Our Exciting

Our Exciting Collection

The Aviation Heritage Museum’s collection includes many aircraft, some commemorating the efforts of Australian airmen in the defence of the country, some reminding us of the long history of aviation in Australia. 

Below are just a few of our main attractions with many more aircraft on display. 

AVRO ANSON

The Anson was built to British Air Ministry Specification 18/35 and is reputed to be the first British monoplane to have a retractable undercarriage.

AVRO LANCASTER

The Avro Lancaster or "Lanc" or "Lankie" as it became affectionately known became the most famous and most successful of the Second World War night bombers.

BELL UH-1H IROQUOIS (HUEY)

Bell UH-1H Iroquois (Huey)

Arriving at the museum in July 2014, the Huey is currently on display near the entrance of the Aviation Heritage Museum located in the southern hanger.

AHM Canberra

Canberra

Our Mk20 Canberra was built at Fisherman's Bend, Victoria and saw active military duty in Malaya with No. 2 Squadron and was deployed to Vietnam on April 19th 1967.

Catalina

The Consolidated Catalina was designed around the concept of a "Maritime Patrol Bomber", with a long range enabling it to harass enemy shipping, particularly in the Pacific.

AHM Dakota C47

DAKOTA C47

The Dakota served in all theatres of World War II, notably flying supplies to from India to China over the mountains and ferrying paratroops to Europe as part of the 1944 D-day landings.

MB-326H (THE MACCHI)

The MB-326 was developed to satisfy an AMI (Italian Air Force) requirement, winning a contest against the Fiat G-80 to become their standard jet trainer. It was designed to be simple, light and robust.

AHM Spitfire

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE

The Museum is home to an original Spitfire, as well as a replica. The original, a Mark 22, PK481, entered service with the RAF on September 3, 1945, and served with several squadrons including 611 before being withdrawn from service in 1953.

AHM Tigermoth

TIGER MOTH

The aircraft on display originally bore the RAAF serial number A17-161. It was built in NSW and entered service with the RAAF in October 22th, 1940. After the war, it was used by Farmair Pty Ltd as a crop sprayer, until replaced in 1965.

AHM Vampire

VAMPIRE

The Vampire was the second jet aircraft to enter RAF service, just one month before the end of World War II in Europe, and as a result did not see active service at the time. It was donated to the Museum on 28 May 1970.

AHM Wackett

WACKETT CA-6

The Wackett was designed in response to a 1938 RAAF requirement for a trainer to supplement its existing fleet. The specification called for a low-winged monoplane with an enclosed cockpit (unlike the more commonly-used Tiger Moth).

AHM Wirraway

WIRRAWAY CA-5

Wirraways were mainly operated as advanced trainers during World War II, but in the early stages of the Pacific war, some saw action against Japanese fighters and bombers - with only a little success, and many losses.

Other Aviation Heritage Museum displays

Aviation Heritage Museum's aircraft collection
Aviation history and education
Aviation Heritage Museum aircraft collection
Conserving aviation artefacts
Interactive displays
Interactive displays
Aviation Heritage Museum aircraft collection
Commemoration displays
Aircraft model collections
Commemoration displays
Aviation Heritage Museum's engine collection
Aviation Heritage Museum's engine collection

Avro Anson

Aircraft description

The Anson was built to British Air Ministry Specification 18/35 and is reputed to be the first British monoplane to have a retractable undercarriage. Although this made it a significant advance on its introduction, it was well obsolete for operational work by the commencement of World War II. While it scored some successes in its initial coastal patrol duties, its main contribution to the war effort was in the training of crews for British heavy bombers.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) followed suit, operating 1020 Ansons from November 1935 for training purposes.

Post-war, many Ansons continued to operate as small airliners, carrying typically 8 passengers on minor air routes, particularly in Britain and Australia. Small numbers were also operated by many national air forces. One of the Anson’s most famous post-war roles was the transport of passengers and goods to and from Rottnest Island, with Woods Airways.

The museum’s Anson was manufactured in Britain and shipped to Australia in May 1941. It was used at the large flying training base at Geraldton where pilots learned to fly multi-engine aeroplanes, and for navigation and radio training.

After the war ended in August 1945 many Ansons were sold to the public. The one on display was bought by the Flying Doctor Service for £250, operated out of Kalgoorlie by George Lewis who had pioneered flying doctor services there.

By 1962 the Anson’s glued wooden wing spars were in danger of disintegrating due to age, so they were grounded. Lewis made a farewell circuit of Kalgoorlie in the Anson on 30 June 1962. He sold it to the Kalgoorlie branch of the Air Training Corps for 6 pence (5 cents) in 1963. The Anson was donated to the Museum in 1970 and moved to Perth where it was stored before being restored, from 1983. It now bears the same markings and colours it had when it first flew in Australia for the RAAF during the war. The museum’s aircraft, W2121, served at No 4 Service Flying Training School at RAAF Geraldton, Western Australia. 

The museum’s aircraft, W2121, has a unique connection with the 617SQN Dam Busters.

David Shannon joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Reserve in Adelaide on 5 July 1940, aged eighteen. On 4 January 1941 he transferred to the RAAF as an air cadet under the Empire Air Training Scheme. He received his instruction in Western Australia at No. 5 Initial Training School in RAAF Pearce, No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School in RAAF Cunderdin, and No. 4 Service Flying Training School in RAAF Geraldton.

Following graduation as a pilot officer in September 1941, he was posted to the United Kingdom, and after further training flew with WGCDR Guy Gibson at 106SQN and 617SQN. At 20 years of age he was the youngest Lancaster Captain at 617SQN and already a DFC holder.

On the Dams Raid, still 20 years old, he cracked the Eder Dam and RAAF’s Les Knight breached the Eder Dam. Both were amongst the DSO awards for the raid. After his death in the UK in his daughter sent his medals, logbook and uniform to the Australian War Memorial.

In his log book is an entry for flying Avro Anson W2121 at No 4SFTS RAAF Geraldton. A DH82A Tiger Moth A17-161 from 9EFTS and that Anson now reside at the RAAFA WA Aviation Heritage Museum in Perth’s southern suburb of Bullcreek.

