Today, under police escort, the Australasian Pacific Aeronautical College (APAC) at Tamworth Airport took delivery of the former RAAF de Havilland Vampire jet aircraft removed from Tamworth’s Country Music Hands of Fame Park. The Vampire was dismantled and successfully transported to the airport after several hours of delicate engineering work supervised by Tamworth Regional Council.
According to APAC Teacher-in-Charge Russell Hodgkins, the Vampire “will be a valuable restoration project and teaching aid for our students, and an important contribution to preserving a piece of Australian aviation history”. In 1946 the de Havilland Vampire was the first fighter jet ordered and made for the RAAF.
Mr Hodgkins stated that when this project was discussed, APAC and the New England Institute of TAFE viewed the restoration as a way to contribute to the Tamworth community “There is a huge variety of work to be done, especially in aircraft metal work. We think the project could last about 18 months”.
APAC Chairman Charles McCarthy commented “on behalf of the APAC Board, APAC is proud to support this community project. Our teaching staff, some of the best in Australia, should be congratulated for putting their hands up to take this project on.”
APAC is an aviation training college at Tamworth airport providing vocational training in Aeroskills (Avionics, Mechanical and Structures) through a unique partnership between New England Institute of TAFE, QantasLink, BAE Systems, and Tamworth Regional Council. APAC provides training to some of Australia’s largest and successful aerospace and defence industries.