Vintage Planes in Eastern Australia, 2005


Part 1: Cairns to Sydney

Photos © R.Leeuw
(Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them,
hover over thumbnails for details/info)

In search of vintage props, such as the Douglas DC-3, the search started in Cairns,Queensland and ended in Melbourne, Victoria. Along the way I visited many museums and for the sake of the obvious attempt to be complete I also photographed the jets and other aircraft on display.
While I was quite happy with the bounty of the 3-week stay, choices had to be made and I am looking forward to future visits to complete my collection and witness updates.
Due to the amount of photos I have divided this trip in 2 pages: Cairns to Sydney and Sydney to Melbourne.
I hope you will enjoy the collection I have to share and have put on display on this page.
Here is a map to get your bearings.

VH-IDQ, click on image I was sitting on a ship, heading out to Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef, when I spotted DHC-2 Beaver VH-IDQ (c/n 1555) of Cairns Seaplanes taxying out; it made a run against the wind back in the direction of the Cairns harbour and while climbing for altitude, overtook our speedy catamaran. Its vintage radial engine had no trouble in beating us to the beautiful tropical Green Island.
VH-IDQ at www.DHC-2.com

John D.Williams wrote me in June 2008:
"I owned and flew VH-IDQ, in 1988-89, before selling her to David Presnell, formerly proprietor of Aquaflight Airways.
David had lost his first Beaver, VH-NAQ, when the wind blew up one day out at one of the sand cays, Sudbury, and he wasn't quick enough to get to the spot where he'd left her only partially aground on the lee side of the cay. Never found...
Only one float found out on the reef weeks later by a fishing boat crew!
VH-IDQ also came to grief. That was at Green Island, just off Cairns in November 2006. A new young pilot ran her on the reef and sank her. The wreck is in storage at Wayne McGilvrays' hangar at Mareeba awaiting a rebuild.
Most seaplane operators do not take out insurance as they simply cannot afford the premiums."


Click on image I climbed Mt.Whitfield on a beautiful saturday morning; in terms of traffic taking off it was a disappointment, as I could only stay for 1 hour and did not see any planes departing except one QFA 767.
But it is a unique view and has the General Aviation side of the airport in plain view.
The climb in itself is a worthy excercise; the Park is called the Mount Whitfield Conservation Park for which you have to take the main north road out of Cairns (Sheridan Street), turn left into Collins Street, soon there is a parking on your right and a trail starts there and climbs through tropical surroundings.

Douglas C-47B VH-SPY (c/n 33113) can be seen from the mountain; it does seem to be firmly stored and that is a pity.
More on this DC-3 later.

VH-EWP, click on image

Main reason of this visit on 05Nov05 was a tour in and around this vintage Fokker F.27, F.27-500 VH-EWP (c/n 10534) is owned by the Royal Australian Navy and used for Laser Airborne Depth Sounding (LADS). Aircruising is operating VH-EWP under their AOC for the RAN (anno 2005), while Executive Airlines are the approved Maintenance Organisation.
The Laser Airborne Depth Sounder is a mobile hydrographic surveying system, mapping the Australian coastal waters.
For years now has this Fokker F.27 been in reliable use; the operating height is 500m...
F.27 VH-EWP, click on image
F.27 VH-EWP, click on image
3 axis stabilised platform containing laser transmitter and receiver
crewseat
seats for passengers
Purpose designed Nd:YAG laser is mounted on a stabilised platform
Click on image Crew monitor progress on this console; the laser is located (out of view here) next to the seats and data is stored in the cabinets left and right.

Click on image The data obtained during the flight is processed on the ground in a mobile unit, which can be relocated as the mission requires.
Here are some images and Acrobat Reader files to familiarize with "Whiskey Papa's " role:
Set up and flightplan (Jpeg), flight ops (jpeg), Airborne Equipment (.pdf), Performance (.pdf), Accuracy (.pdf) and Maintenance (.pdf).

First Day Cover issued locally to celebrate the anniversary of the first F27 flight While 17Dec05 was the 70th anniversary of the first flight of the Douglas DC-3, the Fokker F.27 had an anniversary to celebrate in 2005 as well !
Bill Gronbeck sent me the following in Jan.2006: "I am one of the pilots employed by Aircruising Australia to fly the Royal Australian Navy's F27-500 VH-EWP in Cairns. I am sending you a photo of the First Day Cover issued locally to celebrate the anniversary of the first F27 flight."
Thanks Bill ! (Click on the photo for a full view of the First Day Cover).
Click on the image This is one spotless Fokker Friendship, maintained to a very high degree, which pays off in a high dispatch reliability.
VH-EWP manages to make some 920 hours a year and each sortie has an average endurance of 07:30 hours. Strict weather criteria and maintenance put a limit on the utilisation.
Mapping goes to a depth of 50 meters. The laser is eye safe at its operating altitude of 1.650 feet.

Gil White chronicled VH-EWP's history for me.

VH-EWP turned up at Melbourne-Essendon, 18Dec09, with Fugro titles. Being prepared for a new career. It was registered 17Jan2010 to Fugro LADS Corp., Mawson Lakes,SA.

I was shocked to read in Aviation Letter (aug.2011) that VH-EWP is no more!
"VH-EWP ln Opa Locka, Florida last noted 04May11 minus engines, outer wings & nose section, gone by 17Jul11." So I presume it has been broken up...

Click on the image

After years of research Hans K. Groen and Jan F. Homma have produced this CD-ROM: "The Fokker F27 Story".
F27 Fokker Friendship Story
It contains the development, production, operations and crashes of the Fokker F27. Over 3.000 pages to browse through and featuring a large selection of images and individual aircraft histories.

The first 'complete' story of the famous Fokker turboprop!

The CD-ROM costs EUR 29,95 (excl. postage & packing) at the time of writing: May 2011.

Please email your order to: hansklaasgroen2 -ATsign-hotmail -dot- com, or by writing to: Hans K. Groen, Archimedesweg 19, 1098 JK, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

9L-LDQ, click on image This impressive cargo hauler is a Shorts SC.5 Belfast (registration 9L-LDQ, c/n 1819). It is in use by HeavyLift Cargo Services (operating name for Transpacific Pty Ltd); 9L-LDQ was registered on 21Jan03 and is former RAF military transport XR365 and HeavyLift G-HLFT (a UK based company that went bankrupt in Sep.2002, no relation to this company).
It is the only Shorts Belfast surviving in an airworthy state, a really huge and impressive airplane.
The company has also 2 Boeing 727s to its name, also based here, one of which was grounded by corrosion. [A 2013 post on a forum stated: "...the remaining company Boeing 727 (RP-C8016) at the end of September 2010."]

These planes are used to haul cargo to and from Pacific islands; many of these islands do not have proper seaport facilities, e.g. not equipped to handle containers, store and/or distribute cargo. So goods and products best travel by air.
It was a pity to learn that ramp access to this part of the airport will be more difficult to obtain in future due to the ever increasing security measures.

