Wackett Widgeon Notes

By Greg Sharpe  


Wackett Widgeon Mk.1

The Mk.1 had the civilian G-AEKB registration, after Mr. E.K. Bowden the then Australian Minister for Defense, and was equipped with an inline Armstrong Siddeley Puma 230hp engine with a large square radiator, and later fitted with a more powerful 30hp Nimbus.

It cracked up on taxi trials in a rough swell on Botany Bay when it hit a sand bank in 1925. After much embarrassment is was recovered and repaired and was later transferred to No.1 FTS RAAF in 1927 for sea boat training at Point Cook, Victoria still registered as G-AEKB. It was reduced to components in 1929 and was the only one built.


Wackett Widgeon Mk.2

The Mk.2 was actually built for the RAAF in military markings, Red/White/Blue roundels and coded, fitted with a 440hp Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar engine. The Mk.2 was actually quite successful as it completed an unescorted 9000 mile series of survey flights circumnavigating Australia in 1927. 

It was actually introduced into the RAAF in 1928 and crashed in Hobson's Bay, Port Phillip, Victoria on 6th January 1930. It was the only one built.

One point to note is that the humpback on the rear hull top was actually a timber dinghy for emergency use.


Colour Schemes

The Mk1 hull was originally finished in high gloss varnish over diagonal ply strips, roughly mahogany in colour. Wing colours are harder to identify, possibly clear doped linen. They were later painted overall, but the actual colour is as yet unidentified.

The Mk.2 is also unknown, but was probably a light grey overall based upon a half-scale model held by the Powerhouse museum in Sydney.