Warbirds Online continues our series on preserved CAC Wirraway aircraft, with A20-652, a CA-16, production number 1104, preserved at the Queensland Air Museum at Caloundra.
This aircraft was delivered to the RAAF No 1 Air Depot from Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation on 04/07/44 and was allocated to the Pilot Test Training Flight on 06/07/44. The aircraft suffered a taxiing accident on 19/09/44 when pilot, W/O W H Bleach of 1AD caused slight damaged to the aircraft when it collided with a grader at Laverton Victoria. The aircraft was repaired and had an uneventful career until 06/08/46 when it was placed into storage again with 1AD. The aircraft was then received by Det B 1AD Tocumwal from 1AD Storage Laverton on 17/03/50, and then on 04/07/52 it passed to DAP Parafield. Finally on 08/02/57 approval was given to dispose of the aircraft and it was sold to Horsham Foundry on 11/06/59. The Wirraway was not however melted for scrap like many others and was resold to CAC on 25/3/60 and moved to Essendon Airfield. Later A20-652 was again on sold and placed on display outside of a service station at Pascoe Vale Victoria. Later the Wirraway passed on to a Victorian syndicate and was restored to flying condition and registered VH-WIR from 26/08/86. The aircraft continued to fly until it was sold on again in 2007 and flown out of Parafield in South Australia until 2010 when it was acquired by Queensland Air Museum and flown in on 18/12/10 by Mathew Denning.
A20-652 had an extensive Warbird career and attended many airshows mostly up and down the East Coast of Australia. Warbirds Online was particularly impressed with this aircraft when she attended and airshow at Scone in the 1990s and put on a beautiful display. The lovely restoration always attracted interest from the host of enthusiasts that saw her fly.
A20-652 no longer flies but her engine is started at regular intervals and she is well maintained and displayed under cover. It is sad that she no longer flies but she is well cared for and perhaps one day could fly again. Regardless, Wirraway A20-652 has a great home with QAM and is presented immaculately – a great Warbird and a great Wirraway survivor. .
© John Parker 2017