KS-3 Wacket Cropmaster VH-AJH C/N 283

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QAM thanks Greg Ackman for this aircraft which was donated through the Australian Governments Cultural Gifts Program.

Built as a CA-6 Wackett Trainer by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, Fishermens Bend, Melbourne.

Taken on RAAF charge as A3-49 at No 1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton, Vic.

Received at the Central Flying School, Point Cook, Vic ex 1AD.

Damaged in a forced landing near Mendooran, NSW due to engine failure. Aircraft held in a damaged condition at No 5 Elementary Flying Training School, Narromine, NSW.

Received 5EFTS Narromine ex CFS.

Issued to Ansett Airways, Mascot, NSW ex 5EFTS for overhaul.

Received at No 2 Aircraft Park, Bankstown ex Ansett Airways, Mascot.

Received at No 3 Wireless Air Gunners School, Maryborough, Qld ex 2AP.

Received at No 8 Operational Training Unit ex 3WAGS for storage at Narromine.

Received at 8EFTS, Narrandera, NSW ex Narromine for storage.

Allotted to Care and Maintenance Unit, Narrandera ex 8EFTS, Narrandera.

Offered for disposal through Commonwealth Disposals Commission.

Sold to J.T. Brown, Kew, Vic for 205. J.T. Brown was Manager of Kingsford Smith Aviation Service, Mascot and the Wackett was among a large number of RAAF disposals aircraft purchased by the company for conversion to civil aircraft in the immediate postwar period.

John T. Brown OBE purchased 98 of the 134 Wacketts which were offered for sale by CDC in late 1945. John Brown and his family purchased the defunct Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty. Ltd. which had been founded at Mascot in 1933 by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. (Source: 1)

Issued to purchaser. Total airframe time with the RAAF was 632 hours.

A3-49 was ferried from Narrandera to Mascot.

Log book entry. "Aircraft taken over from RAAF Narrandera and examined for renewal of Certificate of Airworthiness". Fitted with Warner Scarab s/n 2207. Fuselage was sprayed silver and registration letters added. Log book signed by Sid Marshall. (Source: 2)

Log Book #1 opened at 632 hr 20 min taken from RAAF log book. First flown at Mascot (45 min) after a Certificate of Airworthiness overhaul by Marshall Airways for KSAS. (Source: 2)

CofA issued as VH-AJH to Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty. Ltd., Mascot.

Flown from Mascot to Archerfield via Old Bar and Coffs Harbour. (Source: 2)

Returned to Mascot via Coffs Harbour and Old Bar. (Source: 2)

Logs indicate almost daily flying from Mascot, probably on flying training duties with Kingsford Smith Flying Service.

Engine s/n 2207 removed. Engine s/n 2167 fitted. (Source: 2)

Added to the Register as VH-AJH (retrospectively).

80 hourly inspection carried out ahead of time "as aircraft is going away for two weeks on charter work". (Source: 2)

Last flight before being withdrawn from service. Total Time: 860 hr 25 min. (Source: 2)

CofA expired and was not renewed.

Struck off Register. Stored at Mascot and later Bankstown when KSAS moved there.

KSAS moved to Bankstown when DCA requested that all general aviation activities vacate Mascot. (Source: 1)

Registration application from Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty. Ltd., Bankstown Airport, Sydney, NSW. Test flown at Bankstown on same day after CofA overhaul.

CofA renewed by KSAS. Logs indicate that the aircraft was flown almost daily, probably on flying training duties with Kingsford Smith Flying Service.

Last flight before being withdrawn from service at Bankstown. Total Time: 1209 hr 40 min. (Source: 2)

CofA lapsed and was not renewed.

Converted to a Kingsford Smith KS-1 Cropmaster by KSAS at Bankstown. A hopper was installed in the forward cockpit. The windscreen and overturn pylon were relocated to the aft cockpit. The aircraft was painted black, yellow and white. The name Cropmaster was taken from a popular David Brown tractor by Bill Smith of KSAS. (Source: 1)

Test flown by Peter Brown (John Brown's son). See below. (Source: 1)

Test flown 1 hr 10 min. Fitted with Warner Scarab 165D s/n 2381. See above. (Source: 2)

Next test flight at Bankstown 1 hr 45 min. (Source: 2).

