Last updated 21.2.14


A listing compiled by Geoff Goodall


  Connellan Airways Beech B50 VH-CLA (c/n CH-24) at Townsite Aerodrome, Alice Springs in 1958.                                                                                          

  Photo by Ian Leslie, via Civil Aviation Historical Society

    The Beech Model 50 Twin Bonanza six-seater was the first US twin-engined light

commercial aircraft of post-war design to attain quantity production. The prototype first flew on
15 November 1949.  The first production Model 50 was powered by two 260hp Lycoming
GO-435 engines and was followed by a series of refined designs with increasingly powerful
Lycoming 6 cylinder engines to allow higher payloads.  All Twin Bonanzas were built by
Beechcraft at Wichita, Kansas, and production finished in 1963 with the model J50.

Model Year introduced Engine HP
A50 1953 260 Lycoming GO-435
B50 1954 260 Lycoming GO-435
C50 1955 275 Lycoming GO-480-F6
D50 1956 295 Lycoming GO-480-G2F6
E50 1957 340 Lycoming GSO-480-A1A6 supercharged
G50 1958 340 Lycoming GSO-480-A1A6 supercharged
extra fuel tankage for additional range
H50 1959 340 Lycoming GSO-480-A1A6
J50 1960 340 Lycoming GSO-480-A1B6
Extra cabin windows, restyled nose

    Nine Twin Bonanzas were imported to Australia and one to Papua New Guinea. The principle operator was Connellan Airways at Alice Springs, Northern Territory who used them on mail and passenger schedules to remote cattle stations and towns across outback NT, WA and western Queensland. Founder Eddie Connellan wrote in his book Failure of Triumph:

    "I was very conservative when I decided that the Twin Bonanza would be the best replacement for the Travelairs and Barons, and initially bought a B50 Twin Bonanza with the lowest rated 260 hp Lycoming engines. When thoroughly satisfied with the performance of this one, I then bought three D50s using the slightly higher powered 290hp engines. Finally, as our confidence developed, we went to the E50, with 340 hp GSSO 480. All of these aircraft gave us wonderful service and no trouble related to the high performance of the engines. But we were very particular about our pilot training and discipline and our engineering maintenance and overhaul."

This listing is presented in order of appearance on the Civil Register:

BEECH B50    c/n CH-24              VH-CLA, VH-CDE

3.54 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation

Registered N3565B  

Reported as N565B in a Beech Twin Bonanza history and Air Britain Commonwealth Aviation News January 1960 but has been confirmed incorrect
.58 Imported by Australian Beech agents Ron Howitt t/a Aviation Sales Ltd, Sydney for Connellan Airways, Alice Springs NT
9.58 Aviation Sales Ltd requested DCA reserve registration VH-CBA for the Twin Bonanza but Eddie Connellan requests VH-CLA instead. On 2.10.58 Howitt cabled DCA advising of the change but requesting VH-CBA be reserved for a Beech D18S they are importing.
(No D18S was imported in that time frame and VH-CBA was not used)
25.9.58 Departed San Francisco CA on ferry flight to Australia, pilot Bryan Monkton (airline pilot and founder of Trans Oceanic Airways, Sydney). Routed Honolulu, Canton Island, Nandi, Noumea to Sydney. Total flight time 48 hrs 45 mins.
5.10.58 Arrived Sydney on delivery. Australian certification inspection at Bankstown.
13.10.58 Australian Registration Application: Connellan Airways Ltd, Alice Springs NT
Application written and signed by E.J.Connellan, Governing Director.
10.58 Eddie Connellan departed Bankstown immediately the inspection was completed, flying on the US export CofA. He flew to Melbourne, then Alice Springs
16.10.58 DCA NSW Region memo: airworthy from this date
17.10.58 Registered VH-CLA
17.10.58 Australian CofA issued

Flown by Eddie Connellan for performance checks at Connellan's Narrietooma Homestead airstrip, measuring takeoff and landing distances
13.2.60 VH-CLA noted Moorabbin, no titles
23.3.60 Change of ownership: Australian Blue Metal Ltd, Sydney NSW
5.60 Reregistered VH-CDE
10.12.60 Tail damaged near Richmond NSW:
DCA accident report: "In the course of a low level run along a river, the aircraft collided with power transmission cables which demolished the fin and rudder, but sufficient control was still available for the aircraft to return to the airport."
(Identity unconfirmed but type quoted as B50 Twin Bonanza)
31.7.62 Change of ownership: Skyways (Australia) Pty Ltd, Melbourne-Moorabbin Vic
9.62 Arrived Moorabbin on delivery to Skyways (Australia) Pty Ltd. Blue & white colour scheme.
Skyways had been using Aero Commander VH-ELH on lease from E.L.Heymanson (agents) flown by a Heymanson pilot pending delivery of the Twin Bonanza
3.1.63 noted Morwell Vic
5.5.63 noted Moorabbin, "Skyways Australia' titles
27.5.65 arrived Sydney Airport on visit from Moorabbin
13.10.66 noted at Moorabbin "Nicholas Skyways" titles and gold "N" on tail
4.12.67 Came to rest on its belly at Moorabbin when pilot retracted the undercarriage during the landing roll instead of flap. Arrival from Mildura on air ambulance contract flight. The "Nicholas Skyways" titles were painted over before the aircraft was moved away by a crane the following morning.
23.10.69 Change of ownership: Nicholas Skyways Pty Ltd, Moorabbin Vic
18.11.70 Change of ownership: Air Oasis Pty Ltd, Adelaide SA
Associate company of SAATS
.70/71 Operated by: SA and Territory Air Services - SAATAS, Adelaide SA
1.71 Moorabbin report: Nicholas Skyways have exchanged Twin Bonanza VH-CDE with SAATAS for Cessna 310G VH-RCJ which is now based here, and is adorned with Air Ambulance insignia for its use on ambulance contract. Twin Bonanza VH-SKY is here with Nicholas Skyways markings.
11.4.71 noted at Adelaide Airport
12.12.71 noted at Adelaide Airport, "SAATAS" titles, based here.
4.1.73 Struck-off Register as "unserviceable"
25.12.74 Damaged while parked at Darwin by Cyclone Tracy
13.6.75 Restored to Register: Gordon R. Forrest, Canberra ACT
21.7.75 Struck-off Register at owner's request
28.11.75 Restored to Register: G. R. Forrest, Canberra ACT
2.6.76 Struck-off Register at owner's request
11.9.76 noted at Parkes NSW, parked outside
3.2.77 Restored to Register: G. R. Forrest, Canberra ACT
4.4.77 Change of ownership: John W. Hogan, Canberra ACT
1.78 noted at Canberra, operational, blue & white paint scheme
4.4.78 noted at Canberra
27.7.78 Damaged in accident Canberra ACT
20.11.80 noted at Canberra, operational, same blue & white paint scheme
31.3.81 Struck-off Register
26.7.83 Restored to Register: John W. Hogan, Canberra ACT
9.1.85 noted Bankstown
7.3.96 noted Canberra
.00 Acquired by Australia's Museum of Flight, Nowra NSW
Reportedly in taxiable condition when acquired by the museum


