Latest update 20.5.16


AUSTRALIAN DH.89 DRAGON RAPIDES

Compiled by Geoff Goodall


    

Connellan Airways' DH.89 Rapide VH-AHI at Timber Creek airstrip NT, parked beside a boab tree which provided the only shade
       for waiting passengers.  The pilot was Englishman John Murkin, seen facing the camera with hands in his shorts pockets.               
Photo by Ian Leslie, courtesy Civil Aviation Historical Society


  


A much later arrival was Rapide VH-IAN, seen at an airshow at Berwick Vic in February 1975      Photo by Geoff Goodall



    The DH.89 Dragon Rapide was designed by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd as a faster and more comfortable development of the DH.84 Dragon. It was all wooden construction with fabric covering and featured the tapered wings and trousered undercarriage of the DH.86s. Powered by 200hp DH Gipsy Six engines. The prototype first flew at De Havilland’s Hatfield works on 17 April 1934, and the type went into continuous production over the next ten years. A total of 728 civil and military DH.89s were built and used in almost every country worldwide.


    From 1937 production Rapides were designated DH.89A with various refinements and engines changed to 200hp DH Gipsy Queen 3s.


    With the outbreak of WWII, many civil Rapides were impressed by British, Australian and New Zealand Governments for military use.  To supplement the impressed aircraft, the British Air Ministry placed large orders for newly built DH.89s for RAF and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, with 200hp DH Gipsy Queen 3s and designated DH.98B Dominie.  By 1942, after 185 military Dominies had been built in the previous year, all Hatfield factory space was needed for DH.98 Mosquito production. The Dominie assembly line was transferred to Brush Coachworks Ltd at Loughborough, Leicestershire where 346 were completed.

Dominie Mk.I: navigation and radio trainers with cabin configured for 5 trainees

Dominie C Mk.II: communications and transport, some as ambulances with two stretchers


  Hundreds of surplus Dominies and impressed Rapides were sold after WWII in Britain, to join the surviving pre-war Rapides in civil service. The ex-military Dominies were designated DH.89A Rapides.  The type became the mainstay of local airline services and charter operators, and the 200hp DH Gipsy Queen 3s became the standard engine for all models, available from military disposals.



1) PRE-WAR AUSTRALIAN IMPORTS


    The first DH.89 Rapide to arrive in Australia was VH-UVS for the Shell Company of Australia, to support their aviation fuel and oil products. It was assembled by the Australian De Havilland company at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney in March 1935, painted red and gold and named The Spirit of Shell.  It was fitted with extra fuel tanks to enable non-stop flights between capital cities in eastern states.


            Later that year the first Australian airline to use the Rapide was West Australian Airways. As Australia came out of the Great Depression, Managing Director Captain Norman Brearley ordered two new DH.89s in 1934 to replace the DH.84 Dragon used on the their Transcontinental service between Perth and Adelaide. The Civil Aviation Branch allocated the pair registrations VH-USY & -USZ in November 1934, however continued low passenger and mail revenues forced Brearley to cancel the order.

    The unexpected availability the following year of the Rapide flown by a New Zealand crew in the Centenary Air Race from England to Melbourne allowed WAA to purchase a near-new Rapide at a much-reduced price. VH-UUO was introduced on the Perth-Adelaide route in July 1935 on the scheduled two-day trip each direction.


    Next Australian orders were from Adelaide Airways, just prior to its merger into Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, which then standardised on Rapides for its secondary routes.

Ten Rapides were imported pre-war, including two new aircraft ordered by RAAF for photographic survey of central Australia.


             In 1940 when increased RAAF wartime training identified the need for Air Observers Schools, 7 airline Rapides were impressed into military service to establish the first AOS at Cootamundra NSW, along with impressed DH.84 Dragons.  Impressed Rapides were assigned a new serial block of A33- despite the type having previously been operated by RAAF in the A3- series. After use with 1AOS, they were allotted to various other units for transport and ambulance work in northern Australia and New Guinea.

            Later in the war DCA negotiated with RAAF to have the surviving Rapides released to the Department to be chartered back to the airlines, who were desperate for aircraft to maintain minimum wartime scheduled services. These Rapides reverted to their original civil registrations


RAAF serial Previous reg Received RAAF Off RAAF charge
A33-1 VH-UUO 2.7.40 15.4.42 Issued to DCA: chartered to Airlines of Australia
A33-2 VH-UVI 12.7.40 30.7.41 Crashed Cootamundra 20.6.41
A33-3 VH-UFF 12.7.40 15.11.43 Issued to DCA: chartered to Guinea Airways
A33-4 VH-UXT 19.7.40 15.4.42 Issued to DCA: chartered to Airlines of Australia
A33-5 VH-UBN 12.8.40 16.4.42 Issued to DCA: chartered to Guinea Airways
A33-6 VH-UZY 12.8.40 19.1.44 Issued to DCA: chartered to Airlines (WA) Ltd
A33-7 VH-ADE 25.8.40 15.4.42 Issued to DCA: chartered to ANA



What’s in a name?

De Havilland originally named their new DH.89 model Dragon Six, but when production commenced the name changed to Dragon Rapide.  The faithful biplane became the mainstay of aviation in so many countries for so long it became known simply as Rapide.

Wartime British military orders for RAF and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm were designated DH.89B Dominie. Many hundreds of surplus Dominies were sold by disposals, and when civilianised they adopted the civil name as DH.89A Rapides.

An exception was New Zealand, where the RNZAF flew Dominies from 1943 to 1954, and that name was so ingrained that when post-war civil imports were introduced on NZ airline and charter work, they were also called Dominies.

Connellan Airways at Alice Springs, NT purchased a total of six Rapides for their outback mail services through NT, northern WA and western Queensland.  They were locally referred to as "Raps".



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


C/n 6265                                                           The Spirit of Shell                                                                                           VH-UVS

.34 Built at Hatfield

Ordered by Shell Company of Australia Ltd.  The company requested CAB to allocate VH-UVS to include the initials of the company Managing Director Mr. Vernon Smith. The sequential registration allocations at that time had reached the VH-UR series, but CAB agreed to the request.
8.1.35 British CofA issued VH-UVS: Asiatic Petroleum Co Ltd, London
15.1.35 Delivery date at Hatfield to Asiatic Petroleum Co Ltd

Shipped to Australia
3.35 Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney
27.3.35 Testflown Mascot after assembly. Total airframe time: 1 hr 35 mins
27.3.35 Australian Registration application: Shell Co of Australia Ltd, Melbourne Vic
31.3.35 Australian CofA issued
31.3.35 Registered VH-UVS

Painted red and gold and named The Spirit of Shell. The Rapide was fitted with extra fuel tanks to enable non-stop flights between capital cities in eastern Australia. The cabin had 6 armchairs made with woven cane for tropical service, and cabin walls insulated with Seapack for sound proofing. Walls were covered below the windows with grey leather, above the windows with cloth to match. Cabin floor was covered with grey carpet and woodwork painted to tone with the furniture. Behind the passenger cabin was a separate compartment for luggage with an outside loading door.
Shell stated that the aircraft was purchased to test new aviation fuels and lubricants under actual working conditions, fitted with special instruments to enable Shell Co’s Aviation Department to supply data for their Chemical Department on fuel and oil testing. Modifications included oil temperature thermometers fitted to each engine, and distant-reading thermometers in the main petrol tanks, in one of the carburettors, and inside the cowling of the engines. An air temperature thermometer was later installed in the nose.
3.4.35 Tipped on nose landing at Cootamundra NSW, pilot E. J. Jones of Shell Co
22.6.35 Arrived Maylands Aerodrome, Perth from Melbourne, pilot Harold C.Owen, carrying Shell Co of Australia's Managing Director Mr. Vernon Smith and his secretary. Refuelling stops at Adelaide, Forrest, Kalgoorlie. Aircraft in a red and gold scheme, named The Spirit of Shell
18.8.35 Flew Melbourne-Sydney, pilot H.C.Owen, passenger Harold Gatty
28.9.35 Flew Melbourne-Sydney, pilot H.C. Owen in very short time of 3 hrs 10 mins
30.9.35 Flew Alice Springs-Melbourne, carrying magnetos and carburettors from the crashed Monospar VH-UTZ (crashed in forced landing 6.9.35 north of Alice Springs) for investigation by the Civil Aviation Branch
4.11.35 Shell pilot H.C.Owen flew VH-UVS Sydney-Broken Hill carrying principles of WASP Airlines to make arrangements to commence a scheduled air service on the route using their Codock VH-URP and Tugan Gannet VH-UUZ: Mr. T.E.Perry Director,
Mr. J.C.Lyons Chairman of Directors, Mr. W. Kingsford-Smith and Squadron Leader Bell, aviation officer for th Shell Oil Co. Returned to Sydney 6.11.35
23.11.35 Arrived Maylands, Perth bringing Mr. Vernon Smith to board a ship at Fremantle for UK
30.4.36 VH-UVS collected Mr. Vernon Smith, Shell Co of Australia's Managing Director, at Brisbane and flew him to Melbourne. He had travelled on the Empire Air Mail air service from London to Brisbane after a business trip to UK.
15.9.36 Arrived Rockhampton Qld on tour of Queensland aerodromes to inspect airraft refuelling facilities. Pilot Mr. H.C.Owen carried Mr. F.S. Briggs and Mr. Forbes of the Shell Co.
1.3.37 VH-UVS attended an airshow Naracoorte SA, Shell Company, pilot Flying Officer Owen
5.37 Hired by Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney as a replacement for two aircraft recently lost in accidents.
12.5.37 Burnt out on ground Mascot after caught fire during engine start.  Fabric caught fire when port engine backfired during start up. It was being operated by Airlines of Australia and had arrived on a Brisbane-Sydney service an hour earlier, and was being started for the return service to Brisbane. AoA Captain Peter Hoskins broke the cockpit perspex which allowed him and the 3 passengers to escape the flames and drop to the ground from the nose of the aircraft, all were injured and taken to hospital.

At the time it was destroyed by fire, the Rapide was still named The Spirit of Shell.
2.38 Shell Co imported Percival Vega Gull VH-ABS to Australia, named Spirit of Shell

    

  VH-UVS at Mascot in front of the De Havilland Aircraft hangar.                                 Photo: Neville Parnell collection


  

  Maylands Aerodrome, Perth in a new colour scheme while with Shell.                            Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  Mascot 12 May 1937, destroyed by fire while leased to Airlines of Australia.                    Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  The remains of VH-UVS at Mascot after the fire.                                                                          Photo: The Collection




C/n 6259                                                                    Tainui,  Malonga,  Lae, Yuptana                              ZK-ACO, VH-UUO, A33-1, VH-UUO

9.34 Built at Hatfield
27.9.34 First fight Hatfield
8.10.34 Registered ZK-ACO The Melbourne Centenary Air Race Committee (NZ), Auckland NZ
9.10.34 British CofA issued as ZK-ACO

Modified for the MacRobertson Air Race with 3 extra fuel tanks in fuselage with total capacity 230 gallons, giving a 1,000 miles range. Centre cabin windows were faired over.
Painted brought orange. Named Tainui (the first Maori war canoe to reach NZ)
20.10.34 Race competitors departed Mildenhall. ZK-ACO was the eleventh to leave, being flagged off 6.41am It had race number “60” on rudder.
Flown by all NZ crew of Sqn Ldr J. D. Hewett and Flying Officer C. E. Kay, and professional photographer Frank Stewart

Forced landing Boulogne
28.10.34
Tail damaged at Cloncurry Qld.  Kay later wrote:
“Melbourne our finishing point now lay some 1,300 miles to the south and by leaving Cloncurry after midnight, and refuelling at Charleville we hoped to arrive Melbourne mid afternoon. Things did not work out quite as expected, however, for in taxying out the machine was being turned into wind when the tail struck something with a jolt and  sickening rending sound. On investigation we found it to be entangled in a post and wire fence running across the angle of the field and which had gone unnoticed in the darkness of the night.”
3.11.34
Departed Cloncurry after the repairs were completed
3.11.34 Reached Melbourne, the ninth and last race aircraft to cross the finish line. Total time 13 days 18 hours 51 mins with a flying time 85 hours 42 mins. Came fifth in Speed Section and sixth in Handicap Section.

A First Day Cover envelope carried on ZK-ACO during the air race is signed by "C.E. Kay, Pilot" and lists:
- Baghdad   22 October 1934
- Allahbad   23 October 1934
- Singapore 25 October 1934
- Darwin      27 October 1934
- Charleville 2 November 1934
14.11.34 Departed RAAF Richmond NSW for a direct flight to NZ, with the same three crew. Landed at Palmerston North NZ after 12 hours 14 mins flying time. They carried extra fuel in 4 gallon cans which they emptied into a feeder tank in flight.
Publicised at the time as the first aerial crossing of the Tasman Sea by NZ born pilots.
14.11.34 Struck a fence on landing at dusk at Palmerston North, damaging port undercarriage and propeller.

After repairs, the Committee was unable to sell the Rapide in NZ as planned due to the country’s depressed financial situation. At the time it was the most modern aircraft in NZ
5.35 Committee decide to ship ZK-ACO to Australia where there was a better chance of a successful sale
22.5.35 NZ CofA issued
27.5.35 ZK-ACO arrived Sydney wharves from NZ on ship SS Wanganella, accompanied by Flt Lt D. M. Allen, Instructor of the Auckland Aero Club and Mr. L. W. Swan, Secretary of the Club who were to arrange its sale in Australia.

Difficulty lifting the large aircraft by crane from the ship. Its tail was damaged when it struck the wharf.
28.5.35 Towed through Sydney streets from the wharves to Mascot Aerodrome.

