As our readers well know, WarbirdsNews believes strongly in supporting any organization or individual who endeavors to preserve or promote the preservation of aviation history, especially when it comes to saving vintage aircraft for future generations. The Australian National Aviation Museum in Moorabin, near Melbourne, Australia, is just such an organization. It houses some of the most important aircraft in Australia’s history, including such rarities as the Bristol Beaufort and Beaufighter. It also tells the story of Australia’s own aircraft manufacturing industry, with most of their major production aircraft from the WWII-era represented, which does include the Beaufort and Beaufighter. The one major Australian-built aircraft missing from their line-up is the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation’s version of the North American P-51D Mustang. CAC built two hundred examples of the Mustang, although nearly all of these didn’t fly until just after WWII. Still, the type formed an integral part of Australia’s defense in the immediate, post-war years and represents an important element of Australia’s military history. Now, the Australian National Aviation Museum has an opportunity to acquire one of the very few surviving CAC-built Mustangs, and they need a little help from us in order to make this happen. Here are some details from the museum…
For the first and possibly last time, the Australian National Aviation Museum has been offered a rare Australian-built P-51D Mustang aircraft. Being a volunteer, not-for-profit organisation, it is always a struggle to acquire aircraft, but this is the best chance we have ever had to fill one of the biggest gaps in our aircraft collection. We want to be able to finish the restoration and have it on display as a ground running example of the Australian-made variant. It is the third oldest surviving [CAC-built Mustang] in the world and the oldest remaining in Australia. This aircraft served with 75 Squadron and then went to CSIRO for cloud seeding trials in the 1950s and 60s – (and it is worth noting that we have the other aircraft, a Cessna 310, that was also used in those trials). It has been in private hands since 1984 and under restoration, but due to health issues, the current owner now has to sell the aircraft. Help us achieve a major goal for the Museum and preserve this aircraft for future generations to admire a major piece of Australian aviation manufacturing heritage.
By acquiring this aircraft we will have one of the most complete collections of CAC built aircraft in the world. But of course being a volunteer organisation we need help! So we have launched a crowd-funding campaign to help move the process along. We had such success with the crowd-funding campaign last year on the Beaufort and we thought we should do it again as part of Project Mustang.
This is the link to the crowd-funding campaign – Click HERE to help!The aircraft is currently in storage, and in its jigs. It’s complete, minus the engine and propeller, but the museum will put a ground-runnable Merlin in her and prop so that she can run up for visitors once the restoration is done. Interestingly, they recently commented that if they’d received $5 for each of the more than 45,000 views of their Facebook page posting on the Mustang, the target of $250,000 would already have been reached! The museum has a skilled group of volunteers and has proven its mettle over the years with a number of complex restorations… The money raised will not be wasted. They deserve our help!