The KS-1 uplifted a payload of 650 pounds during a 20 minute test flight. DCA required the pilots to wear a parachute during development flying. (Source: 1)

A series of test flights ensued with the aircraft modified into various agricultural configurations as KS-1, KS-2 and KS-3.

Test flown at Bankstown 50 min. (Source: 2)

Test flown at Bankstown 3 hr 10 min. (Source: 2)

Test flown at Bankstown 1 hr 30 min. (Source: 2)

Test flown at Bankstown 1 hr 20 min. (Source: 2)

Test flown at Bankstown 1 hr 30 min. (Source: 2)

Last test flight of the series 1 hr 30 min. (Source: 2)

Inspection at Bankstown prior to renewal of CofA. (Source: 2)

Log book entry. The front cockpit was stripped. The wobble pump, Ki-gass primer, ignition switch, plumbing and rudder controls were repositioned. A new hopper and louvre box were fitted. The flap motor was deleted and a manual flap control fitted. (Source: 2)
It is assumed that this is when the aircraft was redesignated as a KS-2. (Source: 1)

Total Time: 1224 hr 40 min. (Source: 2)

Test flown 15 min. (Source: 2)

Commenced extensive agricultural flying at Armidale, Walcha and Tamworth in NSW.

A fire in the KSAS hangar at Bankstown (presumably after VH-AJH had departed) destroyed or damaged several aircraft. (Source: 1)

Returned to Bankstown after what was probably a demonstration tour.

Engine s/n 2381 removed. (Source: 2)

KSAS formed an associate company, Yeoman Aviation Pty. Ltd. to produce and market agricultural aircraft. The Directors were J.T. Brown, Bill Smith and Peter Brown. Yeoman purchased some Wacketts and spares from KSAS. (Source: 1)

Replacement Scarab engine s/n 2167 fitted. (Source: 2)

Next flight 1 hr. (Source: 2)

Next flight 30 min. (Source: 2)

Next flight 1 hr 30 min. (Source: 2)

CofA expired and was not renewed.

Registration application from Yeoman Aviation Pty. Ltd., Bankstown.

Log book entry for overhaul and modifications by KSAS. "Engine removed and fuselage separated from mainplane. All redundant equipment discarded. Fire extinguisher mounted in front cockpit port side. Controls removed from rear cockpit to allow installation of hopper ... Canopy and rear fuselage fairings modified as required ... Fuel cock repositioned in front cockpit ... Aluminium fairings installed at top of undercarriage legs ... All electrical equipment removed from mainplane ... Fuselage assembled to mainplane after first installing hopper in fuselage." This entry also refers to "mainplane centre section cut out" presumably to provide for the hopper dump chute. (Source: 2)

VH-AJH was painted in a "more pleasant green" and grey in the same scheme as the earlier KS-3s. Bill Smith had chosen the colours from the contemporary Austin Freeway range for the earlier KS-3s, two of which were painted two tone green while the other two were painted the darker green and grey. (Source: 1)

Test flown at Bankstown 3 hr. Total Time: 1229 hr. The aircraft had been fitted with spray equipment and booms. The pump fan was removed for a ferry flight to Western Australia. (Source: 2)

CofA #2206 was issued at Bankstown. The type is shown as C.A.6-KS.3. Noted amendments are "K.S.2 deleted K.S.3 added. Spray version 1836 and dusting version 1826 added". (Source: 2)

Departed Bankstown on a ferry flight to Perth, WA. 2 hr. (Source: 2)

Ferry flight 5 hr 10 min. (Source: 2)

Ferry flight 4 hr 50 min. (Source: 2)

Ferry Flight 3 hr 35 min. (Source: 2)

Ferry Flight 6 hr 20 min. (Source: 2)

Ferry Flight 55 min. (Source: 2)

Arrived at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth on delivery to Air Culture Pty. Ltd.

Commenced regular agricultural operations in WA with Air Culture Pty. Ltd.

Forced landing at Mingenew, WA en route Maylands to Yandanooka due weather. The pilot was W.G. Boulden of Air Culture. The aircraft was not damaged.

Last flight for the season. Aircraft withdrawn from service at the end of the 1959 season.

Test flown at Maylands after CofA renewal overhaul in Air Culture's Maylands hangar by Yeoman Aviation's Chief Engineer, J. McConnell

Commenced regular agricultural flying for the 1960 season.