Between it and the Lancaster is the world’s latest and best Upkeep Mine Replica! (The UPKEEP mine from FLTLT Norman Barlow’s crashed aircraft was defused by the Luftwaffe, disassembled and drawings produced for local trials. These drawings were obtained by museum volunteer Richard Rusta few years ago and the replica was made by the local Kounis Industries and gifted to the museum in April 2018.)

Technical information

Status: On display 

Type: Multi-role (mainly coastal patrol and crew trainer) 

Maiden flight: 24 March 1935 

Primary users: RAF, RAAF 

Manufacturer: A.V. Roe and sons 

Number Built:  

Civil Registration: VH-WAC 

 

Length: 12.08 m ( 42 ft 3 in) 

Height: 3.99 m (13 ft 1 in) 

Wingspan: 17.22 m (56 ft 6 in) 

Powerplant: (Anson Mark I) two 260 kW (350 HP) Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah radial engines 

Weight: Empty 2500 kg (5500 lb), max loaded 3900 kg (8500 lb) 

Maximum Speed: 303 km/h (188 mph) 

Range: 1300km (790 mi) 

Service Ceiling: 5800 m (19000 ft) 

Power/mass ratio: 140W/kg (0.88 HP/lb) 

Avro Lancaster

Aircraft description

The Avro Lancaster has its origins in the shortcomings of its predecessor, the Avro Manchester, a heavy bombing aircraft designed to UK Air Ministry Specification P.13/36.
The performance and load-carrying capacity of the Lancaster meant that it was chosen for many “special” operations, such as the Dam Buster raids on the Rhine Valley dams in 1943, pathfinder operations marking targets for the main bomber force, and daylight precision bombing raids using the large “Tallboy” (12,000 pound) and “Grand Slam” (22,000 pound) bombs.

The “Lanc” or “Lankie,” as it became affectionately known became the most famous and most successful of the Second World War night bombers, reputedly “delivering 608,612 tons of bombs in 156,000 sorties”.

The Mark VII, of which the Museum’s aircraft is an example, was the final production version, with the dorsal turret moved slightly forward and the tail turret’s four 0.303-inch machine guns replaced by two of 0.5 inch calibre. This mark was designed to be more suitable for operation in the tropics, as part of “Tiger Force”, the British contribution to the invasion of Japan (and so never being required).

On Saturday 1 December 1962 an excited crowd of RAAF Association members and well-wishers assembled at Perth airport. Soon the sound of four Merlins could be heard as WU 16 came in over the Darling Range to the east of Perth.

The Lancaster, escorted by a light aircraft carrying Association members. made a slow circuit of the city, passing over the Perry Lakes athletic stadium to provide thousands of people with an impressive finale to the Commonwealth Games’ closing moments. The veteran provided a dramatic contrast to three Royal Air Force 617SQN Vulcans, the latest bombers from the AV. Roe stable, which had also taken part in a ceremonial flypast that same afternoon.

Soon after one pm, the Lancaster touched down at Perth International airport, ending the last flight of its long and varied career. It had flown a total of just over 2,600 hours since, 17 years before, it was wheeled from a Birmingham assembly plant 16,000 kilometres away.

Volunteers from No 25 (City of Perth) Squadron, Citizens’ Air Force, undertook the task of restoring the old bomber it to its original Royal Air Force appearance. The French overall white was replaced by the brown, green and black camouflage of Bomber Command, and WU 16 was replaced by its 1945 serial, NX 622. Straddling its fuselage roundels were the squadron code letters AF-C chosen to embody the initials of the Citizens Air Force.

Early on Saturday 18 August 1979 a big squad of volunteers dismantled the chain fence surrounding the Lancaster to admit a Bellway slewing crane to its enclosure. This slowly lifted NX 622’s rear fuselage and swung it onto a specially-prepared dolly, which was then attached to a turntable on a Kenworth prime mover. Semi-trailers were then loaded with outer engines, wings and tail sections before the convoy, accompanied by the crane, two service vehicles and a radio liaison van from the Department of Civil Aviation, trundled off towards Leach Highway en route to its Bull Creek destination.

The first part of the journey necessitated crossing the airport’s main runway which had been closed to air traffic until the convoy was clear. The procession did not pass unnoticed by traffic on other runways. When the pilot of a Boeing 747 of South African Airways radioed the control tower to ask what was happening below, he received the straight-faced reply ‘The aircraft you see below is being prepared for a tourist flight to Capetown”. The pilot’s response was not recorded …

Museum curator Al Clarke, also a Flight Lieutenant in the WA Squadron Air Training Corps, used his service connections to enlist the help of reservists of No 25 (City of Perth) Squadron to undertake the repainting, culminating in the identification of a particular aircraft of 463 Squadron. The Reservists were WOFF R. Chandler, FSGT R. Pease, SGT L. Haines, SGT D. Bayet, SGT R. Lafrey, SGT N. Lukin, SGT C. Usher, CPL T. Bradley, LAC I Burgoyne and AC L Storey. This was completed in the period 5-18Mar94. The aircraft was not too difficult to choose. As well as achieving the impressive total of 93 raids, JO-D (D-Digger) had also been crewed on operations by several members of the Western Australian division of the Royal Australian Air Force Association, including Des Sullivan, Gus Belford and John McKenzie.
Immaculate as on the day it was completed back in 1945, with its squadron letters outlined in yellow which, after D-Day in June 1944 distinguished squadrons from 5 Group, Bomber Command, the years have rolled back for NX 622.

See for yourself the most famous Allied bomber of the Second World War, the Avro Lancaster, and discover more about its history at the RAAFA Aviation Heritage Museum! 

