News, Acquisitions and Movements
The RAAF Museum's Bristol Boxkite replica flies at Point Cook
An historic moment in Australian military aviation has been captured at the RAAF Museum. A Bristol Boxkite replica built at the RAAF Museum successfully completed flight testing on Wednesday 11 September 2013. The aircraft was flown by Air Vice Marshal Mark Skidmore (RAAF rtd). Air Vice Marshal Skidmore, a former F-111 pilot and test pilot with the RAAF’s Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, said the aircraft flew approximately one thousand metres and reached a top speed of about 42 miles an hour.
“It was an exhilarating and humbling experience, I am honoured and proud to follow those aviators who pioneered military aviation in this country. I now also have the honour of being the only RAAF pilot who has flown both the fastest and slowest aircraft in the Air Force. The Bristol Boxkite has a rich history in the evolution of military aviation in Australia, it was the first official military aircraft built in this country and used to train our first military pilots,” Air Vice Marshal Skidmore said.
The idea for the project was that of RAAF Museum volunteers Ron Gretton and Geoff Matthews who first discussed the concept in February 2004 and spent the next two years gathering information about the Bristol Boxkite and also organising sponsors for the project. Their intent was to preserve the history of the aircraft and it's connection to the RAAF's home of military aviation at Point Cook. The aircraft was completed in mid 2011 and full power runs of the engine were conducted in June 2013. Flight testing was conducted only after a comprehensive and stringent airworthiness process was completed.
Developed in the UK in 1910 by the British & Colonial Aeroplane Company, the Bristol Boxkite first flew on 29 July of that year. It was ‘state of the art’ in its time and also one of the most successful trainers of the era.
A military Bristol Boxkite was flown in Australia for the first time on the morning of 1 March 1914, when Lieutenant Eric Harrison, an aviation instructor with the Central Flying School (CFS), took one into the air at Point Cook. The airfield was then the home of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC). The AFC, forerunner of the RAAF, initially operated two Bristol Boxkites between 1914 and 1917. The first military Bristol Boxkite to be built in Australia was constructed by CFS at Point Cook and flew its maiden flight on 10 August 1915.
Lieutenant Harrison’s historic flight in 1914 is however recognised as the starting point of military flying in Australia. In recognition of this historical significance, RAAF Base Point Cook will play host to the Centenary of Military Aviation in Australia event on 1 – 2 March 2014 with the Bristol Boxkite replica as a major drawcard.
The RAAF Museum's Strike/Recce Hangar is now open
Visitors can now view the F-111G 'Boneyard Wrangler', Canberra Bomber, F-4E Phantom and part of the tailplane from Lincoln bomber on display under the one roof.
These aircraft highlight some of the key developments in RAAF strike capability and the evolution to multi-role designs. The Lincoln aircraft was the last of the large, heavy payload, piston-engined bombers. It was replaced by the Canberra aircraft, the RAAF's first jet bomber and almost untouchable as one of the fastest and highest flying aircraft in its day. The F-4E Phantom introduced the RAAF to a new generation of strike bombers until the introduction of the F-111 which excelled for 37 years as the RAAF's most advanced 'swing wing' bomber.
Trident Mk 6 ARFF
In October 2010, the RAAF Museum acquired a Trident Mk 6 Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Truck (ARFF). This vehicle will join the RAAF Heritage Collection and add to a wide variety of support vehicles held by the RAAF Museum, representing another important facet of Air Force operations. The RAAF Trident fleet has recently reached the end of its planned serviceable life, which saw 14 vehicles primarily used to support flying operations at RAAF Bases Williamtown, Amberley, Richmond and Tindal. In addition to a crew of four, the Trident carries 5600 litres of water, 900 litres of foam and a variety of related aircraft rescue equipment. The Trident fleet has been replaced in RAAF Service by a fleet of 16 Truck Fire Airfield (TFA) Panther vehicles.
General Dynamics F-111C A8-125
Following the retirement of the RAAF's last F-111C aircraft in December 2010, the RAAF Museum is proud to receive F-111C A8-125 into the RAAF Heritage Collection. This aircraft is the first of the RAAF's F-111C aircraft received in 1973, and performed the final landing of the type in Australian service on 9 December 2010. Since arriving at Point Cook in May, A8-125 has been re-assembled by a team from RAAF Amberley, and is currently in storage. F-111G A8-272 is on display at Point Cook in the Strike/Recce Hangar display.back to top