• The auction is the largest of its kind in Australia.
Nigel Pittaway
    The auction is the largest of its kind in Australia. Nigel Pittaway

The latest auction of former ADF aircraft and components began with a traditional bell-ringing ceremony at Avalon Airport near Geelong at 0800 on March 8, with 18 former RAAF Pilatus PC-9/A aircraft, four ex-Air Cadets Schleicher ASK-21Mi gliders, a zero-hour S-70 Blackhawk cab structure and in excess of 100,000 individual components under the hammer.

The sale of the aircraft and spare parts is being undertaken by Australian Frontline Machinery, in conjunction with Pickles auctions, and the current event follows the successful auction of a large number of former Army Bell 206B-1 Kiowa helicopters during the 2019 Avalon Airshow.

“Today we’re here to launch Australia’s largest ex-military aviation auction,” Frontline general manager Colin Werner said, just before the bell was rung by CEO Luke Parker to begin the bidding process.

Inspection of aircraft and components is available on Tuesday through to Friday this week and the auction is being conducted exclusively on-line. Bidding for all lots began at $1.00 and there is no reserve price on any item. All PC-9/A aircraft are being sold as unserviceable and successful bidders will need to arrange their own export approval if they wish to sell aircraft outside Australia.

Most PC-9/As are dismantled but essentially complete, however four examples are still on their undercarriage, after being flown to Avalon for disposal late last year. Two of the aircraft are modified with an Electronic Flight Information System (EFIS) ‘glass’ cockpit, carried out in the early 2000s under Air Force Minor Project 910 (MIS910). The original planned withdrawal date for the PC-9/A was originally 2008, but the fleet underwent a limited life extension program prior to being finally retired in 2019.

The EFIS upgrade was done on the two aircraft as a proof of concept, to mitigate against any major delays to the ADF’s Pilot Training System under Air 5428. In the event no further aircraft were modified, but the RAAF purchased a sufficient number of kits to upgrade the remainder of the fleet should it have proven necessary, and several of these kits form part of the current auction.

Other components under the hammer are suitable for Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster II aircraft and there are numerous PC-9/A spares, including canopies, flight controls and even complete wing assemblies.

The auction will close at 1300 AEDT on Wednesday March 18 for the ASK-21Mi gliders, 1600 for the S-70 fuselage and a range of closing times up to 2000 for the PC-9/A aircraft. Closing date for the sale of components is Thursday March 19.

ADM understands a further online auction of former ADF aircraft and helicopters will be undertaken during the 2021 Avalon Airshow.

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