HeavyLift had the Belfast registered in the Philippines in January 2007, as RP-C8020. In August 2010 I found the Belfast put up for sale, location Cairns, and reported 'airworthy as off January 2010'.

Paul Koopman sent me an image of this Short Belfast at Cairns in May 2013, devoid of livery, titles and registration; see Photos by Friends & Guests (37).

It never moved (never airborne), this image on Flickr.com (Taken 09Feb2017) shows its unchanged, but rumors of scrapping become stronger and stronger by Feb.2017...
See my Photos by Friends & Guests (49) for developments march/april 2017.

 


This Douglas C-47B, initially serialled 16365 but due duplication error reserialled 33113, was delivered to the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) as 44-76781 on 24Apr1945.
In itself it is amazing to see it survive.
The C-47B was delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with military tailnumber A65-102 and radio callsign VHRFS on 11May45. The radio callsign changed over the year sa few times: VMHRW, VMHRP and VMLFJ.
1964 saw it active at Pearce (WA) with the Base Flight. Its active service life ended when it was handed over to the Dept of Admin Services for disposal and on 22Aug81 it was registered VH-PTS for Paradak (Para's and Dakota's ?) at Melbourne-Essendon. It was seen here as VH-ANA in Dec. 1985 and it apperaed VH-PTS was only used for the ferry flight from Perth to Essendon in 1981.
VH-SPY, click for larger image This classic transport was used as a backdrop in a tv film called "A Far Country" and was seen stored at Camden, Sydney (NSW) in 1987.
It was registered for South Pacific Airmotive Inc as VH-SPY (1990?) and reregistered N65388 on 27Oct99 (for the same owner, but not applied to the aircraft). Whether it was actually used for commercial activities I don't know, as it seems it was mainly reported as stored. But it did find its way to Cairns.

I was told the present owners are the same owners of the HeavyLift aircraft based here (Transpacific Pty ?). On 24May11 it was registered as N65388 to Harlan W. Jordan of Lady Lake,FL.
A post in Mar.2017 read: "The Dak went to someones back yard north of Cairns." Soon followed by "I am advised that the C-47 formerly VH-SPY has been sighted today (16Mar17) on a private property at Edmonton south of Cairns.
The aircraft is currently stored in the open inside a fenced enclosure. Wings and props are not fitted. The new owner's name is unknown."

Paul Koopman sent me an image of this DC-3, devoid of titles it seemed and other markings; and moved to a different spot at Cairns airport, a bit more out of the way. See Photos by Friends & Guests (37).

I read this on the internet, posted 27Feb2017: "All of Nick Leach's aircraft around the country have either been sold, or scrapped.
The 2 ex Ozjet 737-200's at Perth will be dismantled and taken out to an airfield east of York.
The DC-3 at Cairns was moved last year and the Belfast was the last one left.
With the amount of money owed for parking fees they will try and get some back."
That last remark may be concerning the aim to scrap the Short Belfast -Webmaster, RL
Mor eon HeavyLift in shapes, sizes and locations at Photos by Friends & Guests (49).

VH-SPY, click here VH-SPY, click here

VH-BPA, click here This Douglas C-47A with c/n 12187 became 42-92392 upon delivery on 31Dec1943 to the USAAC; it was transferred as FZ631 to the RAF (Montreal) on 09Jan44 and proceed to the UK on 18Jan44.
After WW2 it was registered as VH-EAN to QANTAS (18Apr49); its tailnumber changed to VH-EBF on 11Apr56 and to VH-EBU on 20Jan58.
Trans Australia Airlines became owner on 01Sep60 and it was reregistered VH-SBD (named "Madang") on 08Dec60. Its career turned exotic when it joined Air Niugini on 01Nov73; registration was revised to P2-SBD, which was again revised to P2-ANO on 11Dec75.
Activities ceased on 31Jul77 and it was reported stored at Port Moresby in Oct. 1979.
VH-BPA, click here

The C-47A was again reregistered as N5590C for Insured Aircraft Title Service Inc of Oklahoma City, OK on 13Mar80 for Red Cross work in Thailand.
John J Ford III bought this vintage propliner on 30Jun81 and N5590C was delivered to Bush Pilots Airways (BPA) on 28Oct81. With these titles it has been preserved on a parking lot of Cairns IAP (which has also become the owner) since at least 1985.
The fuselage and wingstubs have been declared as original c/n 12187, but parts from other DC-3s may have been used for restoration.
Under the rh-wing one can read a registration: VH-BPA.

VH-BPA On ABC Far North Qld was an item (05Sep08) with this photo of VH-BPA; it read:
"One of Cairns' most recognisable features, the DC-3 aeroplane in front of the Cairns Airport Domestic Terminal, has been pulled down for an indefinite period by Cairns Ports, citing concerns over its 'structural integrity'.
The aircraft, famous for once having flown King George VI to cheer on the Allied Forces during World War II, may no longer be able to be perched on the elevated plinth on which it has stood for almost a quarter of a century.
The aeroplane, originally used by Bush Pilot Airways during their 37-year existence, has been displayed there since 1984.
"We've had some concerns over the structural integrity of the aircraft for some time and a review earlier this year, recommended that we bring the plane off its location for a more detailed investigation as to the structure of the aircraft," says Cairns Ports CEO, Neil Quinn. "To do a proper investigation, we have to bring it down and make sure, the wings are properly fixed to the body of the aircraft and that nothing else would present any safety hazard to anyone moving underneath the aircraft."
A team of specialists will look at the aircraft and determine whether it can be displayed in some way, according to Mr Quinn, possibly on the ground within the airport precinct.
Mr Quinn says the airplane is important to the region's history.
"I think the aircraft has a unique bond with Cairns airport, with Bush Pilots Airways operating from the airport for a number of years. We recognise that significance and we've been in contact with the Bush Pilots Foundation which is a group of former pilots and other workers and had their views as to what the future of the aircraft may be," he says.
The DC-3, originally built in 1943, is currently located in the domestic airport carpark and will soon be moved to the General Aviation sector where further assessments will continue. No time frame has been placed on when the aircraft will be displayed again until it can be determined what's involved in repairing it.
"The next step is the detailed assessment," says Mr Quinn. "Once we have the final findings of that assessment then we will look at options as to what the future of the aircraft will be."
Bush Pilot Airways was founded by Sir Bob Norman in 1951. It ceased operating in 1988 after being bought by the then Trans Australia Airlines, now known as Qantas. In 2005, the ashes of Captain Ern Girault were scattered underneath where the DC-3 was originally perched, with a memorial plaque placed at the aircraft's base.
//end quote

WTF!! Bad, sad news! Michael Clayton forwarded this to me in Feb.2009:
"This DC-3 has been cut!
Its nose/cockpit section had been found at Mareeba Airport, on the Atherton Tablelands, not far from Syd Becks Museum. The fuselage is still at Cairns, the wings were removed..."
Quoting from the above: Mr Quinn says the airplane is important to the region's history. "I think the aircraft has a unique bond with Cairns airport.. is the usual crap from politicians. Assholes!