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: Heavy bomber

Maiden flight: January 1941

Primary users: RAF

Manufacturer: A.V. Roe and sons

Number Built: 7,377

Civil Registration:

Length: 21.18 m (69 ft 5 in)

Height: 5.97 m (19 ft 7 in)

Wingspan: 31.09 m (102 ft)

Powerplant: Rolls-Royce Merlin XX V12 engines, 1,280 hp (954 kW) each

Empty Weight: 16,705 kg (36 828 lb)

Loaded Weight: 29,000 kg (63,000 lb)

Maximum Speed: 240 knots (450 km/h, 280 mph) at 5,600 m (15,000 ft)

Range: 2,300 nm (4,300 km, 2,700 mi) with minimal bomb load

Service Ceiling: 8,160 m (23,500 ft)

Power/mass ratio: 130 W/kg (0.081 hp/lb)

Bell UH-1H Iroquois (Huey)

Aircraft description

This particular aircraft, A2-296 was delivered to the RAAF in November 1973 and allocated to the 35 Squadron at Townsville, Queensland. Later it served with 5 Squadron at RAAF Fairbairn Canberra.

The aircraft was transferred to the Army Aviation Corps in January 1990, where it served with 171 Squadron, 1st Aviation Regiment at Oakley Queensland.

The craft was then allocated and flown to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) at Edinburgh AFB, South Australia in August 2007. Its last flight was from Edinburgh to Archerfield, Brisbane on the 12th of December 2007.

Finally, it was inhibited and placed into storage at Meeandah, Queensland, before being allocated to the RAAFA Aviation Heritage Museum at Bull Creek Western Australia in 2012. The aircraft arrived at the Museum on 29 July 2014, you can view it today in the Southern Hangar of the museum near the entrance.

Identical twin RAAF engineers WGCDR Peter West RAAF Ret’d and SQNLDR Paul Falconer-West RAAF Ret’d have a unique relationship with the Aviation Heritage Museum. The Iroquois helicopter (Peter’s) and the Macchi jet trainer (Paul’s see the Macchi description) resulted from their roles at Oakey and RAAF Base Pearce (Peter had been a senior RAAF engineer at 2FTS 1981-1982).

Iroquois Disposal Program – Army Aviation Systems Programme Office (AASPO) located in Oakey, QLD. Peter was the Manager Support Aircraft Management Unit ( Mgr SAMU).

Army Aviation operated 25 x UH1-H Iroquois helicopters. When Peter assumed the position of Mgr SAMU in Nov 2003, the withdrawal date had been set for 2004. However, it was deferred to 2012 due to issues with the introduction of other Army helicopters.

Peter was appointed as Chairman of the Iroquois Aircraft Disposal Committee due to his role as Logistics Manager of support helicopters. This committee developed the Iroquois Disposal Plan to retire the aircraft and dispose of all the surplus aircraft spares.

Expressions of Interest were advertised across Australia for these aircraft. AASPO received in excess of 130 bids ranging from single aircraft up to multiples between 3 and 8. Private collectors, museums and commercial operators were amongst the numerous bidders as well as the Army’s aviation elements.

Under the American International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR) any American military surplus equipment cannot be transferred from the Commonwealth to other owners without US State Department approval. In essence, transfer of ownership is acceptable between Commonwealth entities, both active and inactive and commercial operators providing aerial services under government contracts. Transfer to non -Commonwealth owners requires specific submissions to the US State Department.

The Disposal Committee collated a list of prospective bidders that were acceptable under ITARs and submitted this list to Army Headquarters for a decision on aircraft allocations. Peter was invited to join the Iroquois Selection Working Group which convened in Canberra.

The Working Group received Army Headquarters selection guidelines and priorities. The final selections were presented to Army Office for approval. The tail numbers of particular aircraft had not been requested by the prospective bidders. Allocations of aircraft were made in numerical order against the final approved list. The Aviation Heritage Museum was a successful recipient.

Since the aircraft did not leave Commonwealth control, Army Office was only required to inform the US State Department of the relocation of each aircraft. Consequently, a programme of aircraft delivery to the successful bidders was arranged by AASPO.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type:

Maiden flight:

Primary users:

Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron (USA)

Number Built:

Civil Registration:

Length: 17.398m (57ft)

Height: 4.39522m (14ft)

Rotor Diameter: 14.6304m (48ft)

Powerplant: Lycoming T53-L-13 engine

Empty Weight: 2365.52kg (5,215lbs)

Loaded Weight: 4100.54kg (9,040lbs)

Maximum Speed: 217.215km/h

Range: 506.835km (315miles)

Service Ceiling:

Power/mass ratio:

Canberra

Aircraft description

The Aviation Heritage Museum is home to a Mk20 Canberra, serial number A84-230. This aircraft was built at Fishermen’s Bend, Victoria, under license by the Government Aircraft Factory (GAF) in 1955 and began service with the RAAF on 12th March 1957.

This Mk20 Canberra saw active military duty in Malaya with No. 2 Squadron and was deployed to Vietnam on April 19th 1967. It returned to Amberley Air Force Base on February 26th 1971, where it then served as a photo reconnaissance aircraft until being retired. The aircraft was donated to the Museum on December 17th 1983 by the Australian Government.

The Canberra’s development was the result of a 1944 RAF requirement for a jet bomber to fulfil the role of the wartime de Havilland Mosquito.

A British tradition existed of naming its bomber aircraft after cities (such as Lancaster and Stirling). The RAAF showed an early interest in the aircraft, which led the chairman of English Electric, Sir George Nelson, proposing the name “Canberra” for the new bomber.

The Australia version, the Canberra B.20, was manufactured under license by the Government Aircraft Factory (GAF). It was based on the production model, but possessed a modified wing leading edge, and increased fuel capacity.

Next to the RAF, the largest user of the Canberra was the USAF, where a license-built version of the Canberra was developed. Operational Service RAAF Canberras in the Vietnam war served beside the US version, the Martin B-57, which proved equally suited to the operational conditions.

Discover more about this aircraft, it’s comparisons to the Mosquito, how it was used by the RAAF and other countries and life after war-service on your visit to the Aviation Heritage Museum.

No 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, deployed from Butterworth, Malaysia to Phan Rang air base, 35 kilometres south of Cam Ranh Bay, a large USAF base in the far east of South Vietnam, on 19 April 1967. 2 Squadron ‘Magpies’ were part of the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing and were tasked by HQ 7th Air Force in Saigon, for eight sorties per day for seven days a week, in all areas of South Vietnam from 23 April 1967 until return to Australia in 1971. The Americans referred to the Canberra bombers as B57’s.

Flying about 5% of the Wing’s sorties, 2 Squadron was credited with 16% of the bomb damage assessment.