Moved by road from Mascot to Essendon Airport, Melbourne

Assembled at Essendon
5.6.35 Inspection Report at Essendon Airport, Melbourne by CAB Inspector. Airframe total time 167 hours, painted as ZK-ACO.
5.6.35 Test flight at Essendon after assembly
7.6.35 Australian Registration application: The Melbourne Centenary Air Race Committee (NZ), Auckland NZ
10.6.35 Registered VH-UUO
10.6.35 Australian CofA issued at Essendon
17.6.35 West Australian Airways advised CAB that they had purchased VH-UUO from The Melbourne Centenary Air Race Committee (NZ) and it would be flown to Perth
25.6.35 Registration application: West Australian Airways Ltd, Perth WA
To be used on WAA Perth-Adelaide service, with a route sector of 400 miles from Kalgoorlie to Forrest.
30.6.35 Arrived Maylands Aerodrome, Perth on delivery from Sydney by WAA pilot Harry F. Cannonball Baker
9.7.35 VH-UUO operated its first service on the Perth-Kalgoorlie-Forrest-Ceduna-Adelaide route, pilot WAA Captain Len Diprose. Departed Perth at 10.45am, 75 minutes behind schedule because of the late arrival of the mail boat from Britain.
Perth-Kalgoorlie 1 hr 55 mins
Kalgoorlie-Forrest 2 hr 25 mins. Overnight at WAA Hostel at Forrest Aerodrome
Forrest-Ceduna 2 hr 10 mins. Departed as 7.05am.
Ceduna-Adelaide 2 hrs 00 mins
Landed at Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide at 12.00 Noon. Very fast flight times due strong tailwinds along the route.
14.7.35 Forrest-Kalgoorlie-Perth, Captain Len Diprose
4.8.35 Fire broke out in starboard engine on start at Forrest WA, extinguished without damage. Pilot L. M. Diprose
2.3.36 Testflown Maylands Aerodrome, Perth after CofA renewal overhaul by WAA, pilot Harry F. Baker. Total airframe time 743 hrs.
1.7.36 Change of ownership due company takeover: Adelaide Airways Ltd, Parafield SA

UUO continued the Adelaide-Perth air route taken over from WAA, as well as services to SA towns
30.9.36 Crashed on landing, Mount Gambier SA, badly damaged, Captain Robert A. Watt and 2 passengers. Taken to Parafield for rebuild which took 5 months
1.11.36 Change of ownership due company takeover: Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
18.2.37 Testflown Parafield after rebuild, pilot L. M. Diprose of ANA
19.2.37 ANA requested CAB approval to ferry UUO Parafield-Essendon prior to CofA issue
29.2.37 CofA renewed at Essendon
37 Entered ANA passenger service, named Malonga. Usual base Parafield
8.37 Report: UUO flies Adelaide-Melbourne return daily
4.39 Guinea Airways Ltd took over ANA routes in SA using leased ANA Rapides UUO & UVI
24.7.39 Change of ownership: Guinea Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA. Named Lae

Guinea Airways purchased VH-UUO & VH-UVI from ANA for passenger services from Parafield to Broken Hill, Kingscote and Port Lincoln.
6.40 noted Parafield, all silver, Guinea Airways titles
6.40 Impressed by Australian Government for RAAF
2.7.40 Taken on RAAF charge as A33-1. Received 3 EFTS Essendon ex Guinea Airways
5.7.40 Issued to ANA Essendon for modifications prior to entering RAAF service
8.7.40 VH-UUO struck-off Civil Register
12.8.40 Allotted 1AOS, Cootamundra ex 3EFTS when mods completed
20.8.40 Pilot Log book entry: local flight 1AOS Cootamundra, Flt Lt R. F. Wiley
25.2.41 Allotted Newcastle Aero Club ex 1AOS for overhaul
3.3.41 Serviceable at 1AOS
15.4.42 Issued to Department of Civil Aviation ex 1AOS, for use by ANA
20.4.42 Restored to Civil Register VH-UUO Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Civil Aviation operated by Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney NSW
21.4.42 Lease commenced from DCA to ANA subsidiary Airlines of Australia at daily rate of £7/11/-
22.4.42 50% completed overhaul at ANA
6.42 Chartered from ANA by Queensland Main Roads Commission, based Iron Range Qld in support of construction of airfield and roads at Iron Range for USAAC
.43 Flew on charter to Allied Works Council for wartime construction in northern Queensland
43 Ownership changed to: Commonwealth of Australia, operated by Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
24.11.43 Badly damaged in ANA service, no details. Repaired
3.47 Forced landing in canefield at Stratford near Cairns due fuel flow problem
3.47 Forced landing on beach at Oak Beach near Cairns due fuel flow problem
10.5.47 Ownership officially changed to: Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
Based at Cairns for local services in Far North Queensland, fitted for 8 passengers
47 Flew with Rapide VH-UVT on ANA's Station Run route: Cairns to Cooktown, Coen, Iron Range, Horn Island, Croydon, Normanton landing at cattle station properties en route.
1948 timetables showed both Rapides on Cairns-Cooktown-Horn Island route.
5.48 Leased by ANA to Aircrafts Pty Ltd, Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane Qld.
APL based UUO at Rockhampton Qld to replace a DH.84 Dragon on services to Bundaberg, Thangool and Clermont.
6.48 DCA report: Aircrafts Pty Ltd use DH.89 on the following services:
Rockhampton-Bundaberg, twice weekly
Rockhampton-Thangool, twice weekly
Rockhampton-Clermont, twice weekly
18.10.48 Change of operating name: Queensland Airlines Pty Ltd, Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane Qld

All silver, “Queensland Airlines” in large lettering on fuselage, name Yuptana on nose
6.49 DCA report: Queensland Airlines use DH.89 on the following services:
Rockhampton-Bundaberg, twice weekly
Rockhampton-Thangool, 3 times weekly
Rockhampton-Clermont, once weekly
7.2.50 Change of ownership: Butler Air Transport Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

BAT was a majority shareholder in QAL. VH-UUO continued in QAL service until at least March 1950.
50 BAT operated UUO in all silver scheme
30.6.50 Tipped on nose landing at Mascot, damage to propellers and engines
23.5.52 Crashed into Warrumbungle Mountain near Tooraweenah NSW. Crashed in heavily timbered country 11 miles south of Tooraweenah at 5.30pm during a flight from Barradine NSW to Tooraweenah in rain and poor weather. Destroyed by fire, Captain Keith Brown and four passengers were injured.
10.9.52 Struck-off Register

  

  ZK-ACO No.60 at Mildenhall for the start of the MacRobertson Air Race to Australia.            The Collection p1234-0575


  

  ZK-ACO refuels at Cloncurry Qld during the air race.                                                   Photo: Janic Geelen collection


  

  In NZ after the race, windows covered at the cabin fuel tank installation.                                   Photo: The Collection


  

  VH-UUO at Forrest WA operating WAA's Perth-Adelaide service.                               Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  Parafield SA circa 1938 while in ANA service, named Malonga.                                    Photo: Neil Follett collection


  

  VH-UUO at Parafield in 1940 now with Guinea Airways, named Lae.                                    Photo by Allan Betteridge


  

  A33-1 soon after impressment in 1940 ex VH-UUO. Silver with yellow training bands.                              Photo: RAAF


  

  A33-1 at 1AOS Cootamundra.                                                                                    Photo: David Vincent collection


  

  Townsville Qld 1944, back in ANA civil service.                                                         Photo:  David Vincent collection


  

  1949 with Queensland Airlines, named Yuptana.                                                       Photo: Geoff Goodall collection




C/n 6270                                                           Memma, RMA Kalgoorlie                                            A3-1, VH-UFF, A33-3, VH-UFF, F-OAVG


Built at Hatfield
.35 First fight Hatfield
1.7.35 British CofA issued
2.7.35 Taken on RAAF charge as A3-1 in England. Packed for shipping to Australia
8.7.35 Shipped from England to Australia

Purchased by RAAF to support the North Australia Survey Committee on an extensive geological survey of central Australia.

Operated in all over silver finish, RAAF roundedls and serial painted as “A.3-1”
21.12.35 Holyman’s Airways wrote to RAAF asking if they would consider selling A3-1 because the airline urgently needed a replacement for their crashed DH.86 VH-URT. RAAF replied that they were agreeable to negotiating a sale provided De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd of Sydney could promptly supply them with a replacement Rapide to continue the central Australia geological survey.
12.35 A3-1 struck-off RAAF charge
27.12.35 Testflown by Holyman's Airways Captain Ken Frewin after release by RAAF
30.12.35 Australian CofA issue
30.12.35 Registered VH-UFF Holyman's Airways Pty Ltd, Launceston, Tasmania
Fitted for 6 passengers. Named Memma
12.35 The Australian VH-U registration sequence had at that time reached the VH-UU series but the CAB was also allocating unused earlier registrations.
27.1.36 Entered Holyman's Airways service, flying Essendon-Canberra-Sydney.
18.3.36 Emergency landing on beach at Thirroul NSW due poor weather enroute Canberra-Sydney. No damage. Took off from the beach at low tide next day.
5.5.36 Damaged by hailstones which entered the cabin soon after departure Essendon
24.6.36 Forced landing at Wallendbeen NSW while on a scheduled service to Melbourne due freezing conditions. No damage. Captain Clarence Scott removed 10cm of ice from wings and fuselage.
3.7.36 Bogged in mud while taxying at Essendon. Passengers had to walk through mud to the hangar, carrying their baggage.
25.11.36 Change of ownership due merger: Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
Retained name Memma
14.12.36 Flew inaugural ANA service to Wagga NSW as part of a Melbourne-Wagga-Canberra-Sydney route, Captain Patterson
4.2.37 Diverted from Launceston-Melbourne route to search for a missing RAAF Demon in Tasmanian mountains.
12.6.38 Transferred to Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney NSW
Retained name Memma
. Impressment Notice No.12536 served by Commonwealth of Australia: to be delivered to RAAF
12.7.40 Taken on RAAF charge as A33-3. Received at 3EFTS Essendon ex Airlines of Australia
18.7.40 Issued to ANA Essendon for modifications
23.8.40 Inspection of A33-3 at Essendon revealed fuselage in poor condition, requiring rebuilding of parts of fuselage woodwork structure.
8.40 DCA wrote to Airlines of Australia giving a severe reprimand over their maintenance standards and expressed “grave concern” regarding the poor condition of their impressed Rapides: VH-UBN entire fuselage requires to be rebuilt and sections of VH-UFF’s fuselage requires rebuilding

RAAF report states price paid to Airlines of Australia for impressment of VH-UFF was £1950, but the airframe repairs on receipt cost RAAF £1200.
18.9.40 Serviceable at ANA Essendon by 20.9.40
25.9.40 Issued to AOS Cootamundra ex ANA
17.9.40 Struck-off Civil Register due impressed by RAAF
14.10.40 Serviceable at AOS. Unit renamed No.1 AOS
26.6.42 Allotted De Havillands, Mascot ex 1AOS for overhaul
24.7.42 Wings being recovered at De Havillands
24.8.42 Received 3CF ex De Havillands. Radio callsign VHCRP
10.9.42 Allotted 36 Squadron ex 3CF, via 2AD Richmond for inspection  
21.9.42 Serviceable at 36 Sqn, Laverton
6.11.42 36 Sqn Operations Record Book: departed Essendon for Daly Waters NT
16.11.42 36 Sqn ORB: departed Essendon for Batchelor NT
25.11.42 36 Sqn ORB: departed Essendon for Daly Waters NT
28.11.42 Damaged when rolled into holes on aerodrome after landing.
30.11.42 36 Sqn ORB: departed Essendon for Archerfield Qld
3.12.42 Received Ansett Airways, Essendon ex 36 Sqn for repair
14.12.42 Serviceable at 36 Sqn ex Ansetts, based Archerfield
2.1.43 Allotted 34 Squadron, Parafield ex 36 Sqn
22.1.43 Received Guinea Airways, Parafield for overhaul and repairs
22.1.43 Being stripped for inspection by Guinea Airways
19.10.43 Status card: Decision made to return aircraft to DCA. Finishing colour should be to civil specifications. Further instructions will be forwarded
10.11.43 Allocated Dept of Civil Aviation on completion of overhaul by Guinea Airways
15.11.43 Issued to DCA ex Guinea Airways


21.11.43 Restored to Register as VH-UFF Commonwealth of Australia, operated by Guinea Airways Ltd, Parafield Aerodrome SA
21.11.43 CofA renewed at Parafield. Camouflage has been removed, painted allover silver
17.1.45 A. E. Chadwick of Bush Church Aid Society, Ceduna SA wrote to DCA advising that the Society wishes to purchase VH-UFF which it believes is being withdrawn from service by Guinea Airways. DCA reply that it is not available.
2.45 Following strong lobbying from Captain Charles Snook of Airlines (WA) Ltd for DCA to help them find replacement aircraft for wartime impressments, DCA agreed to make VH-UFF available.  
2.45 Ferried to Maylands Aerodrome, Perth from Parafield
17.2.45 Loaned by DCA to Airlines (WA) Ltd, Perth WA.  Named RMA Kalgoorlie
26.2.45 Airlines (WA) Ltd’s company records quote this as acquisition date for VH-UFF, on loan from DCA
45 Major overhaul by Airlines (WA) Ltd at Maylands, sound-proofing fitted in cabin because the airline considered it necessary on the long distance stage lengths.
30.6.45 Purchase from DCA, price negotiated £2970 less radio equipment
30.12.45 Damaged in accident, no details
10.7.46
VH-UFF flew inaugural service on new Airlines route Perth-Busselton
21.10.47 Civil Register Change of ownership: Airlines (WA) Ltd, Perth WA
1.7.48 Airlines (WA) Ltd applied for DCA approval to sow clover seeds from VH-UFF at Swanview, near Perth
7.48 Used on trials to sow clover seeds from a special hopper built into the cabin. Operating from RAAF Pearce, just north of Perth, and flown by Airlines (WA) Ltd Chief Pilot Nelson Hill with airline engineer Laurie Synnott operating a slide-control, which controlled the flow of the seed through a hatch in the cabin floor to a spreader.  The seeded area was inaccessible hilly land in the Chittering-Bullsbrook area near the RAAF Station. Trial was considered successful.
7.48
Several weeks after the seed sowing experiment, Airlines (WA) trialled the aerial spreading of superphosphate fertiliser. A total of 28 superphosphate spreading flights were made by VH-UFF
1.10.48 Change of ownership: Brown & Dureau Ltd, Melbourne Vic
.48 Delivered from Perth to Belmont Common airfield, Geelong Vic where Brown & Dureau’s maintenance section gave VH-UFF an overhaul and made modifications for aerial photographic survey

Operated by Brown & Dureau Aerial Surveys Division, Melbourne Vic
7.49 noted at Essendon Vic, in service, all silver
3.51 based in Tasmania on aerial photographic survey contract
6.51 based in NSW on aerial photographic survey contract
12.4.55 Change of ownership: Walter E. James, Wollongong NSW

