MUSTANGS IN AUSTRALIA - 1960sA selection of my photographs of fromer RAAF North American P-51Ds and Australian-built
Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Mustangs.
Refer to the Warbirds Directory on this site for the detailed histories of these aircraft
|CAC CA-18 Mustang Mk.21 A68-105 displayed
at the Fleet Wings motor garage
near Laverton RAAF base, January 1964.
It had been moved here by road from the RAAF storage base at Tocumwal NSW by garage owner Peter Frearson, who also
had a CAC Wirraway in the garden behind the business.
|A68-105 was acquired later that year by Dick
Hourigan, a founding member of the Moorabbin Air Museum. It was moved
Moorabbin Airport and parked beside the pine trees while waiting for the museum grounds to be be prepared. Following many
more moves, this Mustang is today flying in RAAF North African camouflage markings as "KH677 CV-P".
|CA-18 Mustang 21 A68-119 was acquired from
the scrap metal dealer smelting aircraft at the RAAF Tocumwal storage base
by Dr. Ralph Capponi of Melbourne. He managed to convince a reluctant DCA to approve a number of ferry flights, including
from Moorabbin to Perth when he took up a position with the RFDS in WA. When DCA said no more in 1966, it was parked
on the grass at Moorabbin until sold to Canadian Ed Fleming at Camden NSW who initially planned to resell it to USA.
|Instead, A68-119 was purchased by Langdon
Badger of Adelaide who mounted a successful legal challenge to DCA's restrictions
on civil Mustangs. He commissioned Ed Fleming's Skyservice Aviation at Camden to make it airworthy to DCA's satisfaction
including a second seat behind the pilot. Registered VH-IVI and painted all over tan, here is Langdon's triumphant arrival at
home base Parafield on 17 August 1969.
|Fawcett Aviation at Bankstown Airport, Sydney
had DCA approval to operate Mustangs strictly as target tugs and for other
military contracts. One of their spare aircraft was CA-18 Mk.22 PR version A68-187, seen at Bankstown in July 1967. This
was later temporarily fitted with a RR Dart turboprop before sale to USA where it today flies as a Reno air racer.
|Another CA-18 Mustang Mk.22 held by Fawcett
Aviation was A68-198, seen on the grass at Bankstown in January 1967. It
went on to an adventurous life, restored in USA as a warbird and air racer, flying in France and then back to the United States .
|Being assembled in a public park in the Melbourne
outer suburb Keilor in August 1967 was North American P-51D A68-679.
Pearce Dunn, who lived close to the park at the time, had acquired it dismantled in poor condition, dumped near Benalla.
|A year later, Pearce Dunn established Warbirds
Aviation Museum on the site of the wartime No.2 OTU at Mildura Airport.
Pearce rolled A68-679 and Wirraway A20-719 from the hangar at Mildura for my shot in November 1968. The Mustang was
a key display at his museum for ten years until sold to USA, where it still flies today as highly modified Reno racer Strega.
|In December 1966 these remains of P-51D A68-659
were found in a junk yard at Buronga, on the NSW side of the River Murray
from Mildura, along with wrecks of two yellow RAAF Avro Ansons. Pearce Dunn's offers were rejected by the elderly owner
who died several years later and the yard was cleared and all contents scrapped. This Mustang had been damaged in a forced
landing and sold by disposals at RAAF Mildura in 1947.
On a farm at Red Cliffs on the same day, the remains of P-51K A68-503 were found, but it had been reduced to a sorry collection
of battered sections of wing and fuselage, showing both RAAF Pacific blue/white roundels and USAAF stars.
|This is the incomplete airframe of CA-17
Mustang Mk.20 A68-71 used for many years as an instructional airframe at
Technical College Aeronautical Annexe near Perth Airport WA. It was later acquired by Derek Macphail as basis for a long-term
restoration project and moved from Perth to Victoria, where work continues.
|Those canvas covers certainly spoil a picture.