Up at Kuranda Market (approx 15 miles north of Cairns), the remains of a DC-3 fuselage and wings can be found at "Bird's World".
Construction number of this Douglas C-47 is 6051 and its history reads as follows-
Delivered to the USAAF as 41-38668 on 29Nov42. It made its way to Australia in Jan.1943 where it joined the 5th Air Force. It seems to have been named "Geronimo". It was assigned a civil registration VH-AEO for DCA (delivery 10Jul44 and registered 09Mar45) for use by ANA.
The register was altered on 25Apr46 for operations by TAA (named "Cunningham"/"Clive Murray"?). Qantas leased it in 1948.
It was converted for survey work in Jan. 1957 and was registered as VH-DAS on behalf of Government of South Australia, Lands Commission (named "Clive Hambridge" but was operated by Trans Australia Airlines-TAA (reregistered as such 29Jan58). East West Airlines leased it from 17Mar75, but this did not last long as it was found stored, without further use, at Tamworth on 21Dec76.
Travmar Pty became registered owner in Dec78 and then it went to Maitland (a location ? or owner ?) for spares.
Its last activity, it seems, was when it was painted as 6903077 for a film "The Sky Pirates" but by then it was already in bits and pieces, similating a crash scene. The film was made in 1985 and released in USA/Australia january 1986 (thank you Juha Paulavuo).
VH-DAS on Airliners.net
VH-DAS, Click here VH-DAS, Click here VH-DAS, Click here VH-DAS Click here
Greg Lamey wrote me in Feb.2006:
Re VH-DAS, it grieves me to see this fine a/c was wrecked for the sake of a most forgettable film. I flew in this a/c out of Adelaide in 1975 when it was indeed operated by East-West Airlines under contract for the "SA Department of Lands Aerial Survey Unit". I have a B&W photo I took from that date showing "Aerial Survey Unit" lettering. Interestingly (for me anyway), I was a Press Photographer at the Adelaide Advertiser at that time, and TAA were having a party to celebrate 30 years service with the DC-3. A mere 200 metres from the "high-brow" reception at Adelaide Airport stood an uninvited VH-DAS.... because she was now in the East-West colors!. TAA's media spin doctors at the time denied it was the same aircraft and had "no idea" what had become of "VH-AEO" that started it all for TAA...

Gil White chronicled the history of this DC-3.

See Bob Hunter's May 2010 pictorial update on my page Photos by Friends & Guests (25)


A65-73, click here Syd Beck's Museum at Mareeba (Qld) has this beautiful DC-3 preserved here; it is A65-73 and is in Korean War "colours". The registration is not shown on the aircraft.
The museum is run by Sid and is actually more or less part of his farm. The main collection of the museum sits rather randomly in a large vintage-type hangar, but the DC-3 sits on the grounds of the farm and Sid will have to escort you here as this area is not covered by his insurance covering the museum; and suppose you are attacked by his geese ... Sid is a friendly feller, in a grumpy sort of way, but it annoyed me when his wife started telling him to let me be, to go for his afternoon nap ... I was a paying customer, but did not feel like it.
Paul Daw provided the following list of aircraft on display-
Ikara missile AN833 Link Trainer A13-13? serial no. SP1432
SP-2H Neptune A89-277 DH-82 Tiger Moth VH-BXF
CAC Wackett VH-??? GAF Canberra A84-210
V-1 flying bomb replica "FI-103" Bristol Sycamore XN450
Sea Venom N4-904 complete Sea Venom N4-??? nose section only
Bell Airocobra 41-6951 C-47 A65-73
Vampire A79-??? marked as Inst 11 Wildcat replica "84"
Beech 23 Sundowner VH-UXX -
A65-73, click here This C-47B was manufactured in Oklahoma City for the USAAC with c/n 15923 (due duplications reserialled 32671) and assigned military serial 44-76339 upon its delivery 12Feb45. It was transferred as A65-73 to the RAAF (radio callsign VHCIP, with 37 Sqdn) on 27Feb45. It saw service in Malaya, Japan and Malaya again (this time with 2 Sqdn from 1964 to 1966). It also operated as a TACAN Calibration Aircraft (radio callsign VMHJT) and was damaged beyond economic repair on 05Sep71 at Townsville (QLD). It was up for disposal by 1973 and at some point (date ?) made its way to Sid Beck's Air Museum.

The museum has a variety of airplanes on display, but also a lot of cars, trucks, guns, etc. An excellent collection.
opening hours are daily 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. (closed Christmas Day and Good Friday)
The museum is located on the road between Mareeba and Atherton, about 5 kms from Mareeba.
details about Sid Beck's Museum

Update ! Syd advised two visitors, Chris & Phil, in Feb.2009, how he'd like to sell his Lockheed Neptune A89-277, if the money is right... A six figure amount was introduced into the conversation, by Syd! In order to get his DC-3/C-47 A65-73 inside, under cover.
Current admission fee to Syd's militaria Museum is Aus$12.50.
Thanks to Michael Clayton for forwarding thi sbit of news.


A bit further down the road sits this Douglas C-47B: c/n 14050/25495.
Its history started in 1943 as USAAC 43-48234 and joined the Pacific Air Transport Command on 31Jul44.
VH-BAB, click here It was registered as VH-DMV for the Commonwealth of Australia/DCA in March 1947. Its loyalty changed to the Dept of National Development (06Oct47) and changed back again on 09Feb51, as VH-CAO, for the Directory of Civil Aviation.

Its governmental days over, it was registered as VH-BAB for Brain & Brown Airfreighters Pty Ltd on 10Mar62. Next was BBA Cargo Jan72, which seems like the same company to me, but I don't know for sure.
Malcolm Long of Chewing Gum Fld Acft Museum, Tallebudgera,QLD became the new owner on 21Jul79. It was declared "without further use (wfu)" on 23Jul79. In those days it appeared painted in USAAF WWII colours as "348234" and coded X6A. The latter may also have been X16A as with this code it was reported (1996) at Drages Airworld at Wangaratta, VIC (named Oklahoma Gal) and is seen as such today.
Oklahoma Gal is likely to be a reference to the birthplace of so many DC-3s.
So it has found its way up here at Mareeba after Airworld closed in 2002; DC-3 Census in Australasia has the owner as Mike Spaulding of North Queensland Warbirds (website?), but I found little activity here.
Bill Gronbeck wrote me in Jan.2006 with an update: "The North Queensland Warbirds C-47B was obtained by that group in 2004/2005. It has had QUITE a bit of work done to restore it to flying condition. The group has since obtained a rather battered P-40 Kittyhawk with a zero-time engine which is now being restored ahead of the C-47. It has become a long term project and is not expected to be in flyable condition for some years yet..
NQ Warbirds also owns a Harvard, a Nanchang, 2 Winjeels and a DHC-1 Chipmunk all in flying condition. Another of VH-EWP's pilots, Terry Minchin, flies them all on a regular basis."



