There is always much going on at Greg Batts’ Combat Aircraft Constructions where the restoration work continues on a collection of CAC Boomerang aircraft. The major news at this time is that Combat Aircraft Constructions has moved to a new spacious workshop area close to Archerfield Airport in Brisbane Qld.
One of the major inhibitors to Greg’s restoration work was an adequate work area. The old workshop was quite cramped and had little by way of creature comforts. The new premises sport a huge workshop area, office accommodation, meeting room and a kitchen facility – sheer luxury!
At the time of our visit most of the Boomerang parts and aircraft had made the journey into the new space and the sheer size of the new workshop was rapidly apparent. In the old facility there was little space to lay out the 4 Boomerang aircraft under restoration in the one area. The new workshop, however, will easily allow for all of the aircraft to be laid out with their wings attached with plenty of room for additional parts and equipment such as jigs.
The new workshop will also allow for tasks such as painting to be carried out in house and provide space for the adequate storage and organization of Greg’s huge holding of spare parts and raw materials. It will be some weeks before the workshop is fully organized, but it is already light years ahead of the previous space.
One would think that all of this relocation activity would have resulted in little work continuing on the Boomerangs. However, this is far from the case with much progress on the aircraft evident.
A46-54 (Greg’s own CA-12 aircraft) has had new exhaust connector tubes made up for the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90 Twin Wasp 14 Cylinder radial engine of 1,200 hp (895 kW) connecting it to the exhaust collector ring. Regular readers will remember that these items were stolen last year and had to be remanufactured.
The host of other work required to facilitate the fitting of the engine such as the rebuild of the generator, fuel tank fitting and all the ancillaries is now completed. Several minor components are still being rebuilt but the long awaited fitting of the engine is scheduled for September.
The fitting of all the electrical wiring, radios and transponder installation, together with the hydraulic systems in the fuselage are now 98% completed and following technical inspections and certification of the fuselage, the wooden shell will be refitted for the last time and buttoned up.
Last to be done will be the overhaul of the instruments and oil coolers before final installation. All the other major assemblies are completed, including the wings, cowlings, wheel doors, windscreen, canopy and fillets. The propeller is overhauled, but will be assembled by engineers upon transfer of the aircraft to the airfield for finals. Now the work settles down to a methodical assembly of the aircraft for the last time, before painting and a first flight. As always there is no set time for this flight but progress has been substantial in recent times and it will fly when it’s ready.
A46-77 (another CA-12) is being worked on for a Mareeba, Queensland owner. Since our last visit the stainless steel firewall has been fitted and much of the engine mount cowling construction is well under way. The fin and rudder structures are expected to be finished within the next month. A start will then be made on the stabilisers and elevators.
It is planned to overhaul the windscreen and canopy frames and trial these before the fuselage shell is removed again to allow the fitting out of the electrical / hydraulic systems, main fuel tank assembly and cockpit components. More work has also been completed on the wing fillets and the exhaust shroud on the fuselage.
Later this year it is planned to make a start on the center section.
A46-92 (another CA-12) is now owned by Rod Provan and is in the early stages of restoration. The front and rear frames have been repaired and mounted on to the newly completed lower rear monocoque pan, and the wooden fuselage shell is mounted for fabric covering to be applied in the coming weeks, so the aircraft has come a long way in a short time.
A46-249 is a CA-19, (last Boomerang built by CAC), being worked on for The Old Aeroplane Company of Tyabb Victoria. The timber fuselage shell is now fabric covered and has been primed. The two major components of the Fuselage frame have been mated together onto the lower rear monocoque pan and aligned. The wooden fuselage shell was then mounted to the frame to allow the fitting of many metal fixtures that attach panels, fillets, doors, radio shack and canopy rails. The exhaust shroud and paneling have also been completed and are in place. The work required to be done on A46-249 is now completed and it will be making its way back to Tyabb late August for The Old Aeroplane Company to complete the rest of the fit-out.
So considering the 5 week move to new accommodation, the work on the Boomerangs has continued to progress very well.
A46-144 (a CA-13 collection of Boomerang parts and assemblies) has recently been acquired by Greg from Jason Smith and these will now be added to the workshop.
A46-55 (another CA-12 owned by Greg) is about to come out of storage on to the workshop floor, so there is no shortage of excitement for the future.
Warbirds Online will be reporting again on the progress of the Boomerang restorations once Greg settles in at his new workshop.
© John Parker 2016