Warbirds Online continues our feature articles on the CAC Boomerang survivors with an item on the rarest survivor of all, CA12 A46-3, the third Boomerang built and the last of 3 prototypes constructed.
A46-3 was constructed as a CA-12 Mfg. No 826 and was delivered to the RAAF on 10/42. The Boomerang was received on 12/10/42 at 2 Operational Training Unit (OTU) and on 17/12/42 its prop hit the tail plane of another aircraft [Boomerang?] causing only minor damage. On 29/11/43 the Boomerang was transferred from 2 OTU to the Central Gunnery School (CGS) and then on 9/2/44 it was sent back to 2 OTU from CGS. On 31/10/44 A46-3 was sent to 8 OTU from 2 OUT, then on 5/8/45 it was received by 7 Air depot (AD) then on the 29th of that month sent to 7 Central Recovery Depot (CRD) for storage and on 14/6/46 approval was given to convert to components.
Little is known of its history immediately post war; however the story of this aircraft is further described hereafter by its current owner, Rick Anderson of South Australia.
“About 30 years ago the derelict airframe came from Mildura via Pierce Dunn to Bob Jarrett (now Classic Jets Museum) at the S.A. Historical Aviation Museum (now S.A.A.M.) where it was offered to me. I held the airframe in my parents garage for many years not doing a great deal with it other than stripping it down however at the time I was young, dumb and full of stupidity and didn’t know exactly what I had so A46-3 moved on to my friend Bob Hall. Bob moved the project along to the stage of being a displayable and moderately complete frame from fire wall to tail.
A46-3 was displayed at the S.A. Aviation Museum for a short while around the early 2000’s but unfortunately the Museums committee faced with relocation and space commitments decided that the airframe didn’t fit in with their display criteria nor did it have any local content, (an argument I’m sure I will reignite in the distant future). Bob had to dismantle the display taking the smaller components with him while the tail frame went east of the city and the cockpit frame was stored in a shipping container at the Aviation Museum, so much so that most new museum members weren’t even aware that it was there.
Around 5 years ago Bob Hall asked me if I still had any interest in the aircraft (silly question) as he was quite disillusioned with it and wished to pursue other hobbies, naturally I said yes and after some correspondence with S.A.A.M. I collected the Cockpit frame, seat and canopy frame and placed them into temporary storage. Now that I have chosen a career change I had to move the aircraft to my place but this will give me the opportunity to tinker with it some more for the first time in 30 years.
Next step is to collect all of the many bits and pieces stored around town so the slow reassembly can start up again. Right at the moment the hardest job is trying to explain to my partner, kids, family and anyone who visits that this thing here is a very rare, significant and historical aircraft when all I’m getting is the “yeh right, whatever” looks.
I know what I’m looking at, the last of the three prototypes, the oldest of the type remaining, one of two remaining CAC Boomerangs with the straight overturn truss and one of the remaining 28 out of 250 surviving aircraft. Ok, maybe I am a little passionate about it but who wouldn’t be. A46-3, a long term static restoration that will one day return to public display here in Adelaide, (airworthy if I win the lottery)……,” Rick Anderson.
This is a fantastic survivor and as evidence of Boomerangs A46-1 and 2 surviving is nonexistent it appears that it will always be the oldest CAC Boomerang.
We wish Rick all the best for his Warbird restoration project. It’s great to see that it is now out of hibernation and being worked on again. We also wish Rick all the best with winning the lottery so it can fly!
CAC Boomerang A46-3 will no doubt be a long term project as time and resources allow, but also very well worthwhile and it’s thanks to Rick’s long term dedication and persistence that one day it will be on display as the most historically significant of the Boomerang breed.
The other early model Boomerang with the straight overturn truss that Rick mentions is A46-5, which currently resides in Ashley Briggs’ workshop in Sunshine Victoria. This was the last early production machine with the straight overturn truss and will no doubt be restored at some stage in the future.
© John Parker 2015