The Ceres agricultural aircraft was the first – and only – civil aircraft produced by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) in Australia – a company which had previously produced hundreds of military aircraft including fighters such as the Boomerang, Mustang and Sabre, and trainers such as the Wirraway and Winjeel. Between 1959 and 1963 a total of only 21 Ceres aircraft were produced, but as a one-ton-load heavyweight crop duster the Ceres made its mark on aerial agriculture in Australia and New Zealand.
The result of more than 15 years of research by the author, this book tells for the first time how the CAC design team overcame unexpected problems during the development of their first civil aircraft. Developed from the pre-war Wirraway general purpose and training aircraft, the adaptation of the Wirraway engine and airframe to the dramatically different flight regime of crop dusting was not without problems. The book covers the fascinating history of the production and operation of the Ceres aircraft. To provide context for the design of the Ceres, the book covers the development of agricultural aviation in Australia and New Zealand, with a brief summary of the aircraft which were in use prior to the introduction of the Ceres. The individual history of each Ceres aircraft produced is covered, along with impressions of the aircraft from the perspective of numerous pilots and operators.
A little-known aspect of the Ceres story is how the unused stock of surplus Wirraway airframes purchased by CAC for Ceres production were eventually sold – ensuring the survival of dozens of Wirraway aircraft in the hands of private enthusiasts and museums. This was how the Ceres saved the Wirraway!
A full technical description of the aircraft is included, along with excerpts from the Operating Instructions and the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Manual. Many unpublished photographs and drawings are included. The three major versions of the aircraft are described in detail.
The book includes 8 full-colour profiles by renowned aviation artist Juanita Franzi, of Aero Illustrations.
The book contains 256 pages, printed in high quality colour on 263 gsm (70 lb) matt paper.
597 photographs in colour and black & white.
ISBN 9780994571304 or 978-0-9945713-0-4
Table of contents:
Chapter One Background: Agricultural Aircraft in Australia and New Zealand 1
Chapter Two Design, Testing and Development of the Ceres 23
Chapter Three Production and Sales 71
Chapter Four Operators: The Companies Who Flew the Ceres 87
Chapter Five The Ceres Described 97
Chapter Six Flying the Ceres 121
Chapter Seven Individual Aircraft Histories 129
Appendix 1 Lineage: Ancestors of the Ceres 220
Appendix 2 Service Life and Operators 223
Appendix 3 Surplus Wirraways Purchased by CAC 225
Appendix 4 The Company Wirraway: CA9-763 227
Appendix 5 Ceres Service Bulletins and Modifications 229
The book is available from the author, or a range of online bookstores.
Click here for a list of places to purchase the book.