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  #1  
Old 1st November 2008, 07:36 PM
Grahame Hutchison's Avatar
Grahame Hutchison Grahame Hutchison is offline
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Default Bankstown Today - RFDS & DC-3

I headed out to Bankstown to check out a couple of aircraft I would like to fly and took the opportunity to stop in at the Sydney Aviation Model & Memorabilia Show and have a look around in general for some interesting photography opportunities.

I was all done with the aircraft inspection by 1000, so I headed down the the main Terminal building to the Model and Memorabilia Show. Schofields gave me a half price entry voucher, and the organisers were running a door prize competition as you entered the terminal.

While not a huge number of participants, there were plenty of plastic and die cast models, clothing, books (a couple of 1960s Observery Books of Aircraft), badges, DVDs, posters and photographs. I had a chat to The Air League guys and then stopped past Sam Chui who had his new book and prints for sale.

Outside the terminal, facing the apron, there was a bar-b-que going and helicopters rides in a Robinson.

After a good look around the show I headed back up to the hanger area (hanger 330) and shot the RFDS Beech B200 (BB-866) built in 1981. As I returned to my car I saw a nearby hanger door open and stuck my head in for a look.

Inside was a DC-3 undergoing restoration, and the two engineers working on the aircraft invited me in for a look. Can't say I have seen a flying DC-3 since the last Avalon Air Show, and the Sydney Chicken and Champagne flights in the DC-3 have long since gone.

The aircraft was originally at Camden, and was moved back to Bankstown for the restoration. All the internal lining has been completed in cream and grey green, with wallnut panels in between (see the main door image below). Most of the cockpit instrumentation and all of the rigging has been completed. The forward bulkhead is going to be moved slightly aft to make way for a lounge area, with more lounges in the read cabin. At the rear of the aircraft there will be a toilet and bar area.

They are currently working on the undercarriage and have plenty of newly spray painted parts hanging up to dry prior to fitting. Two reconditioned engines are on their way and the aircraft will be moved to a larger hanged so that the outer wing sections can be fitted. The aircraft will be finished in the existing colour scheme but with a gloss finish for durability and lower mainienance.

The work should be completed by mid 2009.

Thank you to the restoration team for the look around and good luck with the remaining work.

Good to hear they will keep the original livery.


A temporary exit sign, the lower panel is completely hinged open to reveal the wiring harness.


The elevator hinge assembly is in place ready for the control surfaces, all fabric
covered.


The new interior colour scheme can be seen on the rear door. Toilet and bar area located at the rear.


The interior is looking really good with the wallnut panels giving a corporate jet appearance.


Most of the instruments have been fitted and the panel colour matches the main cabin area.


Overhead panel is in the same cream trim and is ready for the switches and gauges to be fitted.


These engines will be replaced by reconditioned ones which are on their way. The port undercarriage has been fitted
and the starboard has been sprayed and ready to go in also.


The aircraft should look really great with a gloss respray of the original livery.


RFDS Beech B200 (BB-866) VH-MSZ built in 1981
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Last edited by Grahame Hutchison; 1st November 2008 at 10:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 2nd November 2008, 03:17 AM
damien b damien b is offline
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Was at the show myself yesterday and as you say there was not a large number of stands. I did see some diecast models that i'd like to get in the future however. Good crowd turn out as well.

Excellent shots of the DC-3 Grahame, they are a wonderful aircraft.

Last edited by damien b; 2nd November 2008 at 03:31 AM. Reason: extra.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 05:30 AM
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Nice discovery there. Thanks for the photos
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Old 2nd November 2008, 08:59 AM
matthew mcdonald matthew mcdonald is offline
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I also went and when I arrived I went straight to the table at the back of the room with the most diecast models on it, but I later found that none of these were unfortunately for sale. Still I picked up a nice Air Tahiti Nu A343.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 09:57 AM
Brenden S Brenden S is offline
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Aircraft’s History
The aircraft was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company at their Okalahoma City plant, and taken on charge by the United States Army Air Force, as a C.47A-10-DK (con. number 12540) on 19 February 1944. The USAAF serial 42-92709 was allocated.

The aircraft was immediately allocated to the Royal Australian Air Force.

19 Mar. 1944 The aircraft was received at No. 3 Aircraft Depot, Amberley, Queensland, from the USA on this date and given the callsign “VHCUK”. The next day it was given the new serial A65-41 and allocated to No. 34 Squadron based at Parafield, South Australia.