Flown on charters and newspaper delivery contracts
11.4.56 Struck-off Register, sold to New Caledonia
56 Sir Reginald Barnewall BT, founder and Managing Director of Southern Airlines, Melbourne (Ansons then Doves) was negotiating the purchase of two DH.114 Herons. He visited Noumea to inspect Transpac's Herons which he considered in poor condition, and instead purchased two Heron 1Bs from NZ National Airways Corp. Transpac offered him a pilot position and requested that he ferry a DH.89 Rapide from Australia to Noumea. He declined both offers. Barnewall later wrote "There was far too much water along that track for my liking in that ancient machine."
.56 Registered F-OAVG Societe Caledonienne de Transports Aeriens, Noumea, New Caledonia, trading as Transpac
2.2.57 Last flight
11.6.57 Withdrawn from service by Transpac
3.59 Struck-off Register

Parts of F-OAVG used to rebuild Transpac DH.89A F-OATC

  

  RAAF Rapide A3-1.                                                                                                   Photo: Neville Parnell collection


  

  VH-UFF in Holyman’s Airways Pty Ltd titles, named Memma.                          Photo: Civil Aviation Historical Society


  

  Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane 1938 as Airlines of Australia's Memma.                      Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  A33-3 shortly after impressment ex VH-UFF.                                                              Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  A33-3 at Mount Eba SA circa 1943, radio callsign VHCRP.                                              Photo: The Collection


  

  Guinea Airways VH-UFF at Mount Eba SA circa 1944.                                                         Photo: The Collection


  

  Mascot 1956 with titles “W.E.James' Aircraft Charter Services”.                                           Photo by James Dyson


  

  Rapide F-OATC was rebuilt at Noumea using parts from F-OAVG (VH-UFF).                          Photo: Allan Bovelt collection




C/n 6314                                                                                                                                                                                               (VH-UVG), A3-2


Built at Hatfield

Ordered by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for Royal Australian Air Force as a new aircraft as replacement for RAAF Rapide A3-1, which had been sold to Holyman’s Airways in 11.35.  
2.1.36 Civil Aviation Branch allocated registration VH-UVG to De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for a DH.89 Rapide to be imported

Painted as VH-UVG at Hatfield
17.1.36 British CofA issued as VH-UVG: De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW

Shipped to Australia

Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd

De Havilland Pty Ltd advised CAB that the civil registration was not required because the aircraft would have RAAF serial A3-2.  CAB re-allocated VH-UVG to a Percival Gull.
4.36 Taken on RAAF charge as A3-2

Urgently needed by RAAF to support the North Australia Survey Committee for a large scale geological survey of central Australia commenced by A3-1. RAAF Gannet A14-1 was also allocated to the survey.
4.36 Entered RAAF service in such haste that it commenced flying with VH-UVG still painted on fuselage sides and upper mainplane. No military markings were painted on initially.
13.4.36 Departed Camooweal at 8am for Wave Hill NT and Halls Creek WA en route to Port Hedland WA to continue the survey. It was heavily loaded with supplies and photographic equipment.
13.4.36 Forced landing in desert in Newcastle Waters/Wave Hill area when the crew became unsure of position. Undercarriage and wings were damaged on landing. Pilot Flt Lt W. L. Hely, Aircraftsman H. Walkington and Aircraftsman R. B. Sherwood, all from RAAF Richmond.

Large search commenced, RAAF sent two Hawker Demons from Richmond and the Gannet diverted from the survey at Charleville Qld flown by Flt Lt A. G. Carr. Gannet grounded at Wave Hill NT 17.4.36 due engine u/s.
20.4.36 Qantas DH.86 and Australian Aerial Medical Service DH.83 flown by G.U.Allan entered the search. MMA Dragons were diverted from their mail run at Daly Waters. The RAAF Gannet went u/s
22.4.36 The Rapide was found by a RAAF Demon operating from Victoria River Downs Station. Water and food dropped to the crew. A3-2’s position was 40 miles from Murringi Waterhole, 90 miles west of Newcastle Waters NT.
24.4.36 Ground party reached the Rapide. The crew had rationed the food and water on board to last 3 weeks

Fuselage and parts moved from forced landing site and transported to RAAF Laverton Vic for rebuild. Damaged wings and engines were abandoned at the site.

Rebuilt at RAAF Laverton by No.1 Aircraft Depot, wireless equipment installed
2.37 A3-2 flown by Flt Lt Hely took part in the search for missing Airlines of Australia Stinson VH-UHH lost between Brisbane-Lismore-Sydney. Stinson wreck located by ground party on Lamington Plateau Qld
27.4.37 Departed Laverton to continue the North Australia Survey, crew pilot Flt Lt A. G. Carr, W/T Operator Sgt W. C. Blakeley and fitter LAC Hanrahan,
4.37 A3-2 staged through RAAF Richmond to pick up passengers Sir Herbert Gepp, Chairman of the North Australia Geophysical Survey Committee, and Mr. P. B. Nye, Chief Executive Officer of the Committee.
4.37 Routed Richmond, Old Bar, Archerfield, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns, Normanton, Cloncurry, Mt Isa to Darwin
5.37 Flew Darwin to Pine Creek, Daly Waters, Katherine, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek
21.5.37 Left Tennant Creek for Tanami. At 1.45pm ran out of fuel and made a forced landing on the sandy shores of a dry lake bed in the Gibson Desert. No damage.
23.5.37 Rapide located by searching RAAF Gannet A14-2 flown by W. L. Hely with Wireless Operator/Mechanic LAC W.T. Taylor. Position was the North Eastern corner of Lake Mackay, 500 miles west of Alice Springs, on the WA/NT border.
30.5.37 Land party reached the Rapide with a truck carrying fuel
31.5.37 Flown out. Resumed the survey.
8.6.37 Returned to RAAF Laverton after covering 11,000 miles on this year’s survey. Carried the same crew of 3 and Gepp and Nye on arrival Laverton.
37 Flew Laverton to Alice Springs to replace the RAAF Gannet on the survey.
Because the Rapide had become lost of both previous expeditions in the Outback, there was light-hearted speculation about its fate on this third trip. However it was in fact to find another downed aircraft
8.37 A3-2 departed Alice Springs to rejoin North Australia Survey, pilot Flt. Lt. J. H. Lerew and crew who had brought Gannet A14-2 to Alice Springs on  4.8.37
21.9.37 Dr. Clyde Fenton became lost en route Newcastle Waters to Overland Telegraph Station in his DH.60M Moth VH-UQV “Robin”.  Due low fuel he made a forced landing.
Landed undamaged and cleared scrub to make a rough airstrip large enough for the Rapide, which he knew was operating the area. Fenton marked out a large sign on the ground “OK U Land” and lit fires by burning off trees to clear approaches to the strip, then rested in shade and waited to be found
26.8.37 A3-2 diverted from survey tasks to search for Fenton's Moth
28.9.37 After a week of high temperatures Fenton was very weak, when the searching Rapide spotted his smoke. Flt Lt. Hely landed A3-2 on Fenton’s cleared strip, coming to a  stop among timber at the end. Rest of crew was W/T Operator Taylor and Mr. Carroll from Newcastle Waters. Location was 20 miles North East of Tanumbrini, on the Cox River.
28.9.37 A3-2 flew Clyde Fenton to Newcastle Waters that afternoon. Several days later flew him back to the Moth with fuel and Fenton flew his Moth out.
37 Hely flew the Rapide back to RAAF Laverton on completion of the third survey trip
3.2.38 Crashed destroyed landing at RAAF Laverton.  While on approach to land after a training flight, the aircraft made a steep turn at low altitude and a wingtip struck the ground, causing the aircraft to cartwheel. Completely wrecked.
Pilot Flying Officer D. McLean, W/T Operator A. C. McLean (no relation) and third crew member LAC G. A. Everingham escaped with minor cuts and bruising.

Total flying time in RAAF service: 550 hours
3.38 CAC offered the Air Board a new Tugan LJW.7 Wackett completed for photography and fitted with wireless for £6,000 "to replace the crashed Rapide".  Purchase was approved by the Minister for Defence 19.3.38, and the Gannet became A14-5.
 
  
   Although taken on RAAF charge as A3-2 in April 1936, this Rapide was rushed into service retaining its civil markings.
   It is seen being dismantled after a forced landing in central Australia only weeks later.  Photo: Frank Walters collection


  

  A3-2 at RAAF Laverton, Victoria in 1937 after its rebuild. All silver finish.                    Photo: The Collection p1234-2334


  

  Being towed out of a forced landing site at Lake Mackay NT in May 1937.                     Photo: Fred Harris collection


  

  A3-2 with Gannet A14-2 at Lake Mackay NT in May 1937.                                                Photo: Fred Harris collection


  

  A3-2 crash scene at RAAF Laverton 3 February 1938.                                        Photo: Frank F. Smith collection




C/n 6318                                                                  Moogana, Bulolo                                                                                             VH-UVI, A33-2


Built at Hatfield
29.1.36 Civil Aviation Branch allocated registrations VH-UVI & UVT to De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for DH.89s to be imported
7.2.36 First flight at Hatfield
7.2.36 British CofA issued: Adelaide Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA

Adelaide Airways Rapides VH-UVI & UVT shipped to Australia on board SS Strathaird
22.2.36 Arrived at Port Adelaide
4.36 Assembled at Parafield by ground engineer from De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney
7.4.36 Testflown Parafield after assembly, pilot Major A. Murray Jones of De Havilland Aircraft
9.4.36 CAB Inspection report at Parafield: total airframe time 1 hr 25 mins
15.4.36 Australian CofA issued
15.4.36 Registered VH-UVI Adelaide Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA
22.4.36 Tipped on nose landing at Port Lincoln SA on a scheduled passenger service from Adelaide via Cowell, Captain Harold O. Cook. No injuries. New propellers were fitted and the aircraft ferried back to Parafield next morning.
30.6.36 Flew Adelaide-Forrest WA on the evening before the official takeover by Adelaide Airways of West Australian Airways’ Adelaide-Perth airline service
1.7.36 VH-UVI flew the inaugural Adelaide Airways service Forrest to Adelaide, Captain L. M. Diprose
3.8.36 Flew inaugural Melbourne-Mildura-Broken Hill for ANA, Captain H. G. Kirkman
1.11.36 Change of ownership due company takeover: Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic. Fitted for 8 passengers. Named Moogana
13.2.37 Battery exploded during radio installation trials en route Wagga-Mascot during a scheduled Melbourne-Wagga-Sydney service.  Landed safely, no injuries.
30.8.37 Flew inaugural service to Naracoorte SA as part of ANA’s Adelaide-Naracoorte-Mount Gambier-Melbourne route, Captain Johnston
16.9.38 Starboard wing struck hangar while taxying at Kerang Vic in gusty winds, Captain A. J. Steen. After inspection by ANA ground engineer C. A. Flood, VH-UVI was ferried to Essendon by Flood.  On arrival at Essendon further inspection found a fractured rear spar in lower wing. CAB wrote a letter of reprimand to Flood who vigorously rejected their claim of negligence stating he would not have flown it if he had any doubts over its airworthiness.
4.39 Guinea Airways Ltd took over ANA routes in SA using leased ANA Rapides UUO & UVI
11.8.39 Change of ownership: Guinea Airways Ltd, Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide SA
Based Adelaide, re-named Bulolo
8.39 Guinea Airways had an urgent need for a replacement aircraft due one of their Lockheed 10 Electras committed to military charter flights between Adelaide and Darwin.
10.39 Australian Government Impressment Requisition No. 12513 served on VH-UVI: to be delivered to Commanding Officer No.1 Elementary Flying Training School at Parafield. Aircraft will then be re-issued to Guinea Airways for major overhaul and modifications prior to entering RAAF service.

Impressment deferred due Guinea Airways’ loss of aircraft to wartime duties
12.7.40 Taken on RAAF charge as A33-2. Received 1EFTS Parafield ex Guinea Airways
5.9.40 Ready for collection from Guinea Airways
18.9.40 Unserviceable at Guinea Airways, instruments and wireless
27.9.40 Allotted to AOS when modified by Guinea Airways
4.10.40 Departed Parafield on ferry to Essendon by Wing Commander F. J. B. Wright
7.10.40 Issued to 3 EFTS Essendon ex 1EFTS
18.10.40 Allotted 1 AOS Cootamundra ex 3EFTS when ready at ANA Essendon.
AOS renamed No.1 AOS
3.3.41 Precautionary landing, engine cowling blew off in flight and struck mainplane
10.3.41 Serviceable at 1AOS
20.6.41 Destroyed during forced landing after takeoff. Operated by 1AOS, location not quoted, but probably Cootamundra NSW. Engine failed after takeoff, forced landing in heavily timbered country, aircraft wrecked. Pilot Flying Officer Adrian was killed, 4 crew injured.
30.7.41 Approval for write-off. Struck-off RAAF charge

  

  Parafield April 1936 immediately after assembly by Adelaide Airways. This print was attached to the CofA form


  

  At Essendon in 1937 as ANA's Moogana, in all silver scheme.                                     Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  VH-UVI at Parafield in August 1939 in ANA markings.                                                         Photo: State Library of SA


  

  Guinea Airways hangar at Parafield in July 1940 with Rapides VH-UVI & VH-ADE.           Photo: John O’Leary collection





C/n 6319                                                       Monana, Memma                                                                                                                  VH-UVT


Built at Hatfield

Allocated G-ADUP: Not Taken Up due sold to Australia
29.1.36 Civil Aviation Branch allocated registrations VH-UVI & UVT to De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney for DH.89s to be imported
11.2.36 First flight at Hatfield
11.2.36 British CofA issued VH-UVT Adelaide Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA

Shipped to Australia

Adelaide Airways Rapides VH-UVI & UVT shipped to Australia on board SS Strathaird
22.2.36 Arrived at Port Adelaide
4.36 Assembled at Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide
8.4.36 First flight Parafield after assembly
8.4.36 Registration application: Adelaide Airways Ltd, Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide SA
15.4.36 Australian CofA issued
15.4.36 Registered VH-UVT  
1.11.36 Change of ownership due company merger: Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic. Named Monana
30.6.37 Crashed during landing at Mount Gambier SA and wrecked. Captain A. S. "Buster" Brown and 5 passengers unhurt. While attempting to avoid birds and rough ground on the airfield, the aircraft struck a windmill and the roof of a hangar.
30.6.37 Struck-off Register
7.37 Wreckage moved by road to Essendon for storage by ANA


