Warbirds Online attended the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre open day on Sunday the 21st of February 2016. The Heritage Centre days are becoming very popular and the traffic queue was very long extending for several kilometres, but it was well worth the wait.
Since our last visit to the center the new front gate has been activated and is a kilometre further out from the base than the previous location with F-111C A8-138 repainted in SEA camouflage proudly on display with a large cover over her.
The parking on this occasion was directly situated on the heritage center rather than the remote carpark/bus arrangement often used at Amberley in the past and the staff and volunteers were fantastic as usual in helping visitors have a great day.
The aircraft display was situated in 3 of the 4 Bellman hangers currently forming the Heritage Centre. The first aircraft on view was Pilatus PC-6B Turbo Porter A14-704 730 HB-FFU originally serialed A14-730 but changed in 1971 to A14-704. This aircraft wears a late camouflage scheme and following write off in a crash at Oakey Qld in 1990 was restored for static display purposes over the past few years and joined the collection last year. The quality of the restoration is excellent and the aircraft appears complete in every respect. One would never suspect that the aircraft had been in a crash.
Also on display in this hanger was ARMY Bell 47G Sioux A1-738 and the beautifully restored ARMY Iroquois A2-771 UH-1H 67-17573 9771 lastly in this hangar is Government Aircraft Factory Canberra Mk.20 A84-242 the restoration and display of which was reported on in our earlier news article.
In the adjoining Bellman hangar is a great display featuring the General Dynamics F-111 and many fascinating displays of components from this great aircraft as well as an actual aircraft, A8-126 D1-2 an RF-111C. The display includes several cockpit sections, a radar nose installation and a wing carry through box which is the heart of the swing wing mechanism as well as a selection of weapons and fuel tanks. It was interesting to note that A8-126 had her side panels open which we had not seen before and was an added bonus on the day. Also in this hangar were Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-26/CA-27 Sabre A94-962 CA27-62 Mk.32 and Dassault / Government Aircraft Factory A3-55 Mirage IIIO (A). A great collection of aircraft engines was also on display.
The last hangar open on the day featured the Douglas Boston A-20G-20-DO 42-86786 of the 312th BG, 388th BS “Hell’n Pelican II” which we have previously reported on.
On open display outside were 3 aircraft, De Havilland DHC-4 Caribou A4-236 and two other Canberras, Government Aircraft Factory A84-203 Mk.20/ Mk.21 which will shortly be going to Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Museum and A84-125 B.2 Mk.21 Built by English Electric C/N 71053 which will be remaining at the heritage center. Another Canberra Government Aircraft Factory (GAF) A84-201 Mk.20, restored externally and on display at the Old front gate at Amberley.
We thoroughly enjoyed the day. The large crowd was a sign of the growing success of the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre and we recommend it as a destination to all our readers.
© John Parker 2016