Initially, bombs released were ex-WII war stocks. Typical aircraft loads varied from 10 x 500lb bombs to 6 x 1000 lb bombs. All the war stocks were exhausted in 15 months and 2 Squadron changed over to the USAF M117 bombs; 4 in the bomb bay and two on the wing tips. More reliable fuses in these bombs resulted in few of the problems experienced with the earlier British designed bombs.

2 Squadron aircraft serviceability was high. Eight aircraft were kept on-line and maintenance personnel worked 2 x 12 hour shifts to meet the daily tasking rate of eight sorties. The Squadron achieved a 97% serviceability rate.

The last Canberra mission in Vietnam was 31 May 1971 and was tasked in support of the US 101st Airborne Division in the A Shau Valley, an area frequented by the squadron many times over the last two years. 2 Squadron released a total of 76389 bombs in its time in Vietnam.

The squadron departed Phan Rang on 4 June 1971, arriving back in Amberley on 5 June, 13 years since it deployed to Malaya in 1958.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: 3 seat bomber aircraft, also used for photo reconnaissance

Maiden flight: 13 May 1949

Primary users: Royal Air Force, Argentine Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Indian Air Force, United States Air Force

Manufacturer: English Electric (original), RAAF aircraft by Govt Aircraft Factory (Aust – under license)

Number Built: 1,352 (901 UK, 48 Australia, 403 USA)

Civil Registration:

Length: 19.96 m (65 ft 6 in)

Height: 4.77 m (15 ft 8 in)

Wingspan: 19.51 m (64 ft 0 in)

Powerplant: 2, Rolls-Royce Avon R.A.7 Mk.109 turbojets, 7,400 lbf (36 kN) each

Empty Weight: 9,820 kg (21,650 lb)

Maximum Take-off: 25,000 kg (55,000 lb)

Maximum Speed: 933 km/h (580 mph) at 12,192 m (40,000 ft)

Range: combat radius 1,300 km (700 nm, 810 mi)

Ferry range: 5,440 km (2,940 nm, 3,380 mi)

Service Ceiling: 15,000 m (48,000 ft)

Power/mass ratio:

Catalina

Aircraft description

The Consolidated Catalina was designed around the concept of a “Maritime Patrol Bomber”, with a long range enabling it to harass enemy shipping, particularly in the Pacific. It was a response to a US Navy requirement, winning a competition against a similar Douglas design, mainly on the basis of lower cost.

In World War II, Catalinas operated not only over the Pacific, but also the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Their duties in the Atlantic theatre were mainly convoy escort, where their long endurance saw them given the role on the dangerous route to Murmansk in Russia.

The RAAF used Catalinas in a wide range of roles including reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols, offensive mine-laying and air-sea rescue. In addition, Catalina aircraft were used to transport Australian personnel back to Australia at the end of the war.

The RAAF also occasionally used Catalinas to mount nuisance night bombing raids on Japanese bases, including the major base at Rabaul, New Guinea.

The RAAF retired its last Catalina in 1952.

During World War II, Catalinas provided a crucial air link between Australia and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), and so Europe. Carrying additional fuel tanks and stripped of unnecessary weight, Catalinas operated by Qantas flew the route from Perth to Colombo, operating the world’s longest regular non-stop service. These missions were flown in complete radio silence and without any radio navigation aids.

Can you imagine making this flight in a Catalina? See one for yourself and gain an understanding of what this trip would have been like in the 1940s at the Aviation Heritage Museum.

View the fascinating and detailed history of this popular aircraft at its display in the Museum. Here you can discover more regarding their role and successes in the Pacific during WWII, post-war uses of the aircraft and the Catalinas local operating history in Perth.

As far as America was concerned, a Catalina was a PBY. PB was US Navy-speak for Patrol Bomber. The Navy had a single letter designation for each manufacturer who supplied things like aircraft and Y was the letter for the Consolidated Aircraft Company so PBY meant a Patrol Bomber built by Consolidated.

QANTAS Pilot Russell Tapp, who’d been appointed the Senior Route Captain, First Officer and Navigator Rex Senior with Engineer Frank Furniss and Radio Operator Glen Mumford did the first scheduled service on the 29th and took an RAF crew back to Ceylon with them. 28 hours and 10 minutes later, they moored at the RAF terminal at Lake Koggala. Experience showed 99 knots or 183 kilometres an hour was the most economical cruising speed with the engines being adjusted as weight burned off to have a constant burn of 22 gallons or 100 litres an hour. 28 hours was the average length of the flight. The shortest was 27 hours and the longest was 32 – a long time to be jammed in a tight and noisy space wondering if a stray Jap might shoot you down. That’s why the service was called ‘Double Sunrise’. You always saw the sun rise twice on each flight and Fysh drafted a certificate which was given to passengers who used it although they couldn’t show it to anybody because it was a secret. The flights were timed to pass through Japanese-patrolled areas during darkness so they wouldn’t be seen but propaganda broadcasts soon let the crews know the enemy was aware something was going on.Because they were officially airline flights, they had no weapons but they were carrying military despatches so if they’d been forced down, the crews would probably have been executed as gun-runners and spies.

The Perth to Ceylon section of 3 580 nautical miles or 6630 kilometres established a world record for the longest-duration scheduled airline service ever.

But, of course, it wasn’t really a passenger service. The real business was 51,600 kilograms of microfilmed mail and 6,728 kilograms of freight with a total distance traveled of 956,630 miles or 1,539,546 kilometres.

The QANTAS aircraft were handed back to No. 300 Wing Transport Command of the RAF who had 4 of them towed off Rottnest Island and machine-gunned. The fifth, for some reason, was flown to Sydney then towed out through the Heads and sunk in the ocean. They were well past being worth returning under the conditions of the Lend Lease Act.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: Maritime Patrol Flying Boat

Maiden flight: March 28, 1935

Primary users: US Navy, USAAF, RAF, RCAF, RAAF

Manufacturer: Consolidated Aircraft

Number Built: 4051

Civil Registration:

Length: 19.46 m (63 ft 10 in)

Height: 6.16 m (21 ft 1 in)

Wingspan: 31.7 m (104 ft)

Powerplant: Two 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & WhitneyR-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial engines

Empty Weight: 9485 kg (20910 lb)

Loaded Weight: 16066 kg (35420 lb)

Maximum Speed: 314 km/h (196 mph)

Range: 4030 km (2520 mi)

Service Ceiling: 4000 m (15800 ft)

Power/mass ratio:

Dakota C47

Aircraft description

The Dakota was descended from the early DC-1, DC-2 and DC-3 series of Douglas transport aircraft.

