Wednesday 22 August, 2012
Trainee Aircraft Maintenance Engineers learning their trade at Australasian Pacific Aeronautical College have started the restoration of Tamworth's Vampire Jet.
The 1946-built jet has been in the college's hangar at the Tamworth Regional Airport since October last year when it was removed from its home of 41 years in CWA Park, Tamworth to undergo much needed repairs.
The college's Teacher-in-Charge of Aeroskills, Russ Hodgkins, said this week students undertaking the Certificate IV in Aircraft Structures have done about 100 hours of work on the project.
`There is probably about another 300 or 400 hours to go - it should be completed in about April next year,' he said.
`It's a great learning experience for the students. It gives them an opportunity to see some of the `old school' stuff while also giving them tasks which is very relevant to their training.
'For example, the reskinning they are doing on the Vampire Jet is no different to what they would do on a light aircraft or Jetstream.'
Tamworth Regional Council has set aside $10,183 for the project with just over $2300 for materials to repair the jet and almost $7000 to cover the cost of lifting the jet from its staunchion in the CWA Park and transporting it to the airport.
The restoration work will include an internal aluminum frame connecting the nose cone back to the support structure and preventing a re-occurrence of the nose cone collapsing. Students will volunteer their time.
Councillors decided in February this year to consult the community about finding a new home to put the jet on display once the restoration work is closer to completion.
The Vampire Jet is one of 80 built for the Royal Australian Air Force at the De Havilland plant at Bankstown, Sydney. It was put in the park by the Tamworth Lions Club in December 1970 after the then Tamworth City Council bought it for $200.
The Australasian Pacific Aeronautical College offers TAFE NSW certificate and diploma courses in aircraft mechanics, avionics, and structures and has trained over 1400 students since 2001.