Last updated 18.7.15
CZL AERO 45 & AERO 145 IN AUSTRALIA

Compiled by Geoff Goodall


Aero 145 VH-DUH’s wheels coming up after takeoff at an airshow at Temora NSW during March 2014. 
It is the last Aero 145 flying from the five which came to Australia.                      Photo by Phil Vabre
            

        The prototype Aero 45 OK-BCA first flew on 21 July 1947, one of the first civil designs of the post-war Czechoslovakian aircraft industry. The name was chosen to indicate it was a 4 or 5 seater. The type was developed as Super Aero 45 and then the improved more powerful Aero 145.  A long production run at Kunovice, Czechoslovakia by Orlikan (Czech Aircraft Works) was terminated in 1961 after approximately 700 had been delivered, all but 80 of these being exported.

       They were of duralumin construction, including the skinning except for control surfaces, and had retracting main undercarriage. The general lines have been compared with the wartime German Heinkel He 111.  The Aero 45 series was powered by two 105 hp Walter Minors, while the later Aero 145 series had 140hp Walter M332 fuel-injection in-line air cooled engines. Commercial sales were handled by Omnipol Foreign Trade Corporation, Prague.  One Aero 45 and four Aero 145s were sold to Australia.

       The first mention of the type in Australia was in November 1952 when the Australian Aircraft magazine ran a full-page advertisement for Aero 45, Zlin and Sokol, placed by the agents at that time Carswell & Dalgleish, Archerfield Airport, Brisbane.

       In April 1956 Fawcett Aviation, Bankstown Airport, Sydney announced their appointment as Eastern States distributors for the Czech Super Aero 45 and Zlin 126 Trener and that examples of both would arrive in time for display at the Sydney Engineering Exhibition at the Sydney Showgrounds in July 1956.  This was followed in December 1956 by a full-page advertisement in Aircraft magazine promoting the all metal 4 to 5 seater Super Aero 45 as the most suitable light twin for Australian conditions. The advertisement quoted agents:
 - Eastern States Distributor: Fawcett Aviation Pty Ltd, Bankstown Airport, Sydney
 - SA, WA, NT Distributor: P. Krawinkel, GPO Box 1891, Adelaide SA

       Adelaide businessman Mr. Krawinkel formed a company Phoenix Aviation Co, Adelaide, to whom the first Aero Super 45 VH-PXA and Zlin Trener VH-PXB were registered. After extensive demonstrations, both were sold but Phoenix did not import any more Czech aircraft and the company was subsequently wound up.

Enter Dulmison Aircraft
       The next Australian distributor of Czech aircraft was Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney formed in 1959 by Sydney electrical equipment contractor and entrepreneur Philip W. Dulhuntly, who flew Percival Proctor VH-DUL for his business. He had visited Czechoslovakia to purchase electrical insulators and was convinced that with US dollar restrictions inhibiting US light aircraft imports combined with the quality of the Czech aircraft, he would find a ready market in Australia. He had formed Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd with flying friends as partners: Peter and Phil Brown of Kingsford Smith Aviation Service, Bruce Robertson, and Audley "Snow" Allen of Allen Brothers Asphalting Contractors.

      Over the next three years Dulmison negotiated with the Czech State marketing arm Omnipol to bring to Australia four Aero 145s, nine Meta-Sokols, a Zlin Trener Master, L-200 Morava and Blanik metal gliders.

      When Dulmison Aircraft received an order for two new Aero 145s and a Meta-Sokol from Perth businessman Laurie O'Neil for his company Diesel Motors Pty Ltd, it was decided that their first two Aero 145s VH-DUA and VH-DUB would be flown to Australia to promote their sales appeal.On 26 February 1960 Phil Dulhuntly as Managing Director of Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd wrote to DCA:
“This company has been appointed Australian agents for the Omnipol range of Czechoslovakian aircraft. We have recently received an import  It is our intention to fly two Aero 145 aircraft out from Prague in May. We request to fly out with Australian registration, to facilitate visas and transit clearances from authorities en route.”

      Dulhunty and three of his partners flew by airline to Prague. The innocents abroad immediately ran foul of Eastern Bloc ways of doing business at the height of the Cold War and found themselves under house arrest in a seedy hotel. However when they reached Kunovice airfield they were given a warm reception. During a week of endorsement training on the Aero 145s, they were also given flights in the Zlin, Morava twin and Blanik gliders.
      When ready to depart for Australia, having been refused aeronautical charts on security grounds, their hosts drew mud maps to the German border and the ADIZ. Only one Aero 145 was fitted with radio, the US radio for the second aircraft had gone missing, and they found that both aircraft had their compasses swung for Southern Hemisphere thus would be inaccurate for most of the delivery flight. The Australians wanted to delay their departure because of poor weather but were told they must clear the Czech border at 4pm that day and were forbidden to make a forced landing prior to the border!  Unsure of their position due to low cloud, an airfield was seen and both Aero 145s landed on what turned out to be a US Air Force base inside West Germany. They were held as Russian spies (despite their white overalls with Australia or Bust sewn on the back) and handed over to the West German police and placed under house arrest again in a local hotel for several days.
    Their detention made headline news in Europe, Britain and Australia, and when released they continued to Frankfurt then Biggin Hill, England where American radios and instrumentation were installed.  The rest of the ferry flight was just as eventful with sand storms, monsoons and confrontations with corrupt and incompetent airport officials all the way. They reached Sydney safely but the ferry flight had taken a month. Philip Brown carried out all the initial Australian pilot endorsements for the Aero 145s.
   
