Our good friend John Parker from WarbirdsOnline in Australia recently paid a visit to the restoration workshops at the Aviation Heritage Centre within RAAF Base Amberley near Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. One of the projects underway there is a decade-long effort to restore Avro Anson Mk.I W2472. As Parker relates…
RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre acquired this aircraft as a donation in 2010. When she joined the queue of projects undergoing rebuild, the aircraft was a complete wreck as almost all of the wooden wing and fuselage formers had rotted away from many decades of exposure to the elements. Since that time, however, great progress has been made on this great old lady of the skies and she is well on the way to a magnificent rebuild to static display condition. While most will be aware of the Anson’s physical dimensions, at least in theory, it is only when actually confronted with the aircraft in situ that the sheer size of the airframe sinks in – this is a sizable aircraft!
At the time of our recent visit, we were surprised by the fantastic progress made on this complex rebuild. As we reported previously, the Anson’s woodwork structure has long since disappeared, however nearly all of the metal components were in great, restorable condition including the two 335 hp 7-cylinder Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah Mk.IX radial engines, each of which has now been refurbished. All of the structural metal components and the undercarriage have also undergone restoration and reassembly; the airframe is now sitting on its wheels with a lot of the woodwork having also been remade and fitted, including the empennage.
The engine nacelles have had their internals rebuilt and various cockpit systems are undergoing restoration, with the control column and centre console already having been completed and reinstalled. The replica .303 Browning machine gun is now fitted to the forward fuselage. The Avro Anson will also receive a .303 Vickers K machine gun in its dorsal turret when that is mounted to the rear fuselage. Over the next few months, work will focus on finishing the airframe internal fit out and installing the wooden stringers etc. which will then permit “bagging” the fuselage in its fabric covering.
Work will also proceed on finishing the wing center section and the other external panels. The restoration team hopes to complete the above-listed endeavors this year, the RAAF’s Centenary year. The nearly-completed aircraft will then go on display in the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre’s Transport Hangar. Work will then commence of the construction and fitting of the aircraft’s wooden outer wing panels, which will then complete this magnificent restoration. Mk.I Anson’s are quite rare now and this will be a significant addition to the RAAF Historical Collection.
Warbirds Online will continue to monitor progress on this Anson as it moves towards completion. We would like to thank AIR CDRE John Meier and SQNLDR Paul Ashby of RAAF History and Heritage Branch for facilitating this article.
Many thanks indeed to our friend John Parker at WarbirdsOnline for this article.