Over 400 DC-3s were ordered by US airlines before World War II. When the war arrived, it was logical for it to form the backbone of the USAAF Air Transport Command.

In RAF wartime service, it was named the Dakota, a name which has prevailed in common usage over the US name, “Skytrain”. The RAAF took delivery of its first Dakotas in February 1943 (in all about 124 were procured), and the RCAF also flew them.

The Dakota served in all theatres of World War II, notably flying supplies to from India to China over the mountains, known as “The Hump”, and ferrying paratroops to Europe as part of the 1944 D-day landings.

Post war, the surviving Dakotas became available to civilian operators at very low prices.

DC-3s remain in service, generally in limited forms of operation (for example, special joy flights), to this day.

Dakotas remained in military service for many years. The RAAF found many uses for the aging but versatile Dakota and did not retire its last until March 1999. The CSIRO made good use of the aircraft in its research work, in studies such as the use of cloud seeding for rainmaking and laser mapping of coastal water depths.

During the Vietnam war, re-engineered versions of the aircraft were used not only as a transport, but also as an electronic countermeasures aircraft and an airborne machine gun post. In both of these applications, its robustness and slow speeds gave it advantages over more modern aircraft.

The Dakota on display in the Museum is a C-47B, serial number A65-124. It was the last Dakota received by the RAAF, commencing in 1945. Since then, it has served in Papua New Guinea, Korea, Malaysia and Australia – including a 5-year stint patrolling the North West Coast of WA. The Museum took delivery of the aircraft on June 7th, 1981.

Experience for yourself the history of the Dakota aircraft and learn about the various models engineered over time for different uses, its history in war and as a passenger aircraft.

As well as being a transport aircraft, the RAAF C-47s were used for annual calibration of navigation aids around Australia.

52 years ago when some 40% of the RAAF’s operational capability was in South East Asia, mostly in Malaysia and Vietnam. The RAAF was in Butterworth, Malaysia, as part of FEAF, the Far East Air Force. It included RNZAF aircraft and a significant RAF presence, with Lightning fighters in Singapore, and various transports and SAR helicopters in Singapore, Butterworth and the Malay peninsular. RAAF C-130s were frequent visitors, along with RAF Vulcans and other combat aircraft. TSF was part of this large and busy air force world -albeit a small part that seldom rates more than a brief mention in official histories and is all but forgotten by most Butterworth veterans.

The TSF’s main roles were to provide VIP services to Australian Diplomats and visiting firemen, and the more mundane RAAF support tasks that took up most of its time. There were six C-47 Dakota aircraft and four crews for those roles. An aircraft fitted out with airline seats was used for VIPs – the others were basic transports. So as the name suggests, it flew transport support to Australian military and government units in the region. Most of the RAAF tasking was within the Malay Peninsula and to and from Singapore and Vietnam. As part of the Integrated Air Defence System (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore) the RAAF was required to have six Mirage Fighters deployed at the RSAF base Tengah in Singapore. Nos 3 and 75 Squadrons took in turns to provide those Mirages. An engineering maintenance team of 30 technicians and an engineering officer were required to man those deployments. TSF provided the 2 hour flights to and from both bases.

TSF had started life as C Flight, No 2 Squadron, following the basing of its Canberra bombers in Butterworth in 1958. When 2 Squadron Canberras went to Vietnam in 1967, C Flight was made into a separate unit and renamed Transport Support Flight.

In World War II about 2,000 C-47s (received under Lend-Lease) in British and Commonwealth service took the name “Dakota”, possibly inspired by the acronym “DACoTA” for Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: Military transport (C47) or commercial transport (DC3)

Maiden flight: DC 1 (forerunner to development of C47) 1st July 1933

Primary users: United States Army Air Force, US Air Force, RAF, RAAF and many other air forces and airlines.

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company

Number Built: US Manufacture 10,655 + Soviet (Li-2) 4,937 + Japanese (L2D) 487 = Total 16,079

Civil Registration:

Length: 19.43 m (63 ft 9 in)

Height: 5.18 m (17 ft 0 in)

Wingspan: 29.11 m (95 ft 6 in)

Powerplant: 2, Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C “Twin Wasp” 14-cylinder radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each

Empty Weight: 8040 kg (17,720 lb)

Loaded Weight: 12,200 kg (26,900 lb)

Maximum Speed: 360 km/h (195 knots, 224 mph)

Range: 2,600 km (1,400 nm, 1,600 mi)

Service Ceiling: 8,050 m (26,400 ft)

Power/mass ratio:

MB-326H (The Macchi)

Aircraft description

The MB-326 was developed to satisfy an AMI (Italian Air Force) requirement, winning a contest against the Fiat G-80 to become their standard jet trainer. From the outset, it was designed to be simple, light and robust, the prototype achieving fair performance from its Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojet, initially of only 1,750 lb thrust.

The RAAF version was the MB-326H, essentially an Italian MB-326G with upgraded avionics. Only 12 were fully built by Aermacchi, another 18 delivered as kits and a further 67 built by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation.

The Macchi in the museum was previously based at Pearce, with No. 25 (City of Perth) Squadron. When plans commenced to replace the Macchi as the RAAF’s jet trainer, the museum asked for a donation of one for display and the aircraft was delivered on June 15, 2002.