    One more Aero 145 was flown from Czechoslovakia in early 1961. Dulmison engaged veteran Australian airline pilot Keith Virtue and his son Peter to deliver VH-DUH from Prague.  Successfully delivered to Sydney after another eventful flight, Virtue was never paid for his services because Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd had gone into liquidation in their absence.  The operation changed its name briefly to Arunta Aircraft Pty Ltd with assets secured by a mortgage in favour of Dulmison (Australia) Pty Ltd.  The name Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd was resurrected when the operation was refinanced and became agents for Mooney and Brantly helicopters.

Commodore Aviation
    The only fleet operator of the Aero 45 series in Australia was Commodore Aviation Pty Ltd based at Port Lincoln SA. This charter company operated an Aero 45 and two Aero 145s over the remarkably long period from 1962 to 1985.  The type proved to be successful for Commodore's inital main work, fish-spotting to support the Port Lincoln tuna fishing boat fleet. The cabin's expansive clear windows gave excellent viewing to the observers.  The scope of Commodore Aviation's work expanded with a contract to support remote light houses along the SA coastline and islands, including Neptune islands, Althorpe islands and Wedge Island from Port Lincoln.  Scheduled runs carried personnel and supplies to minimal airstrips at the lighthouses.

    MacArthur Job, ediutor of the DCA Aviation Safety Digest, wrote in 1974:
   "For this lighthouse supply work, the Teutonic-looking business-like Super Aero 145s, with their rugged tailwheel retractable undercarriage combined with with the security offered by their twin engines, have proved themselves admirably suited. Ten years of virtually incident-free operation speaks for itself."

    Prior to standardising on the Aero 45 series, Commodore Aviation used a variety of aircraft for fish spotting at Port Lincoln.  It all started in 1959 when Port Lincoln resident John C. Doudy flew his Auster Mk.5 VH-SEB on fish spotting. Doudy had flown this ex RAF Auster from Singapore to Australia as VR-SEB the previous year. After forming Commodore Aviation Pty Ltd in partnership with his wife,  it was decided that an amphibian would be best and Republic RC-3 Seabee VH-WWA was purchased in March 1961. However it proved unsuitable and was replaced by an Auster Autocar VH-RAD acquired from Robbys Aircraft Co at Parafield.  This Auster was re-registered VH-WWB, to continue the registration series started with the Seabee, which had been earlier imported by World Wide Air Services in New Guinea.

    Discussions with Czech aircraft dealers Dulmison in Sydney resulted in the purchase of a new Super Aero 145, using the Seabee as part trade-in. VH-WWC was delivered from Sydney to Port Lincoln by John Doudy in December 1962, after being assembled at Bankstown.  Pleased with the aircraft, Commodore then acquired Aero 45 VH-WWH in 1964 and 145 VH-DUH in 1966.  A Beech G35 Bonanza VH-WWK was also used in the 1960s. When John Doudy was killed in a non-aviation some years later, Ron Fuller took over the company as Managing Director.

    Significant expansion of Commodore Aviation's business occurred in 1979 when Commodore Airlines was established to operate Reg. 203 supplemental airline services between Adelaide and Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Kingscote, Mt Gambier and Broken Hill with Cessna twins and later GAF Nomad 24 and Bandeirantes.  Commodore Aviation and Commodore Airlines were later taken over by a business headed by Captain Rex Senior, who had flown Qantas Catalinas on the wartime Indian Ocean crossings - Secret Order of the Double Sunrise.
     A new commuter airline State Air was created in 1986 using the Commodore infrastructure and route approvals.


Commodore Aviation’s three Aeros delivered supplies and personnel to remote lighthouses along the South Australian
coastline for many years. Above VH-DUH & VH-WWC were at the Althorpe Island lighthouse off Yorke Peninsula.

These three photographs were taken in Febuary 1973 by Terry Martin, courtesy of the Civil Aviation Historical Society


Commodore Aviation's VH-DUH on the airstrip at Neptune Island light house in October 1973


Commodore Aviation's VH-WWC over its natural habitat, the Indian Ocean along the SA coastline



This listing of Australian Aero 45/145s is presented in order of appearance on the Civil Register:


                       C/n 02-003      Super Aero 45 Series 2                                                                       VH-PXA, VH-WWH

Built at Kunovice by Orlikan (Czechoslovak Aircraft Works) as a Super Aero 45 Series 2

Registered OK-JFJ
24.1.56
Application to DCA to import an Aero 45 by Fawcett Aviation Pty Ltd, Bankstown

Assumed assembled at Bankstown by Fawcett Aviation - no evidence it was flown out
56
Photo at Sydney-Bankstown as OK-JFJ
15.8.56
OK-JFJ and Zlin Trener OK-IFW arrived at Adelaide-Parafield from Bankstown
16.8.56
The Advertiser newspaper, Adelaide: Two Czech-built planes arrived at Parafield from Sydney yesterday afternoon. They will take part in an acrobatic display at Parafield from 10am to noon and 2pm to 4pm daily, from Monday to August 31.  The Super Aero 45 is pictured.
28.8.56
Australian registration application: Phoenix Aviation Co, Adelaide (signed A. P. Krawinkel)
Type quoted as “Super Aero 45”
8.56
Phoenix Aviation requested DCA to allocate registration VH-PAC, then changed their request to
VH-PXA
10.9.56
Exhibited at Royal Adelaide Show at the Adelaide Showgrounds in the suburb of Wayville
17.9.56
Added Register VH-PXA: Phoenix Aviation Co Ltd, Adelaide SA
56
Flew demonstration flights at Essendon. “Phoenix Aviation, Adelaide” on port engine cowling
7.6.57
Change of ownership: Bell Brothers Pty Ltd, Perth WA

