RAAF Amberley Heritage Centre Open Day – November 2018

Here are some of the highlights of the November 18th, 2018 open day at the RAAF Base Amberley Heritage Centre in Queensland (near Brisbane). I got there early and waited outside by the base gate guardian, a General Dynamics F-111C (A8-138) strike aircraft that was in service at RAAF Amberley from 1973 to 2010 with both No. 1 and 6 Squadrons (it has the tail markings for both), clocking up 7,543.6 flying hours! By the time the base gates opened at 9am plenty of cars were lined up behind me!

RAAF Amberley gate guardian - General Dynamics F-111C (A8-138) strike aircraft
RAAF Amberley gate guardian – General Dynamics F-111C (A8-138) strike aircraft
Amberley gate guardian - General Dynamics F-111C (A8-138) strike aircraft with tail markings for No. 1 and 6 Squadrons
RAAF Amberley gate guardian – General Dynamics F-111C (A8-138) strike aircraft with tail markings for No. 1 and 6 Squadrons

As you enter the secondary base gates you pass another gate guardian, a GAF Canberra Mk.20 bomber but you cannot stop there. Once in the car park you are guided by RAAF personnel to the heritage centre which is about 300 metres on foot. From there you will be greeted by and meet plenty of knowledgeable volunteers who are former RAAF personnel.

The volunteers are a wealth of inside information on the history of the aircraft on display, plus they have plenty of interesting anecdotes to tell you of their own service. I found it well worth taking the time to talk to as many of them as possible!

Within the first hangar was a Pilatus PC-6 Porter (A14-704) light transport operated by Army Aviation, GAF Canberra Mk.20 (A84-242) bomber and a pair if helicopters – Bell 47G Sioux (A1-738 – the last delivered and apparently offered as a gift. The government couldn’t accept a gift, so were charged $1 to make it legit!) and Bell UH-1H Iroquois (A2-771 which served with No. 9 Squadron in South Vietnam from 1968 to 1971). Outside sits a de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (A4-246) STOL tactical transport and an earlier British built 1951 English Electric Canberra B.2 bomber later converted to a Mk.21 trainer (A84-125).

Army Aviation Pilatus PC-6 Porter RAAF Amberley
Army Aviation Pilatus PC-6 Porter
GAF Canberra Mk.20 (A84-242) bomber RAAF Amberley
GAF Canberra Mk.20 (A84-242) bomber
GAF Canberra Mk.20 (A84-242) bomber RAAF Amberley
GAF Canberra Mk.20 (A84-242) bomber
Bell 47G Sioux RAAF Amberley
Bell 47G Sioux
Bell UH-1H Iroquois Bell 47G Sioux RAAF Amberley
Bell UH-1H Iroquois and Bell 47G Sioux
RAAF Amberley Bell 47G Sioux
Bell 47G Sioux
Bell UH-1H Iroquois RAAF Amberley
Bell UH-1H Iroquois
RAAF Amberley de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (A4-246) STOL tactical transport a Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (A4-246) STOL tactical transport
de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (A4-246) STOL tactical transport a Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (A4-246) STOL tactical transport
RAAF Amberley British built 1951 English Electric Canberra B.2 bomber later converted to a Mk.21 trainer (A84-125)
British built 1951 English Electric Canberra B.2 bomber later converted to a Mk.21 trainer (A84-125)
DHC-4 Caribou and Canberra Mk.21 RAAF Amberley
DHC-4 Caribou and Canberra Mk.21
RAAF Amberley de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou
RAAF de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou
RAAF de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou
RAAF de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou
English Electric Canberra B.2 bomber later converted to a Mk.21 trainer (A84-125)
English Electric Canberra B.2 bomber later converted to a Mk.21 trainer (A84-125)
RAAF Amberley English Electric Canberra B.2 bomber later converted to a Mk.21 trainer (A84-125)
English Electric Canberra B.2 bomber later converted to a Mk.21 trainer (A84-125)

The next hangar was full of Cold War classics. A CAC CA-27 Sabre jet fighter (A94-962), Dassault Mirage IIIO interceptor, Aermacchi MB.326 (A7-407) jet trainer and General Dynamics RF-111C (A8-126) reconnaissance variant of the strike aircraft – one of four conversions, the type was in RAAF service from 1973 to 2010 and reportedly an excellent camera platform. Alongside these sits a mock-up replica Sopwith Camel and an F-111 crew capsule.