1.11.40 Ivan Holyman, Managing Director of both Airlines of Australia and ANA wrote to DCA on Airlines of Australia letterhead: AofA had lost 3 Rapides to RAAF impressment and was having trouble maintaining its airline services across northern Australia and experiencing strong competition from T. McDonald’s North Queensland Airlines operating from Cairns. Holyman proposed to rebuild a DH.89 from spares stock available but sought assurance from Director General of Civil Aviation that this new aircraft would not also be impressed.
DGCA A. B. Corbett replied that he could not give a definite undertaking but it was highly unlikely that any more De Havilland airline aircraft would be impressed and that DCA would make every endeavour to spare their rebuilt DH.89
19.11.40 DH.89 under rebuild at Essendon in ANA workshops, scheduled to take 8 weeks
25.11.40 DCA report on the rebuild project supervised by ANA Chief Engineer J. Stubbs: majority of components are from VH-UVT:
- upper mainplane from VH-UXZ. (Upper wings from UVT had previously been used on UXZ to expedite a CofA renewal overhaul)
- lower extension plane: rebuilt using new spares from DH
- stub planes and engine mounts: new from DH
- Fin, rudder, tailplane elevators from UVT: require inspection and recovering
- ailerons: 3 from UVT require minor repairs, 4th under construction
- undercarriage: constructed from spares held in stock
- fuselage: all metal fittings salvaged from UVT crash but all wooden framework has been destroyed. A new wooden fuselage structure will be constructed in the workshop
9.12.40 DCA wrote to ANA cautioning that any components constructed must be to DH drawings and specifications. If they were based on ANA drawings, a complete stress analysis will be required. When the new CofA is issued a new registration will be needed because “the old markings can not be issued again for an aircraft removed from the Register as a total loss.”  VH-AES has been reserved for the rebuilt DH.89
31.3.41 Rebuilt aircraft ready for signwriting. ANA Chief Engineer J. Stubbs wrote to DCA asking for the original marking VH-UVT to be used. DCA replied that their policy was for a new registration “However an exception will be made in this case if you particularly wish it.”
VH-UVT allocated
8.4.41 ANA wrote to DCA: “VH-UVT has been test flown at Essendon. Our Operations Superintendent made comments to the effect that he had never flown a DH.89 so delightful to handle.”
DCA Director General replied “DCA officers are very satisfied with the standard of the rebuild and compliment ANA on the stout effort in carrying out such a job in so short a time.”
17.4.41 Restored to Register VH-UVT Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
4.41 (Back-dated to 8.4.41): Change of ownership: Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney
To be based at Cairns Qld. Named Memma
12.2.42 VH-UVT arrived at Port Moresby, sent to was sent to assist in evacuation of wounded and infirm from Salamaua and Kokoda to Port Moresby ahead of the Japanese advance in New Guinea.
Wings of Tomorrow, a history of ANA:
“Early in February 1942 Captain J. R. Gethings accompanied by Mr. Willis Hague, engineer, in a DH89 Rapide flew over the ranges to rescue a group of isolated civilians in the Kokoda area threatened by the Japanese onrush. On their first attempt they were compelled to turn back – after climbing to 8,000 feet because of cloud there was trouble with the engines, as the Rapide was not fitted with special mixture controls to compensate for altitude. On the next day the weather had improved, this time they passed over the ranges at 7.500 feet, landing at Kokoda 40 minutes later. In these conditions Captain Gethings was able to bring away only three passengers. Clouds prevented a second flight that day, but on the following day he made four trips from Kokoda to Port Moresby with four passengers each trip. Throughout these operations the Japanese aircraft were very active.”
16.2.42 Flew Port Moresby-Horn Island, on return to Cairns, pilot Gethings.
26.6.43 Change of ownership: Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
To be based at Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane
1.11.43 Damaged at Inkerman Qld
19.12.44 Damaged at Gilbert River Qld
45 Based at Cairns Qld.  Schedules from Cairns that were previously operated under the name Airlines of Australia are now operated as ANA
14.2.46 UVT arrived and departed Iron Range strip on Cape York Peninsular Qld in monsoonal  weather during the same period that RAAF Norseman A71-4 crashed while trying to locate Iron Range.
47 Flew with Rapide VH-UUO on ANA's Station Run route: Cairns to Cooktown, Coen, Iron Range, Horn Island, Croydon, Normanton landing at cattle station properties en route.
1948 timetables showed both Rapides on Cairns-Cooktown-Horn Island route.
c6.3.47 Forced landing without damage in a sugar cane field at Stratfield, a mile short of airport at Cairns when returning for emergency landing. Captain Joe Bridget turned back soon after departure due power loss over Kuranda.
Following inspection of the fuel system, wheel fairings were removed and the aircraft was flown out of the cane field by ANA Captain Clive Jones.
c13.3.47 Forced landing on Oak Beach, 23 miles north of Cairns Qld, tipped on nose in sand. One engine had failed and the other was losing power due fuel problem when flying seawards of the coast due fuel problem, Captain Joe Bridget was unable to reach Cairns. Ambulance Dragon VH-AMB was despatched from Cairns and found UVT on the beach still on its nose.
The Rapide was pushed into trees alongside the beach where fuel system was removed and returned to Cairns for inspection in the ANA hangar. A week later with seats removed to lighten the weight, UVT was flown off the beach to Cairns by Captain Clive Jones.
11.49 UVT still based at Cairns operating ANA services to remote towns and properties
7.2.50 Change of ownership: Butler Air Transport Pty Ltd, Sydney

Operated on passenger services by BAT, all silver with no company name. Initially replaced Ansons on BAT Sydney-Moruya service then based Tooraweenah to operate feeder services to Brewarrina, Collarenebri and Coonamble.
10.11.52 Change of owner’s name: Butler Air Transport Ltd, Sydney
14.2.53 Change of ownership: Connellan Airways Ltd, Alice Springs NT
28.1.54 CofA lapsed at Alice Springs. Cost of CofA renewal uneconomical
5.11.54 Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service.

Broken-up at Alice Springs

  

  VH-UVT immediately after assembly at Parafield, April 1936.  The Adelaide Airways group are from left:

  Len Diprose (pilot), A. D. Hill (Board member), H. G. Kirkman (pilot), A. Tarlton (Airport Manager), H. C. Phillipson (Manager)

  and Sam Woodhouse (Senior Engineer).                                                                 Photo: Civil Aviation Historical Society


  

  Parafield April 1936.  This print was attached to the CofA form


  

  The wreck at Mount Gambier SA, 30 June 1937. It was rebuilt 3 years later.                   Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  The rebuilt VH-UVT Memma at Cairns in 1941 with Airlines of Australia flag.                   Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  Cairns Qld, with ANA titles and no name.                                                                          Photo: Neil Follett collection


  

  Mascot 1950, just after purchase by Butler Air Transport.                                                          Photo by Eddie Coates




C/n 6253                                                                                                                                                                               VH-UBN, A33-5, VH-UBN


Built at Hatfield by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd, the fourth Rapide constructed
.34 First fight Hatfield
4.9.34 Registered G-ACPO
4.9.34 British CofA issued: Hillmans Airways Ltd, Maylands, later Abridge

Delivered to Hillmans Airways Ltd as part of their order for 5 new Rapides
1.2.35 Crashed at Ronaldsway. Rebuilt by De Havilland Aircraft.
23.3.36 Change of ownership: British Airways Ltd, London. Based Speke Airport, Liverpool

Sold to Rockhampton Aerial Services
7.5.36 Struck-off British Register
12.5.36 Civil Aviation Board allocated registration VH-UBN to Rockhampton Aerial Services for a DH.89 Rapide being imported

Shipped to Australia
6.8.36 Arrived Brisbane as cargo on the ship SS Taranaki
8.36 Moved to Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane for assembly by Qantas Empire Airways
15.8.36 CAB Inspection report at Archerfield after assembly. Total airframe time: 786 hours
15.8.36 Registration application: Rockhampton Aerial Services Ltd, Rockhampton Qld
17.8.36 Australian CofA issued
17.8.36 Registered VH-UBN
8.36 The Australian VH-U registration sequence had at that time reached the VH-UV series but the CAB was also allocating unused earlier registrations. VH-UBN had been reserved for a lengthy period for a Miles Merlin for Victorian and Interstate Airways, Essendon. When a prompt reply from VIA to a CAB enquiry was not received, CAB re-allocated VH-UBN to the DH.89.  The Falcon then arrived by ship from England already painted as VH-UBN so after some debate, the Merlin was repainted as VH-UXN,
14.9.36 Change of ownership due sale of company: Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney NSW
11.7.37 Tipped on nose landing at Rockhampton Qld due to incorrectly distributed load of newspapers, pilot A, F, Munro. Reopaired in two days.
6.2.38 Damaged during takeoff Bundaberg Qld when wheel struck a hole, pilot K.Shersby
4.8.38 Ground staff member injured by propeller while hand-swinging prop to start engine at Bundaberg aerodrome, pilot J. J. Connolly
7.40 Impressment Requisition No.8158 issued by Commonwealth of Australia for RAAF use.
9.8.40 Struck-off Civil Register
12.8.40 Taken on RAAF charge as A33-5. Received 3 EFTS Essendon ex Airlines of Australia. Airframe total time 6,284 hours on impressment
12.8.40 Issued to ANA Essendon ex 3EFTS for modifications prior to entering RAAF service
23.8.40 Inspection report at Essendon: airframe in very poor condition and will require major rebuilding, particularly fuselage woodwork.
8.40 DCA wrote to Airlines of Australia giving a severe reprimand over their maintenance standards and expressed “grave concern” regarding the poor condition of their impressed Rapides: VH-UBN entire fuselage requires to be rebuilt & part of UFF’s fuselage requires rebuilding
29.11.40 Allotted 1AOS, Cootamundra ex 3EFTS
11.12.40 Ready for collection by 1AOS at 1AD Laverton
16.12.40 Serviceable at 1AOS
16.4.42 Allotted to Department of Civil Aviation ex 1AOS, for use by Guinea Airways
16.4.42 Issued to DCA ex 1AOS

DCA had negotiated its release from RAAF for Guinea Airways, Adelaide who had requested DCA help to locate replacement aircraft to maintain minimum airline services in SA while their own aircraft were being used for the war effort, carrying troops in northern areas
4.42 Ferried Cootamundra-Parafield on delivery to Guinea Airways
15.4.42 Restored to Register VH-UBN Commonwealth of Australia, operated by Guinea Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA
42 Flew on airline services, retaining RAAF camouflage with civil registration in white
5.42 Flew in search for crashed Guinea Airways Lockheed 14 VH-ADY in Northern Territory
5.42 In late May 1942 Guinea Airways requested to extend the short-term lease from DCA, stating that it needs major modifications for airline work.
6.42 In use on Adelaide-Whyalla SA route
3.8.42 CofA renewed at Parafield
9.42 In use on Adelaide-Port Lincoln SA route
25.1.43 Forced landing near Minlaton SA, no damage. Pilot R. Raye, 5 passengers unhurt
7.8.43 Forced landing at Gawler RAAF airfield SA due bad weather enroute Parafield-Renmark
5.9.43 Forced landing 8 miles south of Broken Hill NSW due excessive fuel consumption and inability to maintain altitude with one engine shut down. No damage. Pilot N.S.Buckley
20.7.44 Crashed Mount Kitchener SA. Had departed Renmark SA at 1.42pm in poor weather for Adelaide, pilot attempted to climb through cloud, struck ground and crashed inverted near Tanunda SA and burnt out. Captain Frank P. Gill and all 6 civilian passengers were killed. Located the following morning.
20.7.44 Struck-off Register
7.44 Guinea Airways discontinued its Adelaide-Renmark-Broken Hill scheduled services for a month due to loss of VH-UBN and lack of replacement aircraft due wartime restrictions. Resumed these services on 3.8.44

  

  Mascot c1937 with Airlines of Australia Stinson A trimotor behind.                                     Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  The refueller's attire suggests a North Queensland airfield, circa 1938.                              Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  Parafield c1943 with Guinea Airways, painted in camouflage.                                     Photo by Alan Betteridge


  

  Off the South Australian coastline 1944, back in Guinea Airways silver scheme.               Photo: Fred Harris collection





C/n 6346                                                                      Mundoora                                                                                        VH-UXT, A33-4, VH-UXT

.37 Built at Hatfield
22.4.37 British CofA issued VH-UXT Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic

Shipped to Australia as cargo on Moreton Bay
18.5.37 Unloaded from Moreton Bay at Port Melbourne
5.37 Assembled at Essendon by ANA
25.5.37 Testflown at Essendon after assembly. Airframe total time 1 hr 30 mins
25.5.37 Australian CofA issued
25.5.37 Registered VH-UXT Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
Fitted for 8 passengers. Named Mundoora
23.9.37 visited Nhill Vic
5.2.38 Crashed during landing Kingscote, Kangaroo Island SA when gusty winds blew it off the landing strip. Captain B. Ernie Annear and the 4 passengers were uninjured.
2.38 Wreck shipped to Adelaide then by road freight to Essendon for repair
20.9.38 Testflown Essendon after rebuild
7.40 Impressment Requisition No.12544 issued by Australian Government for use by RAAF
19.7.40 Taken on RAAF charge as A33-4. Received 3EFTS Essendon ex ANA
22.7.40 Issued to ANA Essendon for modifications for RAAF service
28.10.40 Received 1AOS Cootamundra ex ANA
4.2.41 Forced landing due engine failure, no damage
15.4.42 Issued to Department of Civil Aviation ex 1AOS for use by ANA
20.4.42 Restored to Register VH-UXT Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney.
On loan from RAAF to the airline to be operated for the Allied Works Council on military construction works in Queensland. To be based Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane.
22.4.42 CofA renewed at Essendon
1.7.42 Transferred by airline merger to Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
20.10.42 Serious damage to wing fabric by hail storm while parked at Archerfield
10.11.42 Repairs completed by now
1.43 Major overhaul at Archerfield by ANA due to deterioration of fabric and woodwork due to North Queensland tropical climate while on Allied Works Council charters.
16.3.43 CofA renewed Archerfield after major overhaul and repairs
6.43 UXT based Essendon, operated by ANA
18.8.43 Crashed during landing Wynyard Tasmania. Over ran the airstrip into a ditch, major damage. Captain F. H. Dawson and 3 passengers unhurt.

