KS-3 WACKETT - CROPMASTER VH-AJH
MSN 283

 

 

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



41
  Built as a CA-6 Wackett Trainer by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, Fishermens Bend, Melbourne.
A3-49
   
20SEP41
  Taken on RAAF charge as A3-49 at No 1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton, Vic.
07OCT41
  Received at the Central Flying School, Point Cook, Vic ex 1AD.
21JUN43
  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.
11SEP43
  Received 5EFTS Narromine ex CFS.
25OCT43
  Issued to Ansett Airways, Mascot, NSW ex 5EFTS for overhaul.
03AUG44
  Received at No 2 Aircraft Park, Bankstown ex Ansett Airways, Mascot.
09AUG44
  Received at No 3 Wireless Air Gunners School, Maryborough, Qld ex 2AP.
01OCT44
  Received at No 8 Operational Training Unit ex 3WAGS for storage at Narromine.
08JAN45
  Received at 8EFTS, Narrandera, NSW ex Narromine for storage.
01JUN45
  Allotted to Care and Maintenance Unit, Narrandera ex 8EFTS, Narrandera.
31AUG45
  Offered for disposal through Commonwealth Disposals Commission.
19NOV45
  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)
14DEC45
  Issued to purchaser. Total airframe time with the RAAF was 632 hours.
45
  A3-49 was ferried from Narrandera to Mascot.
07JAN46
  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)
17JAN46
  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)
VH-AJH
   
