The South Australian Aviation Museum is in possession of two British built Canberra bombers, WK 165 a B2 type and WD 954 a converted T4 version.
This aircraft was built by A.V.Roe at Woodford in the UK in 1954 and was transferred to RAF service the following year. In January 1956 it was selected to participate in the WRE trials in South Australia. The aircraft was used extensively in airborne photography of weapons during the Maralinga/Woomera tests. In 1963 it was transferred to the Joint Service Trials Unit (JSTU) and remained with this unit until its retirement in December 1969.
The aircraft was struck off charge on the 13th February 1970. It was purchased by Mr Neville Mason, who moved the aircraft from Edinburgh, South Australia, to the Eureka Museum at Ballarat in Victoria. It was to remain at Ballarat in a dilapidated state for 12 years, (1985-1997).
In 1997 Mr Neville Mason donated the aircraft to the South Australian Aviation Museum. The removal of the aircraft from Ballarat commenced on the 29th May 1997 and took four Museum members (Stephen Nitschke, Peter Ormsby, Barry James and John Hillier) two days to prepare the aircraft for transportation. The wings being 19 feet wide at the fuselage had to be transported a week later under police escort to Adelaide.
Since its inclusion to the Museum register the aircraft has undergone much restoration work. The primary tasks have been; to remove and prevent further corrosion of both external and internal fixtures; to paint the external surfaces, and to replace as many missing parts as possible. It has been necessary to search most overseas and local websites to acquire missing parts, cockpit instruments and control panels being high on the wanted list.
It is expected that this search for replacement parts and the ongoing maintenance on this aircraft will continue well into the future.
We celebrated our 30th Anniversary on Saturday the 19th July when the Governor of SA – His Excellency Rear Admiral the Hon. Kevin Scarce and Mrs Scarce joined us to mark this milestone in the museum’s progress. It was a time to reflect on our achievements, to thank those who assist us and to catch up with old friends. Our local state member Dr Susan Close MP and Mayor Gary Johanson joined us for the afternoon. Over a hundred past and present members also joined in the excellent afternoon tea and the formal celebration of the occasion. Some members stayed on whilst we had a BBQ and ran the Merlin and Rotary engines – the darkness made the exhausts One of the best features of the afternoon was the opportunity to catch up with old members who, while they are no longer active, have not lost interest in the Museum and its progress.
The Governor of SA presents the Commemorative plaque to the President of SAAM to record the event
The Aviation Museum was invited to display and run a Merlin engine at the All British Day in Echunga SA which is a wonderful display of motor vehicles’ manufactured in England from the early 1900 to present day. There were some 800 cars and motor bikes on display along with some trade displays and family fun attractions. This event is held on the second Sunday in February each year. The museum had on display a 1100hp 1943 Merlin engine which we ran on the hour for a period of 5 minutes consuming some 80 litres of fuel during the day. The engine run and display was received with great enthusiasm. After each engine run we had great interaction with the public with questions and stories. The Merlin engine became the work horse of the second world war being fitted to many aircraft, including the Spitfire, Mosquito, Lancaster Bomber & P40 mustang just to name a few.
Many families who attended on the 10th November 2013 had a great experience viewing the exhibits, including climbing into the many aircraft cockpits that were open all day. There was a certain amount of queuing with the excitement of being able to climb into the cockpits. All of the cockpits where manned by museum staff giving a brief explanation of the instruments and actions for future pilots.
It would be hard to say which of the 7 cockpits were the most popular on the day but the F-111 would most likely rate as being the one to climb into being that this aircraft had only come out of active service in 2010. The museum did have a nominal charge of $5.00 to climb into this aircraft for the simple reason the museum has to pay extra insurance of $1,500 for this one aircraft. All other cockpits are free and don’t require special insurance as we are, after all, a museum run totally by volunteers.
Other attractions on the day also proved to be very popular with the families. The Rescue 1 Helicopter landing for a display, Barossa Helicopters offered flights over the Port all day, Military Vehicles 25 pounder did gun firing during the day, the Port Adelaide Fire brigade attended with an open display and the Chrysler Restoration Car Club arrived with 15 cars plus an ETSA historic repair truck. In addition, the museum ran 10 aircraft engines showing one engine in particular, a Gnome which is almost 100 years old. The noise and the chance to hear the mighty Rolls Royce engine that was fitted to the icon Spitfire from the 1939-1945 proved to be very popular. The Railway Museum using the Blue Bird rail car as a shuttle between the 2 museums was also very popular. Characters from the Star Wars movie also created much excitement when they arrived and mixed with the children. Many photographs were taken on the day.
You can view more pictures of the day here. More cockpit and engine runs will be organised in 2014 please watch our web site
November 10th 2013 – Open Cockpit / Engine run Day
The next major event at the Museum will be in November. Once a year the Museum opens
up the cockpits of a selection of our aircraft for the public to get up close and personal.
Come along for a fun family day out.
Sit in the cockpit of the F27, DC3 and many more
aircraft. Food and drink are available with a sausage sizzle, tea, coffee and soft drinks. Check
out our Events page for more details.
Restoration work on Avro Anson EF954 has seen the elevators and ailerons with new fabric. The rudder has been paint stripped and is ready for finishing coats. After the installation of the metal cabin roof, the fuselage has been covered with new fabric and now with the skeletal airframe almost fully covered, the aircraft looks like an aeroplane of the past. New windscreens and cockpit side windows have been made and fitted. The starboard engine cowls have been paint stripped and fitted, albeit temporarily. The forward firing machine gun access panel has been overhauled and fitted.
The cabin area has seen some work done, but this is not now readily visible with the fuselage fabric in place. The mid upper turret space has been cleaned and painted and the bulkhead leading to this space has been completely overhauled. This bulkhead now has the crash axe, two engine starting handles and the two Type O compass mounts fitted. The radio operator’s seat has been overhauled and re-upholstered. The jettison mechanism for the cabin door is now operational. The two cabin fire extinguishers have had a good polish and although not serviceable, are mounted in the original factory brackets.
Wing root fairings for the starboard side have been overhauled and remanufactured as required, and with the engine cowls and fairings installed the aeroplane looks reasonably complete. With the cold winter weather putting a hold on fabric work, attention is now directed towards getting the port- side engine cowls and fuel tank covers up to the same standard as the starboard. To achieve this some old engine cowl bearers will be used as patterns for new bearers. Once these bearers are installed, the cowls will be fitted. The propellers are sporting new paint and some new main wheel tyres have been fitted.