Three retired Macchis(A7-027, A7-041 and A7-066) had been allocated to RAAF Base Pearce for ground based roles.
Museum curator Al Clarke, also a Flight Lieutenant in No 7 Wing Australian Air Force Cadets, used his service connections to discuss the permanent loan of a No 25 (City of Perth) Squadron Macchi with SQNLDR Paul Falconer-West, the Senior Engineering Officer at No 25 (City of Perth) Squadron, Active Reserve. Paul was also the Air Force Liaison Officer for 7WGAAFC. They organised the permanent loan of this Macchi to the AHM in June 2002. This one is actually A7-066, painted as A7-025 and was used as a recruiting aid for Air Force Reservists (whilst at 2FTS Macchi aircraft A7-025 had handling problems after its refurbishment in 1982. As a senior engineer at 2FTS, WGCDR Peter West, RAAF Ret’d and twin brother to museum volunteer SQNLDR Paul Falconer-West RAAF Ret’d, did test flights at 2FTS in it to work out how to improve its stalling characteristics.)

The Macchi was disassembled at RAAF Base Pearce and moved by low loaders to the museum.

The side of the northern hangar was removed so that the fuselage, wings and tail assembly could be moved into the museum.

There the Macchi was re-assembled and is the shiniest aircraft on display.

In the RAAF Pearce Paint Shop the 25SQN painters (SGT Tom Bradley, CPL Ian Burgoyne, LAC Vince Pedulla & LAC Scott Miles) suggested that as the Macchi was to be a static display a two pack epoxy paint would be better than aircraft operational paint. That has provided a glossy finish which is easier to clean.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: Two-seat basic trainer

Maiden Flight: December 10, 1957

Primary users: Italian, Brazilian, Australian and South African air forces all operated about 100 or more each

Manufacturer: Aermacchi

Number Built:

Civil Registration:

Length: 10.65 m (34 ft 11 in)

Height: 3.72 m (12 ft 2½ in)

Wingspan: 10.56 m (34 ft 8 in)

Powerplant: Bristol Siddeley / Rolls Royce Viper Mk.11 turbojet, 11.1 kN (2,500 lbf)

Empty Weight: 2,237 kg (4,930 lb)

Loaded Weight: 3,765 kg (8,300 lb)

Maximum Speed: 806 km/h (436 knots, 501 mph) at 4,575m (15,000 ft)

Range: 1,665 km (900 nautical mile, 1,035 miles)

Service Ceiling: 12,500 m (41,000 ft)

Power/mass ratio:

Supermarine Spitfire

Aircraft description

The Museum is home to an original Spitfire, as well as a replica. The original, a Mark 22, PK481, is to be found in our North Wing. It entered service with the RAF on September 3, 1945, and served with several squadrons including 611 before being withdrawn from service in 1953.

A major feature of the Spitfire, is its elliptical-planform wing. Such a wing was known to minimise induced drag and had previously been used for some German Junkers designs. However, there may have been more a pragmatic reason behind the choice, namely the length of the new wing-mounted machine guns: it is reputed that at one stage the designer said, “I don’t care what shape the wing is, as long as it covers the guns!”.

The construction of the Spitfire, all-metal with a complex wing spar structure, was novel, so that it was some time before the first production models appeared. It was not until June 1938 that they began to flow to the RAF, when 19 Squadron received their first deliveries.

The construction of the Spitfire, all-metal with a complex wing spar structure, was novel, so that it was some time before the first production models appeared. It was not until June 1938 that they began to flow to the RAF, when 19 Squadron received their first deliveries.

The Seafire was the Royal Navy’s version, the first versions being basically a Spitfire with a tail hook; the wings were initially not foldable, so the early Seafires remained on deck in all weathers. This was corrected in the Seafire Mark III of 1943, over 1,200 of these being built.

For service in the African and Asian theatres, Spitfires needed additional oil cooling, so “tropicalised” versions can be identified in photographs by a projecting “chin” holding the oil cooler.

With the advent of the RAF’s new jet fighters, the Spitfire became obsolete. However, it saw post-war service with many other air arms, being progressively retired through the 1950s.

Spitfires last saw combat during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, when, in a strange twist, Israeli Air Force Spitfires fought against Egyptian and Royal Air Force Spitfires.

The Mk 22 was used by only one regular RAF unit, 73 Squadron based on Malta. 12 squadrons, however, of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force used the variant and continued to do so until March 1951.

The Mk 22 was also used at Flying refresher schools. In May 1955 the remaining F.22s were declared obsolete for all RAF purposes and many were sold back to Vickers-Armstrongs for refurbishment and were then sold to the Southern Rhodesian, Egyptian and Syrian Air Forces.

Although RAAF pilots only flew Spitfires from Mk 1 to Mk VXI, this Mk 22 was the only one available in 1959 for purchase through the RAF Association.

Discover more about the original Spitfire on display’s life after the war, the origins of these aircraft and story during World War II as a highlight of your Museum visit.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: Single seat fighter

Maiden Flight: 5th March, 1936

Primary users: RAF

Manufacturer: Vickers Armstrong

Number Built: 20,351

Civil Registration:

General characteristics
Mark
I
V
IX
XIV
24
Length
29 ft 9 in (9.10m)
29ft 11in (9.12m)
30 ft 0 in (9.14m)
32 ft 8 in (9.96m)
32 ft 11 in (10.04m)
Height
8 ft 10 in (2.69m)
11ft 5 in (3.50m)
12 ft 8 in (3.86m)
13 ft 6 in (4.11m)
Wingspan
36 ft 10 in (11.23m)
36 ft 10 in (11.23m)
36 ft 10 in (11.23m)
36 ft 10 in (11.23m)
36 ft 11 in (11.25m)
Powerplant
Rolls-Royce MerlinII, 1, 224 hp at 12,250 ft (kW at m)
Rolls-Royce Merlin 45, 14,470 hp at 9,250 ft (1,096 kW at 2,820m)
Rolls-Royce Merlin 70, 1,655 hp at 10,000 ft (1,096 kW at 2,820m)
Rolls-Royce Griffon 65, 2,035 hp at 7,000 ft
Rolls-Royce Griffon 61, 2,375 hp at 1,250 ft
Weight
empty 4,482 lb (kg), loaded 5,819 lb (kg)
empty 5,033 lb (kg), loaded 6,954 lb (kg)
empty 5,749 lb (kg), loaded 7,480 lb (kg)
empty 6,510 lb (kg), loaded 8,600 lb (kg)
empty 7,160 lb (kg), loaded 9,900 lb (kg)
Performance
Mark
I
V
IX
XIV
24
Maximum speed
361 mph (581 km/h)
374 mph (602 km.h)
415 mph (668 km/h)
439 mph (707 km/h)
450 mph (724 km/h)
Range
395 mi (635 km)
470 mi (760 km)
434 mi (700 km)
525 mi (860 km)
580 mmi (930 km)
Service ceiling
31,900 ft (9,700 m)
36,400 ft (11,100 m)
41,000 ft (12,500 m)
43,000 ft (13,100 m)
43,000 ft (13,100 m)
Rate of climb
2,530 ft/min (12.8 m/s)
2,900 ft/min (13.5 m/s)
4,530 ft/min (23 m/s)
4,700 ft/min (23.9 m/s)
4,900 ft/min (24.9 m/s)
Armament
Mark
I
V
IX
XIV
24
Guns
8, 0.303 in Browning machine guns
2, 20 mm Hispano cannon and 4, 0303 inch Browning machine guns (“B wing”)
2, 20 mm Hispano cannon and 4, 0.303 inch Browning machine guns
2, 20 mm Hispano cannon and 2, 0.5 inch Browning machine guns
4, 20 mm Hispano cannon