  VH-CLA at Moorabbin 13 February 1960, after delivery from Alice Springs.  Bob Neate collection


  Moorabbin 1962, now re-registered VH-CDE with Skyways Australia titles.  Photo by Barrie Colledge


  Moorabbin May 1963. Photo by Geoff Goodall


  Moorabbin 1964.  Photo by Roger McDonald


  Moorabbin October 1966, with Nicholas Skyways titles.   The Collection


  Moorabbin 4 December 1966, when the undercarriage retracted on landing.  Photo by Peter Limon


  Darwin NT in December 1974, after it was damaged by Cyclone Tracy.  The Collection p0617-0331


  Repaired and looking good, Canberra ACT November 1980. Photo by Trevor Boughton

BEECH D50    c/n DH-53            VH-EWT, VH-UNB, VH-CLM

.56 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation
57/58 CF-ACL Field Aviation, Oshawa Ontario
Demonstrator with Field Aviation, who were Beech dealers
.58 nose gear collapsed, quickly repaired. Offered for sale by Field Aviation
1.59 CF-ACL was inspected at Oshawa by East West Airlines’ engineer Robert Hempell. He had been sent to North America to inspect Twin Bonanzas and purchase the best example within a price limit.

East West Airlines decided that the Beech 50 was best suited to allow it to submit an effective tender for a 3 year rain-making contract offered by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organisation (CSIRO). EWA had already been experimenting with rain-making with one of their Lockheed Hudsons which had been replaced by a DC-3.

Bob Hempell later wrote in the book East West Eagles:
“My first sighting and introduction to D50 Twin Bonanza Serial Number DH-53 at Oshawa aerodrome was an exhilarating experience, which I tried my best to disguise. It was similar to a sweetheart meeting. The more I patrolled around that flying machine, interior and exterior, the tighter my fingers crossed, hoping that the overall specifications, compliances and inspection records were 100 percent. They sure were, down to the tyre treads. Total time since new airframe, engines, propellers was about 350 hours. The aircraft has never been in customer service. As a demonstrator model, Field Aviation had caressed it since delivery from the factory.”
1.59 Purchased by East West Airlines, Tamworth NSW.
Delivery to Australia to be arranged by Field Aviation using an experienced ferry company.
12.2.59 Australian Registration Application: East West Airlines Ltd, Tamworth NSW
3.3.59 Registered VH-EWT
16.3.59 Planned departure date from Canada on ferry flight to Australia
.59 VH-EWT arrived Sydney Airport on delivery from Canada, flown by a US ferry pilot
5.59 Pilot training flights at Tamworth
25.5.59 Flown Tamworth-Sydney for radio testing prior to issue of CofA
29.5.59 Demonstrations to CSIRO and press at Tamworth following installation of silver iodide burners under the wings for cloud seeding.
11.6.59 Australian CofA issued. Airframe total time 876 hours

DCA reviewed airworthiness aspects of the autopilot system, radios, weights and balance, propellers and flight performance. Lengthy correspondence between the Department and EWA on these topics.
9.4.60 visited airshow at Gunnedah NSW
11.60 VH-EWT was based at Sydney Airport on rain-making operations for CSIRO while their two Cessna 310s VH-REK & REL were out of service undergoing annual CofA renewal inspections
11.6.64 Change of ownership: United Air Pty Ltd, Flight Facilities Terminal, Sydney Airport
11.6.64 Reregistered VH-UNB
22.6.64 VH-EWT noted departing Sydney Airport on a charter flight to Forster NSW, still painted as VH-EWT but with United Air titles.
22.7.64 VH-EWT noted landing at Sydney Airport, reported at the time as its last flight before registration was repainted
10.8.64 VH-UNB visited Wagga NSW on a charter from Sydney. Blue and white with red trim
11.64 VH-UNB noted at Sydney Airport, in service with United Air
6.4.65 Change of ownership: Connellan Airways Ltd, Alice Springs NT
8.6.65 Reregistered VH-CLM