Bell Brothers was a WA heavy construction and earth moving company, which later branched into air charter

19.6.57
Badly damaged Pithara WA, during takeoff run.
DCA Accident report: During an attempted take-off from a substandard take-off area the pilot failed to become airborne in sufficient time to prevent the aircraft colliding with obstructions. No injuries.
25.6.57
VH-PXA arrived at Perth dismantled on a Bell Brothers semi-trailer. The aircraft had a damaged nose area and port engine nacelle, no titles, “Super Aero 45” on the nose.
2.8.57
Struck-off Civil Register during repair
14.3.60
noted Essendon Vic,  dismantled under repair in Executive Air Services hangar. Also 11.60
4.61
Advertised for sale by Executive Air Services, Essendon Airport: new CofA, 250 flying hours since new
2.4.61
noted Essendon, rebuild almost completed, parked outside EAS hangar
15.4.61
Restored to Register VH-PXA: James Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney-Bankstown NSW

Charter business operated by Wally James. VH-PXA replaced his Miles Gemini VH-WEK
28.4.41
noted at Essendon, rebuild completed: taxying trials, seen flying several days later
5.5.61
noted at Essendon in a hangar
5.61
noted at Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne
25.6.61
noted at Essendon
30.9.61
Damaged when tipped on nosed during landing at Bankstown NSW.
DCA accident report: "During the landing roll the port brake became jammed because of an oil soaked lining and, when starboard brake was applied in an attempt to maintain directional control, the aircraft nosed over."
Pilot age 54 minor injuries, CPL, TT 3305 hrs, on this type 50 hrs (almost certainly Wally James)

Repaired at Bankstown
8.62
Advertised for sale by W. E. James, Hangar 271 Bankstown Airport: "carries up to 5 passengers, incorporates the latest bulbous canopy for improved cabin room."
10.1.63
noted at Bankstown
12.63
Leased to Commodore Aviation Ltd, Port Lincoln SA.  Length of lease not known
10.12.63
Departed Bankstown on delivery to Port Lincoln, flown by Commodore Aviation founder
John Doudy, with Phil Hanson. Overnight at Mildura and continued next day to Pt Lincoln.
Flying time: 6 hr 30 mins
12.12.63
Commenced fish spotting sorties with Commodore Aviation, based Port Lincoln
5.5.64
VH-PXA noted at Parafield SA while on delivery flight from Sydney to Port Lincoln SA for new owner Commodore Aviation. Blue & white, still with the James Aviation compass emblem on the fuselage "To Any Point In Australia". 
11.5.64
Change of ownership and re-registered VH-WWH: Commodore Aviation Ltd, Port Lincoln SA
3.6.64
John Doudy's log book: his last flight in this aircraft as VH-PXA
12.6.64
John Doudy's log book: his first flight as VH-WWH Port Lincoln-Wedge Island return
4.65
VH-WWH noted at Port Lincoln SA "Commodore Aviation" titles
24.3.66
Damaged in wheels-up landing at Port Lincoln SA.  The pilot J. Hansen reported that he had selected undercarriage down and noted that electrical indications were normal, but he did not check the mechanical indicator that gear was extended.
23.4.66
John Doudy's log book: his last flight in VH-WWH: Pt Lincoln-Althorpe islands return
3.10.66
Arrived Cootamundra NSW from Port Lincoln to refuel, en route to carry out fish-spotting off NSW south coast. Crashed on takeoff
3.10.66
Crashed on takeoff at Cootamundra NSW
DCA accident report: "The aircraft became airborne at a speed too low for effective lateral control in the gusty crosswind conditions and the takeoff was abandoned after the starboard wingtip struck the ground. The aircraft settled back on all three wheels but veered off the strip, entered a wheat crop and overturned."
Pilot received minor injuries: total experience 600 hrs, on type 120 hrs.
14.2.67
noted Port Lincoln SA, wreck stored in a shed behind hangars
28.7.67
Struck-off Register
13.12.74
VH-PXA's fuselage noted at Port Lincoln, on floor of a hangar
.85
John Ellis t/a Aero Enterprises Pty Ltd, Adelaide SA purchased airworthy Aero 145 VH-DUH from Commodore Aviation at Port Lincoln. Included in the purchase was Commodore Aviation’s Aero spares stock, including the dismantled airframes of VH-WWC & WWH.
.89
VH-WWH loaned to SA Historical Aviation Museum, Port Adelaide
21.5.89
Arrived at museum on a truck from Parafield. Complete fuselage with nose and cockpit roof crushed, blue & white paint scheme, titles "Commodore Aviation Pty Ltd, Port Lincoln". Manufacturers plate removed.  The Museum was at that time in its original location in the SA Lion Flour Mill, Mundy Street, Port Adelaide.  The museum later moved to its current nearby location and renamed South Australian Aviation Museum

VH-WWH moved from Adelaide to Port Pirie SA as part of an arrangement for VH-WWH to be restored to display standard by engineering students at Mid North Christian College
4.08
noted at Mid North Christian College, Port Pirie SA, long-term rebuild project.
14
still at Port Pirie as a rebuild project for its owner John Ellis.


