|10NOV42||Handed over to the USAAF at Long Beach as 41-38668. (Source: Nigel Daw)|
|29NOV42||Delivered to the USAAF at Mobile, Alabama. (Source: Nigel Daw)|
|12JAN43||Delivered to the 5th Air Force at Archerfield, Brisbane, Australia. (Source: Air-Britain)|
|Allotted to the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron with radio call-sign VHCHF. (Source: Fred Niven)|
|Allotted to the 39th Troop Carrier Squadron and based mainly at Mareeba, Qld. (Source: Fred Niven)|
|Allocated radio call-sign VHCHJ and named "Geronimo" (Source: Allan Bovelt)|
|23JUN43||Damaged in an accident at Charters Towers but rebuilt. (Source: Fred Niven)|
|10JUL44||Handed over to the Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Civil Aviation at Essendon along with 11 other C-47s for the Government's planned post-war airline. (TT: 1888:00) (Source: Fred Niven)|
|12JUL44||Allotted to ANA for conversion to a 24 seat airliner. (Source: Fred Niven)|
VH-AEO as a DC-3C-S1C3G to the Commonwealth of Australia/DCA for operation
by Australian National Airways. (TT: 6445:00) (Source: Fred Niven)
Certificate of Registration No 792 (Source: AustAirData)
|46||Chartered by Guinea Airways. (Source: Fred Niven)|
|13JUN46||Operated Adelaide-Maree-Oodnadatta-Alice Springs-Daly Waters-Katherine-Darwin under charter to Guinea Airways. (Source: Fred Niven)|
|18JUN46||Delivered to Trans-Australia Airlines and named "Cunningham". (TT: 7383:00) Although TAA records state that the aircraft was subsequently renamed "Clive Murray" (or just "Murray"?) it is not known if and when this was implemented. (Source: Gordon Reid)|
|25JUN46||Registered to Australian National Airlines Commission (TAA) (Source: AustAirData)|
|03JUL46||Entered service with TAA on a crew training detail. (Source: Gordon Reid)|
|02DEC46||Operated TAA's first scheduled service to Adelaide (Parafield) from Melbourne (Laverton). Commanded by Capt D.K. McDonald with First Officer Gil J. White and Hostess A. Kitching. (Source: Gil White)|
|48||Leased to Qantas Empire Airways as a freighter. (Source: Gil White)|
|17JAN57||Delivered to Bankstown for aerial survey conversion by Fairey Clyde Aviation. (Source: Gordon Reid)|
of the survey conversion included:|
Radio Compass (2)
Ground Position Indicator.
Sperry Autopilot with height lock.
Additional astrodomes on each side of the fuselage immediately behind the cockpit for the benefit of the navigator.
Specially made propellor spinner covers to prevent oil sludging up in the prop dome in low temperatures at high altitudes.
The conversion was designed and managed by:
Allan Vial (S.A. Lands Dept)
in consultation with:
Rod Manuel (Engineering Manager, Fairey Aviation)
Bert Morgan (TAA Engineering Inspector)
Amalgamated Wireless Australasia
National Instruments Company
Allan Vial recalls:
"The prop spinner covers were specials, organised by Fairey and TAA to stop sludge. It was often about -50C at operational height which we maintained for about 4 hours. In test flying between Sydney and Brisbane it got down to -65C. On survey flying there was no need to 'exercise' the props, as was the case with normal props at altitude. The props were standard DC-3 paddle blades; if my memory serves me right, they came from the RAAF. The astrodomes were to give the navigator a greater field of view. We fitted a very modern Sperry autopilot, with height lock, so all the pilot had to do was lock on to the altitude I gave him, then just use the turn control and constantly centralise the Sperry Zero Reader indicator which had an expanded base, in that 5mm equalled one degree. Highly accurate course keeping and tracking eliminated very costly 'gap runs'; the bane of all map makers. The navigator had the master control at his station right behind the pilot; he set and changed, as required, the course to fly on his Master and it was instantly reflected on the pilot's indicator. Dutch Professor N. Schermerhorn who, whilst on a trip to Australia in 1966, examined VH-DAS and commented it was the best air survey aircraft in the world. At that time he was a world authority in photogrammetric matters, when the best air survey cameras were made by Wild of Switzerland. We had the RC5, RC7 and the RC9 (which used glass plates - for specialised engineering projects flown at low level - some we did at 1000 feet - glass eliminated any distortion which was always in film - which posed other problems in film development and tension applied when the film was being transported in the camera.). The two most experienced Captains on VH-DAS, working out of Adelaide were Bob Newman and Ray White."
