The Royal Australian Air Force Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre in Queensland received two significant new exhibits during February, in the shape of Gloster Meteor F8 A77-878 and Douglas C-47 A65-86. Both aircraft had formerly been stored at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra, New South Wales.
First aircraft to complete the 700-mile trip up Australia’s east coast was the Meteor, which arrived at Amberley on 13 February. The fighter was originally delivered to the RAF as WK907 on 9 September 1952, but immediately went into storage with No 8 Maintenance Unit at Little Rissington. It was taken on charge by the RAAF in July the following year, and in June 1958 became an instructional airframe at RAAF Wagga, NSW.
From 1971-88 it was displayed on a pole at RAAF Villawood, NSW, but during removal the aircraft was seriously damaged when the wings were cut off just inboard of the engine nacelles. It arrived at Nowra in 2008 and was to spend nearly the next 10 years stored outside.
The C-47, meanwhile, departed Nowra on the evening of 9 February under police escort and arrived at Amberley on the evening of the 11th. A team from Amberley had prepared the transport for the move in October 2017, but due to the size of the load it was subject to various time constraints while transiting the Sydney area so the journey eventually took three days. The journey was a return home for A65-86, which entered service with No 35 Squadron at Amberley in April 1945. Withdrawn from RAAF service in December 1998, during its 53 years of operational use the ‘Dak’ also flew with the Central Flying School and the Aircraft Research and Development Unit. During November 1999 it was delivered to the Australian Navy Historic Flight at Nowra. The machine is due to be repainted in its 1945 camouflage scheme and is expected to be on display by late 2018.