Bankstown in 1956, "Super Aero" painted on nose and rudder.                        The Collection p0030-0005


Now registered VH-PXA, at Essendon in 1956 during demonstration flights.         The Collection p0030-0026


VH-PXA returns to Perth on 25 June 1957 after a takeoff accident at Pithara WA.        Geoff Goodall collection


VH-PXA after rebuild, at Bankstown in 1961 with James Aviation.                     The Collection p0030-0022


VH-PXA at Parafield SA on 5 May 1964 during delivery flight from Sydney to Port Lincoln SA.
Photo by John M. Smith courtesy SA Aviation Museum collection


John Smith also took this rear view at Parafield on 5 May 1964 showing that VH-PXA still had its
previous owner James Aviation's
compass emblem on the fuselage side "To Any Point In Australia".    


Now reregistered VH-WWH, at Port Lincoln SA in April 1965.                                    Photo by Neil Follett


VH-WWH arrives at the SA Aviation Museum 21 May 1989.             Photo by David Tanner, via Nigel Daw


                         C/n 19-012         Aero 145                                                                                                            VH-DUA
60
Built Kunovice by Orlikan (Czechoslovak Aircraft Works)
5.60
Sold by Omnipol to Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
21.5.60
VH-DUA & VH-DUB departed Czechoslovakia on delivery flight to Australia. The pilots were Dulmison directors Phil W. Dulhuntly, Philip M. Brown (Kingsford Smith Aviation Sservice), Bruce Robertson and Audley J. Allen
21.5.60
Both aircraft impounded by West German authorities when they inadvertently entered the West German ADIZ and landed at Amberg, Bavaria. The four Australian crew members were placed under military arrest.
22.5.60
Crews and both aircraft released and continued their flight to England
25.5.60
Cable to DCA from Civil Aviation Liaison Officer, Australia House, London:
VH-DUA & VH-DUB arriving in UK wearing Australian registrations. There was an unscheduled landing in West Germany en route and press publicity about the event had caused Australia House much embarrassment because they had no prior notification about their flight from Prague.
Brief response from DCA HQ instructed the CALO to issue Australian CofR and CofA forms for both aircraft to cover the remainder of their ferry flights to Australia
27.5.60
VH-DUA & DUB arrived Lympne to clear British Customs then continued same day to
Biggin Hill.  Demonstration flights were carried out in UK for Omnipol
29.5.60
Both aircraft noted Biggin Hill, with another Aero 145 OK-NHF
4.6.60
VH-DUA noted Cardiff-Rhoose, Wales
17.6.60
Both completed installation of more suitable radios and auxiliary fuel tanks by Air Couriers Ltd at Biggin Hill. They were inspected on DCA’s behalf by British Air Registration Board inspectors.
20.6.60
Added Register VH-DUA: Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
25.6.60
VH-DUA & DUB cleared Customs at Lympne on departure England for Australia
25.7.60
VH-DUA & DUB arrived at Darwin.
30.7.60
Both arrived Bankstown, escorted by Twin Bonanza VH-CDE (Australian Blue Metal) and Bonanza VH-GPA (Allen Bros Asphalting). The two Aero 145s made two low passes over the aerodrome on arrival, both painted white with red & orange trim.
7.60
DCA HQ was unimpressed by Dulmison Aircraft’s attitude towards the ferry flight.  On arrival Bankstown, both aircraft were zealously scrutinised by DCA airworthiness inspectors.  Dulmison had to justify numerous aspects, including authority for the installation of auxiliary fuel tanks in England, cockpit instrumentation with Czech placards rather than English, even lack of  “No Smoking” placards.  Phil Dulhunty complained that Australian type certification was being deliberately delayed.

VH-DUA used by Dulmison for demonstration flights. Initial Australian pilot endorsements were carried out by Phil Brown.
12.11.60
Crashed after takeoff Moorabbin Vic.  Dulmison Demonstration pilot Len Lymath was carrying out demonstration flights to prospective Melbourne purchasers. Crashed after becoming airborne on a flight to show single-engined performance. Pilot seriously injured.    

DCA accident report: "The pilot lost control, probably because a safe airspeed was not maintained, in a turn at low level during a demonstration approach and landing with one engine feathered. He then endeavoured to re-start the engine which had been shut down, but the aircraft struck the ground outside the aerodrome boundary."
Pilot aged 42, Senior Commercial Pilot Licence, total hours 10,314: hours on type 20.
20.5.61
Struck-off Civil Register



This demonstration accident was a serious blow for Dulmison Aircraft. There is little doubt that it unfairly tarnished the reputation of the Aero 145 and affected future Australian sales.


