Warbirds Online reports on the progress Greg Batts has made on CAC Boomerang CA-12 A46-54 at Archerfield in Queensland. Since our last visit the largest milestone achieved is the refitting of the wings which allows for the completion of some of the wiring, control routing, flap set up and hydraulic components finalizing. The wing reconnection also allows for accurate measurement of the aircraft to ensure all dimensions and angles are correct.
The wing installation was also a chance to see Australia’s next flying Boomerang move even closer to completion. Four other Boomerang colleagues were on hand on the day to assist in the installation. Only minor annoyance arose during the installation process, easily resolved, and the exercise proceeded well. Once all the plumbing and wiring is complete the wings will be removed one last time for the road trip to Caboolture for A46-54’s first flight in over 70 years – hopefully before the aircrafts 75th Anniversary next year.
Some ancillaries and other components are also being made ready for A46-54 including the complex cockpit canopy. As we have previously discussed the CAC Boomerang was a fairly bespoke aircraft in its construction meaning that many of the components on each aircraft were fitted to that particular aircraft and were adjusted to fit and thus would fit only that aircraft. This is particularly the case with items such as the wood covered fuselage shell and in this case the cockpit canopy.
Greg is currently rebuilding the canopy for A46-77 and it has required quite a lot of adjustment to enable an accurate fit to #77’s cockpit rails and screen and is particularly time consuming. It would appear to be from an early Boomerang (shortlisted to A46-10 from Oakey, Qld), and shows variations in shape to later canopies. Very rare indeed!
Another time consuming task for A46-54 has been the fitting of the cooling gills in the engine cowlings. Although the cowls and nose ring were in fact Hudson converted by CAC to fit to the Boomerang, it is not possible to use Hudson attach castings as they create a misalignment to the cooling gill ring. So new CAC style attach castings are required to be manufactured for the correct operation of the gills. Everything takes time, but one by one the tasks are being ticked off as A46-54 marches on towards flight. There is now light at the end of the tunnel as there are more solutions and fewer problems to solve. The airframe is in fact completed, it’s the fitting out consuming time. The engine connections continue to progress with new flex hoses arriving and various engine driven pumps returning from overhaul. Next is the 2 oil coolers to be checked and installed with all their new ducting.
The aircrafts complex wooden shell is complete and has been fitted to the aircraft several times. Once the last of the systems and ancillaries are fitted to the fuselage, there will be a full inspection from rudder to propeller for completion, and then the shell will be mounted to the aircraft one last time and all of the aircrafts other panels and cowlings fitted to allow for final painting and stencils (MH-B) to be applied. Greg will have all of the painting completed in his facility and is preparing an area in the building for this purpose which should save time and effort.
It was great experience for Warbirds Online to see the aircraft finally with all of her major components fitted and sitting on her landing gear after all the years of hard work and effort.
Boomerangs A46-77 and A46-55
Greg has also progressed work on 2 other Boomerangs in the workshop recently with more of the metalwork on the fuselage of CA-12 A46-77 being advanced and the tail wheel assembly being completed. Initial strip down work on CA-12 A46-55 has commenced in preparation for a new wooden shell to be completed. A46-55 was at one time owned by Warbird restorer and legend Ron Lee – it is one of the most complete Boomerang survivors and as such a very significant aircraft. The aircraft operated with 84 Sqn and thus the call sign LB-J has been reserved for it.
We will report again as work progresses on this very impressive workshop dedicated to Australia’s own indigenous fighter, the CAC Boomerang.
Warbirds Online thanks Greg Batts and the team at Combat Aircraft Constructions for allowing us access to this unique facility.
© John Parker 2017