Cold War classics at RAAF Amberley Heritage Centre
Cold War classics at RAAF Amberley Heritage Centre
RAAF CAC CA-27 Sabre and Dassault Mirage IIIO RAAF Amberley
RAAF CAC CA-27 Sabre and Dassault Mirage IIIO

The CAC Sabre has an interesting back story. A94-962 has visible nose and canopy damage from striking a power line on a low-level training flight in 1971! Pilot Officer David Pietsch survived with a dented helmet – lucky for that armoured canopy windscreen! The aircraft later became a ground training aid for RAAF surface painters – you can still see previous markings including those for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) who received a donation of retired RAAF Sabre jets in 1973.

RAAF Amberley CAC CA-27 Sabre (A94-962)
RAAF CAC CA-27 Sabre (A94-962)
RAAF Amberley Whilst on a low level training exercise this CAC Sabre struck a power cable - slicing the air intake, damaging the canopy and the pilots helmet! Amazingly he survived and landed the aircraft but it was never repaired!
Whilst on a low level training exercise this CAC CA-27 Sabre (A94-962) struck a power cable – slicing the air intake, damaging the canopy and the pilots helmet! Amazingly he survived and landed the aircraft but it was never repaired back to flight!
RAAF Amberley The CAC Sabre was powered by a Rolls Royce Avon turbojet engine
The CAC Sabre was powered by a Rolls Royce Avon turbojet engine
No. 76 Squadron Dassault Mirage IIIO (A3-55)
No. 76 Squadron Dassault Mirage IIIO (A3-55)
No. 76 Squadron Dassault Mirage IIIO (A3-55)
No. 76 Squadron Dassault Mirage IIIO (A3-55)
RAAF Amberley No. 76 Squadron Dassault Mirage IIIO (A3-55)
No. 76 Squadron Dassault Mirage IIIO (A3-55)
No. 76 Squadron Dassault Mirage IIIO (A3-55) RAAF Amberley
No. 76 Squadron Dassault Mirage IIIO (A3-55)
RAAF Amberley Aermacchi MB.326
Aermacchi MB.326 (A7-407) “Macchi Jet” lead-in fighter trainer
Aermacchi MB.326 (A7-407) "Macchi Jet" lead-in fighter trainer RAAF Amberley
Aermacchi MB.326 (A7-407) “Macchi Jet” lead-in fighter trainer
RAAF Amberley General Dynamics RF-111C (A8-126) reconnaissance variant of the strike aircraft.
General Dynamics RF-111C (A8-126) reconnaissance variant of the strike aircraft
RF-111C RAAF Amberley
The avionics bays of the RF-111C. Years ago I got in trouble at the Avalon Air Show for attempting to take a photo like this!
RAAF Amberley The RF-111C reconnaissance cameras were fitted in the modified weapons bay
The RF-111C reconnaissance cameras were fitted in the modified weapons bay
RAAF Amberley RF-111C reconnaissance camera
RF-111C reconnaissance camera
RAAF Amberley General Dynamics RF-111C (A8-126) reconnaissance variant of the strike aircraft
General Dynamics RF-111C (A8-126) reconnaissance variant of the strike aircraft
General Dynamics RF-111C (A8-126) reconnaissance variant at RAAF Amberley
General Dynamics RF-111C (A8-126) reconnaissance variant at RAAF Amberley
RAAF Amberley RF-111C commemorative tail for RAAF F-111 operations from 1973 to 2010
RF-111C commemorative tail for RAAF F-111 operations from 1973 to 2010
RAAF Amberley Pratt & Whitney TF30 afterburning engines of the General Dynamics F-111C
Pratt & Whitney TF30 afterburning engines of the General Dynamics F-111C
RAAF Amberley General Dynamics F-111 crew cockpit capsule
General Dynamics F-111 crew cockpit capsule
Sopwith Camel mock-up RAAF Amberley
Australian Flying Corps Sopwith Camel mock-up replica

In the hangar opposite sits a 1944 RAAF CAC CA-19 Boomerang “Milingimbi Ghost” (A46-206), a 1943 USAAF Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786) attack bomber “The Hell ‘n Pelican II“, a 1950’s era RAAF CAC CA-25 Winjeel basic trainer and a 3/4 Spitfire kit aircraft. All of these hangar displays include various display items, including photos, engines parts, components, vehicles and more.

