Type: Canadian Vickers Canso A
MSN: CV-359
Previous Identities: 11055


Built by Canadian Vickers at Cartierville, Quebec.
20MAR44 Brought on charge by the RCAF with the serial number 11055. Known in RCAF service as a Canso A. Stored in reserve with Eastern Air Command.
02MAY44 With Eastern Air Command (Western Hemisphere Operations).
15MAY44 From this date served with No. 5 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron at Torbay, Yarmouth, Dartmouth, Mont Joli, Sydney and Gaspe.
04JUN44 Unserviceable for patrol duties due to faulty radio. Restricted to local flying only.
28SEP44 Allotted to No. 4 Repair Depot (Scoudouc, near Moncton, New Brunswick) for major inspection.
03JUN45 Last operational flight was out of Sydney, Nova Scotia to look for a missing Ventura. (Source: David legg)
14JUN45 Placed in storage.
11JUL45 Stored in reserve with Eastern Air Command.
With No. 6 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit at Mont Joli, PQ.
With Reserve Equipment Maintenance Satellite, Mt. Pleasant, Prince Edward Island. REMS was a sub-unit of No. 6 REMU.
23JAN46 Awaiting disposal at REMS, Mt. Pleasant.
26JUN47 Time Since New 940:25 hours. Fitted with R-1830-92 engines s/n 350334/20110 and s/n A79812/20261.
27JUN47 Struck off charge by the RCAF and issued to War Assets Corp. for disposal.
30DEC48 Sold for $15,000 by The Babb Company (Canada) Ltd of Montreal to Photographic Survey Co Ltd of Toronto (a wholly owned Hunting subsidiary in Canada). At this time the aircraft was located in St. John, Quebec. (Source: David Legg)
21MAR49 A series of book transfers resulted in the aircraft being owned by Kenting Aviation Ltd (a Hunting associate company).
13AUG49 Registered CF-GKI-X to Kenting Aviation Ltd, Toronto, Ontario. Survey modifications had been carried out by Weston Aircraft Ltd. In the Experimental category, the aircraft was limited to daytime VFR and operation as a landplane up to a max weight of 30,500 pounds. (Source: David Legg)
11MAR51 CofA. Total Time 2448.15 hours.
04DEC52 CofA. Total Time 3825.50 hours.
08DEC52 Departed Oshawa for Montreal. (Source: David Legg)
14DEC52 Departed Montreal en route to Papua on survey work for Aeromagnetic Surveys Ltd. on behalf of Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. Canadian Dept of Transport records show the routing as Oshawa-Azores-Portugal-Cyprus-Baghdad-Pakistan-India-Burma-Malaya-Singapore-Java-Darwin-Papua New Guinea. The planned crew was Bill Howes (captain), R. Pettus (co-pilot), C.C. Fisher (navigator), P.E. Birchall (wireless operator), K. Mitchell (engineer) and H.J. Sandau, J.R. Gray and I.Hedges (magnetometer operators). (Source: David Legg)
08JAN53 Overnighted Darwin. This was the aircraft's first visit to Australia.
09JAN53 Arrived at Port Moresby, PNG. Actual routing had been Gander-Azores-Gibraltar-Malta-Beirut-Baghdad-Karachi-Calcutta-Singapore-Surabaya-Darwin. (Source: David Legg). Alternative source states 10JAN53.
14JAN53 Commenced an aeromagnetic survey from a base on the Kikori River, Papua.
Click here for more information on this survey.
06MAR53 Last survey flight from Kikori.
12MAR53 The aircraft arrived in Cairns and over-nighted before departing for Sydney where the crew were to go on leave. (Source: Cairns Post, Friday 13 March 1953)
08JUL53 Ferried through Croydon, U.K.
16JUL53 Ferried through Dublin, Ireland.
06OCT53 CofA. Total Time 4879 hours.
JUL54 The aircraft again carried the experimental markings CF-GKI-X until September 1954.
AUG56 Adastra technicians undertook electronics equipment familiarisation with Photographic Survey Co/Kenting Aviation at Toronto and Kapuskasing. (Source: Ken Richards)
18SEP56 Application to ferry aircraft to Australia and requesting approval for a once only take-off from Gander (to the Azores) at 2,440 pounds in excess of certified gross weight. The request was approved three days later. (Source: DoT, National Archives of Canada, Microfilm Roll T.7502 via Doug Morrison)
24SEP56 Sold to Hunting Aero Surveys Ltd., Boreham Wood, Herts., U.K.
OCT56 Ferried from Canada to Sydney. Ferry pilot was Jim Greenshields, Chief Pilot of Kenting Aviation. (Source: Doug Morrison)
07NOV56 Registration Application by Adastra Hunting Geophysics Pty Ltd. (Source: DCA files)
08NOV56 Adastra applied for an airwork licence for one Canso. (Source: NAA via Geoff Goodall)
16NOV56 Registered VH-AGB to Adastra Hunting Geophysics, Sydney, NSW. CofR No 2868. CofA issued same day. (Source: DCA files)
24NOV56 Adastra pilot, Ted McKenzie, commenced conversion training on the Catalina. (Source: Ted McKenzie)
18JAN57 DCA issued Adastra with an airwork licence for the aircraft. (Source: NAA via Geoff Goodall)
15OCT57 Test flown at Mascot after CofA renewal. (Source: DCA files)
JUL58 Letter to DCA from Adastra Hunting Geophysics Pty Ltd: "This company carries out survey operations with electronic equipment designed to investigate the physical properties of the ground over which the aircraft flies. Generally this equipment is satisfactorily effective at heights of 500-600 feet at which the aircraft have in the past operated. Later trends in these methods of investigation however indicate that it would be more effective to operate at lower heights with our present equipment." Request approval to operate at 200 feet AGL. DCA approve the request but add a proviso that the Crown Solicitor warns that the company will be liable for any legal action that might be taken by persons on the ground. (Source: NAA via Geoff Goodall)
58 The wing tip floats were removed to reduce weight and thus enable the uplift of extra fuel. At the same time, some of the controls were removed from the pylon.
(Source: Les Snape, March 2004)
01JUN59 Test flown at Mascot by Ken Rowlands after CofA renewal. (Source: DCA files)
29JUN59 A letter in Canadian DoT files bearing this date refers to "the sale of GKI to Hunting Aero Surveys Ltd. Boreham Wood, Herts on the 24 Sep 56. Registered as VH-AGB. The Canadian certificates had been left with the aircraft. Kenting inquired with Adastra Airways Pty Ltd present owners of VH-AGB, but there was no sign of the missing documents. Deletion from CCAR recommended." (Source: DoT, National Archives of Canada, Microfilm Roll T.7502 via Doug Morrison)
JUL59 Adastra request renewal of their airwork licence for the Canso. Later the same month, Adastra advise that the airwork licence for VH-AGB is no longer required. (Source: NAA via Geoff Goodall)
09AUG59 The aircraft commenced an aeromagnetic survey of the Great Artesian Basin in the Tambo-Augathella area of Queensland with the aircraft based at Charleville and Roma. The contract covering approximately 25,250 square miles was awarded by Magellan Petroleum Corporation to Aero Service Corporation of Philadelphia but because Aero Service were fully committed elsewhere, the survey was subcontracted to Adastra. The flying was completed on 10OCT59. VH-AGB was crewed by:
Ken Rowlands (Captain)
Bruce Sellick (Co-pilot)
Joe Tidey (Navigator)
Bob Cozens (Engineer)
Maurie Miller (Chief Electronic Technician)
Les Snape (Technician)
(Source: Bureau of Mineral Resources, Petroleum Search Subsidy Acts, Publication No. 31, 1963)
25NOV59 The aircraft commenced an aeromagnetic survey of the Roma district in Queensland. Report
04JAN60 The aircraft was unserviceable (oil cooler port engine). This was the only day the aircraft was u/s on the Roma survey.
11FEB60 The Roma survey was completed.
01JUN60 CofA expired. (Source: DCA files)
08JUN62 Change of ownership to Trans Australia Airlines, Melbourne, Vic. Parked at Bankstown, NSW and used as a source of spares for TAA's Catalina VH-SBV. (Source: DCA files)
09MAR66 Sold to Australian Aircraft Sales Pty Ltd. (Source: DCA files - see 01MAY67)
12MAY66 Struck off Australian Register.
01MAY67 DCA Internal Memo: TAA have advised that AGB & SBV have both been sold to Australian Aircraft Sales Pty Ltd, effective dates being 15.3.66 for SBV on the slipway at Port Moresby and 9.3.66 for AGB "fuselage located at Bankstown Aerodrome". AAS agree to remove AGB within 40 days of sale and are liable for any storage charges after 9.3.66 imposed by Hawker deHavilland or DCA. "Hawker deHavilland is being pressed by DCA to remove AGB from the aerodrome" (Source: DCA files)
04MAY67 Broken up at Bankstown by Garthon Scrap Metals of Caringbah.