Last flight for the season. Aircraft withdrawn from service.
Total Time: 1435 hr 40 min. (Source: 2)

Test flown at Maylands after CofA renewal overhaul by Air Culture at Maylands. During this overhaul, the aircraft was fitted with the tailplane from KS-3 VH-FBE.

Commenced regular agricultural flying for the 1961 season.

Engine s/n 2167 removed. Engine s/n 2331 fitted. (Source: 2)

Last flight for the season. Aircraft withdrawn from service. Total Time: 1537 hr 40 min. (Source: 2)

The Department of Civil Aviation became concerned with the wooden KS-3 Wackett-Cropmaster due to deterioration of their wood/glue construction, particularly in the mainplane. An Air Navigation Order was issued grounding these aircraft from 31DEC61 unless they had been converted to an approved Yeoman Aviation "metalisation" programme. Air Culture planned to send their remaining KS-3s to Bankstown for this conversion in late 1961 but delays in producing components by Yeoman due to their work effort in developing the new all-metal YA-1 Cropmaster 250 caused major delays in the KS-3 "metalisation" programme.

W.G. Boulden of Air Culture advised DCA that the conversion of his two KS-3s, VH-AJH and VH-FBD, would not be ready in time due to Yeoman's delays and urgently requested that VH-AJH be allowed to continue unconverted for 3 months to do spraying in the Jerramungup district. This was agreed to by DCA and the CofA for VH-AJH was renewed on a limited basis.

Engine s/n 2331 removed. Engine s/n 2213 fitted. (Source: 2)

Next flight after which regular agricultural flying resumed.

Flew from Geraldton to Maylands.

W.G. Boulden of Air Culture again requested DCA approval for an extension of the CofA for VH-AJH due to the loss of Air Culture's Cessna 180 VH-KIH combined with the late delivery of their YA-1 Cropmaster 250 VH-CYW from Yeoman in Sydney. DCA approved the continued use of VH-AJH in agricultural operations until the delivery of VH-CYW to Perth.

Last flight. Withdrawn from service and stored in the Air Culture hangar at Maylands.

VH-AJH reverted to Private Category from Airwork Category after the delivery of YA-1 VH-CYW.

W.G. Boulden of Air Culture advised DCA that VH-AJH was under conversion at Maylands to a standard two-seat Wackett which will be used to ferry pilots.

Aircraft inspected for CofA in private category. The hopper was removed and the floor replaced with 1/2 inch marine ply and the fuselage skin was replaced with 3/16 inch marine ply. A rear seat was installed and a sliding canopy fitted. (Source: 2)

A permit to fly was issued for the purpose of a test flight for CofA renewal. (Source: 2)

Test flown by W.G. Boulden at Maylands for CofA in Private Category. Subsequently VH-AJH was flown regularly, probably in support of Air Culture's agricultural field operations.

Flown for 30 min. Log Book #1 closed at 1588 hr 00 min. (Source: 2)

Maylands Aerodrome closed and Air Culture moved their operations to Guildford.

Last flight for the season. Aircraft parked at Perth Airport (Guildford).

Log Book #2 opened at 1588 hr 00 min. This log book shows that the aircraft flew for 80 hr 30 min from 27MAY63 to 16APR64. Individual flights are not recorded. (Source: 2)

Next flight. This was probably the ferry flight from Perth Airport to Perth's secondary airport at Jandakot where Air Culture had built a hangar.

Next flight.

Final flight. Total Time: 1668 hr 30min. (Source: 2)

CofA expired and was not renewed. The aircraft was stored in the back of the Air Culture hangar at Jandakot.

Air Culture began a CofA renewal overhaul.

Log book entry for CofA overhaul. "Fan driven generator fitted beneath fuselage at position of previously fitted agricultural spray pump and fan." (Source: 2)

The overhaul was completed but the aircraft was not flown and the CofA renewal was not proceeded with.

Air Culture advised DCA that the aircraft is under a slow inspection for CofA renewal but there is "no urgency" with the job.

Air Culture advised DCA that the overhaul has been completed but problems with the radio equipment had caused flight tests to be delayed and that the aircraft has a "low priority" with the company.

Ownership finally transferred to Air Culture Pty. Ltd., Perth. (Ownership finally changed due to the previous owner, Yeoman Aviation Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, going into liquidation. A report in June 67 stated that VH-AJH was owned by the liquidator of Yeoman Aviation Pty. Ltd. As Air Culture Pty. Ltd. was a shareholder, and Boulden a Director of Yeoman, ownership transferred to Air Culture officially).

