The RAAF Sabre being restored to flying condition by the Temora Aviation Museum has seen continual progress over the last eighteen months; however some big milestones have been achieved in recent weeks.
In November 2005 a significant commitment to preserving historical military aircraft was made when the Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd signed an Agreement with the Temora Aviation Museum. Under the agreement, co-signed by the Founder and President of the Museum Mr David Lowy AM, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) loaned their Sabre to the Temora Aviation Museum (TAM) who will restore it to flying condition and operate the aircraft at flying weekends and RAAF events.
Restoration on the Sabre is progressing very well at Temora with recent focus on preparing the aircraft to be taken out to the tarmac where it could undergo tests to the fuel tanks. Firstly the engineers attached the wing centre section to the fuselage followed by each wing being bolted onto the wing centre section. Next they fitted the last of five fuel tanks followed by the installation of temporary wheels and brakes which enabled the towing of the Sabre out of the Restoration Hangar, down the taxiway and onto the tarmac for refuelling.
With the Temora Aviation Museum fuel truck in place along with all safety gear Engineers Lindsay, Marty and Ben began to fill the fuel tanks in a specific order. They filled the forward fuselage tank first followed by the centre wing tank, left hand and right hand fuel tanks and finishing with the aft fuselage tank. To ensure the tanks were completely full the aft tank was filled until the forward tank began to overflow. The engineers conducted an inspection of all seals and fuel tank interconnects. The meticulous work of Ben and Marty was evident in the absence of any leaks. Well Done Guys!
After the fuel tests the Sabre returned to the Restoration Hangar where it is undergoing the next phase of its restoration. The vertical stabiliser and aileron actuator fittings have been removed for Non-Destructive Testing (NDT). The bolts and mounts of the vertical stabiliser have been sent to Melbourne for testing, and an NDT specialist will visit the Museum soon to conduct testing of the larger items on site.
Aircraft Engineer Ben’s next restoration task will be the to work on the wing’s electrical wiring installation, while Aircraft Engineer Marty will focus on cleaning up and inspecting the vertical stabiliser area on the aft fuselage.
A completion date for the Restoration is still too far off to advertise a specific date however we are working very hard to ensure that the Sabre will fly again in 2008!!