Monday, September 02, 2002

One Beaufort - two noses

The Australian War Museum are restoring their Beaufort, serial A9-557, with the help of the Beaufort Restoration Group. Although the serial on the data plate of the RAF Museums Beaufort at Hendon, UK, would indicate that they had the nose from A9-557, this is only partly correct. During A9-557's service with the RAAF, its cockpit sustained serious damage from an electrical fire. The design of the Beaufort is such that sections are easily interchangeable, and at the time it was simpler to replace the forward fuselage with one from another aircraft. A9-557 continued flying with its new cockpit until a landing accident on January 20th 1945. The AWM now have all the sections from this aircraft. The original nose is presumed to have been dumped in Papa New Guinea, and this the section recovered from Papa New Guinea to Chino in the 1970's, and used in the RAF Museums Beaufort. The identity of the Beaufort that originally carried the AWM's cockpit is not currently known. The AWM have stated that they expect the restoration of the Beaufort to be complete by the end of 2002.
Update: New information indicates that the second forward fuselage for A9-557 came from A9-461, which crashed at Tadji, Papa New Guinea on 12th November 1944. The aircraft went on display in March 2003 - see later news item.

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