CA-18 Mustang Mk.21 A68-104 outside Adastra Aerial Surveys' hangar at Sydney
Airport in January 1964. Adastra's plans to use it for high altitude photography had been abandoned and it was sold to a private
owner. A68-104 flew out on 2 August 1964 on delivery, and was based on a farm at Jerilderie NSW. It later became VH-BOB.
|Fawcett Aviation's CA-17 Mustang Mk.20 VH-BOY
Yankee at Adelaide Airport in March
1966 while on an Army target towing
contract. A rearward-facing winch operator behind the pilot managed the mile-long target cable, using the wind-powered winch
on the fuselage side. Doug Fawcett also operated Illawarra Flying School at Bankstown, hence the slogan on the tail.
|Earlier in May 1963, VH-BOY was in the Fawcett
hangar at Bankstown, fitted with a experimental enlarged cockpit canopy.
My in-hangar photos in those days required a 20 second time-exposure with my simple fixed camera on a tripod.
|Fawcett Aviation's second target-tug Mustang
was VH-BOZ Zulu, a CA-18 Mustang
Mk.22 formerly RAAF A68-199. Here it
is seen at home base Bankstown in 1966 parked near the Fawcett hangar. Metallic with red trim.
|The Fawcett Aviation hangar at Bankstown
was always an interesting place during the 1960s. This CA-18 Mustang Mk.21
painted as VH-BOW, allocated for test flights 1961-1962 to evaluate its use for high-altitude photographic survey. After these
trials it was retired and the registration was not taken up. It was shipped to USA in 1968, where it flies as a warbird and racer.
Oates DFC painted his private CA-18 Mustang Mk.21 VH-AUB in this magnificent
red scheme. This colour
photo was taken by good friend Rod Adam in 1963 at Moorabbin. I was standing alongside him but my black & white shot
fails to show the aircraft to advantage. The dappled shadows from Moorabbin's much-lamented pine trees at the Civil Flying
Services hangar made photography tricky. Jack MacDonald's VH-FCB is parked behind.
|A year earlier in May 1962 I shot VH-AUB
in the same location, following maintenance at Brookes Aviation, which had
been taken over by racing car driver Bib Stillwell and was being reorganised as the highly successful Civil Flying Services.
|CA-18 Mustang Mk.22 VH-FCB was at Bankstown
on a wet day in May 1962. This regular airshow performer was sponsored
by Civil Flying Services, Moorabbin. It had been operated since 1960 by Jack MacDonald, a Brain & Brown Airfreighter DC-3
pilot, although VH-FCB remained registered in the name of its original civil owner F. Chris Braund, because among the DCA
restrictions placed on ex RAAF Mustangs was that they could not change civil ownership.
|VH-FCB on a visit to Adelaide Airport on
7 September 1963.
|A change of sponsors to Castrol engine oil
and Brolite paint saw VH-FCB repainted in this glorious red, white and black
Here it is at Parafield 31 March 1964, when Jack MacDonald was first across the finish line of the three-day R.M. Ansett Air Race
from Brisbane to Adelaide, followed 20 minutes later by Jack Masling in his Cessna 310 VH-AER. This photo was taken in the
lull before the following 145 aircraft began arriving to fly over the Tower as the official finishing line. A great aviation event.
|Jack MacDonald arrives at Swan Hill, Victoria
for an airshow in March 1965.
|Jack MacDonald in VH-FCB at Horsham, Victoria,
also in March 1965.
|My photo of a Cessna 182 at that Horsham
airshow, taken because of the previous US registration on the tail, happened
catch Jack in action. The appreciative crowd was behind to the right.
|Memorable sight and sound of VH-FCB's Packard
Merlin being given a power run on the brakes at Swan Hill.
|CA-18 Mustang Mk.21 VH-WAS of Wilmore Aviation
Services was previously RAAF A68-118. Its was retired at Bankstown
in August 1960 when a severe engine problem caused an emergency landing inbound from Adelaide, flown by veteran pilot
Joe Palmer. By July 1967 it was forlornly parked outside, natural metal finish with faded red paintwork. Ten years later it was
acquired by Jeff Trappett, moved to Morwell, Victoria for restoration as "A68-118 Eclat" and is still flying today.
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