Freight door and passenger airstair installed at Bankstown by Hawker De Havilland Australia (Beech agents) prior to delivery to Alice Springs
21.10.65 CofA renewed at Bankstown after overhaul and modifications
29.10.65 VH-CLM departed Bankstown on delivery to Alice Springs. Reportedly several months behind scheduled delivery because of problems with passenger seating configuration
11.65 Aeronautical engineer Newton D. Hodgekiss was engaged by Eddie Connellan to carry out an analysis of seating arrangements in VH-CLM.
5.2.66 Minor damage due partial retraction of undercarriage on landing at Alice Springs Airport. Ferried to Connellan’s maintenance base at Townsite Aerodrome for repairs.
1.3.66 Re-entered service with Connellan Airways after repairs
2.11.66 Propeller struck a fuel pump at Wave Hill NT. Operating Connellan Airways Flight 1228 Katherine-Victoria River Downs-Wave Hill-Hooker River-Alice Springs, pilot B. Robinson
2.5.70 Ferried Alice Springs-Adelaide-Sydney on delivery to Jetair
3.5.70 Change of ownership: Jetair Australia Ltd, Sydney
Twin Bonanzas VH-CLM & CLO were exchanged with Jetair in return for Beech Queenair VH-CMI.
7.70 noted at Bankstown
19.9.70 noted at Bankstown
3.10.70 Change of ownership: A. G. Wilson t/a Outback Services Pty Ltd, Adelaide SA
7.11.70 noted at Parafield SA
6.3.71 noted at Darwin NT
11.3.71 minor damage at Darwin
6.71 based at Darwin
7.71 DCA were advised that Outback Services Pty Ltd had ceased operations and the company was being liquidated.  A ferry permit was requested for pilot K. Lewis to ferry VH-CLM Darwin-Parafield.
21.8.71 noted at Parafield
1.10.71 Change of ownership: Custom Factors Pty Ltd, Adelaide SA
25.3.72 noted at Parafield
19.5.72 noted at Essendon, now based here on a daily freight service to King Island
23.5.72 Change of ownership: S. R. Smith, Currie, King Island, Tasmania  (also VH-CLN)
31.1.73 minor damage at King Island
6.7.73 noted at Essendon
18.5.74 noted at Moorabbin
13.5.75 minor damage at King Island
75 Ben Dannecker, pilot on Setair DC-3 freighters loading meat from the King Island abattoir, recalls  “I used to see CLM departing King Island with a heavy load of smelly sheep skins, just making it off the runway, often in difficult weather.”
8.11.75 noted at Essendon, no titles
14.11.75 Change of ownership: E. P. Fitzgerald, Coolamon NSW  (also VH-CLN)
29.9.77 Change of ownership:  Jetway Construction Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW  (also VH-CLN)
1.78 noted at Bankstown
6.4.78 Change of ownership: Jetway Aviation Pty Ltd, Sydney (same address)
6.4.79 Change of ownership: Mrs. M. J. Bennett, Cairns Qld

Withdrawn from service at Cairns Qld
14.11.81 Struck-off Register at owner’s request
3.84 noted at Cairns, derelict in open, stripped of engines and parts


  VH-EWT over Tamworth 1959. Photo EWA via Ben Dannecker collection


             Tamworth 1959, with rain making burners on wingtips. \Photo EWA via Roger McDonald collection


  VH-EWT at Sydney Airport June 1964 with "Special Projects Division" on fuselage from its days on rain
making with East West Airlines. A few days later it was reregistered VH-UNB with new owner United Air.

  Photo by Greg Banfield


  VH-UNB at Wagga NSW in August 1964, on a United Air charter from Sydney.  Photo by Bob Neate

  VH-CLM at Bankstown October 1965 awaiting delivery to Cnnellan Airways.  Geoff Goodall collection


  Bankstown March 1970, with Jetair, one of their Bristol Freighters behind. Photo by Ron Cuskelly

BEECH D50A    c/n DH-197            VH-SKY

11.58 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation

Registered N260A
63 N260A  National Financing Inc, Wilmington Delaware
64 N260A Executive Aircraft Service Inc, Redbird Airport, Dallas. Texas

Re-registered N201EA
.65 Purchased in USA for Skyways Australia
13.7.65 Registered VH-SKY Skyways (Australia) Pty Ltd, Melbourne-Moorabin Vic
20.7.65 noted at Moorabbin. Cream and bronze with dark brown and orange trim. Titles
“Nicholas – Skyways” in gold on fuselage and the Nicholas “N” on the fin.
7.2.66 noted at Moorabbin, "Nicholas Skyways" titles, gold "N" on fin
22.7.65 noted at Moorabbin, plate: DH-197 built 11.58.
28.7.65 noted at Moorabbin "Nicholas Skyways" titles, gold "N" on fin
14.8.65 Arrived Adelaide Airport from Moorabbin on loan to SA Air Taxis, flew charters for SAAT then returned to Moorabbin 18.8.65
1.1.66 noted at Moorabbin, "Nicholas Skyways" titles, gold "N" on fin
13.3.66 noted at Nhill on charter from Moorabbin
26.11.68 noted at Moorabbin
23.10.69 Transferred to: Nicholas Air Charter Pty Ltd, Moorabbin Vic
1.71 Moorabbin report: Twin Bonanza VH-SKY is based here with Nicholas Skyways markings. Nicholas Skyways have exchanged Twin Bonanza VH-CDE with SAATAS for Cessna 310G VH-RCJ, which is now based here, and is adorned with Air Ambulance insignia for its use on ambulance contract.
9.72 Leased to Masling Commuter Services Pty Ltd, Cootamundra NSW
9.72 Delivered to Cootamundra
9.3.73 Change of ownership: Masling Commuter Services Pty Ltd, Cootamundra NSW
20.4.72 noted at Sydney Airport, in service with Masling Airlines, "Masling" titles
5.73 noted at Sydney Airport "Masling" titles
23.8.73 Damaged in accident Moruya NSW
10.73 noted at Sydney Airport, "Maslings" titles, in service
28.8.75 noted at Williamtown NSW, "Masling" titles
28.1.77 noted at Cootamundra, Masling triangle emblem on tail, "Masling" on fuselage
11.2.78 noted at Sydney Airport, Masling triangle emblem on tail but no titles
21.8.78 Change of ownership: Kencan Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW  
1.79 noted at Bankstown
13.2.80 Change of ownership: Rex Aviation Ltd, Sydney-Bankstown NSW
26.8.80 Change of ownership: E. W. Phillips, Innisfail Qld
3.82 noted at Townsville Qld, in service, no titles
3.11.83 noted at Townsville Qld, stripped of parts
3.9.84 Struck-off Register
19.8.04 VH-SKY noted at Bankstown in hangar in rebuild jig, very poor condition


