Scaffolding around the Jet was taken down on Tuesday 30 January; clean-up commenced immediately and finishing touches are being added.
The Vampire Jet was delivered from Wagga Wagga on the back of a semi-trailer in 1970 to be used as an attraction for Forbes.
The Jet was erected in 1971 by Wal Williams, Municipal Health and Building Inspector (at the time) and his team, with a team of Council staff. The Jet was positioned on a downward incline for optimal viewing from the height of the Newell Highway and as a point of difference with other aeroplane related installations to appear as if it is coming into land.
As the jet has aged, over the years there have been several restoration attempts, with the aircraft being removed from its mount once to be fibre-glassed, which was unfortunately unsuccessful in preventing its deterioration.
In 2022, former Aircraft Technician for the R.A.A.F and Forbes local Andrew Little, notified Council about the Vampire Jet’s nose drooping which could become a safety hazard for the community. This led to the extent of the jet’s damage to be discovered. The body of the plane was originally made from wood which had significantly degraded over time.
With the considerable contribution of work hours from volunteers Alex McKinnon, Andrew Little and Gary Hodges in conjunction with Midpro Engineering, Harry Jones Painting and Council staff, the Vampire jet has been brought back to its former glory, including steel reinforcing, removal of damaged components, new paint, decals added, making the aircraft look even better than when it was first commissioned.
Council would like to thank the community for their enthusiasm and patience throughout this project, the Jet is too important to let it deteriorate beyond repair.
Council would also like to especially thank the volunteers who put their time and effort into ensuring the Vampire Jet was restored to its former glory as a wonderful attraction for our town and an icon of the Newell Highway.