Cockpit section

Images Gallery

QAM thanks Mark Pilkington for the donation of this exhibit.

Build date shown on data plate. The aircraft was allocated the registration VH-CEU and although this was not taken up, VH-CEU is stamped on the data plate.

Registered VH-WOT to Airland Improvements Pty. Ltd., Cootamundra, NSW.

First flown as a Ceres C

Change of ownership to Airland Pty. Ltd., Cootamundra, NSW.

Crashed on take-off at Muttama, NSW. Struck a windmill and water tower.

Struck off the Register as a result of the crash.

Wreck noted at Cootamundra.

The wreck of VH-WOT plus 2 other Ceres wrecks were recovered from Cootamundra by the Moorabbin Air Museum.

The damaged fuselage frame of VH-WOT from the firewall to aft of the cockpit was passed on to Monty Armstrong (Australian Aerospace Museum) at Essendon, Vic.

Acquired by Mark Pilkington from Monty Armstrong's Australian Aerospace Museum at Essendon Airport when he closed down and had to vacate storage areas. "The cockpit was going to be scrapped so I acquired it as a children's plaything for my four boys, who flew many missions in it. When I received it, it still had the stripped fuselage frame to the firewall location (effectively the Wirraway forward cockpit) where the main hopper was fitted, however this steel work was badly twisted and bent so I removed it back to the structure as it exists today. I obtained the windscreen, canopy and rear seat hatch from Paul Wheeler who is rebuilding a Wirraway project from a former NZ Ceres. I later learnt that this Ceres cockpit was originally recovered by the Moorabbin Air Museum when they recovered the remains of 3 Ceres as the basis of their own restoration. The MAMs aircraft flew with Airfarm Associates of New South Wales until it was all but destroyed in an accident. The remains of this aircraft and two others were recovered from Cootamundra airfield in NSW, and one aircraft restored from these remains over an eight year period. VH-WOT is restored to ground running condition and is on display in the MAM, a second cockpit (windscreen, instrument panel) display is also at Moorabbin."

Donated to QAM by Mark Pilkington.

Arrived at Caloundra by road.

This fuselage section carries three plates, the manufacturer's data plate and two modification record plates (see images above). The data plate carries the serial number 28-19 whilst the two modification record plates both carry the serial number 28-18. The existence of the number 28-18 on this fuselage section has led to the belief that it came from the Ceres prototype (28-1) which was rebuilt as 28-18 after a major accident. Given that the data plate also carries the matching registration VH-CEU, there can be little doubt that its real identity is 28-19. Although 28-19 was allocated the registration VH-CEU, this was never officially taken up and the aeroplane was first entered on the Register as VH-WOT. Given that the composite Ceres assembled by the Moorabbin Air Museum is marked as VH-WOT, QAM's fuselage section will be identified as VH-CEU to avoid further confusion.
Why this fuselage section should carry two different serial numbers is not known but it probably stems from the fact that 28-19 was actually the 18th Ceres assembled. After VH-CEA (28-1) was badly damaged in an accident in March 1961, the wreckage was remanufactured and given the new serial number 28-18 which, in the normal course of events, would have been allocated to the intended VH-CEU. In all probability, the construction of the 18th Ceres would have been well advanced when the damaged prototype rejoined the assembly line for remanufacture, taking up the new serial 28-18. Thus the 18th, 19th and 20th Ceres were renumbered 28-19, 28-20 & 28-21. It is known that the rebuilt prototype (now 28-18) flew again in August 1961. The data plate for 28-19 shows a build date of September 1961 so it is almost certain that both aircraft were on the assembly line at the same time. If the construction of the 18th Ceres was well advanced, it is likely that many components would have been stamped with its intended serial 28-18 before 28-1 rejoined the assembly line and took over the number 28-18. Whilst all existing plates should have been corrected with the new serial number, this may have been deemed impracticable or simply overlooked.
On 16 May 2007, Paul Wheeler advised that his project, which is now located in Queensland, is a composite of two Ceres:
msn 28-4 VH-CED/ZK-BPU
msn 28-9 VH-CEL/ZK-BZO
Therefore, the windscreen, canopy and rear hatch on the QAM fuselage section probably came from one or both of these aircraft.

Compiled by Ron Cuskelly
To view this page as it was designed please click HERE

Compiled By Ron Cuskelly


Original issue

Issue: 01

DATE: 21 MAY 07

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