            VH-SKY at Swan Hill, Vic in May 1967 with Nicholas Skyways.  Photo by Geoff Goodall


            Sydney April 1973, an early morning Masling Airlines passenger departure.  Photo by Chris O'Neill


           Townsville Qld in March 1982, in an attractive paint scheme. Photo by Michael Austin


            Retired at Townsville November 1983, stripped of engines and parts. Photo by Geoff Goodall

BEECH D50B    c/n DH-232            VH-RCN

9.59 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation

Registered N202LS
63 N202LS Lone Star Brewery Co, San Antonio Texas
64 N202LS Executive Aircraft Service Inc, Redbird Airport, Dallas Texas

Reregistered N202EA
28.6.65 N202EA arrived Sydney Airport from Norfolk Island on last leg of its delivery flight from USA. Plate DH-232 built 9.59.
28.6.65 After clearing Customs, N202EA flown Sydney-Tamworth for Australian certification and modifications by East West Airlines
21.7.65 Registered VH-RCN South Australian Air Taxis Pty Ltd, Adelaide-West Beach SA
21.7.65 VH-RCN departed Tamworth for Darwin on delivery to SAATAS, flown by SAATAS Genral Manager Richard Cavill.
12.65 SAATAS moved VH-RCN's base from Darwin to Adelaide
8.6.66 Ferried Adelaide-Essendon-Moorabbin to join Nicholas Skyways' fleet based at Moorabbin (associated company to SAATAS). Plates: DH-232, N202EA and N202LS.
4.9.67 noted Moorabbin
13.12.67 Damaged Moorabbin when pilot retracted the undercarriage during the landing roll  instead of flap.
29.8.68 Transferred to: SA and Territory Air Services (SAATAS) Pty Ltd, Adelaide
26.11.68 noted Moorabbin
19.10.70 Crashed destroyed Moorabbin Vic. Collided with Bell 47G VH-BLM while inbound to Moorabbin, both crashed. 2 occupants of Twin Bonanza were killed
19.10.70 Struck-off Register


  VH-RCN at Adelaide Airport in March 1966, with SAATAS titles.  Photo by Geoff Goodall

BEECH D50A    c/n DH-158            VH-CLO

.57 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation

Registered N397B
63/64 N397B registered to: Allied Properties, San Francisco, California

Purchased in USA for Connellan Airways, Alice Springs NT
20.9.65 Registered VH-CLO Connellan Airways Ltd, Alice Springs NT
5.1.68 Noted at Darwin, Connellan Airways titles
13.3.70 Change of ownership: Jetair Australia Ltd, Sydney NSW
Twin Bonanzas VH-CLM & CLO were exchanged with Jetair in return for Beech Queenair VH-CMI.
14.3.70 noted at Bankstown
21.3.70 noted at Bankstown, still Connellan Airways blue & white paint scheme, but no titles
4.70 Operated by Westernair, Brisbane Qld
18.6.70 noted at Bankstown, by now repainted in Jetair’s purple colour scheme, no titles
20.9.70 noted at Bankstown
11.70 Jetair ceased operations
12.12.70 noted at Bankstown, purple scheme, no titles
22.12.70 Change if ownership: Hockey Treloar, Sydney NSW
10.8.71 noted at Bankstown
11.9.71 noted at Mascot
20.2.72 noted at Mascot, red and white paint scheme
11.3.72 arrived Perth-Jandakot WA, on a visit
5.72 noted at Mascot
3.3.74 noted at Bankstown, red and white
29.3.74 Change of ownership: Second Karon Manufacturing Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic,
Operated by: Peninsula Air Services, Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne
7.74 noted at Moorabbin, yellow and white, “Peninsula Air Services” titles, also 3.8.74, 22.2.75
26.7.75 noted at Moorabbin, “Peninsula Air Services” titles, also 28.3.76, 13.9.76
13.9.76 noted at Moorabbin, parked outside PAS hangar, also 19.9.76
6.11.78 noted at Broken Hill NSW
10.80 noted at Moorabbin
11.80 noted at Moorabbin, “CSIRO Atmospheric Research” titles
4.82 noted at Essendon, based here
24.6.82 Change of ownership: PAS Investments Pty Ltd, Melbourne-Essendon Vic,
Operated by Peninsula Air Services, Essendon
24.10.82 noted at Moorabbin, parked outside PAS hangar, blue and white,  with titles “CSIRO Atmospheric Research”
8.84 noted at Moorabbin, flying
5.9.84 noted at Essendon, pale blue and white
28.4.85 noted at Archerfleld Qld, same blue and white, titles “Ramblers Sport Parachute Club”
2.4.87 Change of ownership: I. T. Hunter, Brisbane Qld
10.5.87 noted at Archerfield, same pale blue and white
13.8.88 Damaged in accident at Toogoolawah sport aircraft airstrip Qld
11.10.89 Change of ownership: D. E. McEvoy, Brisbane & Toogoolawah Qld
12.9.94 noted at Toogoolawah Qld
21.8.96 noted at Archerfield, “Ramblers Parachute Centre” titles
1.8.04 noted at Mackay Qld
2.05 Advertised for sale: Only Twin Bonanza flying in Australia. A collector’s item, versatile power. Warbird, used in Vietnam. Great for airshows. Lots of spares. As is, where is, Toogoolawah Qld.  Quoted as D50B built 1957, very good condition, all white. Total airframe time 8775 hrs
26.8.07 noted at Toogoolawah Qld
29.8.10 noted at Toogoolawah Qld, in hangar, titles “Ramblers Parachute Centre - Skydive”. Now used only as a back-up to the Cessna 208 Caravan jump-ship