Rare colour shot of VH-DUA, at Biggin Hill, May 1960.                                     Photo by Ian D. Johnson


      Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne 12 November 1960, a few hours after the crash.       Photo by Neil Follett


VH-DUA was wrecked and the demonstration pilot seriously injured                            Photo by Neil Follett



                        C/n 19-015    Aero 145                                                                                                              VH-DUB
60
Built at Kunovice, Czechoslavakia by Orlikan (Czechoslovak Aircraft Works)
5.60
Sold by Omnipol to Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
21.5.60
Aero 145s VH-DUA & VH-DUB departed Czechoslovakia on delivery flight to Australia. Crewe comprised Dulmison directors Phil W. Dulhuntly, Philip M. Brown, Bruce Robertson and Audley J. Allen
21.5.60
Both Aero 145s were impounded by West German authorities when they inadvertently entered the West German ADIZ and landed at Amberg, Bavaria. The four Australian crew members were placed under military arrest
22.5.60
Crews and both aircraft released and continued their flight to England
25.5.60
Cable to DCA from Civil Aviation Liaison Officer, Australia House, London:
VH-DUA & VH-DUB arriving UK wearing Australian registrations. There was an unscheduled landing in West Germany en route and press publicity about the event had caused Australia House much embarrassment because they had no prior notification about their flight from Prague.
Brief response from DCA HQ instructed the CALO to issue Australian CofR and CofA forms for both aircraft to cover the remainder of their ferry flights to Australia
27.5.60
VH-DUA & DUB arrived Lympne to clear British Customs then continued same day to
Biggin Hill.  Demonstration flights were carried out in UK for Omnipol
29.5.60
Both aircraft noted at Biggin Hill, with another Aero 145 OK-NHF
17.6.60
Both aircraft completed installation of more suitable radios and auxiliary fuel tanks by Air Couriers Ltd at Biggin Hill. They were inspected on DCA’s behalf by British Air Registration Board inspectors.
20.6.60
Added Register VH-DUB:  Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
25.6.60
VH-DUA & DUB cleared Customs at Lympne on departure England for Australia
25.7.60
VH-DUA & DUB arrived at Darwin
30.7.60
Both arrived Bankstown, escorted by Twin Bonanza VH-CDE (Australian Blue Metal) and Bonanza VH-GPA (Allen Bros Asphalting). The two Aero 145s made two low passes over the aerodrome on arrival, both painted white with red & orange trim.
8.60
DCA HQ was unimpressed by Dulmison Aircraft’s attitude towards the ferry flight.  On arrival Bankstown, both aircraft were zealously scrutinised by DCA airworthiness inspectors.  Dulmison had to justify numerous aspects, including authority for the installation of auxiliary fuel tanks in England, cockpit instrumentation with Czech placards rather than English, even lack of  “No Smoking” placards.  Phil Dulhunty complained that Australian type certification was being deliberately delayed.
6.10.60
VH-DUB arrived at Perth Airport, flown from Sydney by Philip Brown on delivery to Diesel Motors, Perth
12.10.60
Change of ownership: Diesel Motors Pty Ltd, Perth WA
60
Leased to Australian Blue Metal Ltd, Sydney NSW.  
Based at Derby WA to support earthworks and construction projects. The aircraft had been repainted all white with blue and red trim lines.
15.2.61
Damaged during landing at Yaringa South Station via Carnarvon WA: aircraft ran off strip and struck scrub. Flap and fuselage damaged. Diesel Motors pilot Keith Nicholls and the one passenger were unhurt.
DCA accident report: "During the landing run the pilot was unable to maintain directional control, probably because of the low level of hydraulic fluid in the brake system, and the aircraft ran off the strip and collided with a bush."
Pilot aged 47 held Airline Transport Pilot Licence, total hours 15,609, hours on type 47.
5.61
DCA issue Charter Licence to Diesel Motors Air Charter Division for VH-DUB, based Perth Airport. Diesel Motors brochure states "WA’s first modern twin-engined air charter service”.
Their pilot is Captain Keith M. Nicholls, previously an Ansett-ANA Electra and DC-6B captain.
VH-DUB commenced flying on charter in May 1961
23.6.61
lost radio contact on arrival at Southern Cross WA, pilot Keith Nichols (DCA Incident Report)
5.62
Flew a tuna survey off WA coast in cooperation with survey vessel Estelle Star, on a contract for the WA Department of Primary Industries.
10.1.63
noted at Bankstown
24.4.63
Change of ownership: Oceanic Motors Pty Ltd, Sydney
17.5.63
landed Bankstown, starboard engine feathered, pilot Connolly (DCA Incident Report)
18.5.63
noted at Bankstown, also 20.5.63
9.8.63
Accident at Camden NSW: swung to right and undercarriage collapsed. Pilot Collinon
DCA accident report: "The pilot, who was inexperienced on twin engined aircraft, set asymmetric power during a simulated aborted takeoff but lost directional control and the aircraft ground-looped, collapsing the undercarriage."
Solo training operation. Pilot PPL aged 39, total hours 350, hours on type 40.
9.1.64
noted at Camden, parked in a hangar
13.6.64
Accident at Bankstown NSW:  settled back on to the runway on takeoff due to premature retraction of the undercarriage. Repaired by Navair at Bankstown.
1.1.66
penetrated Coolangatta Control Zone at Tweed Heads (DCA incident report)
21.2.66
noted at Bankstown, parked in a hangar. Also 16.11.66
29.3.67
Change of ownership: Edmonds Holdings Pty Ltd, Sydney
29.7.67
noted at Bankstown, also seen flying at Hoxton Park the same day. White with red & blue trim 
9.67
noted at Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne
28.9.67
Change of ownership: Madison Avenue International Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
3.11.67
loss of radio contact flying coastal in NSW (DCA incident report)
7.4.68
loss of radio contact flying near Moorabbin Vic,  pilot J.G.Stone (DCA incident report)
18.12.68
Change of ownership: K. M. Dennes, Sydney NSW
17.8.69
loss of radio between Oodnadatta-Alice Springs, pilot R. F. Harrop  (DCA incident report)
26.1.70
visited Adelaide Airport, white with red & blue trim lines
15.3.70
noted at Sydney Airport.
16.9.70
noted at Bankstown. Also 19.9.70
28.3.71
arrived Essendon on delivery to a new owner
16.4.71
Change of ownership: Down Under Well Services Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
13.6.71
noted at Moorabbin
2.72
noted at Essendon, also 24.4.73, same paint scheme white with red and blue trim lines
31.5.73
Change of ownership: Austronic Engineering Laboratories Ltd, Melbourne. Based Essendon
17.10.73
noted at Moorabbin
1.74
In the first week of January, VH-DUB was flown from Essendon to Casey Field, Berwick for a major airframe overhaul for new owner Kerry Magee. During the inspection, a long-range fuel tank was installed in the cabin. CofA renewed 23.1.74
23.1.74
Change of ownership: Kerry W. Magee, Melbourne, later Port Vila, New Hebrides

