Thursday, February 10, 2005

New Beaufort project at Moorabbin

The Australian Aircraft Restoration Group, who run the Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin, in Melbourne, Australia, have announced that they are about to start on a Bristol Beaufort restoration project. The Australian-built Beaufort will be built to static condition, and will go on display at the museum, which also has examples of the Bristol Beaufighter, Bristol Sycamore and Bristol Freighter.

The project is based on major components and parts from two Beauforts - A9-501 and A9-230. A9-501 was displayed at RAAF Gove for many years, but it was substantially damaged when an attempt to cut the wings off with an oxy-torch caused residual fuel in the tanks to explode. The forward fuselage was later restored by the Beaufort Restoration Group for the RAAF Gove museum. Although the museum website refers to A9-320, this is thought to actually be A9-230. A9-320 was converted to a Mk.IX Beaufort during WW2, reserialled A9-742, and subsequently scrapped, whereas the cockpit of A9-230 was acquired by The Beaufort Restoration Group from Mildura War Birds in 1985.

A9-501 being recovered in 1999 (courtesy of the Beaufort Restoration Group website)

The project also hopes to acquire the cockpit of A9-150, which has been restored by the Beaufort Restoration Group in Brisbane.

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