|08NOV57||Survey modifications completed. (Source: Allan Vial's log book)|
|08NOV57||Test flying began at Bankstown. (Source: Allan Vial's log book)|
|08NOV57||Test flight from Bankstown. Capt Boyd, F/O J.R. Baxter. (1hr 15min) (Source: 1)|
|13NOV57||Flown from Melbourne to Laverton. Capt Whyte, F/O J.R. Baxter. (15min) (Source: 1)|
|14NOV57||Flown from Laverton to Melbourne. Capt Whyte, F/O J.R. Baxter. (15min) (Source: 1)|
|15NOV57||Flown from Melbourne to Bankstown. Reached 24,000 feet. Capt Boyd, F/O J.R. Baxter. (5hr 10min) (Source: 1)|
|15JAN58||Test flying completed at Bankstown. (Source: Allan Vial's log book)|
|16JAN58||Arrived at Adelaide. (Source: Allan Vial's log book)|
VH-DAS to the Australian National Airlines Commission. (Source: AustAirData)|
Leased to the Government of South Australia Lands Commission but operated and maintained by TAA. Named "Pathfinders"* but it was soon renamed "Clive Hambridge" in honour of the South Australian Surveyor General who, ironically, had opposed the project! (Source: Allan Vial)
(* Allan Vial served in Don Bennett's wartime Path Finder Force)
Delivered to Adelaide on this date as the replacement for the Robbys Aircraft Co. Anson VH-RAS which had operated the Dept of Lands survey contract from February 1952 until June 1957. (Source: Nigel Daw)
|02FEB58||Operated its first survey flight after conversion. (Source: John Wilson)|
|20NOV61||Flown from Lake Eyre to Broken Hill. Capt Rogers, F/O J.R. Baxter. (45min). (Source: 1)|
|21NOV61||Flown from Broken Hill to Lake Eyre. Capt Rogers, F/O J.R. Baxter. (1hr 30min). (Source: 1)|
|21NOV61||Flown from Lake Eyre to Broken Hill. Capt Rogers, F/O J.R. Baxter. (40min). (Source: 1)|
|NOV62||Painted in TAA's mainland livery. (Source: John Wilson)|
|19MAY65||Noted in Hangar 7 at Eagle Farm, Brisbane stripped of paint and under overhaul. (Source: Ron Cuskelly)|
|27JUN71||Noted at Eagle Farm, Brisbane for maintenance. (Source: Ron Cuskelly)|
|JUL-AUG74||Noted at Eagle Farm, Brisbane for maintenance. (Source: Ron Cuskelly)|
|03SEP74||Noted at West Beach, Adelaide. (Source: Nigel Daw)|
|28FEB75||Sold to East-West Airlines. (TT: 41206:00) (Source: Gordon Reid)|
under lease to the South Australian Department of Lands. (Source:
John Wilson) |
The following account was contributed by Charles Vincent: "East-West Airlines commenced their contract with the Department of Lands at the beginning of 1975 having signed an agreement similar to the contract with TAA. The pilots were based in Adelaide together with a resident engineer who moved from Tamworth. The Captain, Neville Maguire, also moved from Tamworth and the FO Martin Robinson who was originally on DAS as a TAA F/O , resigned and joined EWA. Martin was replaced by John Clifford. East-West rented an office in the TAA hangar and kept a few spare parts there. To the credit of EWA personnel they were very innovative with the operation of the aircraft . One of their initiatives was to climb using a higher cylinder head temperature. The theory being it kept the airspeed up and thus helped with the cooling and rate of climb. EWA flew 820 hours in their two year contract. There was an overlapping period with the AC 690 Turbo-Commander VH-DLK which commenced in September 1976. The last few flights of DAS were Ministerial ferry flights to the far north of the State and Public Building flights to the Pitjantjatjara country.
|JUN75||Flown to Tamworth for painting in East-West colours. (Source: Gil White)|
|23JUL75||Returned to West Beach, Adelaide after painting in Tamworth. (Source: Nigel Daw)|
|21SEP76||Rockwell Turbo Commander 690A VH-DLK was delivered to West Beach, Adelaide as the replacement for the DC-3 VH-DAS. (Source: Nigel Daw)|
|21DEC76||Lease to the South Australian Department of Lands terminated. (Source: John Wilson)|
|21DEC76||Ferried from Adelaide to Tamworth and withdrawn from service. (Source: Nigel Daw)|
|17MAR77||Struck off Register as withdrawn from use. (Source: AustAirData)|
Airlines advertised for sale the remaining aircraft of their Adastra
Aero Commander 500A VH-AGA
Beechcraft V35 VH-CFV and
DC-3 VH-DAS. (Source: Roger McDonald)
|DEC78||Sold to Travmar Holdings Pty. Ltd. and moved (flown or trucked?) to Maitland for spares. (Source: Fred Niven). VH-DAS was photographed at West Maitland in April 1979 in a condition which suggests that it was flown in.|
|81||Travmar ceased trading. (Source: Gil White)|
|83||Used as a prop (along with several other DC-3 hulks in Australia and New Zealand) in the movie "Sky Pirates". The airframe of VH-DAS was trucked to Cairns and portrayed as having crashed into the sea. For the filming it carried the fictitious tail number "6903077" and the name "Miss Fortune".|
|On completion of filming, the airframe was transported to Tonkins Metal Industries scrapyard in Cairns. (Source: Gil White)|
|APR84||In late April, the wreck was rescued and transported to Kuranda on three semi-trailers. (Source: Gil White)|
at Kuranda, Qld being assembled into a crash diorama. (Source: Ron
The wreck is still present at the time of writing in 2006.
|OCT91||Allan Vial inspected the wreck at Kuranda and confirmed that it is VH-DAS: "I checked the camera hole which was on the starboard side, just a little forward of the entry door. It has a metal slide to protect the camera. It slid along, in two slides, on the outside. All of our special electrical cabling, from the navigator's station, to the camera bay, was still in place, being exposed in odd places where there were holes broken in the external bottom skin."|
|03NOV18||Allan Vial passed away in Adelaide at age 95.|
|Log Book of the late J. Russ Baxter donated by his family to the South Australian Aviation Museum. Details of test flying after survey mods extracted by SAAM Librarian, Nigel Daw.|
Recorded the passing of Allan Vial.
Added a new image thanks to Geoff Goodall.
Added details of survey flying in NOV61. Extracted from the log book of J.R. Baxter thanks to Nigel Daw of the SAAM. Refer Source: 1.
Added details of test flying after survey mods. Extracted from the log book of J.R. Baxter thanks to Nigel Daw of the SAAM. Refer Source: 1.
Major update with new information and several new images courtesy of Allan Vial and Charles Vincent.
Added a report that VH-DAS was advertised for sale in March 1977. Thanks to Roger McDonald.
Original issue. Thanks to all contributors named in the chronology, particularly Allan Vial, DFC, OAM, OPR (Pol).