Wackett CA-6

The Aircraft On Display

The Museum's Wackett was originally RAAF aircraft A3-31, and served with number 3 Empire Flying Training School from 13 February 1942. After the war, in March 1946, it was sold to to J.T. Brown for £ 150, having been allocated registration VH-AIY. MacRobertson Miller Aviation Company Limited purchased the aircraft on 26 June 1946, and it stayed in that ownership until it was retired on 9 July 1964.

The description with the display continues the story:

The Museum's Wackett was the personal aircraft of Horrie Miller, one of Australia's pioneer airmen, and founder of MacRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA) which served Western Australia for 30 years before it was taken over by Ansett Airlines in the mid 1960's. Horrie loved to have an aircraft to fly whenever he felt the need, he had two previous aircraft for this purpose, and his children developed their interest in aviation during flights with Dad. His daughter Robin became known as Sugar Bird Lady* for her work delivering polio vaccine around the North West.

The Wackett was originally registered to the airline in June 1946 and transferred to Horrie a short time later. It was based in Broome where it remained until its transfer here in August 2002.

The Museum would like to thank

The Shire of Broome for their generous assistance with the Museum's acquisition of the aircraft.
QANTAS Airways for their assistance with travel to Broome and back.
Paspaley Pearling who have been storing the aircraft.
Kimberley Freight Lines for transporting the aircraft from Broome.

* The Sabin polio vaccine was provided in sugar cubes, taken orally.

Type / History

Type Two-seat primary trainer
Manufacturer Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation
Designer Lawrence Wackett
Maiden Flight September 19, 1939
Introduced February 6, 1941
Retired 1946
Primary users RAAF
Number built 200
Variants KS-2 and KS-3 Cropmaster
Yeoman Cropmaster

The Wackett was designed in response to a 1938 RAAF requirement for a trainer to supplement its existing fleet. The specification called for a low-winged monoplane with an enclosed cockpit (unlike the more commonly-used Tiger Moth). It also called for use of the Gypsy Major engine as the powerplant, but this proved to have insufficient power, and was initially replaced by a larger Gypsy Six. However, the increased power of this engine was partly countered by its greater weight, and a Warner Super Scarab radial engine was tried with greater success.

Due to their higher performance and more sophisticated equipment (such as a constant-speed propellor), the Wacketts were used as intermediates between the Tiger Moth primary trainers and the Wirraway advanced trainers. Despite in-service problems with the supply of propellors and the development of cracks in the Super Scarab engines, they succeeded in that role to the end of the war.

After the end of World War II, some Wacketts were converted by Kingsford Smith Aviation for use as agricultural aircraft, as the KS-2 and KS-3 Cropmaster (the former with the hopper in the front-seat position, the latter with it aft). A further evolution was the Yeoman Cropmaster, which showed little outward resemblance to its wartime ancestor.

General Characteristics

General characteristics

Length: 26 ft 0 in (7.92 m)
Height: 9 ft 10 in (3.0 m)
Wingspan 37 ft 0 in (11.28 m)
Powerplant: Warner Super Scarab radial, 175 hp (130 kW)
Weight: empty 866 kg (1910 lb), gross 1175 kg (2590 lb)


Maximum speed: 185 km/h (115 mph)
Range: 684 km (425 mi)