Hawker Demon A1-8
Built as a two-seat fighter version of the Hawker Hart bomber, the Demon first flew in February 1933. The Demon was to be the first two-seat fighter operated by the Royal Air Force after World War I, and was the last two-seat biplane fighter to be manufactured in significant numbers. Powered by a Rolls Royce Kestrel V12 engine, the aircraft was faster than many of the single-seat aircraft at the time, but was soon outclassed by the new generation of monoplane fighters entering service in the mid to late 1930s.
Ordered by the RAAF in March 1934, the initial 18 aircraft arrived during March 1935, replacing the Westland Wapiti. Soon afterwards, another 36 Demons were ordered as fighter bombers, and were operated in the army co-operation role. Armed with two forward firing Vickers machine guns and one Lewis machine gun in the rear cockpit, the aircraft could be fitted with up to eight 9kg bombs for ground attack. After a spate of accidents soon after the type's introduction into service, an additional ten Demons were ordered. These aircraft were fitted with dual controls to provide a more gradual introduction for pilots to the type. By the outbreak of World War II, the Demon was obsolete, and had been relegated to training, communications and target towing. By 1948, the last RAAF Demon had been converted to components.
A1-8 was received on RAAF charge at No 1 Aircraft Depot on 13 June 1935, from the UK, and was allocated to No 3 Squadron at Richmond, NSW, on completion of its initial service maintenance.
On 17 February 1936, the aircraft crashed on landing at Richmond, while still on charge at No 3 Squadron. Less than one year later, A1-8 completed its last flight, when it crashed on 3 February 1937 in Tasmania, extensively damaging the aircraft. In 1977, the remains of A1-8 were recovered by the RAAF and transported to Point Cook for restoration. In 1986, the project moved to No 2 Aircraft Depot at Richmond, where the restoration was complete. On 3 February 1987, 50 years to the day after the crash, A1-8 was formally handed over to the RAAF Museum for static display.