Warbirds Online visited Albion Park, NSW to view the progress on the Warbird restorations being carried out by Historical Aircraft Restorations Limited, located within the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society’s (HARS) facility by Robert Grienert and the team. We recently reported on the work on a Curtiss P40E and 3 Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft, however, there is a lot of other restoration work taking place in this Aladdin’s cave of Warbird restorations.
Since our last report several of the Beaufighter nose sections have been completed and moved to new homes. However, at the time of our visit there were two nose sections being worked on including Mk. 1f Ex X7688 RAF, a part of the cache of Beaufighter parts Robert purchased from Skysport Engineering in the UK. This nose section was in excellent condition and is now being restored and will be fitted to the HARS Beaufighter airworthy project. The work done on this nose is magnificent. Roberts’ team have completed 4 other nose sections so they are well versed and experienced in this aspect of the “Beau’. The other nose section being completed during our visit is for the Darwin Aviation Museum (formerly known as Australian Aviation Heritage Centre) and is from an Australian produced Beaufighter whose serial is currently unknown. The Darwin nose is to be displayed in their Museum and will be a real centre piece given the types extensive service in the Northern Territory. Both the nose sections are being fitted out with complete and accurate interiors from their time in service including all instruments and controls.
Work on the P-47 Republic Thunderbolt project has slowed at present, but given the accelerated pace of other work it will pick up again when the queue in the workshop clears.
HARS CAC Wirraway Ex RAAF A20-99 is making considerable progress. Now back in the Historical Aircraft Restorations Limited workshop she is well on the way to its first flight. Since July when it was in one of the other HARS hangars the aircraft has moved back into the workshop and has had extensive work carried out, including the fitting of the firewall, engine and prop. All of the removable fuselage panels have been taken off the aircraft which allows for access to refit and complete electrical, hydraulic and other systems as well as other maintenance. Work on the Wirraway will now continue apace to the flying stage to enable this Australian built Fighter/Bomber and Trainer to join the HARS flying fleet which hopefully won’t be too long. A20-99 is now finished in a Brown (Dark Earth) and Green (Foliage Green) camouflage scheme similar to that in which it would have been delivered. The rest of the scheme will feature Sky Blue under surfaces, Yellow cowling and Light Grey codes and serials typical of training aircraft of the time. For more on the Wirraways service history and restoration refer to our previous news article on CAC Wirraway A20-99
The long-term HARS resident, North American T6/Harvard Mk IV, finished as Luftwaffe Mk IV tail number 52-8569, has been under restoration to flying condition for some years but has now been sold by her owner. Roberts’ team is in the process of dismantling the immaculate aircraft for a new owner in the USA. Many other smaller items and parts were being worked on in the workshop for in house projects and external customers and the amount of work being undertaken by a relatively small workforce is exceptional.
Warbirds Online is grateful to Robert Grienert and his team for taking the time to show us around his world class Warbird restoration facility. Robert and the company can be contacted at any time to discuss Warbird restoration opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© John Parker 2017