Home' Air Force News : November 26th 2009 Contents 23
AIR FORCE November 26, 2009
back in the
Where it all began
84SQN formed at RAAF Base
Richmond on February 5, 1943
and was equipped with the CA-12
In April, the squadron deployed to
Horn Island in far north Queensland
and commenced patrols over the
Merauke region, being responsible for
air defence in the area.
During this period, the Boomerang
again proved it was not successful as
an interceptor as it was on occasion
too slow to close with enemy aircraft.
Nevertheless, on May 16, 1943,
84SQN Boomerangs intercepted and
drove off three Japanese 'Betty' bomb-
ers.In September, the squadron com-
menced re-equipment with the P-40
Kittyhawk and conducted ground
attacks against enemy forces (a task
at which the Boomerang proved ideal)
and, two years later, with the P-51
84SQN disbanded on January 29,
BACK FLIP: Boomerang A46-16 was FSGT Whalley's handiwork
when he ground-looped the aircraft on landing at No. 2 Operational
Training Unit on February 15, 1943. Photos: courtesy SQNLDR Jim Whalley
JIM'S DAD: FSGT Alan Whalley
HISTORY IN THE MAKING:
Reservist pilot with ARDU,
SQNLDR Jim Whalley, with the
Boomerang aircraft that his father,
FSGT Alan Whalley, flew during
patrols over New Guinea in 1943.
Photo: LAC Brenton Kwaterski
Type: Single-seat intercep-
tor and ground-attack
fighter. Metal and wood
Engine: Pratt and Whitney
Twin Wasp R1830 (more
powerful engines followed,
including the Rolls-Royce
Dimensions: Length 7.77m,
wing span 10.97m, height
490kmh (maximum), speed
(cruise) 305kmh, rate of
climb 655m/min, service
FORMER GLORY: Boomerang
A46-63 in May 1943.
READY TO ROLL: SQNLDR Whalley gives
the thumbs up from the pilot's seat of his
Photo: LACW Shannon Urie
By Andrew Stackpool
SQUADRON Leader Jim
Whalley recently gained a first-
hand experience of what flying in
WWII was like when he took de-
livery of his father's fully restored
The aircraft was a CA-12 vari-
ant, number A46-63.
SQNLDR Whalley is the former
Hornet flight commander with the
Aircraft Research and Development
Unit (ARDU) and today flies
PC-9s with ARDU as a reservist.
His father was FSGT Alan
Whalley, who flew with 84SQN
from Horn Island to defend the skies
around Merauke in the Dutch East
Indies. A46-63 was delivered to the
RAAF in March 1943 and FSGT
Whalley flew it to Horn Island the
following month. He logged more
than 100 hours in the aircraft and
his last flight occurred on August
13 when he was scrambled against
enemy aircraft near Merauke.
On August 24, another pilot was
flying the Boomerang to Higgins
Field, near Bamaga, for a new pro-
peller. As he crossed Cape York
Peninsula, the engine failed and he
was forced to make an emergency
wheels-up landing on a beach. The
Boomerang skidded into some trees.
Recovered, it was deemed beyond
repair and written off at Bamaga.
In early 2003, SQNLDR Whalley
purchased the partially restored
remains of the Boomerang with a
colleague, Dr James Edwards. He
contacted experts in aircraft resto-
ration who found that, while the
aircraft was only 40 per cent com-
pleted, its major components were
in excellent condition; restoration to
full flying status was possible.
Under the leadership of Matthew
Denning, an expert in the restoration
of warbirds, the restoration began in
July 2006 at Caboolture Airfield.
Dozens of enthusiasts volunteered
Then, on May 11 this year, the
aircraft was rolled out of its hang-
ar and, after all checks, the engine
fired into life.
Final work and pre-flight paper-
work was completed and on June
26, A46-63 took to the air for the
first time in 66 years for a 20-
minute test flight. Mr Denning had
the honours, but three days later
SQNLDR Whalley took the controls
for the next series of test flights.
The Boomerang performed fault-
"It's a little bit different from the
Hornet," SQNLDR Whalley said
On July 24, Mr Denning set out
for South Australia to hand the air-
craft over to SQNLDR Whalley.
En route, he visited the Temora
Aviation Museum where LB-L and
the Museum's CA-13 Boomerang
MH-R made history by flying
together; the first such flight by
Boomerangs since the war.
On October 13, SQNLDR
Whalley flew the Boomerang to
RAAF Base Edinburgh to enable
students selected for test pilots'
school (TPS) to conduct a cock-
pit assessment as part of their TPS
On flying the aircraft for the first
time, SQNLDR Whalley said it felt
great to step into the cockpit.
"It was a privilege. This is a real
family link and it gives me some
idea of what dad and it did, and
what it must have been like as a
young guy to fly in combat with it,"
"It is completely different from
an F/A-18; it is much more chal-
lenging to handle, but nonetheless,
is a real pleasure to fly.
"I hope '63 is a great tribute to
all those members who flew and
looked after them during WWII."
His flights reinforced another
important point. "I have thousands
of hours flying Hornets, PC-9s and
Caribous," he said. "Dad and those
other young men went to war with
only a handful of hours; it must
have been terrifying."
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