At the Historical Aircraft Preservation Society, Albion Park NSW, work continues on the restoration of CAC CA-3 Wirraway A20-99 to flying condition.
Warbirds Online has visited Wirraway A20-99 several times over the last few years and considerable progress has been made. The engine has been fully rebuilt by Peter Brooke of Historical Aircraft Engines, Brisbane Qld and the propeller by Eric Weston at Bankstown NSW.
The fuselage is largely completed and painting has progressed, as well as a host of internal fit out including the cockpit control panels and wiring. The aircrafts centre section has been rebuilt and mated to the fuselage which is now sitting on its wheels. The complex engine cowlings are also completed and await engine installation. All the tail surfaces are also completed and fitted and as with the rest of the aircraft the standard of the work and finish are excellent.
A20-99 will be finished in a Brown (Dark Earth) and Green (Foliage Green) camouflage scheme similar to that in which it would have been delivered. The rest of the scheme will probably feature Sky Blue under surfaces, Yellow cowling and Light Grey codes and serials typical of training aircraft of the time.
CAC CA-3 Wirraway A20-99 History
Wirraway A20-99 was manufactured at CAC’s Fisherman’s Bend plant as CAC construction number 97; Mk II, produced under contract CA-3 and brought on charge by the RAAF in August 1940 as A20-99. The Wirraway was a training and general purpose aircraft adapted from a North American design. Approximately 60 of the CA-3 version were constructed, some serving operationally in the Fighter bomber role and some as training aircraft.
This Wirraway served out WWII in various Service Flying Training Schools (SFTS), including 2 SFTS at RAAF Station Forest Hill, 18 Sqn HQ Richmond, 5 SFTS RAAF Station Uranquinty and later Point Cook, Victoria. Wirraway A20-99 had a fairly uneventful service career. As with the majority of Wirraways’ it performed sterling service as a trainer and suffered a couple of minor accidents, as were common for training aircraft.
Post war, the aircraft was in better than average condition and was chosen to serve on in the RAAF – principally at Point Cook. Wirraway A20-99 is thus one of the longer serving RAAF Wirraways and this may account for its survival as one of the relatively few of the 755 built.
In 1958, the Wirraway was struck of charge and sold as scrap to Ralph Moyle, Kenmare, Rainbow Victoria and was stored on a property from 1960 until 1970 when it was acquired by the RAAF Air Training Corps, Ballarat, Victoria. In 1974 it was acquired by Pearce Dunn for his Warbirds Aviation Museum at Mildura Victoria. The aircraft was on display at the Warbirds Aviation Museum and was then acquired by E. Lundberg. This Wirraway has been under restoration for many years and initially the civil registration VH-JML was reserved for it.
In 2003, the registration VH-JMZ was reserved for the aircraft and work continued as a joint venture between Lundberg, Robert Greinert, Jay Lazarus, Jack Smid, Bill Smith, Jason Cockayne & Historical Aircraft Restoration Society. A20-99 is currently being restored by a team headed by Bill Smith at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society at Illawarra Regional airport in New South Wales.
There is no completion date for the aircraft and it will continue to progress in the coming year or two, but given the impressive progress in the past few years it shouldn’t be very long before the aircraft takes to the sky again.
Warbirds Online will continue to monitor and report on the progress of the restoration of Wirraway A20-99, a great Australian Warbird and we look forward to its first flight- stay tuned!
© John Parker 2015