Broken-up for parts
31.10.43 Struck-off Register
3.44 Parts from VH-UXT were among a package of DH.89 spare parts shipped from Melbourne to Perth for Airlines (WA) Ltd to assist the rebuild of their DH.89 VH-UZY

 

  VH-UXT at Broken Hill circa 1937                                  Photo: John M. Smith collection, courtesy SA Aviation Museum




C/n 6365                                                                   Marika                                                                                                                  VH-UXZ

.37 Built at Hatfield
1.7.37 British CofA issued VH-UXZ Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic

Shipped to Australia

Unloaded at Port Melbourne, moved by road to Essendon Airport for assembly by ANA.
Silver all over, ANA titles and name Marika on nose painted in factory
11.9.37 Testflown Essendon after assembly
11.9.37 CAB approval to enter ANA passenger service immediately pending formal registration. Flew a Melbourne-Adelaide passenger service that day
15.9.37 Australian CofA issued
15.9.37 Registered VH-UXZ Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
Fitted for 8 passengers. Named Marika
30.10.38 Wing damaged in heavy landing at Naracoorte SA. Captain Don Wedgewood and 6 passengers unhurt. Operating an Adelaide-Melbourne service. A relief aircraft was flown from Adelaide by Captain Alec Barlow to collect the passengers and take them to Melbourne.
12.11.38 Minor damage, no details
.40 Spared from Impressment for RAAF to allow ANA to maintain minimum services to Bass Strait islands and Tasmania
13.1.41 Damaged on landing Wynyard Tas when ran off runway due strong winds. Captain Harold Shelton and 7 passengers unhurt.
19.2.41 Minor damage at Essendon when struck a post while taxying to the ANA hangar
20.1.42 Precautionary landing at RAAF Point Cook Vic due engine trouble while on a scheduled airline service. Captain A. J. Malpass and 6 passengers.
29.5.42 Crashed into sea Tanners Bay, Flinders Island, Tasmania.  Aircraft was attempting to land on one engine after returning to Flinders Island following an engine failure after departing for Melbourne. Struck the sea at Marriott Reef off Tanners Bay. Captain Ray G. Weston and 3 passengers were killed.

Wreck less engines was salvaged from sea by ANA
30.6.42 Struck-off Register

 

  Australian National Airways' Rapide VH-UXZ Marika.                                                                 Photo:  Neil Follett collection


  

  Essendon                                                                                                      Photo: Civil Aviation Historical Society





C/n 6384                                                                       Iluka, RMA Perth                                                                          VH-UZY, A33-6, VH-UZY

11.37 Built at Hatfield
10.11.37 First flight Hatfield
12.11.37 British CofA VH-UZY W. R. Carpenter & Co Ltd, Sydney NSW

Shipped to Australia.  Imported by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney

Assembled at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
17.1.38 Testflown Mascot after assembly
18.1.38 Registration application: W. R. Carpenter & Co Ltd, Sydney NSW
Application states to be based Cairns Qld.

WRC planned to base UZY at Cairns as a back-up aircraft for its DH.86Bs on their airline service Sydney-Salamaua-Rabaul which commenced on 30 May 1938. However the reliability of the DH.86Bs made the back-up aircraft unecessary.

It appears that WRC entered into an immediate leasing arrangement with North Queensland Airways Pty Ltd, Cairns for their use of UZY when not needed by WRC.
22.1.38 Ferried Mascot-Coffs Harbour-Brisbane-Rockhampton-Townsville-Cairns all in a day by Tommy H. McDonald, proprietor of North Queensland Airways Pty Ltd.
25.1.38 Australian CofA issued
25.1.38 Registered VH-UZY W. R. Carpenter & Co Ltd, Sydney NSW
7.2.38 First service with North Queensland Airways Pty Ltd, Cairns
17.10.38 Change of ownership: North Queensland Airways Ltd, Cairns Qld
10.38 North Queensland Airways are in liquidation and their operations have been taken over by Airlines of Australia / ANA
25.10.38 Change of ownership: Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney.  Named Iluka

Remained based in Cairns on local services
11.5.39 Flew inaugural new route Cairns-Coen-Batavia, AoA Captain Clive Jones. Photo shows name “Iluka” on nose
8.1.40 Forced landing on a beach near Mission Beach Qld between Cairns and Townsville, tipped on nose. Partially submerged by tide.
26.4.40 Back in service by now
7.40 Impressment Requisition No.8159 issued by Australian Government for use by RAAF
9.8.40 Blown on to nose at Cooktown Qld by wind gust while taxying
9.8.40 Struck-off Register as Impressed by RAAF
12.8.40 Taken on RAAF charge as A33-6. Received 3EFTS Essendon ex Airlines of Australia
13.8.40 Issued to ANA Essendon for modifications prior to entering RAAF service
11.9.40 Delivered to 3EFTS Essendon ex ANA. Allotted 1AOS at earliest
23.9.40 Serviceable at 1AOS Cootamundra
23.2.42 Issued to Ansett Airways, Essendon ex 1AOS for overhaul
29.5.42 Overhaul completed at Ansetts
2.6.42 Received 1AD Laverton ex Ansetts
7.6.42 Issued to 33 Squadron, Port Moresby ex 1AD

Reported to have been allocated radio callsign VHCRQ: unconfirmed
15.6.42 Received 32 Squadron ex 1AD. Believed to be clerical error on RAAF Status Card for 33 Sqn also based Port Moresby equipped with Hudsons. A33-6 was the only RAAF  Rapide operated in New Guinea.
A33-6 was delivered to New Guinea and flown there by Sqn Ldr Jerry Pentland, who was appointed CO of Rescue and Communications Flight when this new unit was formed at Port Moresby on 1.10.42.

A33-6 used to evacuate wounded troops from frontline areas during the Papuan Campaign. The following flights are extracted from RAAF cables sent from Port Moresby
15.6.42 Flew Moresby-Aiyura but unable to find Aiyura due heavy clouds, returned to Moresby
18.6.42 Evacuated personnel from Aiyura, returned to Moresby with Captain Rogers
23.6.42 Flew to Kainantu to pick up injured US pilot Lt. John Feltham. Because the airfield was “unfit for removal”, he was to be carried to Bena Bena.

(Feltham is reported to have been injured when his USAAF bomber made a force landing and a week later he and his crew walked to a deserted trading post where they repaired an abandoned Simmonds Spartan VH-UKQ. Using motor fuel, Feltham flew the Spartan out but crashed when unable to climb above the mountainous terrain. He was badly hurt and trapped in the wreck for five hours, and later his crew carried him out on a litter)
27.6.42 Arrived Port Moresby to pick up stranded personnel landed at Moresby.
29.6.42 RAAF Status Card: Serviceable at 32 Sqn: see comments at 15.6.42
7.7.42 flew from Port Moresby to Kerema to Bena Bena next day and returned to Port Moresby on 10.7.42. 33 Sqn
13.7.42 departed Port Moresby for Kerema, Vailapa, Lakehemu. Moresby. Survey flight for possible landing grounds. 33 Sqn
15.7.42 Arrived Port Moresby with two USAAF personnel evacuated from Kerema.
17.7.42 reconnaissance mission to Kerema to locate possible aerodrome sites. Mission completed. 33 Sqn
18.7.42 reconnaissance mission to Kokoda conveying General Scanlon and General Vasey and party with fighter escort. Returned to Port Moresby due bad weather. 33 Sqn
19.7.42 Survey flight of possible landing grounds between Port Moresby and Kerema.
23.7.42 reconnaissance mission Port Moresby to Kukipa, Kerema.  33 Sqn
3.8.42 RAAF Status Card: Serviceable 33 Sqn, New Guinea.
14.9.42 Received 1 Rescue &Communications Flight, Port Moresby ex 33 Sqn
22.10.42 Allotted to De Havillands, Mascot for overhaul ex 1RCF
26.10.42 Leaving Port Moresby for DH
29.10.42 1R&CF
3.12.42 Received DH Mascot
1.1.43 Undergoing overhaul at DH
22.1.43 Completed overhaul, fuselage being recovered
4.3.43 Allotted 34 Sqn ex 2AP Bankstown on receipt from DH
10.3.43 Received 2AAU ex 2AP
4.4.43 Received 1RCS ex 2AAU to be used as a transport. Chief Medical Officer Port Moresby to be given priority to this aircraft for ambulance work
6.43 Fire damaged at Cape Sidmouth on the far north Queensland coast near Gove
27.6.43 Aircraft requires major repairs to fuselage and mainplanes due fire damage. Lack of spares in this area.
30.6.43 Received 15ARD ex 1RCS for crating and shipment.
26.7.43 Issued to De Havillands, Mascot for repair
24.9.43 Received DH Mascot ex shipment from New Guinea
4.11.43 A33-6 to be released to Department of Civil Aviation for loan to a civil airline. At present on overhaul with De Havillands at Mascot and is in poor condition. It had been crated to DH with fire damage in mainplanes.
13.11.43 Allotted to DCA at Mascot in present condition. To be handed over to DCA OIC Mascot
19.1.44 Issued to DCA. Struck-off RAAF charge.

Captain Charles Snook of Airlines (WA) Ltd, Perth had been lobbying DCA for another aircraft to maintain airline routes in WA, to replace aircraft lost to impressment and enemy action. After some correspondence, DCA advised Snook that a DH.89 was available but it required approximately £1,000 worth of rebuilding. Snook accepted the offer, and A33-6 was shipped from Sydney to Perth
1.44 DH Mascot advise DCA they are anxious to have the DH.89 removed due lack of spare
2.44 To be shipped on S.S.Lowana from Melbourne to Perth, along with a spare parts collection including 3 engines, components from ANA’s crashed VH-UXT and RAAF spares and parts from crashed A33-6. However due transportation delays, only the consignment of parts were shipped on board the Lowana
20.2.44 Airframe packed ready for shipment to Perth
17.3.44 Airframe arrived Fremantle as freight on SS Madura
.44 Rebuild of VH-UZY commenced at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth by Airlines (WA) Ltd
44 Lengthy dispute between Airlines (WA) Ltd and DCA over the price paid for the spare parts collection and the poor condition of all components
17.11.44 Rebuild completed at Maylands, fitted with 8 passenger seats. Airlines staff at the time joked that all that remained of the original VH-UZY was its registration.
19.11.44 Restored to Register VH-UZY Airlines (WA) Ltd, Maylands Aerodrome, Perth WA
Named RMA Perth
19.11.44 CofA issued at Maylands
14.12.44 VH-UZY flew inaugural service on new route Perth-Meekatharra-Roy Hill-Nullagine, Captain J.Moore. First return service departed Nullagine the enxt morning.

Operated by Airlines (WA) Ltd on long distance services to Roebourne and Port Hedland
20.10.48 Change of ownership: Connellan Airways, Alice Springs NT
28.12.45
VH-UZY flew inaugural Airlines (WA) Ltd Perth-Rottnest Island-Perth service
2.7.46
Flew inaugural service on new route Perth-Albany-Narrogin-Perth, Captain J. Moore
21.10.49 Crashed on takeoff Coolibah Station NT and destroyed by fire.  The Rapide was operating Connellan Airways Flight 1203 from Wyndham WA to Tennant Creek. Pilot G. Colin Johnston made a scheduled landing at Coolibah (210 miles south of Darwin) at 12.10pm. No passengers or freight were carried and only a light load of mail when he took off at 1pm.  Aircraft turned right then stalled into the ground and was burnt out.
22.10.49 DCA investigator H. J. Emmerson and a Police Constable arrived at Coolibah from Darwin, on board Miles Gemini VH-BLN of NT Medical Service, flown by Jack Slade.

DCA investigation report did not identify a specific reason for the crash, but was probably the result of severe turbulence and reduced performance due high Density Altitude.

Later Eddie Connellan wrote in his book Failure of Triumph:
“On October 19th 1949 (sic) tragedy struck again when Colin Johnson (sic) was killed in a Rapide doing a beat-up at Coolibah. He had lunched at Coolibah and was very friendly with the people there, and taking off with no passengers on board decided to turn back and do a beat-up past the homestead, which was his normal practice when he had no passengers.”
16.1.51 Struck-off Register

  

  VH-UZY during 1938 with North Queensland Airways titles on nose.                                      Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  A33-6 (ex VH-UZY) and DH.86 A31-2 in 1940, both with 1AOS Cootamundra.                  Photo: David Vincent collection


  

  Esperance WA 1945, while with Airlines(WA) Ltd as RMA Perth.                                   Photo: Geoff Goodall collection





C/n 6341                                                                               Morobe                                                                                    VH-ADE, A33-7, VH-ADE

.36 Built at Hatfield
22.9.36 Registered G-AENO Blackpool & West Coast Air Services Ltd, Blackpool-Squires Gate
10.11.36 British CofA issued
29.1.38 Purchased as EI-ABP Aer Lingus Teoranta, Eire
Named Iolar II. (The airline’s first aircraft was DH.84 Dragon “Iolar”)
24.2.38 Delivered to Aer Lingus. It was their only Rapide
14.5.38 EI-ABP reopened the Aer Lingus seasonal Dublin-Isle of Man service, Captain Ivan Hammond
1.9.39 Aer Lingus ceased operations due to declaration of war in Europe, later resumed limited services
31.10.39 Aircraft brokers W.S. Shackleton Ltd, of Piccadilly, London, made enquiries with Aer Lingus about the possible purchase, on behalf of Guinea airways. Aer Lingus initially asked for £3,000 stating that interest had also been shown by British-American Air Services Ltd and Air Dispatch Ltd, although neither apparently made a formal offer.  By 31/12/39, its written-down value was shown as £1,594 1s 2d on Aer Lingus books.  Aer Lingus later asked for £2,900 ex Dublin.  It was due for an overhaul for CofA renewal 01/06/40 & Air Lingus records showed that the engines would require a complete overhaul after 100 hours.
30.1.40 Purchased by Guinea Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA for £2,800. The Rapide was included in the purchase of two Aer Lingus Lockheed 14s which were flown to Australia.

