An Australian-built Canberra bomber has recently been extensively refurbished at Avalon Airport, home of the Australian International Airshow, in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RAAF in 2021.
The aircraft, serial number A84-232, was built at Avalon by the Government Aircraft Factories (GAF) and first flew in May 1956. After a distinguished operational flying career, which involved two tours of duty with 2 Sqn in Vietnam and later in the photo mapping role in Papua New Guinea, the veteran Canberra was retired in 1984 and flown to Avalon for use as a display item on the main gate the following year.
After spending more than 25 years exposed to the elements during its time on the main gate, A84-232 was removed by a small team of volunteers working at the Avalon Airshow and externally refurbished in time to celebrate the RAAF’s 90th Anniversary, taking pride of place at the entrance to the 2011 Australian International Airshow.
Since then the aircraft has been continuously in the care of the volunteer team and received further refurbishments prior to its participation in the static display at each airshow until 2019, but to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the RAAF it was decided to strip the aircraft to bare metal and finish it with modern paint in order to better protect it for the future.
The work was performed by Aviat Global, an Australian aviation service provider specialising in aircraft finishing, in conjunction with AMDA Foundation Limited and with paint supplied by PPG Coatings. Finished to original 1968 Department of Air Drawings, the work took 600 man-hours to complete and consumed 600 litres of paint stripper and 120 litres of paint.
“Given the significance of this event, coupled with the important role that the Canberra played throughout the RAAF’s history, we decided to complete a professional refurbishment of A84-232 with the help of companies like PPG, which supplies paints and Coatings to Aviat Global,” Mick Jennings, head of Aviation Services at AMDA Foundation Limited said.
The restoration was completed in May this year, in time to also celebrate the 64th anniversary of A84-232’s first flight at Avalon. Once again resplendent in the markings it wore during its service with 2 Sqn, it will take part in the RAAF 100th Anniversary celebrations during the 2021 Australian International Airshow, due to be held at Avalon between November 23-28.