Magee had previously owned Cessna C34 VH-KWM at Moorabbin, and was moving to the New Hebrides to retire
2.3.74
Departed Berwick for Brisbane on ferry flight to New Hebrides.  Flew non-stop to Brisbane to test long range fuel tank
18.3.75
Forced landing gear-up Port Vila Airport, New Hebrides
Owner Kerry Magee was conducting a test flight after a 100 hourly inspection by Air Melanesiae at Port Vila.  The electrically operated undercarriage-down selection and the back-up system both failed.  Aircraft was landed on grass alongside the runway, engines stopped at low level and aircraft slid on the bottom of the engine nacelles. Pilot Kerry Magee reported minor back pain

Aircraft was assessed as damaged beyond economical repair.  Airframe total time: 1078 hrs.
23.1.76
Struck-off Register at owner's request
79
Stripped dismantled airframe stored at Port Vila
c86
Components acquired from Vanuatu by John Ellis, Adelaide SA for his Aero acquisitions:  airworthy VH-DUH and damaged VH-WWC and VH-WWH.


Derby WA in late 1960 while operated by Australian Blue Metal, already repainted in a new scheme.
Photo by Joe Salfass, pilot of the Twin Pioneer VH-AIS parked behind.            The Collection p0030-0032


Hoxton Park NSW in July 1967, still in the same paintwork.                      Photo: Ben Dannecker collection


Essendon Airport, Melbourne in April 1973.                   Photo by John M. Smith, courtesy SA Aviation Museum


VH-DUB's wheels-up landing at Port Vila, New Hebrides on 18 March 1975.           Geoff Goodall collection



                        C/n 20-001    Aero 145                                                                                                     VH-DUH
60
Built at Kunovice by Orlikan (Czechoslovak Aircraft Works)

Sold to Australian agents Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney.
Dulmison engaged Australian pioneer airline pilot Keith Virtue and his son Peter to deliver the aircraft from Prague.
19.12.60
Keith & Peter Virtue arrived Prague.  Dulmison had been assured the aircraft would be ready for collection, but there were several weeks of delays. The two pilots were endorsed on to type at an airstrip near Kunovice
20.12.60
Added to Register VH-DUH: Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
5.1.61
Delivered Kunoviuce to Prague, where the ferry pilots would commence the ferry flight. But the pre-flight checks revealed several flight instruments were u/s
6.1.61
Attempted departure from Prague, but battery u/s
7.1.61
Departed Prague for Zurich, but forced to return due to a snow storm
9.1.61
Departed Prague for Nuremberg, overnighted
10.1.61
Nuremberg-Zurich where VHF radio and ferry fuel tanks were installed
10.2.61
Departed Zurich for Australia, via Berne, Geneva, Cannes, Nice, Monaco, Corsica, Elba, Capri, Naples, Brindisi, Athens, Beirut, Damascus, Bahrein, Karachi, Calcutta, Rangoon, Mergui, Penang, Singapore, Jakarta, Bali, Koepang to Darwin
14.2.61
Overflew Nicosia Airport, Cyprus
1.3.61
Arrived at Darwin
3.61
Continued to Brisbane then Sydney.  Total f;ying time for ferry flight: 99 hrs 25 mins

Keith & Peter Virtue were never paid for the delivery or their expenses, due to Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd going into liquidation.  The operation reformed several months later as a new company Dulmison (Australia) Pty Ltd.
7.4.61
Australian CofA issued
21.5.61
VH-DUH flew demonstrations at Bankstown at a Dulmison Aircraft Sales Day, along with
Meta Sokol VH-DUP, Morava L-200 OK-OHC and Zlin Trener Master OK-OND. This group of Czech aircraft then flew a sales tour to Melbourne and Adelaide in June 1961 via country centres.
1.4.62
VH-DUH noted at Bankstown, parked outside with the Zlin Trener and Morava
.62
Change of ownership: Australian Blue Metal Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW.  Based in WA
24.2.63
noted at Perth Airport. Also 4.3.63, 8.63, 12.9.63 all based in DCA hangar
1.5.64
Change of ownership: National Contractors Pty Ltd, Perth WA
11.64
noted at Perth Airport, in factory two-tone blue and white paint scheme
65-66
retired at Jandakot Airport, Perth. Parked in the open, reportedly due both engines requiring  overhaul. Later seen inside the Simpson Aviation hangar undergoing maintenance
4.65
noted at Jandakot, parked outside, port engine cowlings removed and engine wrapped in plastic
8.5.66
noted at Jandakot parked outside, engineless with control surfaces removed. Parts were stacked inside the cabin. Had been repainted into new red, white and black scheme
13.10.66
Change of ownership: Simpson Aviation Pty Ltd t/a Samav Pty Ltd, Jandakot WA