Flown by Aer Lingus to Liverpool-Speke Airport for shipping to Australia
8.2.40 Struck-off Irish Register. Airframe total hours 1,622 hours

Shipped to Australia
6.40 Arrived by sea at Port Adelaide, moved by road to Parafield Aerodrome

Removed from wooden packing crate at Parafield by Guinea Airways, still painted as EI-ABP.
10.6.40 Nearing completion of overhaul at Parafield in preparation for Australian CofA
19.6.40 Testflown Parafield. Airframe total time 1622 hours
21.6.40 Australian CofA issued at Parafield
27.6.40 Registered VH-ADE Guinea Airways Ltd, Adelaide SA
Named Morobe, following company practice of naming its aircraft after New Guinea towns and provinces. Guinea Airways was a major pre-war operator in New Guinea, and from April 1939 commenced scheduled services in SA.
VH-ADE to be based Adelaide for passenger services in SA
7.40 Impressment Requisition issued by Australian Government for use by RAAF
25.8.40 RAAF Status Card: Taken on RAAF charge as A33-7 ex Guinea Airways.
Entry corrected to 10.9.40
22.9.40 On charge 1EFTS Parafield ex Guinea Airways
29.9.40 Issued to Guinea Airways for modifications
30.11.40 Allotted 3EFTS Essendon ex 1EFTS for issue to DCA for wireless and instruments
20.12.40 Departed Parafield for Essendon. Had been used operationally by RAAF at Parafield
24.12.40 Received 3EFTS Essendon ex 1EFTS
7.1.41 Allotted 1AOS Cootamundra ex 3EFTS
13.1.41 Serviceable at 1AOS
15.4.42 Issued to Department of Civil Aviation ex 1AOS for use by ANA


20.4.42 Restored to Register VH-ADE Commonwealth of Australia, operated by Australian National Airways Pty Ltd
23.4.42 CofA renewed, 8 passenger seats
6.42 Used on ANA Melbourne-Bass Strait Islands-Tasmania routes, replacing DH.89 VH-UXZ which crashed 29.5.42
30.6.42 Wings and tailplane damaged at Essendon when struck by a USAAC DC-2 which rolled down sloping tarmac into ANA hangar No.3
14.7.42 Repairs completed at Essendon
9.42 Given performance tests by DCA due to concerns raised over its single-engined performance over water. It was in use by ANA on services Melbourne-Hobart, including Flinders Island and King Island.
.43 Early in 1943, VH-ADE was sent to Queensland, for use by ANA associate company Airlines of Australia on charter to Allied Works Council, plus regular AoA passenger services.
12.6.43 Flew Townsville-Cairns Qld. Based at Cairns on Allied Works Council duties. DCA investigation into allegation that aircraft was overloaded for this particular flight.
8.43 DCA investigated VH-ADE’s maintenance records while maintained by ANA Cairns
25.12.43 While operating a scheduled Cairns-Horn Island service, ground-looped on landing at Iron Range Qld and struck a RAAF No.26 OBU ambulance vehicle. Left wings were badly damaged. The upper and lower left wings were removed and flown to Cairns in a US transport aircraft. A repaired wing and a spare wing from ANA in Melbourne were flown back to Iron Range
1.1.44 Repairs completed at Iron Range Qld
26.1.44 Forced landing on a beach 13 miles south of Cape Sidmouth, Princess Charlotte Bay Qld.   Large air search after Rapide reported missing.
27.1.44 Located by RAAF 11 Squadron Catalina A24-55 “FJ-E” which landed on water and picked up the passengers and mail from the beach.

Aircraft stripped on the beach by an ANA crew for spare parts. Components stored in the ANA hangar at Cairns, later moved to a shed on Cairns aerodrome.  
10.44 A listing of the spare parts salvaged from VH-ADE was sent by DCA to Guinea Airways and Airlines (WA) Ltd for their consideration re purchase
8.45 Some parts from VH-ADE were moved from Cairns to Perth for Airlines (WA) Ltd
46 DCA ordered the remaining parts be burnt by DCA at Cairns due to VH-ADE being loaned to ANA under wartime conditions


5.78 DH.89 parts, which had been found stored in a DCA workshop on Cairns Airport were donated to Doc Penny, Sunbury Vic. They were moved to Sunbury 5.78 as parts for his restoration of DH.89 G-AJSL.  Included 3 wings.  Probably ANA postwar Rapide spares, but possibly included parts of VH-ADE.

  

   Parafield June 1940, just after assembly, Guinea Airways markings Morobe.                 Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  VH-ADE from the roof of the Guinea Airways hangar at Parafield 1940.                      Photo: John O'Leary collection




RAAF units which operated Rapides:


2AAU Air Ambulance Unit Canberra,
to Kingaroy Qld 2.43,
to Archerfield Qld 9.44, detachments at Port Moresby, Corunna Downs WA
1AD Aircraft Depot Laverton Vic
2AD Aircraft Depot Richmond NSW
AOS Air Observers School Cootamundra NSW
1AOS Air Observers School Cootamundra NSW
2AP Aircraft Park Bankstown NSW
15ARD Aircraft Report Depot Port Moresby
3CF Communications Flight Mascot NSW
1EFTS Elementary Flying Training School Parafield SA
3EFTS Elementary Flying Training School Essendon Vic
1RCF Rescue & Communications Flight Port Moresby. reformed as 1RCS 11.42
1RCS Rescue & Communications Squadron Port Moresby, Goodenough Island
32 Sqn Squadron Port Moresby.
to Townsville 5.42,
to Camden 9.42
33 Sqn Squadron Townsville,
to Port Moresby 12.42,
to Milne Bay 1.44
34 Sqn Squadron Parafield SA
36 Sqn Squadron Laverton Vic,
Archerfield Qld 12.42




2) POST-WAR DH.89A IMPORTS (all built as wartime production RAF Dominies):


Large numbers of British military DH.89 Dominies came on to the British disposals civil market after WWII, designated as DH.89A Rapides.  First Australian post-war order was by Airlines (WA) Ltd, Perth, but the company decided to cancel the order when DCA warned of pending restrictions on payload for Rapides. In the event these weight restrictions were not implemented.

Connellan Airways at Alice Springs, NT purchased six Rapides for their extensive outback mail and passenger services through Northern Territory and the Kimberly district of Western Australia, where they were locally referred to as "Raps".  Airline founder Eddie Connellan wrote "They gave us very good service."

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade at Cairns, Far North Queensland purchased a total of three Rapides in England for aerial ambulance services. The first two were lost in their first year of service in similar circumstances. Two more Rapides were imported by charter operators during the 1950s.

In September 1960 Swedish pilot Peter Ahrens flew his Rapide SE-SBU from Sweden with 5 members of his family, all migrating to Australia.




C/n -                                                                                                                                                                                                      (VH-AIC) ntu

5.45 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to
De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order as Dominie
.45 Issued to De Havilland Aircraft Repair Unit, Witney Aerodrome, Oxford for airline conversion. 95 late production Dominies (c/n range 6884 to 6978) were converted by DH at Witney as civil model Rapide III for airline use, fitted for pilot and 8 passengers.
25.9.45 Airlines (WA) Ltd, Perth wrote to DCA advising that they are purchasing a Rapide Mk.3 in England. The airline’s chief pilot Captain John Moore will fly the aircraft out from England on delivery from the De Havilland factory in December 1945.
9.45 DCA replied recommending that Airlines(WA) Ltd delay due to a pending Departmental review of limitations on the DH.89 takeoff performance.
11.45 DCA file note: the DH.89 is now to be shipped to Australia from London in late 11.45
11.45 DCA allocate registration VH-AIC
12.45 Airlines (WA) Ltd advise DCA that due to DCA’s proposed payload limitations for Australian Rapides, they have cancelled their DH.89 order and instead have ordered a DH.104 Dove. The company has lost its £100 deposit on the Rapide.
12.45 Airlines (WA) Ltd wrote to DCA suggesting the registration VH-AIC be re-allocated to their new Dove. DCA reply that they have already allocated VH-AQO & AQP to two Doves being imported by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney, one of which is for Airlines (WA) Ltd.




C/n 6543  Dominie I, Rapide 3                                                                                                                                                                       VH-BKM

.41 Built at Hatfield by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order for 150 DH.89B Dominies, serial range X7320-X7525
7.41 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie Mk.1 X7383

Issued No.18 Maintenance Unit, Wyton          

Issued to 5MU
31.3.48 RAF struck-off charge date, sold ex Leuchars, Scotland

Two RAF disposals DH.89s purchased by R. N. D. Miller, Alice Springs NT.

Damien Miller was a Director and pilot of Connellan Airways and a close friend of Eddie Connellan He purchased two ex RAF Dominies prior to civil conversion when an earlier purchase of two civil Rapides fell through.e HH
10.2.48 Registered VH-BKM Edward J. Connellan, Alice Springs NT
- British CofA issued issued as VH-BKM Edward J. Connellan, Alice Springs NT
4.48 VH-BKM departed England on ferry flight to Australia, pilot Edmund L. "Ted" Hourigan, flying in company with another Connellan Airways Rapide VH-BKR flown by Damian Miller. Both aircraft were blessed by a Catholic priest prior to departure.

Hourigan was an Australian who flew Halifax freighters for London Aero Motor Service, stranded in England when that company ceased operations. He was engaged by Connellan Airways to fly one of two Rapides to Australia and described the flight as “a normal affair” until Daly Waters.
5.5.48 VH-BKM & BKR reached Darwin. Departed next morning on the final stage of the delivery flight to Alice Springs
6.5.48 Crashed on takeoff and burnt out at Daly Waters NT

After refuelling at Daly Waters, en route to Alice Springs, Ted Hourigan taxied at 1.20pm for departure to Tennant Creek. On board were De Havillands ground engineer Jim Crombie and two passengers Miss Sheppey and Miss Foule. When airborne, both engines cut out at 150 feet and the pilot was attempting a forced landing in a clearing. At the last moment the port engine regained power, the pilot lost control and the aircraft crashed into the ground, was wrecked and burst into flames.
Engineer Crombie pulled pilot Hourigan with a broken leg and an unconscious passenger from the wreck before it burst into flames.

That evening an MMA Avro Anson aerial ambulance arrived at Daly Waters from Darwin, flown by Neville Bell with a doctor on board. The 4 occupants of the Rapide were flown to Darwin.

Eddie Connellan wrote in his book Failure of Triumph:
"From our point of view the fault lay with the pilot for not carrying out the proper fuel tank draining procedures after refuelling, especially after refuelling from drums. Not only did the pilot fail to make the proper checks for water after refuelling, but he committed the most unpardonable sin in flying, by trying to turn back to the aerodrome on takeoff after engine failure. Had he carried on straight ahead he could have crash-landed in the short timber ahead of him without any risk to himself and his passengers and the aeroplane would have been repairable.
Damian Miller remarked: "He ran out of airspeed, altitude and experience at the same time."
18.6.48 Struck-off Register
9.48 Burnt frame of VH-BKM still at Daly Waters aerodrome.



C/n 6929  Dominie II, Rapide 3                                                                                                                                               VH-BKR, VH-CLH

9.45 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to
De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order from batch RL936-RL986 of an order for 40 DH.89B Dominie Mk.Is and IIs. RL947-RL968 were built between September 1945 and March 1946
.45 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie Mk.II RL947
1.1.46 Issued to No.18 Maintenance Unit, Wyton  
20.6.46 Issued Wyton Communications Flight
23.7.47 Issued to No.18 Maintenance Unit, Wyton
11.3.48 RAF struck-off charge date, sold ex TTCCF

Issued to De Havilland Aircraft Repair Unit, Witney Aerodrome, Oxford for airline conversion. 95 late production Dominies were converted by DH at Witney as civil model Rapide Mk.3 for airline use, fitted for pilot and 8 passengers.
.48 Purchased in England by R. N. Damian Miller, Alice Springs NT.
Damian Miller was pilot for Connellan Airways and a close friend of Eddie Connellan.

No British civil registration allocated
2.3.48 Australian Registration application: Edward J. Connellan, Alice Springs NT
4.3.48 Registered VH-BKR
9.4.48 British CofA issued as VH-BKR Edward J. Connellan, Alice Springs NT
4.48 VH-BKR departed England on ferry flight to Australia, pilot Damian Miller with his wife as passenger, flying in company with another Connellan Airways Rapide VH-BKM. Both aircraft were blessed by a Catholic priest prior to departure
5.5.48
VH-BKM & BKR reached Darwin. Departed next morning on the final stage of the delivery flight to Alice Springs
6.5.48 Both Rapides refuelled at Daly Waters NT.  VH-BKM crashed on takeoff Daly Waters and pilot Ted Hourigan was injured. Miller was airborne first in VH-BKR and continued to Tennant Creek unaware that BKM had crashed because neither aircraft had radio.
7.48 noted at "Boorooloola" Station WA in service with Connellan Airways
14.3.51 Change of ownership: Connellan Airways Ltd, Alice Springs NT
5.11.58 Reregistered VH-CLH
59 CofA expired at Alice Springs. Dismantled for renewal overhaul but not completed due uneconomical
c61 Broken-up at Alice Springs NT
31.7.62 Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service

This aircraft was the first of Connellan Airways’ six Rapides and the last to be retired.
Eddie Connellan’s compilation of his fleet list quotes VH-BKR as scrapped December 1958 (sic) "due old age”.