UPDATE : C-47B 25495 VH-BAB - Transported by road from Mareeba airfield to Caboolture Airport (QLD), on 17Dec2014.
The airplane has a fake code X16A, and is decorated with fuselage titels Jungle Skippers & noseart name Oklahoma Gal.
A team called 'Pacific Dakota Restorations' is working hard on this bird. Follow their activity on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pacificdakotarestorations

A89-280 Lockheed P-2V-7 Neptune with registration A89-280 was seen preserved here on 06Nov05 at Townsville,QLD. I distinctly remember the heat here...
I could not linger or check things out at this airfield any further, due to lack of time; research on the internet provided its former US Navy BuNo as 149080.

(c) Terry Magee In many reference books and on websites the PBY-5A Catalina flying boat, registered VH-BRI (c/n 1735), is listed as a converted houseboat and located at Shute Harbour. But the last sighting seemed to date from 1996.
So I did not find it surprising that upon my visit it had long gone. When I asked around I was given the telephone number of the former owners, the O'Hara family. When I talked to them on the phone I was told it had been sold and had moved north, to Home Hill/Bowling Green (QLD). By that time I still had no idea what to look for and did not have the time to backtrack up north. So I was glad Terry Magee made this photo available to me: taken at Cannonvale on 25Oct75: one can hardly recognize in a plane in this houseboat !
Lee Morgan wrote me (Mar.2006) with: "48373 (c/n 1735) to N10018 then N95R, now VH-BRI in Australia as a houseboat. Was DBR (=damaged beyond -economic- repair) 08Jul1962."
Gil White wrote the following history of VH-BRI.
Further updates about its present condition and location would be welcomed.
Here is more on Planes-turned-Houseboat DownUnder

Donna Bellma wrote me in August 2008:
I ramdomly came across your website re the planes that were converted to boats...
What particularly got my attention was your interest in the one in Proserpine/Airlie Beach area.
I was born and lived in Proserpine for 40years, my family being 5th generation locals on my mother's side. The boat you talk of, I vaguely remember as a child, when we visited family friends at Abell Point (northern point of Airlie Beach, which is named after my great-great-grandfather). This friend of my father (I THINK he may have been an 'Snowey' Altmann, but I could well be wrong), lived and did boat repairs at this site.
I know the O'Hara family in Proserpine (having gone to school with the only O'Hara girl in town, who is probably a 3rd or 4th cousin). I also know several people involved in the history of our region, my recently passed father being a volunteer (and great information provider) at the museum for some years.
If you are still interested in gathering information on this boat/plane, I will make some enquiries on your behalf.
Donna


VH-AWD, click here While I was looking at Shute Harbour for the Catalina-turned-houseboat, I soon found myself at the nearby airstrip looking at the activities of several Air Whitsunday deHavilland DHC-2 Beavers. I witnessed several movements with people coming and going: I sure envied them !
The aircraft has c/n 1066 and was former VH-VDG, VH-AAJ (and VH-AYS?), reregistered as VH-AWD on 29Jun99 by Air Whitsunday Seaplanes, Airlie Beach, QLD.

Here are some photos of it in the past on www.DHC-2.com

VH-AWI is seen arriving here at Whitsunday Airport (Airlie Beach), with some satisfied passengers on board.
VH-AWI,click here
DeHavilland produced this Beaver (c/n 298) in 1952, delivery date 01Jul52 to the USAF (51-16513). It was stored at Davis-Monthan's desert boneyard from 1972 until Oct.1973. Its first civil tailnumber was N88757 (date?) and was registered from Dec.1979 until 26Mar96 as N604TG for Texas State Guard, Corsicana,TX.
Pax are seen disembarking from VH-AWI.
VH-AWI, click here
It found its way Down Under when it was registered as VH-HQE on 03Jul87 for Great Barrier Reef Flying Boats of Airlie Beach,QLD.
And as VH-AWI for Air Whitsunday Seaplanes Pty Ltd of Airlie Beach,QLD on 22Feb02.
All this from Neil Aird's www.dhc-2.com, including some vintage photos.
VH-AWZ cn1618, click here VH-AWR cn665, click here
VH-AWY, click here VH-AWY c/n 1444 is getting a wash here, washing away the salt water of the Pacific Ocean. Hopefully I'll be on board the next time I get here: I cannot think of a better way to visit Hayman Island or the other tropical paradises along the coast.

www.airwhitsunday.com.au

We detoured through Bundaberg for the museum of Bert Hinkler. He was a famous Australian aviator as he made the first solo flight from Britain to Australia in 1928 (in a single-engine Avro Avian aircraft in 15 1/2 days!); this flight brought him 5 aviation records. He continued to win many more trophies and awards.
He came to his death when on 07Jan1933 he took off again from London,UK for Australia; his body and wrecked aircraft were found in the Apennines. He received a State Funeral in Italy and was buried in Florence, Italy.
Avro Avian G-EBOV British Salmson Engine crashsite

Next visit, 09Nov05, was to the Queensland Air Museum at Caloundra.
New hangar at QAM

A hangar has recently been added and improvements are continueing, thanks to a sizable donation received by the museum; it was good to see a a lot of volunteers at work and I greatly enjoyed visiting this museum. The website has a page with details on the collection, with further details on each individual aircraft.
VH-ANR, click here VH-ANR is a Douglas DC-3-194B (c/n 1944). It is the oldest surviving Royal Dutch A/L-KLM DC-3 !
This DC-3 was assembled by Fokker in the Netherlands and registered for KLM as PH-ALW (named "Wielewaal"); delivery was on 25Apr37. Amazing to see it survive after all this time...
VH-ANR, click here C/n 1944 was reregistered PK-ALW for the KNILM for use in the East Indies. During WW2, on 19Mar42, it was assigned to the Australian Government. With tailnumber 11944 it was assigned to the USAAF (Australian radio callsign VHCXE) for use by 21 Sqdn on 15May1942. It seems General McArthur used it during 1942/43. It was assigned to the RAAF (36 Sqdn, "VHCXL") on 15Aug43. And on 01Apr44 is was assigned, as VH-CXL, to Australia National Airlines-ANA; it was reregistered VH-ANR (named Oana) on 22May46. The airline was renamed Ansett-ANA in Oct57.

VH-ANR, click here Butler Air Transport bought it in Apr58 and Airlines of NSW bought it a year later, 17Feb59.
VH-ANR, click here In Jul72 it was reported stored at Schofield and in Nov74 it moved to Camden Airport. VH-ANR was leased to Capt Garriock in 1974, he later died in an accident. VH-ANR was sold again in 1986 by Airlines of NSW to G Markey.
A remarkable history!

