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RAAF to begin restoration of historical ‘Halestorm’

written by Hannah Dowling | April 19, 2022

The Royal Australian Air Force has welcomed the donation of the cockpit and forward fuselage of a historic Gloster Meteor fighter from the South Australian Aviation Museum.

The aircraft, A77-851, also called Halestorm, is the very same in which Sergeant George Hale shot down a MiG-15 during the Korean War.

A77-851 was delivered to the RAAF on 20 August 1952.

Not even one year later, on 27 March 1953, Hale intercepted a number of MiG-15s while on an armed reconnaissance mission. An air-to-air attack ensued, and Hale is credited with destroying one MiG and damaging a second.

The History and Heritage Branch stated the Halestorm restoration will involve taking the cockpit and forward fuselage, which was previously recovered and refurbished by volunteers from the South Australian Aviation Museum (SAAM) and merging it with part of another Meteor.

The process is expected to take at least 18 months.

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Director-General of Air Force’s History and Heritage Branch, Air Commodore John Meier, said Air Force was pleased to accept this significant historical fighter aircraft from the South Australian Aviation Museum.

“This generous donation highlights the great cooperation between Air Force and the Australian aviation museums in general, and SAAM in particular,” AIRCDRE Meier said.

“History and Heritage Branch now intends to fully restore Halestorm prior to putting it on public display.”

Halestorm not only had a distinguished service career in Korea but was also a pioneer aircraft for emerging technologies – following the war, Air Force converted Halestorm into a drone and used it to conduct aviation trials at Woomera.

Volunteers from SAAM later recovered and refurbished the cockpit/forward fuselage and put it on display for two decades.

President of SAAM Nigel Daw said the team is “proud to gift Halestorm to Air Force, so even more members of the Australian community will have the opportunity to see this aircraft and learn about its history”.

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