            VH-CLO at Bankstown 21 March 1970, still in Connellan Airways scheme.  Photo by Roger McDonald


          Bankstown June 1970, now in Jetair's purple colour scheme. Photo by Roger McDonald


  Sydney Airport, February 1972 in a new red paint scheme. Photo by Ron Cuskelly


           Moorabbin in August 1974 with Peninsula Air Services. Photo by Roger McDonald


  Moorabbin, October 1982, CSIRO Atmospheric Research titles.  Photo by Roger McDonald


          Archerfield Qld, May 1987.  Photo by Geoff Goodall


VH-CLO has been used for parachuting, based at the skydiving airstrip at Toogoolawah Qld for the past twenty years. Seen there on 29 August 2010.
Photo by Nigel Daw


           Rear view showing the skydiving titles. Photo by Nigel Daw

BEECH D50    c/n DH-19              VH-CLN

.56 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation

Registered N4962B
63/65 N4962B Florida Airmotive Sales Inc, Fort Lauderdale FL  

Reregistered N613F

Purchased in USA for Connellan Airways, Alice Springs NT
13.1.65 N613F arrived Bankstown after clearing Customs at Sydney Airport following delivery flight from USA
17.1.65 N613F flew Bankstown-Alice Springs
2.65 N613F noted at Bankstown
8.12.65 Registered VH-CLN Connellan Airways Ltd, Alice Springs NT
8.2.66 minor damage when nosewheel bogged in soft ground at Legune NT. Ferried back to Alice Springs 1.3.66 after temporary repairs at Legune.
10.12.67 VH-CLN noted Darwin, "Connellan Airways" titles
3.70 Leased from Connellan by Jetair Australia, Sydney
11.70 Returned to Connellan by Jetair
19.11.70 Change of name: Connair Pty Ltd, Alice Springs NT
3.1.71 noted at Mount Isa, Qld on Connair service. "Connellan Airways" titles.
3.3.71 noted at Darwin
21.3.73 Change of ownership: S. R. Smith, Grassy, King Island Vic
6.5.73 noted at Moorabbin, Conellan Airways blue & white scheme and titles
5.7.73 noted at Essendon, still "Connellan Airways" titles but based Moorabbin with CLM. Both used to transport freight from King island to Melbourne
15.7.73 noted at Essendon, Connellan titles
9.73 noted at Moorabbin
3.74 noted at Moorabbin
3.74 noted at Tooradin Vic, same blue & white scheme but no company titles
14.4.74 noted at Morwell Vic
26.7.75 noted at Moorabbin, no titles
14.11.75 Change of ownership: E. P. Fitzgerald, Coolamon NSW
28.9.77 Change of ownership: Jetway Construction Pty Ltd, Sydney
1.78 noted at Bankstown
23.3.78 Change of ownership: Jetway Aviation Pty Ltd, Sydney (same address)
20.5.78 noted at Bankstown
2.6.78 Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service
3.80 noted at Bankstown, derelict
27.8.86 Twin Bonanza marked "BTN-RFF" noted at Bankstown as instructional airframe for Bankstown Rescue & Fire Fighting section. Has been marked as such for several years and is believed to be VH-CLN although not confirmed.


       N613F at Bankstown in 1965 prior to Australian certification as VH-CLN. Photo by Bob Neate


       VH-CLN at Mount Isa Qld January 1971, on a Connellan Airways service.  Photo by Mike Madden


     Moorabbin in April 1973, with a new owner at King Island, still in Connellan markings. Photo by Mike Madden

BEECH E50    c/n EH-67              VH-CLQ

.57 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation

Registered N124PA
63 N124PA Naylor Aviation Inc, Clinton, Missouri
64 N124PA Appliance Buyers Credit Corp, St Joseph, Michigan
28.12.65 N124PA arrived Alice Springs at end of ferry flight from USA. Plate: E50 EH-67.
3.1.66 N124PA arrived Sydney-Bankstown from Alice Springs for Australian certification inspection by Hawker De Havilland (Beech agents)
11.2.66 noted Bankstown being painted as VH-CLQ
23.2.66 Registered VH-CLQ Connellan Airways Ltd, Alice Springs NT
20.4.66 Arrived Alice Springs on delivery from Bankstown. Brown & white with blue trim.
16.12.69 Damaged Inverway Station NT in wheels-up landing due mechanical failure.

