoration of Hawker Demon A1-8 was the legendary Warbird pilot and restorer Jack McDonald. At the same time as restoring this aircraft, Jack had it in mind to restore a second Hawker Demon for himself, as a flying aircraft. To this end Jack obtained a suitable fuselage and other components as well as much documentation as could be found and set about the task. Work progressed well, but as is often the case other projects and work pressures meant that the aircraft was put aside and eventually went on display in an incomplete state at Caboolture for a number of years. The aircrafts fuselage structure, cockpit fairing and other components were complete and made for a great display in their own right.
Recently, however Jack has again turned his mind to the Hawker Demon and work has re commenced on the restoration of this classic 1930s Hawker biplane. Jack has now decided that the task of restoring this aircraft as a flying aircraft is impractical at this time and the work is centered on a static restoration. This work will not in any way interfere with the potential for the aircraft to fly in the future, however it is a practical way to display the aircraft at its best for now. Jack has enlisted the support of veteran restorer Ron Lee who is also working of the airworthy completion of Beaufort A9-141. In addition, a group of volunteers are also assisting in the process.
At present the project is coming together at Caboolture Qld in Jacks hangar alongside the Beaufort and several other historic aircraft. As stated earlier the fuselage is structurally complete so that is a real bonus however the wings will require a considerable work to rebuild. New wing main spars have been obtained, however ribs will have to be fabricated and a host of other parts small and large will be either sourced or manufactured. Fortunately a suitable Rolls Royce Kestrel engine is available and will be fitted.
This is a very exciting project and we will be following it closely as it progresses and we wish Jack McDonald and his crew all the best in this magnificent endeavor.
Caboolture is really buzzing with Warbird restoration projects at present!
© John Parker 2014