Simpson Aviation was the WA Cessna dealer with a large maintenance operation. It would be safe to assume Simpson took over ownership as payment for work carried out on VH-DUH
11.66
Leased to Commodore Aviation Pty Ltd, Port Lincoln SA

Joined Commodore's VH-WWC & VH-WWH. This third aircraft was acquired for a contract to operate fish spotting operations from Merimbula NSW
14.11.66
noted at Cootamundra NSW, in a hangar
2.12.66
noted at Merimbule NSW, parked with other spotting aircraft for the local fishing boat fleet
21.12.66
Damaged landing at Green Cape, near Merimbula NSW.
DCA accident report: "As a consequence of an earlier in-flight engine malfunction and failure of the port propeller to completely feather, the pilot was unable to extend the undercarriage electrically. A malfunction of the manual system then occurred which caused the starboard undercarriage only to extend and prevented its retraction. A forced landing was made in this configuration."
Pilot and a passenger were unhurt. Pilot CPL TT 780, on type 280.
7.1.67
VH-DUH noted dismantled on a semi-trailer at Murray Bridge SA, while being transported
from NSW to Port Lincoln SA for repair
14.2.67
noted at Port Lincoln, under rebuild in Commodore Aviation hangar
21.2.67
air test at Port Lincoln by Commodore Aviation founder John Doudy. Again 26.2.67
2.3.67
returned to service, based Port Lincoln
7.7.67
noted at Port Lincoln
30.4.69
Struck-off Register at owner's request.
14.2.72
Restored to Civil Register VH-DUH Commodore Aviation Pty Ltd, Port Lincoln SA
18.1.73
noted visiting Adelaide Airport, now repainted back to the original two-tone blue and white scheme. Also 9.3.74, 16.3.74
31.12.74
noted at Port Lincoln, departed
11.6.76
Change of ownership: Ronald K. Fuller, Port Lincoln SA

Fuller was Managing Director of Commodore Aviation, having taken over the company after founder John Doudy's death.
1.3.80
Change of ownership: Commodore Aviation Pty Ltd, Port Lincoln SA
30.10.85
Change of ownership: John Ellis, Adelaide SA t/a Aero Enterprises Pty Ltd
The deal included Commodore's Aero 45/145 spares stock including the dismantled airframes of VH-WWC & VH-WWH.
2.11.85
noted at Port Lincoln SA bare metal, paint stripped. All cabin fittings removed for restoration
12.12.87
noted at Parafield SA flying. Repainted in new scheme white and grey with blue trim.
Based Parafield 1987-2007
16.10.88
visited RAAF Richmond NSW airshow
12.12.92
noted at Parafield
15.1.94
minor damage in accident at Parafield
22.1.00
noted at Parafield, white and grey with blue trim.
15.2.06
Change of owner's name: Aero Enterprises Pty Ltd, Adelaide
27.3.07
Change of ownership: James Lewis, Mittagong NSW
.07
Minor damage when port undercarriage leg retracted after landing in NSW
08
Repair and complete overhaul carried out at Wangaratta Vic by Precision Aerospace Products. Wings, engines and cabin floor removed for inspection and refurbishment.
The extensive restoration was completed in 2012
21.9.10
noted at Wangaratta Vic in Precision Aerospace hangar
8.9.11
Change of owner's name: The Old Aero Club Pty Ltd, Mittagong NSW c/- James Lewis
28.3.15
visited Echuca Vic fly-in

Maintained airworthy, based at Mittagong NSW

Current


  VH-DUH at Perth Airport, November 1964, factory two-tone blue and white scheme.    Photo by Merv Prime


VH-DUH at Jandakot Airport, Perth in 1966, repainted after an overhaul.        Photo: Ben Dannecker collection


Visiting Adelaide Airport in March 1974 following its crash rebuild and repaint into the original scheme.
Photo by Nigel Daw


Commodore Aviation's Ron Fuller prepares VH-DUH outside the Port Lincoln Airport terminal building,
New Years Eve 1974.  Photo by Nigel Daw


Ron Fuller demonstrates his short-field takeoff skills at Port Lincoln, December 1974.
Photo by Nigel Daw


VH-DUH at Parafield in December 1987, now privately owned by John Ellis.                Photo Nigel Daw


Mittagong NSW in 2013, flying again after extensive refurbishment and repaint.              Photo by James Lewis


The restored cabin of VH-DUH in 2013.                                                                 Photo by James Lewis



                        C/n 20-002    Aero 145                                                                                            VH-WWC, VH-ZCL
.61
Built Kunovice, Czechoslovakia by Orlikan (Czechoslovak Aircraft Works)
.62
Issued as a new aircraft to Australian agents Dulmison (Australia) Pty Ltd, Bankstown NSW
Ordered by Commodore Aviation, Port Lincoln, South Australia