This is probably the event reported as pilot Hans Kerfgen unable to extend gear for
landing at a cattle property, diverted to Katherine NT where he made a gear-up landing
with minimal damage. Ferried Katherine-Alice Springs with undercarriage locked down
by pilot George Taylor. Repaired by Connellan Airways at Alice Springs.
25.2.70 Minor damage in accident Katherine NT
24.4.70 Crashed Kenners Rock NT, 42 miles south of Alice Springs. Badly damaged during wheels-up forced landing due engine failure. Pilot R. Bennett unhurt.
24.4.70 DCA accident report found that after a vibration commenced at 4,000 feet the pilot decided to return to Alice Springs. While attempting to isolate the source of the vibration by checking magnetos, carburetor heat and cutting each engine by use of the fuel mixture controls, the pilot lost considerable height. After maintaining 500 feet above the ground, the aircraft began to lose height and the pilot transmitted a "Mayday" radio call then landed straight ahead, with wheels and flaps retracted, amongst scattered small trees. The cause of the vibration was not identified.
4.5.70 Damaged aircraft arrived by truck at Alice Springs. After inspection it was declared an insurance write-off.
8.7.70 Struck-off Register
18.8.70 noted in a Connellan Airways hangar at Alice Springs. Dismantled damaged airframe having seating and parts removed.
30.7.74 Stripped hulk of VH-CLQ noted on airport fire dump at Alice Springs


VH-CLQ at Alice Springs in August 1970, after its accident . Photo by Robert Zweck

BEECH E50    c/n EH-18              VH-CLP

.57 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation

Registered N410F

N410F not listed US Civil Register 1963/64/66

N410F delivered from USA to Sydney. Australian certification inspection by Hawker De Havilland at Sydney-Bankstown
29.1.66 N410F noted Bankstown in Hawker De Havilland hangar. panels removed for inspection
11.2.66 N410F noted Bankstown at Hawker De Havilland hangar, being repainted as VH-CLP
30.3.66 Registered VH-CLP  Connellan Airways Ltd, Alice Springs NT
10.12.67 VH-CLP noted Darwin, "Connellan Airways" titles
13.11.68 Damaged on landing at Katherine NT with undercarriage retracted due mechanical failure.
20.2.69 Minor damage in accident Oenpeli NT
19.11.70 Change of company name to Connair Pty Ltd, Alice Springs NT
1.72 noted at Darwin, yellow & white, "Connair" titles
3.11.72 Minor damage in accident Timber Creek NT
17.11.72 Minor damage in accident Timber Creek NT
20.7.73 noted at Darwin, yellow & white, "Connair" titles
30.7.74 noted Alice Springs
1.76 Ferried Alice Springs-Bankstown on sale
18.1.76 noted Bankstown
20.1.76 Change of ownership: Sopac Aviation Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
1.76 noted at Bankstown
2.76 noted at Bankstown, yellow, white and metallic
10.3.76 noted Mascot
3.76 noted at Essendon
1.9.76 noted Bankstown, yellow and white, no titles
.78 Leased by Geometrics International Corporation, Sydney NSW.
A magnetometer with towed "bird" on a cable and winch were installed for a survey contract in WA.
2.2.79 Transferred to: Falcon & Sopac Transport Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Operated as: Fast Airways, Bankstown NSW

retired Cessnock NSW
6.10.81 Struck-off Register
.82 Purchased for parts use by Brenton Miller/Skytours, Adelaide SA. Acquired for the engines and systems as spares for Skytours' Beech QueenAir
5.2.82 Arrived by truck at Parafield from Cessnock.
6.2.82 VH-CLP noted at Parafield
6.82 noted at Parafield
29.5.83 noted Parafield as a stripped hulk, parked in back grass area with retired Skytours Queenair VH-CFI
7.83 rear fuselage section still dumped at Cesnock
10.83 Struck-off Register
10.84 noted Parafield as a stripped hulk

Sold as scrap


           N410F Bankstown in January 1966. Photo by Dave Eyre


           VH-CLP at Darwin NT in December 1967, with same paint scheme it wore on delivery from USA.

  Photo by Mike Croker


          Darwin January 1972, repainted in Connair's yellow, white & green scheme. Photo by Mike Madden


          VH-CLP at Bankstown February 1976, soon after arrival from Alice Springs.  Photo by Chris O'Neill


        VH-CLP ended its days at Parafield as a parts source for Airtours, alongside their retired Queenair VH-CFI

        Parafield May 1983.  Photo by Geoff Goodall

BEECH G50    c/n GH-114            VH-KPB

.59 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation

Registered N6011
63/64 N6011 E. C.Hall Construction Co, Portland, Oregon
2.66 Second-hand import by Australian Beech agents Hawker De Havilland Pty Ltd, Sydney for Kevron Photographics, Perth. Delivered by air from USA.
19.2.66 N6011 first noted Bankstown. Red and white scheme. Plate GH-114
20.3.66 Kevron Photographics' Cessna 185 VH-KPA arrived Bankstown from Perth bringing pilot to collect the Twin Bonanza
29.3.66 VH-KPB noted at Bankstown
22.4.66 VH-KPB noted at Archerfield, having maintenance in Rex hangar
7.4.66 Registered VH-KPB Kevron Photographics Pty Ltd, Perth-Jandakot WA
15.11.66 noted at Bankstown
16.11.66 noted at Bankstown
11.66 noted at Moorabbin together with Kevron's Cessna 185 KPA
24.11.66 noted at Essendon, red & white scheme with black trim
28.11.66 noted at Essendon
29.11.66 noted at Adelaide, stayed overnight then to Parafield next morning
10.12.66 noted at Jandakot, reported as "finally arrived"
25.12.66 noted at Jandakot
14.2.67 noted at Perth Airport
19.2.67 noted at Perth Airport
27.2.67 noted Perth Airport
27.3.67 noted at Jandakot
9.10.67 noted Derby WA
20.12.67 noted at Perth Airport
10.3.68 noted at Perth Airport
12.68 noted at Jandakot
28.5.69 noted at Jandakot
11.10.69 noted at Jandakot
31.1.70 noted at Jandakot, in Agricultural General Aviation hangar being resprayed white with blue trim
7.2.70 noted at Jandakot, new white scheme
9.10.70 noted at Kalgoorlie WA
6.9.71 noted at Jandakot
71-75 noted at Jandakot on numerous occasions
10.11.74 visited Beverley WA for airshow
10.10.75 noted at Jandakot
29.11.75 noted at Jandakot, white & blue scheme no titles
30.9.77 noted at Canberra
29.6.78 noted at Darwin, arrived and departed
4.7.78 noted at Darwin                                          
28.12.80 noted at Jandakot, same white and blue scheme, fitted with red rudder from Kevron's Queenair VH-CTE
3.81 noted at Jandakot