  

  Boorooloola Station WA in July 1948 with Connellan Airways.                                                  Photo by Phil McCulloch


  

  VH-BKR later in the 1950s, all silver with red lettering.                                             Photo: Ben Dannecker collection


  

  VH-BKR at Alice Springs-Townsite Aerodrome.                                                           Photo: Ben Dannecker collection





C/n 6814  Dominie I, Rapide 3                                           Gron Owens                                                                                                 VH-CFA (1)

23.11.44 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to
De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order for 150 DH.89B Dominies, serial range NR669 to NR853
11.44 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie 1 NR726
28.11.44 No.5 Maintenance Unit
4.10.45 No.428 R&SU
6.10.45 No.87 Group Communications Flight, Le Bourget, Paris
13.12.46 No.85 Maintenance Unit
16.7.47 On RAF list of Non Effective Aircraft
11.3.48 Struck-off RAF charge as sold to West Cumberland Air Services
18.3.48 Registered as DH.89A G-AKOC William A. Herbert t/a West Cumberland Air Services, Workington, Cumberland
20.7.48 British CofA issued
10.6.49 Change of ownership
19.7.49 CofA renewed for export
21.7.49 Struck-off Register, sold to Australia

Crated and shipped to Australia
11.49 Assembled at Cairns Qld by Australian National Airways ground crews. Modifications installed, including two stretchers in the cabin.
ANA had two Rapides VH-UUO & UVT based at Cairns at the time.
12.11.49 Registered VH-CFA Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade, Cairns Qld
Named Gron Owens after the Chairman of the QATB committee for many years

Flown initially on British CofA
29.6.50 Australian CofA issued
26.11.51 Forced landing in sea 15 miles north of Cairns Qld

The Rapide was returning to Cairns from am ambulance flight to Vanrook Station bringing a seriously injured stockman to Cairns Base Hospital. Pilot Captain Neville Hicks. Ambulance Officer Keith Howard and passenger Larry Hansen who was friend of the injured man. The aircraft had no radio navigation aids and Hicks was unable to locate Cairns due to thick smoke from the annual sugar cane burn-off by farmers.
When fuel was low, Hicks ditched in the sea. They were unable to drag the unconscious patient from the aircraft before the Rapide immediately sank. The 3 survivors swam to shore, reached a beach after 6 hours in the water.
17.12.51 Struck-off Register
52 Bush Pilots Airways DH.90 Dragonfly VH-AAD was hired by QATB while waiting for the delivery of a replacement Rapide VH-CFA (2.




C/n 6633  Dominie I, Rapide 3                                                                                                                                                                         VH-AHI

.42 Built at Hatfield by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order for 150 DH.89B Dominies, serial range X7320-X7525
6.42 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie 1 X7516

Issued No. 18 Maintenance Unit

Issued 2 Radio School
17.10.45 Issued to Admiralty
5.46 Struck-off RAF charge as sold to Blackburn Aircraft
2.5.46 Registered as DH.89A G-AHLU Flying Training Ltd, Hanworth Aerodrome
A subsidiary company of Blackburn Aircraft Ltd
22.5.46 Change of ownership: North Sea Air Transport Ltd, Hanworth Aerodrome
Another subsidiary company of Blackburn Aircraft Ltd
7.46 Struck-off RAF charge
30.7.46 British CofA issued

Operated on charter work by Blackburn subsidiary North Sea Air Transport, Hanworth
10.49 Sold to E. J. Connellan, Alice Springs NT
1.11.49 CofA renewal overhaul by North Sea Air Transport for sale to Australia
1.11.49 Departed Hanworth, England on delivery flight to Australia
16.11.49 British Register Change of ownership: Edward J. Connellan, Alice Springs NT
8.12.49 G-AHLU arrived at Alice Springs, flown from England by Australians Lionel Van Praag and Bill Burdus (both returning after ferrying a Guinea Air Traders DC-3 to England) and R. E. Brownley.
14.12.49 Australian Registration application: Edward J. Connellan, Alice Springs NT
14.12.49 Registered VH-AHI
10.1.50 Australian CofA issued
14.3.51 Ownership transferred to Connellan Airways Ltd, Alice Springs NT
5.1.53 Major damage when ran off strip after the takeoff was abandoned at Hookers Creek NT. Tipped on nose in soft dirt, trapping pilot Fred Ogden in the cockpit until locals propped up the tail.
.53 Dismantled and loaded on to a truck for the 1,000 miles overland journey to Alice Springs. Rebuild took a year.
56 Withdrawn from service at Alice Springs when CofA renewal considered uneconomical
9.56 Broken-up at Alice Springs
13.5.58 Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service

Eddie Connellan’s fleet list quotes VH-AHI as scrapped September 1956 "due old age"

  

  G-AHLU completes its civil conversion and re-spray in silver, July 1946.                         Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  VH-AHI at Inverway Station WA.                                                    Photo by Ian Leslie via Civil Aviation Historical Society




C/n 6497  Dominie I, Rapide 3                                                                                                                                                                        VH-AIK

.41 Built at Hatfield by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order for 150 DH.89B Dominies, serial range X7320-X7525
.41 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie 1 X7324

No. 9 Maintenance Unit

No.3 FPP

HQ Air Transport Auxiliary

Station Flight, Skaebrae

Met Communications Flight

No. 5 Maintenance Unit
8.11.46 Struck-off RAF charge, as sold to Blackburn Aircraft Ltd
20.11.46 Registered as DH.89A G-AIWG North Sea Air Transport Ltd, Hanworth Aerodrome
A subsidiary company of Blackburn Aircraft Ltd
6.1.47 British CofA issued
25.1.50 Struck-off British Register as sold abroad to Connellan Airways
1.50 Connellan Airways, Alice Springs advise DCA that they have purchased a Rapide in England, which will be delivered by air.  DCA allocate registration VH-AIK
2.50 Ferried to Australia by an American father and son crew: Lt Commander George T. “Bee” Weems, (US Navy carrier pilot attending the Empire Test Pilots’ School in UK) and his father F.H.V.Weems (USN retired), an air navigation specialist who was head of Weems School of Navigation in the United States. George had seen an advertisement for a ferry pilot in a British aviation magazine and phoned his father in USA to come to England to join him as navigator. Two others on board were Lieutenant Commander Willie Eddins and Briotish aircraft engineer James W.H. Smith.


13.2.50 Registered VH-AIK E. J. Connellan, Alice Springs NT
26.2.50 Arrived Darwin on delivery flight from England, flown by the Weems father and son, plus two other crew. They reported an uneventful flight.
9.12.50 Flown by E. J. Connellan through cyclone at 100 feet, near Wyndham WA
1.2.51 Change of owner name: Connellan Airways, Alice Springs NT
29.9.51 Destroyed by fire on engine start, Turkey Creek WA. Fabric caught alight during engine start at 4.30pm, pilot Eddie Connellan. Burnt out.

Eddie Connellan later wrote:
"VH-AIK was by far the best of the Rapides we had over the years for speed and payload, and nicest to fly. On September 27th 1951 I had the misfortune to burn this aircraft.
Rapides were very prone to engine fire on start up. We had modified the under surface of the wing by replacing fabric with aluminium sheeting over the danger area. However on this occasion the device was not effective because of strong crosswind, which carried the flame from the torching exhaust beyond the aluminium area and set fire to the fabric underneath the belly of the aeroplane. This was unknown to me at the time. but was reported to me afterwards by the policeman Vic Perry who was watching.
I gave the order for the 5 passengers, to abandon ship. I started the engine and was using our technique of trying to blow out the fire when flames came up between my legs. I guessed what had happened, and when I looked back I found the rear cabin and fuselage was enveloped in roaring flames. I ran back, opened the door and found a wall of flame outside. I stepped back to the other side of the cabin to take a running jump through and as a result put a fair amount of weight on the bottom longeron below the doorway.
The fire was so advanced that the longeron broke and the fuselage broke in half and collapsed on the ground. Everyone was standing close by watching. I realised that the fuel tanks would go up at any moment, so I yelled at them to run for their lives and did the same. We were just far enough away when up she went.
The fire was so hot that all aluminium and alloy parts were completely destroyed, including carburettors and propellers. In fact, all that could be found among the ashes were steel parts like crankshafts, cylinder barrels and flying wires."
Date? Note the different date in the quote above.
Contemporary newspaper reports state both 29th or 30th September 1951.
Lloyds Insurance lists quote 29th September at 4.30pm.

The burnt remains of the airframe lay on the western side of the airstrip for some time.
Contradicting Connellan's account above, it is reported that one propeller became a dinner gong at the Bow River homestead and the other propeller was at the Turkey Creek Overland Telegraph Station.

  

  VH-AIK refuelling from 44 gallon drums in the Outback 1951.                                                     Photo: E. J. Connellan




C/n 6713  Dominie I, Rapide 3                                       Clive Jones                                                                                                      VH-CFA (2)

3.44 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to
De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order for 75 DH.89B Dominies, serial range HG664 to HG732.
Batch HG689 to HG732 were built between 11.43 and 4.44.
.44 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie 1 HG728
31.3.44 No.18 Maintenance Unit
20.4.45 No.527 Squadron
26.4.45 No.57 Operational Training Unit
14.6.45 No.53 OTU, Kirton-in-Lindsey
1.7.46 No.18 Maintenance Unit
29.4.48 No.66 Group Communications Flight.  Painted with code ”RCI-K”
12.1.49 No.18 Maintenance Unit
25.4.49 Struck-off RAF charge as sold to R.A. Short
21.4.49 Registered G-ALNT Robert A. Short & James H. Tattersall, Thornton Heath, Surrey
8.7.49 CofA issued
10.8.49 Change of ownership: Walter Hutchinson, Stanbridge
8.11.50 Change of ownership: The Hampshire School of Flying Ltd, Southampton
12.50 Report: Hampshire School of Flying, Eastleigh Airport, Southampton: current fleet is a Gemini, 3 Tiger Moths, an Auster and two Rapides including G-ALNT.
29.11.51 W. S.Shackleton Ltd, London telegram to DCA: they are supplying a DH.89 G-AJSL as a replacement aircraft for QATB. Will be delivered to Australia by Captain B.W.Monkton.
12.12.51 W. S.Shackleton Ltd, London telegram to DCA: DH.89 for QATB now changed to G-ALXA. DCA reply allocating VH-AJS and instructing that it must be ferried to Australia wearing Australian registration.
20.12.51 QATB Cairns Aerial Ambulance advise DCA they have no knowledge of a replacement Rapide from England.
21.12.51 DCA cable Aviation Liaison Officer, Australia House, London advising they are withholding registration VH-AJS until confirmation of purchase by QATB
26.2.52 G-ALNT struck-off Register, sold to Australia
6.52 Bush Pilots Airways DH.90 VH-AAD being used by QATB awaiting new Rapide
7.52 DCA allocated VH-ATU for new QATB Rapide but QATB immediately request VH-CFA again. Approved by DCA.
28.7.52 QATB reserved registrations VH-CFB, CFC, CFD for Rapides previously reserved as VH-ATX, ATY, ATZ.
5.8.52 Australian registration Application: Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade, Cairns

G-ALNT shipped to Australia
11.52 Assembled at Cairns Qld
21.11.52 Registered VH-CFA Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade, Cairns Qld
Named Clive Jones, after Captain Clive Jones, QATB’s first pilot
21.11.52 Testflown Cairns after assembly
21.11.52 Australian CofA issued
26.10.53 Forced landing in sea, 20 miles North of Ingham Qld

The Rapide was returning to Cairns from an ambulance flight to Iron Range, 300 miles north, to collect an aboriginal boy with snake bite. Pilot was ANA Captain Dick Bampton with ambulance officer Andrew Cousar. A low layer of stratus cloud over Cairns caused the flight to divert to Townsville. Nearly two hours late on estimated ETA at Townsville that evening, a radio call was heard at 9.48pm “Lost, low fuel”. At 9.55pm another call saying the aircraft was being ditched.
Within an hour of the last message, a RAAF Lincoln from Townsville and an ANA DC-3 from Cairns were searching an area near Hinchinbrook Island, 20 miles north of Ingham. Six hours after the ditching the only survivor, Ambulance Officer Cousar was picked up by a searching launch. He had drifted in the sea supporting the pilot who was injured and had a broken leg, until Captain Bampton drifted away in the dark and drowned. The Rapide sank within 3 minutes of ditching, taking the patient with it.
20.11.53 Struck-off Register

Bush Pilots Airways DH.90 Dragonfly VH-AAD again used as the Cairns ambulance aircraft while QATB was waiting for a replacement DH.89 from England, which became VH-BFS in 2.55.

  

  The second VH-CFA Clive Jones at Cairns.                                                                             Photo via Chris Bampton


  

  Cairns Qld.                                                                                                                          Photo: David Daw collection




C/n 6886  Dominie 1, Rapide Mk.3, Mk.4                                                                                                                                  VH-BFS, VQ-FAZ

