Help put Caboolture on world aviation map

Published 12:00pm 21 May 2021

Help put Caboolture on world aviation map
Words by Nick Crockford

An appeal has been made in Caboolture for help to get the world's only 'active' Bristol Beaufort bomber back into the skies.

A team from the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre (AAHC), at Caboolture Airfield, is restoring the World War II plane to 'airworthy condition' so it can fly again.

It is a painstaking project which has taken years and now needs “former RAAF personnel and mechanical or electrically-minded volunteers” to help complete it.

Help put Caboolture on world aviation map

Around 1180 Beaufort bombers were built – more than 700 in Australia, under licence to Bristol Aeroplane Company, where the RAAF was one of its primary users.

Beauforts, with their long range and high pay load, were the work horse of the RAAF in the Pacific and one of the most important aircraft in the defence of Australia during World War II.

The Beaufort A9-141 was built in October 1942 before being damaged in a crash at Tocumwal, NSW in January 1944. It was left in ruin until being bought by a farmer in Victoria.

Help put Caboolture on world aviation map

Aircraft enthusiast Ralph Cusack, now president of the AAHC, saw the remains of the plane at the farm in 1982 and bought it back to Queensland and his yard in Virginia.

Beaufort A9-141 has since moved to hangars at Caboolture Airfield where enthusiasts have sourced thousands of parts from overseas, disposal yards in Australia and country museums.

In fact, parts from more than 50 aircraft are being used in the restoration and AAHC has possibly the largest range of Beaufort parts in the world.

Help put Caboolture on world aviation map

As such it has helped a static Beaufort display in Victoria and the Australian War Museum.

The AAHC is at Hangar 104, 157 McNaught Rd, Caboolture Airfield, where is houses collections of other aircraft.

Restoration work is done Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.

Phone 5495 4951 or 0402 574081 for further information.

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