Retired at Jandakot, stripped for parts
4.8.82 Struck-off Register


  VH-KPB at Essendon in November 1966 in original red & white paint scheme. The Collection


  Jandakot February 1970, repainted white with blue trim. Photo by Geoff Goodall


  Jandakot December 1980, demonstrating interchangability of parts between Beech types: fitted with

  the rudder of Kevron Photographics' Beech 65 Queenair VH-CTE. Photo by Roger McDonald

BEECH D50C    c/n DH-295            P2-MEX, VH-MEC

Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation

Registered N9316Y
63 N9316Y Decker Enterprises Inc, Ralston, Nebraska
64 N9316Y Duncan Corporation, Tarkio, Missouri
66 N9316Y William H. Bird/ Bird & Sons Inc, San Francisco CA and Laos

Bird & Sons Inc was a San Francisco heavy construction company operating in Vietnam and Laos. The company had maintained its own air division under William H. Bird in Laos since 1960. Operated a large fleet of C-46s, C-47s, Twin Pioneers, Pilatus Porters, Helio Couriers, Dornier Do28s and Bell UH-1Ds, many registered in the XW-P series of Laotian registrations.
In 1964 Bird sold the assets of the air division to Continental Airlines to form Continental Air Services - CASI. The sale contract had a non-compete clause that precluded Bird from operating another aviation company in Laos for a certain period. When that time expired, Bird formed a new operation Bird Air, based at Singapore-Seletar.
c67 Leased to Laos Air Development (LAD), Vientiane.
LAD was a front for William Bird to continue limited charter work in Laos, and also had a Cessna 182.
.74 William Bird commenced a new operation as Bird Air, Bangkok
William Bird was the president.
.74 BirdAir operated C-130 Hercules on loan from the USAF on military contract work in SE Asia and participated in the evacuation of former Hmong guerrilla troops in Laos. BirdAir also helped maintain the air bridge to Phnom Penh flying U-Tapao, near Bangkok to Phnom Penh daily in February and March 1975 until the day before Cambodia fell.
The C-130s were flown by contract ex USAF pilots.
4.75 N9316Y took part in evacuating personnel before the fall of Saigon to Viet Cong troops. Reported that N9316Y was the last allied departure out of Tan Son Nhut Airport, Saigon on the last day of evacuations, with 12 CIA agents packed on board.
75 Bird Air moved its base to Singapore-Seletar, operating freight charters within SE Asia and the Arabian Gulf with three Douglas DC-6Bs
11.9.75 N9316Y noted Seletar, parked with three Bird Air DC-6Bs
21.7.80 N9316Y noted Seletar, parked under wing of Bird Air DC-6B N54CA
19.8.81 N9316Y noted Seletar
- Purchased in Singapore by Peter Barter/ Madang Resort, Madang TPNG
Barter had been a Talair Twin Otter pilot who left to enter the tourism business at Madang where he operated a hotel. He was a member of PNG Parliament and later Governor of Madang and was knighted as Sir Peter.
- N9316Y was ferried from Singapore to Madang, still in Bird Air blue & white scheme. Pilot Bryan McCook took a circuitous route, probably to avoid Indonesian ports where he had encountered problems on previous ferry flights. Seletar-Kota Kinabalu-Davao-Palau-Momote (Manus Island)-Madang.

Airframe logbook for N9316Y had been re-written prior to sale by BirdAir. Paul Howard, Talair Traffic Manager inspected the logs at Nadzab and recalls that they were written in neat continuous handwriting, obviously all at the same time in the one person's handwriting. Only sector hours and dates were recorded, not the origin/destination of each flight.
.87 Registered P2-MEX
The registration was requested because Barter owned a ship Melanesian Explorer
12.9.92 noted at Goroka, no titles
10.11.92 photo "Niugini Exploration Cruises" titles
18.3.93 noted Rabaul
.93 Change of ownership: Peter Sharpe dba Golden Kumul Lines Pty, Rabaul, New Britain
10.5.93 Ferried Madang-Rabaul by Tim Sheen who had just arrived from Canberra to be employed by Captain Peter Sharpe/Rabaul Shipping/Masim Expeditions. Sheen was endorsed on the aircraft and familiarised on the minimal airstrips, which would be the most frequent destinations by previous pilot, Peter Wilkinson ex Talair.

Sharp was a shipping vessel operator who also used Grumman Widgeon P2-WET under the name Masim Expeditions & Tours Pty Ltd, Rabaul. Plans for tourist ventures ended with the 1994 volcanic eruption, which destroyed the airstrip and town.

