Saturday, March 29, 2003

Beaufort rebuild starts in Tennessee

Graham Kilsby of the Bristol Heritage Collection in Tennessee has announced that a Beaufort rebuild project is just about to start. Several Beaufort sections, recovered from Papa New Guinea in the 1970's, have been stored at Chino in California for the past few decades. Transportation of the sections to Tennessee has started, with a forward fuselage, rear fuselage and tail section being trucked the 2,600 miles across the USA on 21st March. The sections arrived at Stripmasters Inc. of Nashville on 25th March. Here they will be identified, photographed etc., before being cleaned by beed blasting, and also blasting with dry ice, a relatively new method that removes the old paint and years of surface corrosion without actually harming the metal.

From there, the sections will be taken to Hassel Field, Clifton, Tennessee home of the new BHC restoration shop to join the Lysander and the Swordfish, where the various sections will be set in jigs prior to the long restoration. As the sections are from Australian-built Mk VIII Beauforts, they had Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines, which makes it a little easier to find engines and parts in the US. The Mk.I's built in the UK were the sole users of the Bristol Taurus, and it is thought that none survive. In April the main large wing centre section and outer wing sections will be moved in from California and the same process applied, before starting on moving the Bolingbroke sections into Tennessee. Bristol Heritage Collection is a 501(c)3 tax exempt charity as recognised by the IRS and any help in the form of donations or pledges, especially from Australians in the US would be warmly welcomed. Graham Kilsby can be contacted on (615) 383 9090.

Update: It had been determined that the rear fuselage section is from A9-555, which flew with No.100 Squadron RAAF as QH-S, and the stern fuselage section is from A9-182, which flew with No.7 Squadon RAAF. The forward fuselage has been confidently identified as also coming from A9-555.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Australian War Memorial Beaufort goes on display

The Australian War Memorial, at the Treloar Technology Center in Canberra, has recently completed the restoration of its static Beaufort, A9-557. The preparation of each section has been performed by several organisations, for example the Beaufort Restoration Group were tasked with cleaning up the rear fuselage. The sections were mated together again earlier this year, and the finished example went in display in the ANZAC Hall on 8th March. The official unveiling will take place on 28th March, by the Australian Prime Minister and the Chief of the Air Force.