Shipped to Australia dismantled and crated
10.62
Assembled at Bankstown Airport, Sydney. Two tone blue and white factory scheme
10.62
engine runs at Bankstown, "Commodore Aviation, Port Lincoln SA" painted on fuselage, but no registration yet applied.
19.10.62
Commodore Aviation's Republic RC-3 Seabee VH-WWA changed ownership to Dulmison, part trade-in on the new Aero 145
26.10.62
Registered VH-WWC: Mutual Acceptance Co Ltd, Sydney. Operated by Commodore Aviation Ltd, Port Lincoln SA

Mutual Acceptance was a finance company which had an arrangement with Dulmison to provide attractive hire-purchase rates for Czech aircdaft sold in Australia
27.10.62
Local flying Bankstown: Peter Brown of Dulmison gave endorsement check-out to new owner John C. Doudy, founder of Commodore Aviation
9.11.62
Change of ownership: Commodore Aviation Ltd, Port Lincoln SA
10.11.62
VH-WWC noted at Bankstown, parked outside the Fawcett Aviation hangar
1.12.62
Departed Bankstown on delivery flight to Port Lincoln, flown by Commodore Aviation's founder John Doudy. His logbook shows one refuelling stop at Mildura, flying time 6 hr 45 min
3.12.62
John Doudy's logbook: WWC local flying Port Lincoln. Also 3.12.62, 7.12.62
8.12.62
Commenced tuna spotting operations from Port Lincoln
2.64
visited Adelaide Airport. Also 9.66
14.2.67
noted at Port Lincoln SA flying.  Also 7.7.67 with VH-DUH
19.9.69
minor damage at St Francis Island SA
22.11.69
visited Adelaide Airport, "Commodore Aviation, Port Lincoln SA" titles. Also 12.11.70, 1.1.71
31.12.74
noted at Port Lincoln
11.6.76
Change of ownership: R. K. Fuller c/- Commodore Aviation Ltd, Port Lincoln SA

Fuller was Managing Director of Commodore Aviation, having taken over the company after founder John Doudy's death.
9.8.76
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service. Stored in hangar at Port Lincoln
.85
John Ellis t/a Aero Enterprises Pty Ltd, Adelaide SA purchased the airworthy Aero 145 VH-DUH from Commodore Aviation at Port Lincoln. Included in the purchase was Commodore Aviation’s Aero spare parts stock, including the dismantled VH-WWC & WWH.
.89
Loaned to SA Historical Aviation Museum, Port Adelaide SA
21.5.89
Arrived at museum dismantled on a truck, along with VH-WWH.
The museum was at that time in its original location in the SA Lion Flour Mill, Mundy Street, Port Adelaide.  It later moved to new building nearby land was named SA Aviation Museum
c01
Removed from the original museum site and taken to Parafield Airport by road
23.3.01
Restored to Register as VH-ZCL: David D. Harris t/a Charlie Zulu Lima Trust, Adelaide
Partners are John Ellis and David Harris (Harris also own CZL Meta Sokol VH-DUT)

Long-term restoration project at Parafield Airport
12.12.07
noted in hangar Parafield, under restoration to fly. All paint stripped, metallic, standing on gear,  wings removed outboard of engines.
12-14
Restoration project continued but moved to Pallamana airfield, Murray Bridge SA
4.14
Advertised for sale by David Harris: partly restored, fuselage standing on wheels, located in a hangar at Pallamana SA


VH-WWC brand new, freshly assembled at Bankstown in November 1962 after shipping from the factory
Photo by Eric Allen


At Adelaide Airport February 1964, visiting from Port Lincoln to drop off a passenger for an airline flight
Photo by Geoff Goodall


Visiting Adelaide Airport in November 1970.                                                          Photo by Nigel Daw

*                                  *                                *                                  *                                 *                                 *

Sources:
- Australian Civil Aircraft Register, Department of Civil Aviation and its successors
- National Archives of Australia, Melbourne: DCA files VH-PXA, VH-DUA, VH-DUB
- DCA Annual aircraft accident reports, 1955-1970
- Accident file VH-DUB Port Vila: National Archives of Australia
- Civil Aviation Historical Society photogtraph collection
- South Australian Aviation Museum Inc photograph collection
- John C. Doudy pilot log books, courtesy his son Chris Doudy, via SA Aviation Museum
- Aviation Historical Society of Australia Journal, monthly, 1960-1970
- SA Air Journal, monthly journal, 1963 to present date
- Australian Air Log, monthly journal, 1965-1968
- Aviation Safety Digest, Department of Civil Aviation, No.87 1974
- Classic Wings Downunder, quarterly magazine, renamed Classic Wings, various updates on Aeros
- LET Super Aero, Classic Wings magazine Vol 15 No.1, 2008
- The Aircraft of The World, William Green & Gerald Pollinger, Macdonald, London, 1965
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft in Australia and NZ, David Eyre, Sunshine Books, Sydney 1983
- Never A Dull Moment, Philip Dulhunty, self-published, Sydney 2009
- Virtue in Flying, A Biography of Pioneer Aviator Keith Virtue, Joan Priest, Angus & Robertson 1975
- An Iconic Airline – The story of Airlines of South Australia, Jim Evans & Nigel K.Daw, self-published 2012

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