Pilot Tim Sheen: "The aircraft engines were extremely reliable and the job itself was full of adventure. It mostly entailed flying Peter Sharpe, or his accountants, around trying to get payments owed to them by the PNG government, or running crew and engineers to ships. Buka in Bougainville was the most frequent destination."
19.9.94 P2-MEX was the last Rabaul based aircraft to depart as the nearby volcano commenced a major eruption.  Pilot Tim Sheen now worked for Islands Nationair, but Sharpe phoned from Cairns and requested him to get the Twin Bonanza out of Rabaul. Took off at night (on a Mercy Flight basis) with 5 Islands Nationair staff as passengers.
97 Transferred to Peter Sharpe's brother Hamish Sharpe t/a Bismark Shipping Company
.97 P2-MEX noted Nadzab mid 97 in new paint scheme
00 P2-MEX noted Port Moresby, parked there for several months before ferry to Sydney
23.6.00 Struck off New Guinea Register
19.7.00 Registered VH-MEC Airmariner Consultants Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW t/a Dove Air
3.9.00 P2-MEX noted Bankstown, parked outside, complete
28.3.07 P2-MEX noted Bankstown in hangar, stripped under overhaul
25.7.09 P2-MEX noted Bankstown in Aerial Ag hangar
29.10.09 P2-MEX noted Bankstown
11 Current

Note: a report in 1980s stated that Bird Air's N9316Y had been purchased by aircraft engineer Jock Williams who painted it as P2-MBB in Singapore before shipping it to Adelaide SA. But never appeared at Parafield Airport, Adelaide.


  P2-MEX at Rabaul in 1994 with Golden Kumul Line. It is pictured at Rabaul's old Lanakai airfield which

  was destroyed by a volcanic eruption later that year. The company's Grumman Widgeon amphibian

  P2-WET is parked behind. Photo by Paul Howard


  P2-MEX at Nadzab TPNG during 1997, in a new paint scheme. Photo by Paul Howard

BEECH J50   c/n JH-163              VH-BRH

.62 Built at Wichita Kansas by Beech Aircraft Corporation
The J50 was the last production model of the Twin Bonanza line, which ceased production the following year
4.62 Registered N1779G

Purchased by US Army for test purposes, allocated type NU-8E-BH, serial 66-15360
63/66 N1779G US Army Signal Research & Development Laboratory, Fort Monmouth,
Lakehurst, New Jersey

NU-8E type designation allocated to Beech U-8D Seminole equipped as instrumentation flying laboratory, 2 crew, 2 passengers.


99 N74GV Glen T. Van Ingen, Las Vegas NV
Glen had flown Pilatus Porters for Air America in Vietnam and Laos for 7 years, and he planned to repaint his Twin Bonanza in Air America colour scheme, but never did.
7.99 N74GV at Oshkosh, pilot Glen Van Ingen camping in a tent under the wing
7.00 N74GV at Oshkosh

Purchased in USA by Gerry Quinn of AAS
19.9.03 N74GV ferried Christmas Island to Faleolo, continued to Norfolk Island 20.9.03
21.9.03 N74GV ferried Norfolk Island-Lord Howe Island-Kempsey on delivery to AAS
6.11.03 N74GV ferried Kempsey-Bankstown to end delivery flight
22.4.04 Registered VH-BRH Australian Aircraft Sales (NSW) Pty Ltd, Sydney-Bankstown NSW
12.9.06 noted at Sunbury-Penfield Vic, white & grey with red & black trim, "AAS" on nose
10.06 noted at Essendon, "AAS" on the nose
17.11.07 Change of ownership: Craig Hobart, Sydney NSW
12.3.09 VH-BRH at airshow Avalon Vic. "AAS" emblem on nose.
12 Current


  The sleek nose of the J50 model can be clearly seen in this view of VH-BRH at Essendon in

  October 2006. Australian Aircraft Sales' AAS emblem on nose.  Photo by Gordon Reid


Beech D50 N4371D (c/n DH-131) on a world tour in late 1962, owned by Gunther W. Balz, Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Visited Wellington New Zealand on 9 December 1962, noted at Moorabbin on 22 December 1962 in a blue, white and gold colour scheme. It was later reported at Dakar-Yoff, Senegal on 28 April 1963, and Prestwick, Scotland on 22 June 1963 en route Gatwick to USA.


  Moorabbin Vic 22 December 1962.  Bob Neate collection

Beech B50 N3680B (c/n CH-77) was at Sydney Airport in February 1973, with a ferry fuel tank in the cabin. Its owner was listed in the 1972 US Civil Register as D.G.Canning, Staunton, Virginia.


  Sydney Airport, 24 February 1973.  Photo by Roger McDonald


- Australian Civil Aircraft Register, Dept of Civil Aviation and its successors

- DCA Annual Accident Summaries, 1958-1970

- DCA initial registration files VH-EWT, VH-CLA, National Archives of Australia, Melbourne

- National Library of Australia - Trove newspaper archive website

- US Civil Aircraft Register, FAA, printed editions 1963-1972 held by compiler

- Journal, Aviation Historical Society of Australia, 1960-1970

- Southern Aeronotes, monthly, January-November 1964

- NSW Air Log, monthly, June-December 1964

- Australian Air Log, monthly, 1965-1968

- Airport Movement Reports, Air Britain monthly, 1962-63;

- US Civil Aircraft News, Midland Counties Publications, 1976-1979: Beech 50 listings & updates

- East-West Eagles, Archie J. Smith, Robert Brown & Assoc, Brisbane 1989

- Failure of Triumph -The Story of Connellan Airways, E. J. Connellan, Paradigm Investments, 1992

- Flypast A Record of Aviation in Australia, Neville Parnell & Trevor Boughton, CAA 1988

- The Aircraft of the World, William Green & Gerald Pollinger, McDonald & Co, London 1965

- Paul Howard: detailed history of P2-MEX



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