6 Apr 1944 Aircraft received at Parafield.

13 June 1944 The starboard undercarriage leg collapsed while the aircraft was standing on the tarmac and it sustained major damage. Repairs included replacing the starboard mainplane.

8 Sept. 1945 Metal surfaces on the aircraft had corroded and a complete overhaul was ordered. At this stage the aircraft had flown 2464.40 hours. The aircraft was received by Australian National Airways for overhaul on 18 September 1945.

1 Feb. 1946 Although allocated to 33 Squadron ( on completion of its overhaul) on this date, this was subsequently cancelled and the aircraft was received by No 1 Air Deport at Laverton on 5 March 1946. It was allocated to Station HQ, Darwin three days later.

29 July 1946 There is some uncertainty as to whether or not the aircraft was delivered to Darwin, as on this date it was selected for post-war use.

30 Sept 1946 Received by No 37 Squadron (86th Transport Wing), based at Schofields, ex IAD.

4 Feb 1948 Allocated to the Care and Maintenance Depot at Tocumwal for category C storage, arriving at that NSW base on the 14 April 1948.

23 Dec. 1948 Approval was given for a Qantas Airways representative to inspect the aircraft.

21 Jan. 1949 The Dept of Civil Aviation approved the issue of a RAAF C.47 aircraft to MMA for use on the Air Beef Scheme experimental flights, conditional on the Commonwealth having the option to re-purchase the aircraft at the conclusion of the experiment in September 1949.

In January, MMA engineer Frank Colquhoun travelled to Tocumwal to inspect and service the aircraft, whilst pilot Cyril Kleinig travelled to Melbourne to finalise payment and obtain the release documents. They were joined by pilot Alec Whitham, and the three then flew the aircraft back to Perth.

3 Feb. 1949 The aircraft departed Tocumwal for delivery to MMA in Perth, overnighting in Essendon before arriving in Perth on the 4th.

7 Feb 1949 The paperwork was a little slow, as the formal approval to issue the aircraft to MMA was only made on 7 February 1949, with the contract from the Air Contract Board to sell the aircraft to MacRobertson Miller Aviation Company for £6,250 ($12,500) being signed on 24 March 1949. On arrival in Perth, conversion of the aircraft to civil DC.3 standards was commenced.

1 March 1949 Application to enter the aircraft on the civil register was made by MMA.

23 April 1949 The aircraft was test flown on this date, following its conversion to a civil freighter for the Air Beef Scheme. It was also given its C of A and added to the civil register as VH-MMF. The airline named the aircraft “Fortescue” in line with its practice of using the last letter of the aircraft’s registration to name the aircraft after a Western Australian river. Certificate of Registration No 1638 issued.

.13 May 1949 The aircraft was based at Glenroy Station in the Kimberley region, and carried chilled beef to the Derby and Wyndham meatworks for export. The first “air beef” flight was undertaken on 13 May 1949, with a flight to Wyndham. The air beef scheme proved successful and during the next season the flights were undertaken using ANA Bristol Freighter VH-INJ.

.. early 1950 VH-MMF was converted to a 25 seat passenger aircraft.

1 Oct 1955 Following the merger of MacRobertson Miller Aviation and Airlines (WA) Ltd, to become MacRobertson Miller Airlines, the ownership of the aircraft was changed on this date to Commercial Aviation Pty Ltd (the parent / holding company for the airline).

.. Oct. 1963 MMF was given its 10,000 hours overhaul in Perth. The job took six weeks.
1964 Aircraft operated for Kevron Photographics undertaking photographic survey work, from Perth, Kalgoorlie and Esperance. Operations were at 25,000 ft and required the crew to use oxygen masks and the aircraft was fitted with paddle blade props and superchargers. VH-MML was also used for this work when not operating as a 34 passenger airliner on the Rottnest route.

22 Dec. 1966 Ownership of the aircraft was again changed - now MacRobertson Miller Airlines.

25 June 1968 The aircraft struck a fence with its left wing whilst taxying at Murmalary (Northern Territory) for a flight to Darwin.

.. Jan. 1969 The aircraft was retired from MMA service and stored at Perth.

29 Sept 1969 Change of ownership to Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty Ltd. Melbourne.

2 Dec 1969 MMF was based in Port Hedland for several weeks on a freight contract, before returning to Perth to operate regular passenger services between Perth and Kalgoorlie until the 7th March 1970. Total time 47,344 hours.

7 Mar 1970 Aircraft ferried from Perth to Adelaide on this date (with a refuelling stop at Forrest). The aircraft remained in Adelaide for several weeks before departing, in the latter part of March to Lae, where it entered service with Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea, still in full MMA colour scheme.

