Warbirds Online has been heavily involved in the recovery and restoration of DHC 4 Caribou A4-228 from Oakey, Qld. Regular readers of our news reports on Caribou A4-228 will be aware that the aircraft arrived at Australian Aviation Heritage Centre based at Caboolture Qld, after a monster move from Oakey on the 24th of June 2016. In the two months since the arrival AAHCQ volunteers have been hard at work on restoring and reassembling the Caribou.
The aircraft was carefully dismantled in June and the process of reassembly has begun in earnest with a complete cleaning of the airframe and Pratt and Whitney R2000 engines which had a healthy layer of dirt and congealed oil covering them. The reassembly process starts with the tail being reattached. This component had to be de riveted and removed to allow the aircraft to be transported as previously reported. The tail was detached at the joint point to the rear of the cargo ramp. The tail has been cleaned and over the past few days has been refitted by AAHCQ Volunteers who have travelled from far and wide across Australia to get the “old bird” back up and pristine again. This has entailed careful alignment and refitting of the tail and much riveting of the components back together which was completed today.
Even the Warbirds Online Editor took his turn on the rivet gun and dolly stitching up the old girl as good as new. There are 750 rivets required in this process alone but the end result was very satisfying and it was an excellent skill to acquire for the volunteers under the supervision of Ron Lee and Noel Spalding. Now the rear fuselage is back in place work in coming days will see the fitting of the Horizontal stabilizer, Tail fin and rudder in that order. All Fittings and control cables are being refitted as work goes ahead as it is intended to fully restore the aircraft in perfect operational condition although under the terms of the contract the Caribou cannot fly again.
The AAHCQ team have cleaned and prepared the engines for refitting which will take place after the tail, followed by the wings. Once the aircraft is fully structurally reassembled it will have all smaller components fitted and progressively brought up to functional “live” status. The aircraft will also have a full surface refinish although no choices have yet been made on the actual color scheme it will wear as there were 8 different color schemes on A4-228 over the years.
Warbirds Online is proud to be associated with AAHCQ in this venture to restore this magnificent example of Australian military heritage and we will continue to report on progress on Caribou A4-228 as it happens.
© John Parker 2016