H82A Tiger Moth

Aircraft description

By the start of World War II, the RAF was operating about 500 Tiger Moths. This number increased rapidly with the addition of civilian aircraft and increased manufacture. Over 7,000 were built in Britain, 1523 in Canada as the DH 82C and a further 200 for the USAAF as the PT-24. Other countries, including Australia, also manufactured Tiger Moths under licence.

The Canadian Tiger Moths were modified to suit a colder climate, particularly with an enclosed, sliding canopy, and some versions using ski or float landing gear.

A post-war conversion, the Thruxton Jackaroo, possessed a widened and enclosed cabin for four occupants. Post-war War-surplus Tiger Moths were widely used in the late 1940s and 1950s for pilot training by flying clubs, not only in Britain but also Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They also were used as agricultural aircraft; the front seat being replaced by a hopper containing a chemical spray mixture or dry superphosphate fertiliser. The Tiger Moth served well in these roles, only being phased out in the early 1960s.

Surviving Tiger Moths remain in use by many private pilots, their aerobatic capabilities, ease of handling and open cockpits making them widely popular.

The aircraft on display at the museum originally bore the RAAF serial number A17-161. It was built in NSW and entered service with the RAAF in October 22th, 1940 after finishing its service at No 9 Elementary Flying Training School at RAAF Cunderdin in Western Australia. After the war, it was used by Farmair Pty Ltd as a crop sprayer, until replaced in 1965. The aircraft is on indefinite loan from Channel 7 and arrived at the museum in 1984.

The first overseas de Havilland company was established in Australia in Melbourne, Victoria during 1927, followed by a move in 1931 to Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney, New South Wales. The name of this company was de Havilland Aircraft (DHA) Pty Ltd. In 1939 DHA began its greatest run of aircraft—the DH82A Tiger Moth. Of the 1085 made, 885 were allocated to the RAAF, primarily to equip the 12 Elementary Flying Training Schools (EFTSs) which had been established as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme. 37738 pilots, navigators and wireless-air-gunners passed through these EFTSs. The remaining DHA produced Tiger Moths were allocated to New Zealand, India, Burma, Netherlands East Indies, Southern Rhodesia, South Africa and the United States Army Air Force.

On 26 October 2001, it was the Tiger Moth’s 70th anniversary. Members of the RAAFA Estate who had flown A17-161 assembled in the northern hangar for a photo shoot.

The late museum volunteer FLGOFF Lyall Bell had flown this Tiger Moth at No 9 Elementary Flying Training School, RAAF Cunderdin, WA.

Volunteers and friends gathered at the RAAFA Aviation Heritage Museum (northern hangar between the Lancaster and the Tiger Moth A17-161) to farewell Lyall Bell at 1530hrs on 29 May 2014.

Lyall was one the last of the very few WWII pilots still with us. He spent 4 years in uniform instructing on Tiger Moths, Avro Cadets, Beaufighters, Oxfords, Ansons, and finally De Havilland DH98 Mosquitos.

His infamous claim to fame was on almost his last flight when he flew his 94SQN RAAF Mosquito, in formation with his flight commander, under Sydney Harbour Bridge on Victory over Japan Day, 15 August 1945 (See the print on the western wall of the northern hangar).

Some short speeches with a slide show of his Air Force Career provided an appropriate appreciation of a great pilot, friend and museum guide.

No 2 Flying Training School from RAAF Pearce put on a 4 x Pilatus PC-9 fly past – thanks to his Grandson, serving pilot Squadron Leader Kishaan Wright.

View this exciting aircraft and discover more on the development of the Tiger Moth and modifications to the original design on your next visit.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: Two-seat trainer

Maiden Flight: 26th October 1931

Primary users: Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, plus numerous others, military & civil

Manufacturer: de Havilland Aircraft Company

Number Built: In excess of 8,000

Civil Registration:

Length: 7.34 m (23 ft 11 in)

Height: 2.68 m (8 ft 9 in)

Wingspan: 8.94 m (29 ft 4 in)

Powerplant: de Havilland Gipsy Major I inverted 4-cylinder inline, 130 hp (100 kW)

Empty Weight: 506 kg (1,115 lb)

Maximum Weight: 828 kg (1,825 lb)

Maximum Speed: 175 km/h at 300 m (109 mph at 1,000 ft)

Range: 486 km (302 miles)

Service Ceiling: 4,145 m (3,600 ft)

Power/mass ratio:

Vampire

Aircraft description

The Vampire was the second jet aircraft to enter RAF service, just one month before the end of World War II in Europe, and as a result did not see active service at the time. After the war, it was used for a number of development and demonstration projects, becoming the first jet aircraft to make a landing on and take-off from an aircraft carrier.

The Vampire saw its first active service in Malaya, being used against insurgents in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was also used in the Rhodesian (Zimbabwe) civil war of 1979.