21JAN46
  CofA issued as VH-AJH to Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty. Ltd., Mascot.
11FEB46
  Flown from Mascot to Archerfield via Old Bar and Coffs Harbour. (Source: 2)
15FEB46
  Returned to Mascot via Coffs Harbour and Old Bar. (Source: 2)
46
  Logs indicate almost daily flying from Mascot, probably on flying training duties with Kingsford Smith Flying Service.
19MAR46
  Engine s/n 2207 removed. Engine s/n 2167 fitted. (Source: 2)
03APR46
  Added to the Register as VH-AJH (retrospectively).
02AUG46
  80 hourly inspection carried out ahead of time "as aircraft is going away for two weeks on charter work". (Source: 2)
15JAN47
  Last flight before being withdrawn from service. Total Time: 860 hr 25 min. (Source: 2)
20JAN47
  CofA expired and was not renewed.
19DEC47
  Struck off Register. Stored at Mascot and later Bankstown when KSAS moved there.
48
  KSAS moved to Bankstown when DCA requested that all general aviation activities vacate Mascot. (Source: 1)
22JUL53
  Registration application from Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty. Ltd., Bankstown Airport, Sydney, NSW. Test flown at Bankstown on same day after CofA overhaul.
24JUL53
  CofA renewed by KSAS. Logs indicate that the aircraft was flown almost daily, probably on flying training duties with Kingsford Smith Flying Service.
13JUN54
  Last flight before being withdrawn from service at Bankstown. Total Time: 1209 hr 40 min. (Source: 2)
23JUL54
  CofA lapsed and was not renewed.
MAR57
  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)
26MAR57
  Test flown by Peter Brown (John Brown's son). See below. (Source: 1)
28MAR57
  Test flown 1 hr 10 min. Fitted with Warner Scarab 165D s/n 2381. See above. (Source: 2)
04APR57
  Next test flight at Bankstown 1 hr 45 min. (Source: 2).
APR57
  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.
12APR57
  Test flown at Bankstown 50 min. (Source: 2)
18APR57
  Test flown at Bankstown 3 hr 10 min. (Source: 2)
21JUN57
  Test flown at Bankstown 1 hr 30 min. (Source: 2)
28JUN57
  Test flown at Bankstown 2 hr 20 min. (Source: 2)
04JUL57
  Test flown at Bankstown 2 hr 45 min. (Source: 2)
26JUL57
  Last test flight of the series 1 hr 30 min. (Source: 2)
08AUG57
  Inspection at Bankstown prior to renewal of CofA. (Source: 2)
27AUG57
  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)
10JAN58
  Total Time: 1224 hr 40 min. (Source: 2)
17JAN58
  Test flown 15 min. (Source: 2)
17JAN58
  Commenced extensive agricultural flying at Armidale, Walcha and Tamworth in NSW.
17JAN58
  A fire in the KSAS hangar at Bankstown (presumably after VH-AJH had departed) destroyed or damaged several aircraft. (Source: 1)
24JAN58
  Returned to Bankstown after what was probably a demonstration tour.
03MAR58
  Engine s/n 2381 removed. (Source: 2)
08AUG58
  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)
21NOV58
  Replacement Scarab engine s/n 2167 fitted. (Source: 2)
11DEC58
  Next flight 1 hr. (Source: 2)
13DEC58
  Next flight 30 min. (Source: 2)
16DEC58
  Next flight 1 hr 30 min. (Source: 2)
09JAN59
  CofA expired and was not renewed.
19MAR59
  Registration application from Yeoman Aviation Pty. Ltd., Bankstown.
15MAY59
  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)
20MAY59
  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)
22MAY59
  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)
24MAY59
  Departed Bankstown on a ferry flight to Perth, WA. 2 hr. (Source: 2)
25MAY59
  Ferry flight 5 hr 10 min. (Source: 2)
26MAY59
  Ferry Flight 4 hr 50 min. (Source: 2)
27MAY59
  Ferry Flight 3 hr 35 min. (Source: 2)
28MAY59
  Ferry Flight 6 hr 20 min. (Source: 2)
29MAY59
  Ferry Flight 55 min. (Source: 2)
29MAY59
  Arrived at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth on delivery to Air Culture Pty. Ltd.
23JUN59
  Commenced regular agricultural operations in WA with Air Culture Pty. Ltd.
06AUG59
  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.
01SEP59
  Last flight for the season. Aircraft withdrawn from service at the end of the 1959 season.
09MAY60
  Test flown at Maylands after CofA renewal overhaul in Air Culture's Maylands hangar by Yeoman Aviation's Chief Engineer, J. McConnell
22JUN60
  Commenced regular agricultural flying for the 1960 season.
24AUG60
  Last flight for the season. Aircraft withdrawn from service.
Total Time: 1435 hr 40 min. (Source: 2)
23JUN61
  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.
JUN61
  Commenced regular agricultural flying for the 1961 season.
16JUL61
  Engine s/n 2167 removed. Engine s/n 2331 fitted. (Source: 2)
11AUG61
  Last flight for the season. Aircraft withdrawn from service.
Total Time: 1537 hr 40 min. (Source: 2)
31DEC61
  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.
29DEC61
  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.
02FEB62
  Engine s/n 2331 removed. Engine s/n 2213 fitted. (Source: 2)
05FEB62
  Next flight after which regular agricultural flying resumed.
06MAR62
  Flew from Geraldton to Maylands.
21MAR62
  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.
22MAY62
  Last flight. Withdrawn from service and stored in the Air Culture hangar at Maylands.
22JUN62
  VH-AJH reverted to Private Category from Airwork Category after the delivery of YA-1 VH-CYW.
SEP62
  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.
09MAR63
  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)
14MAY63
  A permit to fly was issued for the purpose of a test flight for CofA renewal. (Source: 2)
16MAY63
  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.
26JUN63
  Flown for 30 min. Log Book #1 closed at 1588 hr 00 min. (Source: 2)
31JUN63
  Maylands Aerodrome closed and Air Culture moved their operations to Guildford.
20NOV63
  Last flight for the season. Aircraft parked at Perth Airport (Guildford).
15DEC63
  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)
08APR64
  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.
15APR64
  Next flight.
16APR64
  Final flight. Total Time: 1668 hr 30min. (Source: 2)
14MAY64
  CofA expired and was not renewed. The aircraft was stored in the back of the Air Culture hangar at Jandakot.
AUG64
  Air Culture began a CofA renewal overhaul.
15DEC64
  Log book entry for CofA overhaul. "Fan driven generator fitted beneath fuselage at position of previously fitted agricultural spray pump and fan." (Source: 2)
17DEC64
  The overhaul was completed but the aircraft was not flown and the CofA renewal was not proceeded with.
JUN66
  Air Culture advised DCA that the aircraft is under a slow inspection for CofA renewal but there is "no urgency" with the job.
NOV66
  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.
05SEP67
  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).
12OCT67
  Registration application by Air Culture Pty. Ltd., Perth.
MAR68
  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.
19NOV68
  Struck off the Register.
DEC69
  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.
APR70
  LAME Peter Hutch submitted conversion drawings for VH-AJH to DCA on behalf of the new owner Guthrie.
SEP70
  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.
16MAR71
  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.
02JAN72
  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.
15DEC73
  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.
JAN74
  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.
SEP75
  The rudder was torn off by a wind gust. By this time the aircraft had deteriorated in the weather.
29JAN76
  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.
79
  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.
20MAY08
  The Aviation Heritage Museum agreed to sell the aeroplane to Greg Ackman.
09JUL08
  Loaded into a container at Bull Creek, WA.
17JUL08
  Arrived at QAM, Caloundra by road.
03JUN11
  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

 



 


ISSUE
DATE
REMARKS
11
26MAY11
Added a new image taken at Maylands in 1961 thanks to Geoff Goodall.
10
25MAY11
Added a new colour image taken at Jandakot in 1973 thanks to Roger McDonald.
9
22MAY11
Added several references sourced from the aircraft log books. See entries notated "Source: 2".
8
21DEC09
Added a new image with the cowling fitted.
7
22NOV09
Added a close-up image of the restored engine.
6
12NOV09
Added an image of the reinstalled engine.
5
06SEP09
Added two images of the restoration nearing completion.
4
14MAR09
Added an image of the aircraft on display at Bull Creek. Thanks to David Eyre.
3
18JUL08
Added date of arrival at Caloundra.
2
04JUN08
Added date of sale.
1
23MAY08
Original issue.