CAC CA-19 Boomerang fighter "Milingimbi Ghost" (A46-206) RAAF Amberley
1944 CAC CA-19 Boomerang fighter “Milingimbi Ghost” (A46-206)
CAC CA-19 Boomerang fighter
CAC CA-19 Boomerang fighter “Milingimbi Ghost” (A46-206)
CAC CA-19 Boomerang fighter
CAC CA-19 Boomerang fighter “Milingimbi Ghost” (A46-206)
CAC CA-19 Boomerang fighter
Great nose art! CAC CA-19 Boomerang fighter “Milingimbi Ghost” (A46-206)

CAC CA-19 BoomerangMilingimbi Ghost” (A46-206) served with RAAF No. 83 Squadron from 1944 to 1945. Restored by Sanders Aviation and Guido Zuccoli (he helped establish the warbird movement in Australia), it was a flying Warbird from 1990. Guido tragically died in an air accident flying a North American T-6 Harvard in 1997. His wife donated the Boomerang to the Army Aviation museum at Oakey in 2007 and as of this year it is now at Amberley.

RAAF Amberley 1944 CAC CA-19 Boomerang "Milingimbi Ghost" (A46-206)
1944 CAC CA-19 Boomerang “Milingimbi Ghost” (A46-206)
USAAF Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786) attack bomber
Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786) “The Hell ‘n Pelican II”

The 1943 USAAF Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786) “The Hell ‘n Pelican II” in USAAF 5th Air Force markings, was restored from airframes recovered by the RAAF in Papua New Guinea in 1984. This particular one force landed whilst low on fuel in 1944 – technically it belongs to the PNG government but will stay in Amberley until they build a covered museum. It was restored at RAAF Amberley from 1984 to 1996.

Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786)
Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786) “The Hell ‘n Pelican II”
Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786)
Heavy firepower! Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786) “The Hell ‘n Pelican II”
Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786)
Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786) “The Hell ‘n Pelican II” in profile
Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786) dorsal turret and ventral gun position RAAF Amberley
Douglas A-20G Havoc (42-86786) dorsal turret and ventral gun position
CAC CA-25 Winjeel basic trainer RAAF Amberley
CAC CA-25 Winjeel basic trainer
Mini Spitfire RAAF Amberley
Mini Spitfire

In addition to the various aircraft of the centre itself, were a number of visiting aircraft from the Archerfield based Warbird AviationYakovlev Yak-52 “Geisha Girl” painted like an Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi Zero, North American T-28D Trojan Huff ‘n’ Puff” and Aero L-39 Albatros. There were also aircraft from the local flying club.

Warbird Aviation - Yakovlev Yak-52 -
Warbird Aviation Yakovlev Yak-52 – “Geisha Girl” painted like an Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi Zero
Warbird Aviation Yakovlev Yak-52 -
Warbird Aviation Yakovlev Yak-52 – “Geisha Girl” painted like an Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi Zero
Warbird Aviation North American T-28D Trojan
Warbird Aviation North American T-28D Trojan “Huff ‘n’ Puff”
Warbird Aviation North American T-28D Trojan
Warbird Aviation North American T-28D Trojan “Huff ‘n’ Puff”
Warbird Aviation North American T-28D Trojan
Warbird Aviation North American T-28D Trojan “Huff ‘n’ Puff”
Warbird Aviation Aero L-39 Albatros RAAF Amberley
Warbird Aviation Aero L-39 Albatros

A very popular RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport from RAAF Amberley was also on display. This aircraft had a long line to go up into the cockpit. I have done that before so I just scouted around it and checked out the base airfield tug and firefighting vehicle out front.

RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
Lining up to go inside the RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF No. 36 Squadron Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at RAAF Amberley (November 2018)
RAAF firefighting vehicle at RAAF Amberley
RAAF firefighting vehicle at RAAF Amberley
RAAF No. 36 Squadron aircraft tug vehicle at RAAF Amberley
RAAF No. 36 Squadron aircraft tug vehicle at RAAF Amberley

There was plenty to see, plus food and music entertainment. All in all a great day out!

9 thoughts on “RAAF Amberley Heritage Centre Open Day – November 2018

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