VH-ANR, galley VH-ANR, to the cockpit VH-ANR, the cockpit VH-ANR, the cabin

VH-MAL, click here DeHavilland Dove VH-MAL has c/n 04120. It was manufactured in 1948 and served in Kenya as VP-KEJ and VP-KDG. The Dove arrived in Australia in 1951 and was registered as VH-MAL. During 1954 and 1955 it was reregistered as VH-AWE (Airlines Ltd) and VH-GVE (Southern A/L). It continued through several changes of ownership and in 1962 its tailnumber changed again, this time to VH-DSM (Chartwel Pty).

VH-MAL, click here In 1964 it was reported at Sydney as VH-BCB. It was changed again to VH-DSM in klast week of May 1964. It was sold to the Queensland Air Museum in 1986 and on 10May87 it arrived at Caloundra... on trucks. During 1989 it was painted in Mandated Airlines colours as VH-MAL "Rai".

Read its history in much greater detail on www.qam.com.au/aircraft/dove/VH-MAL.htm


FAIREY GANNET AS MK 1 XA331 [C/N F9223], click here
Plenty of volunteers, click here
 
PIAGGIO P166 VH-BHK [C/N 370] LOCKHEED PV-1 VENTURA A59-96 [C/N 6371] DE HAVILLAND CANADA CARIBOU A4-173 [C/N 173] VICKERS VISCOUNT 756D VH-TVJ [C/N 148] [nose section] info VH-TVJ
Robinson R22 VH-LOT, incorporates the main cabin of N2258R and the tail boom of VH-LOT NORD 262A/MOHAWK 298 VH-HIX [C/N 42] VICKERS SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE MK I K9789 [Representation] Click here Winjeel A85-410
DeHavilland SEA VIXEN FAW MK 2 XJ607 [C/N 110074] [nose section] GLOSTER METEOR F MK 8 WA880 [Marked A77-721] WESTLAND WESSEX H.A.S. MK 31A N7-217 [C/N WA217] CAC CA-27 MK 31 SABRE A94-935 [C/N CA27-35] CAC CA-27 MK 31 SABRE A94-935 [C/N CA27-35]
PIPER PA23-250 AZTEC VH-MBX [C/N 27/2007] [Marked VH-TGP] Click here Lake LA4-200 Buccaneer, VH-EJX GRUMMAN S-2A TRACKER 133160 [C/N 131] GAF CANBERRA MK 20 A84-225
GAF N22B NOMAD VH-BFH [C/N 035] DE HAVILLAND HERON 2D/A1 VH-KAM [C/N 14123] DE HAVILLAND HERON 2D/A1 VH-KAM [C/N 14123] DE HAVILLAND HERON 2D/A1 VH-KAM [C/N 14123] VH-NQC, Cessna 402A
VH-RJH, Cessna 402 Beech 95-C55 Baron fuselage is VH-ATB c/n TE-437; ex battle damage repair trainer Beech C-18S VH-CLG c/n 4213; 12Aug65 crashed at Cresswell Downs N.T. Beech C-18S VH-CLG c/n 4213; Apr91   donated to QAM by Heytesbury Pastoral Group (via NASMA) marked VH-FFE, this is HILLER UH-12E ZK-HCQ C/N 2030
DE HAVILLAND DROVER MK 3 VH-FDS [C/N 5007] LADY ELZA DE HAVILLAND DROVER MK 3 VH-FDS [C/N 5007] LADY ELZA DE HAVILLAND DROVER MK 3 VH-FDS [C/N 5007] LADY ELZA DE HAVILLAND SEA VIXEN FAW MK 2 XJ490 [C/N 110017] SWEARINGEN METROLINER VH-BPV [C/N TC-270]
Sea Venom WZ898, click here Meteor TT20 WD647 Skypup, homebuilt ultralight Vampire A79-828, click here
GRUMMAN S-2A TRACKER 133160 [C/N 131]
Grumman S-2A TRACKER 133160 (c/n 131)


Caboolture isn't very far from Caloundra, so we paid a quick visit to the Caboolture Warplane Museum here. No large vintage transports here, but a fascinating collection nevertheless.
All the aircraft here, I was told, are in an airworthy condition (except for the MiG).
The Caboolture Warplane Museum is a flying museum. On display is a collection of WW2 memorabilia, including engines and photos. Opening hours are from 10:00 to 16:00.
Commonwealth CA-18 Mustang 21 (P-51D); VH-MFT / FA (cn 1435)
Commonwealth CA-18 Mustang 21 (P-51D); VH-MFT / FA (cn 1435)
Commonwealth CA-18 Mustang 21 (P-51D); VH-MFT / FA (cn 1435)
Commonwealth CA-18 Mustang 21 (P-51D); VH-MFT / FA (cn 1435)
P-51D VH-MFT P-51D VH-MFT P-51D, VH-MFT MiG-17, unidentified MiG-17, Unidentified
CA25-22 Winjeel A85-422 VH-SOB CA25-22 Winjeel A85-422 VH-SOB CA25-22 Winjeel A85-422 VH-SOB CAC CA-16 MK 3 Wirraway, VH-MFW (cn 693) CAC CA-16 MK 3 Wirraway, VH-MFW (cn 693)
CAC CA-3 MK II Wirraway, VH-WWY CAC CA-3 MK II Wirraway, VH-WWY Wright Cyclone Engine, 875 Hp prop engines

There was just enough light to round the day off with a quick visit to Brisbane-Archerfield, to snap a picture of VH-PAF. This Douglas DC-4 (C-54E, c/n 27352/298) has been stored here for a number of years now.
VH-PAF, click here This Douglas transport was delivered to the US Air Force 14May45 as 44-9126; in 1971 it reached the end of its military career and was stored in the boneyard of Davis-Monthan AFB,AZ. Dross Metals Inc bought it in 1975, but it escaped the smelter...
It was registered as N9013V for Transglobal Inc on 05Oct78 and went through a series of owners: Flying Fish of Indiana (07Sep79), Tiger Leasing of Pompano (07Jan80), the Sheriff of Hardee County seized it on 22Jan80, Carolina Aircraft Corporation bought it on 17Jul80, Florida Aircraft Leasing saw it transferred to its name on 01Oct80 and N9013V saw itself stored at Ft. Lauderdale for a period of time.
Thomas F Mach bought it on 24Jan81, but the Bahamas Authorities seized it in April of that year... Colourful isn't it?!
In Nov83 it was bought by Force Int'l Enterprises and on 14Jun84 it was bought by Lynch Air Tankers. Its registry was changed to Lynch Air Cargo on 28Mar86.
In 1995 its Australian career started when it was registered as VH-PAF for Pacific Air Freighters in June, but PAF went bankrupt in less than a year afterwards. During 1996 it was leased to Goroka Air Services of Papua-New Guinea; when it arrived at Archerfield in Dec.1996 it was surrounded by armed guards and Pacific Air Freighters' hangar was locked up. Another run in with the law...
On 22May97 it was bought by Airfreighters Int'l at an auction. The PAF titles were never removed (leased back by PAF). On 18Dec98 it blew an engine. It was reported at Cairns 05Sep2000. At some point it stopped flying and it has been sitting here at Archerfield, inactive, for a number of years now.