Operating the Catalina - by Ted McKenzie

Issue Date Remarks
19 17JAN23
Added an aerial image of CF-GKI thanks to Doug Morrison.
18 31DEC22
Added a Slideshow
17 14DEC21
Added three images from the State Library of NSW.
Image 1 Image 2 Image 3
16 20OCT19
Added details of a survey of the Tambo-Augathella area commencing on 09AUG59. Thanks to Doug Morrison.
15 30MAY18
Added details of a survey of the Roma district in NOV59.
14 15JUN17
Added detailed notes on the 1953 survey of Papua. Thanks to Doug Morrison.
13 23MAY17
Added the name of the pilot who ferried the aeroplane to Australia in OCT56. Thanks to Doug Morrison.
12 02MAR13
Added several references to Adastra's airwork licence for VH-AGB. These additions are attributed "NAA via Geoff Goodall".
11 18OCT04
Several additions extracted from Department of Civil Aviation files in the National Archives of Australia by Geoff Goodall. All are annotated "DCA files" in the above chronology,
10 14JUL04
Several additions, all attributed to National Archives of Canada via Doug Morrison.
9 10JUL04
Several additions, all attributed to David Legg.
8 27APR04
Added a reference to the removal of the floats in 1958 thanks to Les Snape.
7 13SEP03
Added six new images thanks to Bob Love.
6 16JUN03
Added extra detail of Canadian military service received from Jerry Vernon via Doug Morrison.
5 07JUN03
Added a reference to the further use of experimental marks CF-GKI-X from July 1954 to September 1954. Thanks to David Legg.
Clarified the reference to the 1953 Kikori River survey. Doug Morrison has pointed out that the Kikori River was the base for the operation and that the survey was conducted over a much wider area than the river itself.
Also added a reference to TAA's date of purchase.
Also added reference to radio unserviceability in 1944 and airframe hours in 1947 thanks to Doug Morrison.
4 18MAY03
Added further details of the aircraft's survey career thanks to Doug Morrison.
3 15MAY03
Corrected the aircraft type from PBV-1A to Canso A and also added details of its RCAF service. Thanks to Ragnar Ragnarsson and Doug Morrison.