GRUMMAN S-2A TRACKER 133160
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 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:
|Amendment Number Two |
Purchase Order No CG/82772B cancels the two previous Purchase Orders and inserts:
|Amendment Number Three |
Purchase Order No CG/82772C indicates the price of Item 3 above:
|To NARF North Island.|
|Still assigned NARF North Island.|
Letter dated 3 November 1995 from Jock Collins, QAM member and retired Chief Instructor at the RANs School of Aircraft Maintenance: "QAMs Tracker was transported to Hawker de Havilland at Bankstown in June 1967 for depreservation and inspection to determine its airworthiness. The crew chief was Chief Petty Officer Arthur Sharland who was my fellow instructor in the U.S. Lieutenant Commander Saltz U.S.N. was an American navy pilot on exchange duty and qualified to test fly the S-2. Lt Cmdr Ken Douglas R.A.N. was designated as co-pilot for the preflight checks and taxi trials. Arthur hopped in the back seat. The undercarriage had ground locks fitted. A preliminary flight plan was lodged. The trials were so good they took off and flew to Nowra - gear down. This was the one and only flight the aircraft ever completed in Australia. 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 enabled us to use the aircraft for ground running and taxying as a training aid for ground crew but unfit for flying. It was stripped and transferred to the Naval Air Station at Schofields as a training aid, approximately 1974/75. Now, a second Tracker was purchased, or was given, as a training aid. This is described as a "hulk" and was dropped in Sydney Harbour on delivery! This aircraft was cut up and the cockpit section (complete) now resides in the Naval Air Museum at Nowra."
A subsequent letter from Jock Collins confirms the existence on the QAM Tracker of the hole he cut in the fuselage skin of the Tracker which was flown from Bankstown to Nowra. In addition to the purpose already mentioned, this hole also enabled viewing of the radome and MAD locking and operating mechanisms. Jock believes that the fire damage in the radio compartment occurred after the aircraft left Naval service (to be confirmed). Jock also believes that for the one off flight to Nowra the aircraft carried USN markings (to be confirmed).
"Australian Air Log" of April 1967 Vol. 3 No. 4 states:
"The Grumman Tracker instructional airframe obtained from the USN last year by the RAN to provide training for groundcrew before delivery of the Australian Trackers, is now at Bankstown airport under overhaul by Hawker de Havilland. When it was being unloaded off a ship in Sydney Harbour on its arrival last year it was dropped into the water by a crane and severely damaged. Since then it has been held at the Sydney suburb of Gladesville on the banks of the Parramatta River. It is in full United States Navy markings but carries no serial, and was an instructional airframe in America before being shipped out here. It has crashed several times in service life."
NOTE: In the light of the above information from Jock Collins, the writer of this report has possibly assumed that two aircraft are one and the same. The existence of TWO S-2 training aid airframes explains the lack of any serious corrosion on the QAM Tracker.
|Sold to David Bussey by Gary W. Volkers and donated to QAM.|
|QAM recovery team departed for Schofields.|
|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!|