I recieved an update in Mar.2006: "DC-4 VH-PAF is owned by Dr Russell Broadbent. He also owns the Beagle 206S VH-UNI (former VH-UNL), which has (or had) Surf Air as titles. Dr R. Broadbent is more hopeful of getting the 206S restored to flight condition first. Then the DC-4. Once VH-UNI is airworthy, its owner intends to relocate it from Lismore, to Brisbane's Archerfield Airport."
Source: Tony Willis, Australian Aviation magazine, issue March, 2006 (info relayed to me).

Propliner magazine No.121 has an in-depth article about VH-PAF by Paul Howard, a very detailed history on this aircraft and its subsequent owners.
The history included such details as its service with Lynch Air Cargo Inc. (had to sell N9013V when a contract was terminated and charters on ad hoc basis brought losses) plus the link Dr Russel Broadbent - (surgeon, keen aviator & principal of) Air Freighters International Pty Ltd - Pacific Air Freighters. It was unfortunate that VH-PAF had a cargodoor which was just a teeny too small to load a 737-800 engine, otherwise PAF would probably have leased VH-PAF more often for such rewarding charters.
Get a back issue for this and other fine articles: www.propliner.co.uk

Gil White offers the following history of VH-PAF.

Propliner magazine No.120 featured a photo of VH-PAF, on 07Sep09 at Brisbane-Archerfield, with a 'new' starboard wing installed and in preparation for ferry flight to Wollongong / Albion Park. Great news: VH-PAF donated to the HARS!
On 21Dec09 it was seen going airborne! See photos HERE...


On Nov.10th I came across this immaculate Beech 3 TM (CA-198) with tailnumber N6127 in Murwillumbah, just across the border in New South Wales. Some local people in a hangar told me it is for sale.
The online US FAA directory has it still registered to Miles Consulting Group of Rosemount,MN. My plea for info on N6127 was replied to Bob Parmerter (who literally wrote the book on the Beech 18): "the 3TM you saw at Murwillumbah is Alan Miles' airplane; he is an Australian who lived in the US for a while and is now back Down Under."
Thanks Bob!
Also John Hume wrote me: "here is what I have on this aircraft: CA-198 - Beech 3TM - 1598 RCAF / N6127 TW Enterprises, 19Jul68 / Priority Air Transport / Buckeye Air Service / Clarence Schroaeder / Caribbean Aviation Services / Miles Consulting Group, May94 / A Miles, 21Oct99"
Thanks John!

Saturday Nov.12th saw a visit to the Australian Aviation Museum at Sydney-Bankstown.
The museum is "host" to the Douglas DC-3s of Dakota National Air: they don't have to pay parking fees to the airport this way; and it doesn't do the museum any harm to have fully functional DC-3s departing from their grounds, what one would call a win/win situation.
But the museum has exceptional interesting and unique aircraft on display and is a recommended visit in this area.

UPDATE: anno May 2010 the website www.dc3.com.au and www.discoveryairtours.com.au (both no longer valid) offered the following information:
"DC-3 Operations have now ceased...
It is with regret we advise that due to a relocation of our operational base at the Australian Aviation Museum, Bankstown Airport, Dakota National Air has now ceased operating all of its DC-3 aircraft.
The management takes this opportunity to thank all staff and customers alike for their patronage and contributions in making Discovery Air Tours for many years, Australia's
premier DC-3 operation.
DC-3 aircraft and equipment for sale.
./end quote.

VH-DNA must've been Discovery (Dakota) National Air's flagship... A pity I did not see it at work and had to contend with taking some pictures in the blistering heat; the Tooheys-add made me think of ice cold beer all the time!
Construction (c/n) 15685/27130 applies to this Douglas C-47B; it was delivered as 43-49869 on 11Jan45. It moved on to the Royal Australian Air Force as A65-68 (radio callsign VHCUY) on 23Jan45. There is a gap (see further below) in its documented history, as next we see it as "VMJRF" with Base Flight at Darwin in 1973. It travelled a short trip across the water and became P65-004 for Papua New Guinea Defence Force on 03Jan76, later (date?) reregistered as P2-004.
It was registered as VH-DNA to Dakota National Air on 19May94. Dakota National Air went bankrupt in 2003 but continued as Discovery Airways, which in turn went bankrupt on 12Feb04 and was restarted as Discovery Air Tours. They did flightseeing trips over Sydney, winery tours and charters (and I'd hoped to enjoy such a flight on my next visit!).
DC-3 interior
DC-3 galley
Capt bill Moorhead
John Bushell wrote me in Aug.2007 with some additional info on this DC-3:
"I noticed one Dakota that you noted had a gap in records of its whereabouts. I can tell you that in 1964 it was part of the navigator training fleet at School of Air Navigation at East Sale. That was A65-68.
From my log book I will give you some numbers that might come in handy some time. They do not show the complete fleet at any time and place, just the ones I flew in--
SAN East Sale 1964 (Nav Course):
A65-88 - A65-84 - A65-80 - A65-65 - A65-14 - A65-100 - A65-67 - A65-68 - A65-30

CFS East Sale 1970 (fishery patrols):
A65-26 - A65-67

ARDU Edinburgh 1977-80 (Navaid Survey and Transport):
A65-65 - A65-86 - A65-114 - A65-78 - A65-95

Sorry I have not sorted them into order, just the order that they appeared in my log book... First Gooney flight A65-88 on 24 April 1964 ESL to ESL 4hrs30min. Last one A65-78 on 10 June 1980 Amberley to Edinburgh. 7.2 hrs.
Hope this helps if you are looking for tail numbers. Thanks for the nostalgia."
VH-BPN is Douglas C-47B, c/n 16197/32945.
Its history reads as follows: 16197/32945 delivered as 44-76613 on 26Mar45, 2 days later transferred as KN470 to RAF Montreal (with 96 Sqdn 28Mar45-10Nov45). It moved to the Middle East on 09Apr45 and was registered as H-717 for Royal Pakistan Air Force at some point. G-ANMA of Field Aircraft Services Ltd became it snew identity on 11Jan54, bu tI doubt whether the C-47B went back to the UK.
Instead, we find it registered as VH-MML for Commercial Aviation Company on 20Apr54. This lasted for about a year: MacRobertson Miller Air Lines (named "Lyndon") became the registered owner on 01Jul55.
Ansett of Papua New Guinea took ownership on 10Jan69, which was altered as Ansett (Papua & NG) on 23May73. And Air Niugini on 01Nov73. Its tailnumber became P2-MML on 06May74 and was reregistered as P2-ANV on 21Oct75.
It returned to Australia as VH-MML for Bush Pilots Airways upon its purchase on 01Aug77. Its tailnumber was revised to VH-BPN on 20Oct77.
Ten years later we see VH-BPN disgarded by Air Queensland in Sep87 and was reported stored at Brisbane on 16dec87. It may have been taken back by Air Queensland in 1988, I am not sure; it was reported at Cairns on 06may88. Dick Lang (Desert Air Safaris) of Adelaide bought it in June 1992 and sold in in Sep95 to Dakota National Airways, which changed its name to Discovery Airways in 2003, anno 2005 changing it again to Discovery Air Tours (but this DC-3 was hardly part of any activities as such, I think).