The Vampire in the Museum is an Australian-built T35A trainer version, construction number 4101, in RAAF service as A79-821. It was donated to the Museum on 28 May 1970 so that today, you can view this striking craft, located in the North Hanger.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: Two-seat fighter-bomber and advanced trainer

Maiden Flight: 20 September 1943

Primary users: AF (about 1900 fighter version, 731 trainer version), Fleet Air Arm (about 90),

RAAF and RAN, (109 fighter version, 109 trainer version), Switzerland (310), numerous other countries including France (250), Italy (over 100), RNZAF (25)

Manufacturer: de Havilland

Number Built: 3,268 (de Havilland UK)

Civil Registration:

Length: 7.34 m (23 ft 11 in)

Height: 2.68 m (8 ft 9 in)

Wingspan: 8.94 m (29 ft 4 in)

Powerplant: de Havilland Gipsy Major I inverted 4-cylinder inline, 130 hp (100 kW)

Empty Weight: 506 kg (1,115 lb)

Maximum Weight: 828 kg (1,825 lb)

Maximum Speed: 175 km/h at 300 m (109 mph at 1,000 ft)

Range: 486 km (302 miles)

Service Ceiling: 4,145 m (3,600 ft)

Power/mass ratio:

General characteristics
FB6 Fighter bomber
T11 Trainer
Length
30 ft 9 in (9.37 m)
34 ft 5 in (10.5 m)
Height
8 ft 10 in (2.69 m)
6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Wingspan
38 ft (11.58 m)
38 ft (11.58 m)
Powerplant
de Havilland Goblin 3 centrifugal turbojet, 3,350 lbf (14.90 kN)
de Havilland Goblin 35 centrifugal turbojet, 3,500 lbf (15.56 kN)
Weight
empty 7,283 lb (3,304 kg), max takeoff 12,390 lb (5,620 kg)
empty 7,380 lb (3,350 kg), maximum loaded 12,920 lb (5,860 kg)
Performance
FB6 Fighter bomber
T11 Trainer
Maximum speed
548 mph (882 km/h)
538 mph (866 km/h)
Range
1,220 mi (1,960 km)
853 mi (1374 km)
Service ceiling
42,800 ft (13,045 m)
Rate of climb
4,050 ft/min at sea level (206 m/s)
4,500 ft/min at sea level (22.9 m/s)
Armament
FB6 Fighter bomber
T11 Trainer
Cannon
Four 20 mm
Two 20 mm
Bomb load
2,000 lb

Wackett CA-6

Aircraft description

The Wackett was designed in response to a 1938 RAAF requirement for a trainer to supplement its existing fleet. The specification called for a low-winged monoplane with an enclosed cockpit (unlike the more commonly-used Tiger Moth).

Due to their higher performance and more sophisticated equipment (such as a constant-speed propeller), the Wacketts were used as intermediates between the Tiger Moth primary trainers and the Wirraway advanced trainers. Despite in-service problems with the supply of propellers and the development of cracks in the Super Scarab engines, they succeeded in that role until the end of the war.

After the end of World War II, some Wacketts were converted by Kingsford Smith Aviation for use as agricultural aircraft, as the KS-2 and KS-3 Cropmaster (the former with the hopper in the front-seat position, the latter with it aft). A further evolution was the Yeoman Cropmaster, which showed little outward resemblance to its wartime ancestor.

The museum’s Wackett was originally RAAF aircraft A3-31. It served with Number 3 Elementary Flying Training School from 13 February 1942. After the war, it was owned privately and retired in 1964.

It was the personal aircraft of Horrie Miller, one of Australia’s pioneer airmen and founder of MacRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA) which served Western Australia for 30 years before it was taken over by Ansett Airlines in the mid 1960’s. The aircraft was based in Brrome, before being transferred to the museum in 2002.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: Two-seat primary trainer

Maiden Flight: September 19, 1939

Primary users: RAAF

Manufacturer: Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation

Number Built: 200

Civil Registration:

Length: 7.92 m (26 ft 0 in)

Height: 3.0 m (9 ft 10 in)

Wingspan: 11.28 m (37 ft 0 in)

Powerplant: Warner Super Scarab radial, 175 hp (130 kW)

Empty Weight: 866 kg (1910 lb)

Maximum Weight: 1175 kg (2590 lb)

Maximum Speed: 185 km/h (115 mph)

Range: 684 km (425 mi)

Service Ceiling:

Power/mass ratio:

Wirraway CA-5

Aircraft description

While appearing similar to the US T-6 Texan, the Wirraway was actually based on its predecessor, the NA-16. The RAAF acquired a fixed-undercarriage and a retractable-undercarriage version of this type for testing, deciding on the latter.

Wirraways were mainly operated as advanced trainers during World War II, but in the early stages of the Pacific war, some saw action against Japanese fighters and bombers – with only a little success, and many losses.

The RAAF continued to use the Wirraway as a trainer after the war, the last not being retired until 1959. Civil use was more limited, the design not being readily adapted for other tasks. A brief trial for agricultural use showed that the design was not suited for this task, however did provide a basis for the modifications that were made in producing its successful derivative, the Ceres.

The museum’s Wirraway is a Mk III, with RAAF serial A20-688. It was built in 1944 and used by the RAAF in the Eastern States until 1956, when it was transferred to RAAF Pearce. In 1959 it was decided to dispose of the aircraft, and it was transferred to the care of the Western Australian Education Department to be used for training at Midland’s Technical school aviation annexe.

Following negotiations between the technical college and the RAAF Association it was decided that the Wirraway would be transferred to the RAAFA WA Aviation Heritage Museum collection, where you can view it today.

Technical information

Status: On display

Type: Two-seat advanced trainer and general purpose military aircraft

Maiden Flight: 27th March, 1939

Primary users: RAAF, RAN

Manufacturer: Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation

Number Built: 755

Civil Registration:

Length: 8.48 m (27 ft 10 in)

Height: 2.66 m (8 ft 9 in)

Wingspan: 13.11 m (43 ft 0 in)

Powerplant: Pratt and Whitney R-1340 Wasp radial engine, 600 hp (450 kW)

Empty Weight: 1810 kg (3992 lb)

Maximum Weight: 2990 kg (6595 lb)

Maximum Speed: 350 km/h (220 mph)

Range: 1200 km (720 mi)

Service Ceiling: 7000 m (23000 ft)

Power/mass ratio: