GRUMMAN S-2A TRACKER 133160 C/N 131

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QAM thanks David Bussey for funding the acquisition of this aircraft.

Accepted by USN as model S2F-1 Contract Number 51635.

Assigned Quonset Point.

Assigned VS22, Norfolk.

Assigned D & R BuAer FA, Norfolk.

Assigned Jacksonville.

Assigned NAS Nart, New York.

Assigned VS872, Alameda.

Assigned NARTU, Alameda.

Assigned to Storage Facility, Litchfield Park.

Purchase Order No. CG/82772 issued by the Australian Consulate General in New York authorises the following purchases:
One S-2 FOB Peconic, L.I., New York: $5,000.00 | One S-2A BUNO 133160 FOB San Diego, California: $15,000.00 | Preparation for single flight capability of Item 2: $3,500.00 | Ferry cost to San Diego of Item 2: $75.00 | Total: $23,575.00

Amendment Number One Purchase Order No CG/82772A adds the cost of shipping the two aircraft:
From Port of New York: $15,992.00 | From Port of San Diego: $16,658.00 | Total Additional: $32,650.00

Amendment Number Two Purchase Order No CG/82772B cancels the two previous Purchase Orders and inserts:
One S-2E Aircraft (stricken): $5,000.00 | S-2A Aircraft BUNO 133160 (Retired) including preparation for single flight capability and ferry cost to San Diego: $18,575.00 | Dis-assembly, packaging and inland transport of Item 1: TBA | Freight from port of New York to Australia Item 1: $15,364.00 | Preservation, covers, safety locks, jury struts etc and inland transport, Item 2: $6,720.00 | Freight from San Diego to Australia, Item 2: $10,374.00 | Total: $56,033.00

Amendment Number Three Purchase Order No CG/82772C indicates the price of Item 3 above:
Dis-assembly, packaging and inland transport of Item 1 (the S-2E): $10,000.00 | Total: $66,033.00

To NARF North Island.

Still assigned NARF North Island.

S-2A 133160 was made available to CPO Jock Collins and CPO Arthur Sharland as a training airframe while they were stationed at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego where they underwent thirteen months training as Tracker engineering instructors. The airframe also served as a repository for other training material acquired during their course. (Source: 1)

The U.S. freighter Australian Surf docked in Sydney from New York. On board were two Grumman Tracker instructional airframes, S-2A 133160 and S-2E 151646. While it was being transferred from the dock to a barge, the S-2E was dropped into Sydney Harbour when a sling broke. (Source: 4). After it was raised, the S-2E was located on the banks of the Parramatta River at Gladesville. (Source: 5). At Gladesville it was cut up and transported to Nowra. Some sections were retained as training aids but much of the airframe was scrapped. The cockpit section is displayed at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra. (Source: 1)

S-2A 133160 was transported to Hawker de Havilland at Bankstown in early 1967 for depreservation and inspection to determine its airworthiness under the supervision of CPO Arthur Sharland. (Source: 1)

S-2A 133160 was cleared for a one-off flight with the undercarriage locked down. The aircraft was flown by Lieutenant Commander Saltz, a USN pilot on exchange with the RAN. Co-pilot was Lieutenant Commander Ken Douglas, RAN. CPO Arthur Sharland occupied the observer's seat. So successful was the test flight that it was decided to land at Nowra without returning to Bankstown. The arrival at Nowra was witnessed by CPO Jock Collins who recalled that the aircraft was still wearing USN markings. (Source: 1 & 2)

"I had an officer at the training school who was so keen to have this aircraft as his 'private toy', I cut a hole in the starboard side of the fuselage. This hole also enabled viewing of the radome and MAD locking and operating mechanisms. This enabled us to use the aircraft for ground running and taxying as a training aid for ground crew but unfit for flying." Jock Collins subsequently confirmed the existence on the QAM Tracker of the hole he cut in the fuselage skin. Jock believes that the fire damage in the radio compartment occurred after the aircraft left Naval service. (Source: 1)

The S-2A was allotted to HMAS Nirimba, a training station at Schofields near Sydney where it was to be used as a Repair Procedure Fuselage. In view of this planned role, together with the requirement that it be transported through the streets of Sydney, the S-2A had its wings, engines, tail group and internal systems removed at Nowra. The resultant hulk was then transported from Jervis Bay to Sydney on HMAS Sydney, probably during 1970. (Source: 1)
Subsequently, the Sydney sailed for the U.S. to collect the second batch of Trackers, which reached Australia in July 1971.

The S-2A was noted at HMAS Nirimba having been transferred recently from Nowra. (Source: 3)

Purchased from Gary W. Volkers by David Bussey and donated to QAM.

QAM recovery team departed for Schofields.

Aircraft arrived at QAM Caloundra.

Advice received from the United States Government via the Australian Department of Defence that this airframe is subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations!

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

Sources

1

Letter dated 3 November 1995 from Jock Collins BEM (1933-2006), QAM member and retired Chief Instructor at the RANs School of Aircraft Maintenance. Also subsequent correspondence on the same subject.

2

Log Book of Lt Cmdr Ken Douglas inspected by Bob Windy Geale. Confirms the date and the aircraft identity.

3

Aviation Historical Society of Australia Journal, Vol 11 No 5

4

Daily Mirror, Sydney, 9 November 1966.

5

Australian Air Log of April 1967 Vol. 3 No. 4.

Remarks

The Australian history was rewritten for clarity.

Issue: 11

DATE: 26 OCT 18

Added a recent image

Issue: 10

DATE: 17 SEP 17

Added an image of another S-2A Tracker in the colours of VS-22 of the U.S. Navy.

Issue: 09

DATE: 27 AUG 17

Added a recent image thanks to Nick Sayer.

Issue: 08

DATE: 26 AUG 17

Added an image of the aircraft in use as a trainaid at Nowra. Thanks to Terry Hetherington of the FAAM.

Issue: 07

DATE: 10 JUL 17

Added three images of the aircraft being transported from Garden Island to Bankstown in June 1967. Thanks to Ray Snook.

Issue: 06

DATE: 16 DEC 16

Added a recent image.

Issue: 05

DATE: 20 OCT 13

Added a reference to this airframe being subject to ITAR.

Issue: 04

DATE: 07 DEC 12

Added two images from an unknown source of the aircraft intact at Nowra in 1969.

Issue: 03

DATE: 10DEC11

No Remarks

Issue: 02

DATE: 24 MAY 02

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