Gil White offers the following history of VH-MML.


During this trip I came across a type I hadn't heard of before: the DeHavilland Drover. It seems indigenous types are not limited to the flora and fauna here in Australia, but also in the aviation industry!
DeHavilland's first foreign subsidiary was set up in Australia in March 1927. The company moved to Sydney during 1930 where it acted as an agency for the parent company, with assembly, repair and spares facilities for the company's popular sporting and airliner types. Aircraft design and full manufacture by DeHavilland Australia did not take place until the Second World War, when the company began production of the DH-82 Tiger Moth primary trainer at Bankstown,NSW. The museum is only a short distance from the original DeHavilland factory buildings; more is the pity the museum probably has to relocate: city council is planning a road through here!
A completely Australian design, the DHA-3 Drover, was manufactured, although only about 20 were produced, mostly for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). Some were also operated by Trans Australia Airlines and QANTAS. Production of these aircraft took place between 1948 and 1952. The DHA-3 Drover was a 3-engined light transport capable of carrying 6 - 8 passengers, designed as a replacement for the DeHavilland DH-84 Dragon, which was common in Australia at the time.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland#De_Havilland_Australia
This Drover is fully operational and is registered VH-FBC (c/n 5019); it is on loan from the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Peter Lewis from New Zealand added the following: "it is the only Drover that spent some time (1970 to 1988) in New Zealand and its history would be VH-FDA/VH-UMA/ZK-DDD/VH-FBC. I have it returning to Australia on 15/8/1988 with R Wood, Mt Eliza, V and WFU - registration cancelled 03Sep93."
Thanks Peter!

Clancy Skybaby Unidentified Unidentified Hs.748, on display courtesy of International Air Parts Hs.748 ex-RAAF No 604, Navigation and
DeHavilland T35 Vampire trainer - A79-665 CAC CA-27 Sabre A94-901 DH 114 Heron c/n 14108 ex DQ-FDY (donated by John Ives, Heron Airlines, Bankstown Airport in 2001) NORTH AMERICAN T-28C TROJAN, VH-PFM [49-543/TO] Radial engine
GAF Nomad VH-SNX c/n 103, display courtesy The Sydney Sky Diving Centre Scottish Aviation TWIN PIONEER, ex/9M-ASB c/n 590 Hunting (BAC) Jet Provost T4, XR653/9035M English Electric (BAC) Canberra T4 A82-502, display courtesy of the HARS

This Douglas DC-3 is owned by the museum; it was donated by the Powerhouse Museum. Its tailnumber is VH-MMD and the construction number of this C-47B is 16553/33301.
As one can see it is one of the ongoing restoration projects taking place at this museum.
Here are the details of VH-MMD's history: delivered as 44-76969 on 19May45 to the US Army Air Force and transferred to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as A65-109 ("VHRGX") on 31May45; it served with various unit sincluding 90 Wg (Malaya, 16Aug52).
Its commercial carreer took off as VH-MMD for Commercial Aviation Pty, trading as (t/a) MMA (registered 24Jun58).
MacRobertson Miller Air Lines Ltd (named "Durack") had it registered on R22Dec66. On 10Feb69 it was registered to Ansett Airlines of PNG, which was revised on 23May73 as Ansett (P&NG) Ltd. Air Niugini had it signed to its name on 01Nov73, for which it registration was altered to P2-MMD on 01Jun74. And again to P2-ANU on 03Dec75.
It re-entered the Australian Registry as VH-MMD for Travmar Holdings Pty Ltd of Maitlar on 12Aug77; this lasted until (probably) 1979. It was reported as derelict at Sydney in the early 1980s. VH-MMD was bought from receivers of Travmar in 1985 by the National War Museum and exchanged with Powerhouse Museum of Sydney,NSW; which had it stored for a while at Castle Hill. Powerhouse Museum donated it at some point to the Australian Aviation Museum and I have it reported at Bankstown (YSBK / BWU) on 03Dec03.

Gil White offers the following history of VH-MMD.


VH-UPQ has its sights firmly directed to the historic buildings of DeHavilland Australia, it could be considered reminiscing aviation history...
Dakota National Air, presently known as Discovery Air Tours, has its fate intertwined with the Australian Aviation Museum and perhaps there is hope yet for this Douglas C-47B workhorse.
VH-UPQ, clcik here History of c/n 16552/33300 reads as follows: delivered as 44-76968 on D18May45 and transferred to the RAAF as A65-105 RAAF (Radio callsign "VHRFV") on 29May45 and served with units 37 ("0M-V"), 86 Wg, 34 Sq, 38 Sq, 90 Wg (Malaya) and ARDU ("VMLMH").
It was registered as VH-UPQ for the Dept of Supply, Woomera Rocket Range (Short Bros) on 02Jul69, which was cancelled on 17Aug73. VH-UPQ was considered as surplus, "wfu". Next it was registered for Connair Pty Ltd on 25Oct74 and a few years later it started for Northern Airlines of Alice Springs (1979). Next year it went to work for Setair. And on 22Jul83 it was delivered to Adventure Air Tours.
VH-UPQ was reported with Australian Vintage Travel colours and titles during mid-1987, the tourist vintage plane flights idea failed and VH-UPQ moved to Sydney in Mar88 and went to work (in full AVT colours) for Rebel Air doing night freight work. things became a bit vague then: moving to Koomeela Australia with delivery 09Dec88, but was reported with Rebel Air titles as late as Feb93.
By Oct98 it was reported at Sydney-Bankstown with Dakota National Air, which still can be called home, but for how long?

Gil White wrote about the history of VH-UPQ.

And here is a MAP.

VH-PWN, click here VH-PWN, click here

This is Douglas C-47B VH-PWN (c/n 14556/26001) which started its military career as 43-48740 when delieverd on 14Sep44, but quickly transferred to the RAAF as A65-63 ("VHCKN"); it served with units such as 38 Squadron (30Sep44), 86(T) Wing, 38 Sqdn, 90 Wg and stored (or stationed?) at Parabeel (24Apr65); it was reported to be operational with Tpt Spt (Transport/Support?) Flight at Butterworth from 1964 to 1973.
In 1981 it was stored at East Sale. It found its way (date?0 to Papua New Guinea and was registered as P-005, but was sold by the Papua NG Defense Force and registered as VH-PWN to R.("Dick") Lang of Highbury,SA on 28Sep93.
After years of operations by Dick Lang's Desert-Air Safari's, it was sold to Dakota National Air 25Aug95; as one can see various parts have been removed to support the flyable DC-3s.