9 Mar 1970 Change of ownership to Ansett Airlines (Papua New Guinea), Lae.

15 Oct 1971 MMF noted in a hangar at Madang, being painted in AAofPNG colour scheme.

23 May 1973 Ownership change to Ansett Airlines (Papua New Guinea) Ltd, Boroko.

6 July 1973 Leased to Air Tasmania, and aircraft arrived in Hobart, ex Melbourne, on delivery the next day. Initially for an eight week trial. The DC.3 is the airlines only aircraft.

23 July 1973 Aircraft commenced services with Air Tasmania. Aircraft fitted out in mixed cargo / passenger configuration and initially in full Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea colour scheme, with Air Tasmania titles on fuselage.

Feb. 1974 The aircraft was granted a liquor licence with Air Tasmania’s chief pilot Capt. Terry Burns being the licensee, and the aircraft being classed as a public place with lounge accommodation for 32 persons.

12 Feb 1974 Change of ownership to Air Tasmania Ltd was officially made.

July 1974 Aircraft carried its 10,000th passenger for Air Tasmania during the third week of July and only 11 months after commencing operations with the company.

26 Sep 1977 Change of ownership to Forrestair, Essendon, with the aircraft being struck off the register the next day (perhaps for modifications).

18 Nov 1977 The aircraft was returned to the register and was used mainly on freight services between Essendon and Tasmania.

5 Dec 1977 Aircraft was later named “Spirit of Port Arthur” by Tasmanian Premier Lowe at a special ceremony on this date..

30 Oct 1978 Operated last flight for Forrestair ; Essendon - Launceston - Essendon, this day.

14 Nov 1978 MMF struck off the register on this date as withdrawn from service. The aircraft had flown a total of 54,255 hours at this date.

.. Sept 1979 Change of ownership to Great Pacific Aeroplane Co., Melbourne (Alex Encell of Encell Electronics trading as Aerodyne Pty Ltd) , although the aircraft remained stored at Essendon for several more years.

Feb 1983 Owner recorded as film producer John Lamond, who also owned DC.3 VH-TAK.

15 May 1984 Aircraft painted up in drab olive USAAF colour scheme and given the false serial “6903077” on one side and RAAF colour scheme on the other side. The aircraft was then taken to Quarry Deer Park in Melbourne, for the filming of “Sky Pirates”. Other DC.3s used in the film were VH-PWM and VH-DAS.

8 July 1984 Following the filming, the aircraft was trucked to Casey Airfield, Berwick, but later taken to Camden in NSW, when a gradual rebuild to flying condition has commenced.

New owners are South Pacific Airmotive, Camden 2570, and the principal is Nick Leach, 263 Connell Point Rd., Connell Point 2821.

.. Apr 1995 Aircraft noted at Camden, still in dismantled condition but under slow rebuild. Being restored to flying condition by South Pacific Airmotive.

2002 Noted at Bankstown Airport

2003 Aircraft moved into Winryne hangar

2004 Aircraft moved to Hangar 101

2006 Aircraft started to be restored

Copyright and compiled by : Mervyn W. Prime, 98 Westview St., Scarborough, Western Australia 6019. 28 Nov. 2001 Reference Sources : Al Bovelt, Geoff Goodall, Frank Colquhoun, Fred Niven, Gordon Reid, Merv Prime, Reg Adkins
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Old 2nd November 2008, 10:37 AM
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Grahame Hutchison Grahame Hutchison is offline
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Thanks for the aircraft history Brenden, an amazing story by any standard, and by mid 2009 hopefully the 54,255 Hrs will start to grow again.
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Old 3rd November 2008, 10:36 AM
Brenden S Brenden S is offline
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Shame its going to be in USAF colours considering that she never wore them in service.
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Old 3rd November 2008, 05:50 PM
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Raymond Rowe Raymond Rowe is offline
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Be nice to see it in the old Air Beef colours.New a pilot really well who flew for Air Beef.
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Old 3rd November 2008, 08:00 PM
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Grahame Hutchison Grahame Hutchison is offline
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I forgot to mention the corporates out there on Saturday, the Cessna brigate ....

VH-SOU Cessna 500 1976
VH-SJP Cessna 510 2007
VH-WNZ Cessna 550 1979
VH-KXL Cessna 525 1995
VH-NEQ Cessna 510 2007
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Old 3rd November 2008, 09:45 PM
Mick F Mick F is offline
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VH-MSZ is certainly an oldy. I flew VH-FDO (BB-1056) today and that was old enough!

Mick
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