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The first Boomerang produced A46-1, was handed over to the RAAF at Laverton to trial. Ken Frewin was the test pilot for for all but six of the 42 test flights between late May and 11 July 1942. The first flight, piloted by Ken Frewin, took place on 29 May 1942 only 159 days after the project for the development of the Boomerang had been approved.


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The first Boomerang, A46-1 shortly before its first test flight on 29 May 1942


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First flight of Boomerang A46-1 on 29 May 1942 piloted by Ken Frewin


The 32nd test flight by Frewin on 25 June 1942 was rather eventful. The normal DH Australian built Hamilton Standard 11ft diameter propeller had been replaced by a Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) developed wooden one which was 6 inches larger in diameter.

A full power climb in high blower mode was made from 8,000 to 20,000 feet. At about 20,000 feet at full throttle of 2700 rpm, the trailing edge of one propeller blade broke off causing massive vibration in the aircraft. Frewin was unable to feather the airscrew as the booster unit was not fitted. The vibration was at its minimum at 1200 rpm.


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Ken Frewin being congratulated by Lawrence Wackett
after the maiden flight of the Boomerang


Ken Frewin made a forced landing in Boomerang A46-1 at Werribee airfield. The following damage had been caused by the severe vibration:-

- the radio went dead
- pitot head broke off immediately
- tailplane spar broke completely at outer attachment to the centre casting on the starboard side
- the tailplane remained attached to the aircraft by the elevator torque tube and fillets
- the engine mount was fractured in 3 places

            - port upper member near the ring
            - starboard lower member near the ring
            - engine mount ring
- some of the instruments went unserviceable
- cracked wheel wheel fairing
- cracked carburettor air intake duct fairing
photographic panel broke loose
- other propeller blade cracked along glued joints

The blade failure had been due to a glue failure near the balde tip which extended inward and allowed the trailing edge to break off.

A46-1, the one and only Boomerang at that stage, had only clocked up 12 hours flying time in the first three weeks of its life prior to this incident. It was repaired and back in the air within 12 days.

Boomerang A46-1 crashed a number of years later at Oakey in Queensland in March 1946.



"Wirraway, Boomerang & CA-15  in Australian Service"
By Stewart Wilson

"Wirraway to Hornet - A History of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd"
By Brian L. Hill


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This page first produced 25 September 1999

This page last updated 15 September 2018