UPDATE:
Photos of VH-PWN, VH-UPQ and VH-MMD were sent to me in Dec.2009, see Graeme Mills' photos at Photos by Friends & Guests page 23


VH-MIN, click here VH-MIN C-47A cn13459--
This C-47A was delivered to the USAAF as 42-93536 on 29 May 1944. It was shipped to the RAF depot in Montreal Canada as KG647 on 04 June 1944 and onward to the UK on 12 June 1944. It went to 575 Sq on 02Oct44. BOAC leased this ship as G-AIAZ on 03Apr46. It was shortly registered as KG647 again for 22MU on 31Jul46 and became VH-SNI VH-SMI with John Fairfax & Sons (trading as Herald Flying Services) in October 1946. The Sydney Morning Herald was the next owner on 09Dec46 and it was withdrawn from use (wfu) on 18Mar53.
Ron Cuskelly sent me this: " ...the history of DC-3 VH-MIN. You have it previously as VH-SNI but this should be VH-SMI. You state correctly that it was once used by Herald Flying Services. This company used DC-3s and Hudsons for the aerial delivery of the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. All their aircraft carried VH-SM. registrations. This probably stems from a typo in the Air-Britain book.
Thanks Ron! (and yes, the source was A-B's DC-3 book, the 1984 edition).

Gil White (†) kindly chronicled the history of VH-MIN.

It was registered as VH-MIN for the Dept of National Development and was operated by the Bureau of Mineral Resources (01Dec54). K Singh of Tamworth,QLD bought it on 06Jul72 and from there it went to Airfast Connair Pty Ltd, being registered on 30Jul74. The next operator became Northern Airlines Ltd, Alice Springs (18Jun80).
Setair became the new operator (Apr81) and next was Rebel Air of Sydney on 30Jun83.
It was reported with North West titles in May88 at Brisbane. It was delivered to Koomeela on 08Dec88 and was reported with Rebel Air titles at SYD-Bankstown during Feb93.
During the early-1990s VH-MIN was bought (from Queensland Air?) by South Pacific Airmotive (see VH-SPY above), to replace another DC-3 (VH-EDC). VH-MIN was registered to Dakota National Air in Feb98. It survives in storage, hoping for better days, with Discovery Air Tours.
David Scoggins wrote me in June 2007:
"Hope I can help a little with the history of VH-MIN , as whilst working in Wyndham in 1958, VH-MIN was working out of Wyndham on survey work with the BMR. Also, VH-MIN was parked at Canberra Airport, for some time, in 1984.
Hope this can fill in some of the movements of the aircraft."

This is VH-SBL, a Douglas C-47A with c/n 12056.
VH-SBL, click here Its flying career started as 42-92274 upon delivery on 06Nov43; it was transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force as A65-29 on 07Jan44 and flew with radio callsign "VHCTZ" with 35 Sqdn, later with 24 Sqdn. As VH-TAE it became registered to Trans Australian Airlines on 23Aug46.
New Zealand National Airways Corporation leased VH-TAE from 03Mar60 until 22Dec60. When VH-SBL returned to TAA it was named "Gregory" and later "Mr Hagen" (no details).
VH-SBL, click here Air Niugini became the new operator on 01Nov73 and registered the C-47A as P2-SBL on 01Jun74, changing this to P2-ANR on 18Nov75.
It re-entered the Australian Register as VH-SBL for Forrest Stephen Pty on 18Oct76, but this was cancelled 2 years later, on 14Nov78. It was put in storage at Melbourne-Essendon.
Cranways Pty Ltd of Launceston, Tasmania (trading as General Cargo Airways) became new owners in Nov80. But this may be an error as my DC-3 book states "To Goldwings Australia (correction)"
Next was Travair, but no dates or details. Then on to Western Australia with delivery to Perth,WA during late 1986. It was reported to be still in Travair colourscheme on 16Aug87. One month later it was reported carrying titles of Overland Thoroughbred Media Services (OTMS) titles in Sep87; later it was named "Overland Voyager".
VH-SBL, click here Northeast titles appeared (owners Barry Hocking and Sue Ryan) on 02Jan88. That year it crossed Australia for DC-3 Queensland PL of Freshwater,QLD in Feb/Mar88 (owner stated Rambler Tours). Whether this actually took off I don't know. A few years later, during Jun92, the new owner became Peter Starr of Gosford,NSW.
With Dakota National titles it appeared at Sydney-Bankstown in Feb93.
Trevor Dean, click here I was treated like royalty here, being personally guided by Trevor Dean, the honorary curator (the boss) of this museum.
In a short span of time I learned many details and anecdotes of Australian Aviation and had the opportunity to admire the collection and the documentation center.
It is my firm intention to revisit this museum on the first possible opportunity for me to travel again to these parts of the world.

Graeme sent me on 06Feb10 the following update on the Discovery Air Tours DC-3's-
VH-SBL was noted at Melbourne-Essendon with an engine running on 15JUN09; it had arrived at Essendon on 24MAR08 for maintenance.
The 4 Discovery Air Tours DC-3s located at SYD-Bankstown have been transported by road to a property near Molong, NSW.
Dates of arrival at Molong are:
VH-BPN 25NOV09 (approx)
VH-MIN 10DEC09
VH-DNA 17DEC09
VH-PWN 21JAN10 (Departed Bankstown same day)
VH-DNF will be moved from Warnervale to Molong in early 2010.
See also Photos by Friends & Guest PAGE 24

Continue to Sydney to Melbourne


I owe heartfelt thanks to:
Stephen Weatherstone of Aircruising for his time, tips and making his connections available to me
Rod Kelly for his time and enthusiasm, showing me around VH-EWP, sharing specifications and anecdotes by the pound
Trevor Dean for giving me the grand tour at the Australian Aviation Museum
"Oz-Spotters" Clive Lynch, Paul Daw, Tony Haynes and Terry Magee for setting me up with plenty of details and places to visit
Allen Clarke, Ron Cuskelly, Peter Lewis, Bill Gronbeck for their corrections and information
All those other people who shared their time, their enthusiasme and who simply gave me the time of my life Down Under!

Sources:
The Douglas DC-3 and its predecessors, by J.M. Gradidge (Air-Britain, 1984). Plus Volumes Update 1 & 2.
Piston Engine Airliner Production List, by A.B.Eastwood and J.Roach (TAHS, 2002)

External links:
Australian Military Aircraft Serials and Aircraft History
Census of DC-3 in Australasia
Warbirds Down Under New South Wales Map
Plane Spotting in NSW
Plane Spotting in Australia
QANTAS and the DC-3


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Last updated 10.Jun.2007