Registration application by Air Culture Pty. Ltd., Perth.

CofA renewal not proceeded with due lack of a suitable buyer. Air Culture had no use for the aircraft so it continued to be stored in their hangar.

Struck off the Register.

Air Culture Pty. Ltd. went into liquidation. VH-AJH was sold at an auction in their Jandakot hangar to Carol Guthrie of Cowaramup, WA. Guthrie also bought some Wackett spares at the auction and took them to a property at Cowaramup but left VH-AJH in storage in the Air Culture hangar at Jandakot.

LAME Peter Hutch submitted conversion drawings for VH-AJH to DCA on behalf of the new owner Guthrie.

Guthrie traded Auster J/4 VH-PJN plus the Wackett VH-AJH "as is" to Civil Flying Services (WA) Pty. Ltd., Jandakot on Auster J/5G Autocar VH-KCG. The Wackett remained in the old Air Culture hangar at Jandakot.

The Wackett was purchased from CFS by the Air Force Association (WA Division) Inc of Perth. VH-AJH remained stored in the old Air Culture hangar with the permission of the new owner of the hangar, Sir Thomas Wardle, who housed his Baron VH-WBR there also.

AFA Aviation Historical Group members visited the farm of Carol Guthrie to retrieve Moth Minor VH-THT which had been donated to the group. They also retrieved the Wackett parts held by Guthrie.

VH-AJH was moved out of the Wardle hangar at Jandakot when storage space was no longer available. The aircraft was parked on the grassed area opposite the hangar.

Mainplane upper surfaces which had been stripped of fabric for inspection some years earlier were recovered with fabric by AFA-AHG members (including Geoff Goodall and Roger McDonald) working in the open on the grass at Jandakot. The aircraft remained parked in the open at Jandakot in various positions over the next two years although for several months it was housed in the Hawker de Havilland hangar.

The rudder was torn off by a wind gust. By this time the aircraft had deteriorated in the weather.

The aircraft was dismantled at Jandakot and moved to the Air Force Association's Bateman Estate for storage. At first it was stored under tarpaulins in an open compound but was later moved into a shed on the Estate.

Displayed in the newly opened Air Force Association Aviation Museum restored in a blue and red colour scheme with large Air Culture titles down the fuselage sides.

The Aviation Heritage Museum agreed to sell the aeroplane to Greg Ackman.

Loaded into a container at Bull Creek, WA.

Arrived at QAM, Caloundra by road.

Donated to QAM by Greg Ackman.

Sources

This chronology was compiled by Geoff Goodall. Sources include the RAAF Form E/E.88, DCA files held by the National Archives of Australia and the aircraft log books. Unless shown otherwise, all entries are sourced from Geoff Goodall's research.

1

Eckford, Allyn et al, 2004, Cropmaster (Aviation Heritage Aviation Historical Society of Australia) Vol. 35 No. 2 June 2004.

2

Aircraft Log Books 1 & 2 VH-AJH. Sourced by Ron Cuskelly 22 May 2011.

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

Compiled By Ron Cuskelly

Remarks

Added a newspaper cutting showing the aircraft on the production line in September 1941. Thanks to Andrew Fullarton.

Issue: 12

DATE: 12 MAY 18

Added a new image taken at Maylands in 1961 thanks to Geoff Goodall.

Issue: 11

DATE: 26 MAY 11

Added a new colour image taken at Jandakot in 1973 thanks to Roger McDonald.

Issue: 10

DATE: 25 MAY 11

Added several references sourced from the aircraft log books. See entries notated “Source: 2”.

Issue: 9

DATE: 22 MAY 11

Added a new image with the cowling fitted.

Issue: 8

DATE: 21 DEC 09

Added a close-up image of the restored engine.

Issue: 7

DATE: 22 NOV 09

Added an image of the reinstalled engine.

Issue: 6

DATE: 12 NOV 09

Added two images of the restoration nearing completion.

Issue: 5

DATE: 06 SEP 09

Added an image of the aircraft on display at Bull Creek. Thanks to David Eyre.

Issue: 4

DATE: 14 MAR 09

Added date of arrival at Caloundra.

Issue: 3

DATE: 18 JUL 08

Added date of sale.

Issue: 2

DATE: 04 JUN 08

Original issue.

Issue: 1

DATE: 23 MAY 08

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