5.45 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to
De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order from batch NR669-NR853 of an order for 150 DH.89B Dominies built between March-November 1943. (NR769-NR815 were built between 1.45 to 6.45)
.45 Issued to RAF as Dominie 1 NR810
.45 Not delivered to RAF, transferred to Ministry of Aircraft Production, for use to establish postwar civil airline services
15.5.45 Issued ex production line to De Havilland Aircraft Repair Unit, Witney Aerodrome, Oxford for airline conversion. 95 late production Dominies (c/n range 6884 to 6978) were converted by DH at Witney as civil model Rapide Mk.3 for airline use, fitted for pilot and 8 passengers.
22.6.45 RAF struck-off charge as sold to: Associated Airways Joint Committee, Speke
25.7.45 Registered as DH.89A Mk. III G-AGSI Olley Air Services Ltd, Liverpool  (9 seater)
15.8.45 British CofA issued
4.51 Report: Olley Air Services, Croydon: current fleet 3 Doves, 2 Consuls, 1 Proctor and 3 Rapides including G-AGSI
15.10.52 visited airshow at Newmarket
16.2.53 Change of ownership: British Transport Commission, London
18.2.53 Change of ownership: Cambrian Air Services Ltd, Cardiff
Cambrian purchased part of the Olley Air Service fleet when Olley ceased operations.
6.53 CofA expired
11.7.53 noted at Cardiff, in hangar stripped down for overhaul
9.3.54 Change of ownership: W. S. Shackleton Ltd, London
.54 Re-engined as a Rapide Mk.4
5.54 G-AGSI noted at Cranfield, no registration, with "QATB" badge
26.10.54 Change of ownership: Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade
6.11.54 G-AGSI noted at Croydon, in Air Couriers hangar, with "QATB" badge
12.54 G-AGSI departed England for Australia after overhaul at Cardiff, painted with large circular badge "QATB Cairns Centre"
12.54 Ferried from England to Australia by Captain Frank Roche of Bush Pilots Airways, Cairns, Qld accompanied by his wife Mrs. Jenny Roche who was an ATA ferry pilot in England during WWII
19.12.54 Located at airstrip on Sumba Island, Indonesia after posted missing between Singapore and Darwin.
26.12.54 Arrived Cairns Qld at end of delivery flight from England. Escorted into Cairns by 5 local aircraft
16.2.55 Registered VH-BFS Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade, Cairns Qld
13.12.55 The Rapide and two Bush Pilots Airways Austers made a flypast over Frank Roche’s funeral service in Cairns. Roche had been killed in crash of Bush Pilots Airways Auster VH-BPA while spraying tobacco crops at Mareeba near Cairns 2.12.55.
60 VH-BFS retired at Cairns after CofA expiry and listed for sale.
7.59 Bob Paul, an Australian plantation owner and local trader at Tanna, New Hebrides registered a company New Hebrides Airways with a plan to start the first air service in the New Hebrides group. He was an ex RAAF pilot during WWII and engaged Paul H. Burton in Sydney as full-time commercial pilot and aircraft engineer who agreed to join the venture and contribute to the cost of buying their first aircraft. Their first thoughts were an Avro 19 until they they heard of VH-BFS at Cairns
4.60 Inspected at Cairns by Paul and Burton and purchased the same day. They then stayed in Cairns and worked on the aircraft 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Replaced the engines and repainted the aircraft. Painted name Miti Vaka II on nose. DCA sent Col Kelly from Brisbane to weigh the aircraft, devise the loading chart and issue the CofA.
Then two 44 gallon drums of fuel were mounted inside the cabin in wooden supports, with plumbing through the floor and wings to the wing fuel tanks. Also two 5 gallon drums of oil with pump and lines to the engines oil tanks.
20.4.60 Sold by QATB to New Hebrides Airways
4.5.60 Change of ownership: New Hebrides Airways Ltd, Port Vila
4.5.60 Struck-off Australia Register
5.60 Delivered to New Hebrides: Cairns-Horn Island-Port Moresby-Milne Bay-Munda-Honiara-Port Vila.
They had minor fabric damage when ran off the runway on landing Horn Island with one engine shut down in a strong crosswind. They patched up the damage overnight. Delayed 5 days at Milne Bay due poor weather. On the last leg from Honiara to Port Vila, they were losing altitude due a rough running engine. Cylinder heads and other spare parts were thrown overboard to lighten the load, but they were forced to land at Santo to clean spark plugs. They also replaced the magneto from parts stock that had not been jettisoned.
29.5.60 Arrived at Port Vila to a large welcoming crowd.
1.6.60 Flew Port Vila to Tanna Island where a short soft strip had been prepared
21.6.60 Commenced flights Tanna-Port Vila-Tanna, mostly carrying local native shareholders in the airline company. The Rapide could not be operated commercially until its registration status was finalised because New Hebrides had no civil aviation authority. There was political hostility towards the private airline from the British and French colonial powers of the Western Pacific High Commission that administered the New Hebrides, and no airfields existed apart from WWII strips.
The final compromise was to register the Rapide on the Fijian Civil Register and maintain a Fiji CofA.
27.10.60 Registered VQ-FAZ New Hebrides Airways Ltd, Port Vila.
10.60 Commenced commercial flights to strips cleared from coconut trees on islands and settlements.
60/61 Scheduled overhauls were carried out at Magenta airfield, Noumea in New Caledonia by the local French airline Traspac.
4.61 Flown Tanna to Suva by Burton and Paul, for a CofA renewal inspection by Fiji Airways. Seats removed and the Australian fuel tanks mounted in the cabin. An undercarriage strut broke during the heavy takeoff so they decided to land at Nausori Airport, Suva, where Fiji Airways maintenance was based. By regulations they were required to land at Nadi International Airport first, so they feigned radio trouble.
.61 When dismantled for inspection, the wooden structure was condemned when rot was found in the rear fuselage and around the cabin door. This deterioration had been expedited because the aircraft was always in the humid tropical weather because New Hebrides Airways had no hangars.

New Hebrides Airways did not have the funds for the repairs needed on the Rapide.
Bob Paul negotiated a hire-purchase arrangement with Fiji Airways for one of their De Havilland DHA-3 Drovers as a replacement.
4.5.61 Change of ownership: Robert U. Paul, Lenakai, New Hebrides
7.61 Ex Fiji Airways Drover Mk.2 VQ-FAS commenced with New Hebrides Airways
4.5.62 Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service

Broken-up for parts at Suva-Nausori Airport, Fiji

  

  VH-BFS at Oak Park picnic horse races in northern Queensland in 1956.                     Photo: Ben Dannecker collection


  

  Cairns 1958 with fuselage roundel "QATB Cairns Centre".                 Photo by Allan Fraser via Maurice Austin collection


  

  Cairns 1959 after repaint into a new scheme.                                         Photo by Allan Fraser via Maurice Austin collection




C/n 6903  Dominie 1, Rapide Mk.3, Mk.4                                                                                                                                  VH-AWG, VH-BIF

7.45 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to
De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order from order for 150 DH.89B Dominies in range NR669 to NR853.
(NR828 to NR853 were built between 6.45 to 8.45)
. To RAF as Dominie 1 NR839
.46 Issued to De Havilland Aircraft Repair Unit, Witney Aerodrome, Oxford for airline conversion. 95 late production Dominies (c/n range 6884 to 6978) were converted by DH at Witney as civil model Rapide Mk.3 for airline use, fitted for pilot and 8 passengers.
13.3.46 RAF struck-off charge as sold to Associated Airways Joint Committee
AAJC represented Railway Air Services, Scottish Airways, Isle of Man Air Service, Great Western and Southern Airways
19.11.45 British CofA issued
1.2.46 AAJC was transferred to the newly formed British European Airways Ltd
The transfer included 39 AAJC DH.89 Rapides
2.4.46 Delivered to Railway Air Services Ltd
2.5.46 Registered as DH.89A G-AHGF Railway Air Services Ltd, London
31.1.47 Change of ownership: British European Airways Corporation, Northolt Airport, London
21.6.48 Change of ownership: Lees-Hill Aviation (Birmingham) Ltd, Birmingham
Operated by Lee-Hill Aviation subsidiary company Solent Airways Ltd, Southampton
48/49 G-AHGF was Solent Airways’ only aircraft when it commenced operations in 1948 Solent Airways ceased operations in late 1949.
16.4.49 Change of ownership:  Frederick A. Hill, Birmingham
Hill was a Director of Lees-Hill Aviation. G-AHGF continued in charter service with Lees-Hill Aviation, remaining with Lees-Hill Aviation when the company merged with Don Everall Aviation Ltd in 9.51.
20.6.52 Change of ownership: W. S. Shackleton Ltd, London
25.11.52 Change of ownership: Vivian H. Bellamy t/a Flightways Ltd, Southampton Airport
Flightways had been founded by Viv Belamy in 1948 at Southampton and flew charter and scheduled services. Flightways gained a reputation for high quality civil conversions of disposals RAF Dominies.
.53 G-AHGF converted to Rapide Mk.4 by Flightways Ltd.

This was the prototype Mk.4 civil model: the original DH Gipsy Queen 3 engines were replaced by Gipsy Queen 2s driving constant speed propellers. Many other Rapides were subsequently converted to Mk. 4 which gave an increased takeoff weight of 6,000 pounds and improved climb, cruise and single-engined performance.
25.9.53 Change of ownership: Kenneth G. R. Bloomfield, Gisborne NZ
1.12.53 G-AHGF damaged in heavy landing at Croydon Airport, London
1.54 reported at Croydon being prepared for flight to NZ
27.2.54 G-AHGF visited Elstree
4.3.54 Departed England on ferry flight to NZ, flown by Ken Bloomfield and Peter Rule
17.4.54 Refuelled at Norfolk Island, then arrived NZ at Whenuapai, continued to Gisborne
1.5.54 Registered ZK-BFK Kenneth G. R. Bloomfield, Te Karaka, Gisborne
4.55 Chartered for several months by South Island Airways, Christchurch
25.4.55 Commenced SIA scheduled services, flown by Chief Pilot Brian Chadwick
8.55 Chartered by Southern Scenic Air Services, Queenstown
.57 Purchased by Airwork Co, Brisbane who wanted a DH.89 for large scale brigalow scrub clearing spraying contracts in Queensland, a Government project to improve poor grade land for farming.
.57 Shipped from NZ to Australia
4.11.57 Registered VH-AWG Airwork Co Pty Ltd, Brisbane-Archerfield Qld
2.58 Advertisement in Aircraft magazine: Airwork Company Pty Ltd, Archerfield offers for sale: DH.89A, DH.85, Miles Mercury, Auster Mk.5 and a Lockheed 12.
15.5.59 Re-registered VH-BIF Carsair Air Service, Brisbane Qld.
Bob Carswell had earlier operated in New Guinea under the name Carsair, but in 1958 pulled out and based his charter operation at Archerfield.
1.12.59 VH-BIF and Lockheed 12A VH-ABH operated a charter to carry Federal members of Parliament and oil company executives from Cooroorah Oil Drilling Site, inland from Rockhampton, to Archerfield. The DH.89 was flown by veteran airline pilot Keith Virtue, while the Lockheed was flown Bob Carswell.
Virtue in VH-BIF made a forced landing on Kings Beach, Caloundra due to severe weather. Aircraft was undamaged and the passengers proceeded to Brisbane by road. DH.89 flown out the next day.
60 VH-BIF operated on grass-seed spreading and brigalow scrub spraying in Queensland
9.11.60 Change of ownership: Merv Ward, Brisbane Qld t/a Dominie AIrflite
Ward was an agricultural operator who used VH-BIF for grass-seed spreading and dingo-baiting in outback Queensland
.63 Sold to Northern Star School of Parachuting, Melbourne Vic

Merv Ward later wrote “BIF was sold by me to a parachute school in Melbourne but was not moved after the sale. I subsequently re-purchased it and later broke it up for scrap.”
64 Re-purchased by Merv Ward, Brisbane t/a Airflite
1.64 noted at Archerfield
23.9.64 noted at Archerfield
10.65 Local flight from Archerfield, cabin seats removed for parachuting ops
24.10.65 Local flight from Archerfield, passenger joyflight: seats which had been stored in a hangar were installed for the flight
6.5.66 Struck-off Register. Withdrawn from service at Archerfield.

Merv Ward later wrote “Withdrawn from service due deterioration in the timbers and fabric and would have been uneconomical to restore.”
4.5.67
noted at Archerfield, "Airflite" titles still, faded paint, fabric torn on rear fuselage
8.67 noted at Archerfield, parked in open with flat tyres, fabric tearing from airframe
3.4.68 Burnt for fire practice at Archerfield Airport by DCA Airport Fire Service

  

  G-AHGF at Brisbane-Eagle farm on its delivery flight to NZ, April 1954.                                       Photo by Gus Gruelke


  

  ZK-BFK at Christchurch Airport in 1955.                                                                      Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  VH-AWG at Archerfield in 1958, "Airwork Company" on nose.                                                       Photo by Norm Weeding


  

  Re-registered VH-BIF, "Airflite" on the nose, at Bankstown in 1961.                                           Photo by Neville Parnell


  

  Archerfield April 1968 after the Rapide was burnt in a fire practice exercise.                                  Photo by Dave Thollar




C/n 6668  Dominie I, Rapide 3                                                                                                                                                                      VH-AAG

.43 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order from batch HG644-HG674 of an order for 75 DH.89B Dominies built between March-November 1943
.43 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie 1 HG669
5.11.43 Issued to No.76 Maintenance Unit for packing
1.12.43 Embarked on S.S.Port Huon. Shipped to NZ on issue to RNZAF
18.1.44 Arrived Auckland
.44 Taken on RNZAF charge as Dominie NZ531
.52 NZ531 put up for sale by tender by Government Stores Board
7.52 Successful disposal tender submitted by Airwork (NZ) Ltd, Christchurch
4.9.52 Registered ZK-BBP Airwork (NZ) Ltd, Christchurch Airport
Airwork was an aviation engineering and maintenance operation first established in 1936. During 1952 it applied for an airline licence to connect Christchurch with South Island towns using DH.89s operating day VFR passenger services
20.9.52 Collected at Rukuhia Air Base near Hamilton, by pilot Brian Chadwick, who ferried it to Harewood where it had a 10 week overhaul and conversion for civil operation
10.52 South Island Airways was formed as a division of Airwork (NZ) Ltd. Chief Pilot was Captain Brian Chadwick
24.2.53 ZK-BBP flew South Island Airways’ inaugural scheduled service, from Christchurch to South Canterbury and North Otago, Captain Brian Chadwick and 5 passengers.
Rapide was painted silver with blue trim and name South Island Airways on fuselage.
53 South Island Airways route network increased, serviced by just ZK-BBP. When it was unavailable, the Canterbury Aero Club DH.90 Dragonfly ZK-AFB was hired.
2.54 A second Rapide ZK-BCP entered SIA service
12.55 Management of South Island Airways announced they were forced cease services. IFR aircraft were essential to maintain services but they were unable tor raise the finance or gain Government support to purchase replacement aircraft for the two Rapides.
6.1.56 ZK-BBP flew the last SIA scheduled service between Christchurch and Nelson, Captain Brian Waugh. ZK-BCP flew the company’s final service on 10.2.56

South Island Airways’ licence was acquired by Mount Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Co. Prior to starting services, the licence was transferred to a newly formed company Trans Island Airways Ltd, financed by Oamaru business interests. TIA announced it would import IFR Beech D18S aircraft.
3.56 DH.89 ZK-BBP leased by Trans Island Airways from Airwork (NZ) Ltd
12.3.56 TIA commenced scheduled services with ZK-BBP: Oamaru-Timaru-Christchurch return, Captain Brian Waugh
14.5.56 TIA lease of ZK-BBP ceased, returned to Airwork (NZ) Ltd
.56 Purchased in NZ by agents Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty Ltd, Bankstown NSW
19.1.57 Dismantled and crated for shipping to Australia by Airwork (NZ) Ltd at Christchurch
24.1.57 Struck-off NZ Register as sold to Australia

Overhaul Bankstown by KSAS
19.8.58 Registered VH-AAG Alpine Airways Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW.
Based Cooma NSW on charter. Painted maroon and white, with name Rapide on nose

Alpine Airways was formed by KSAS shareholders Peter and Phil Brown and A. J. Allen of Allen Brothers Asphalting Contractors, Sydney.  The planned scheduled airline service between Cooma and Canberra was not approved, so aircraft used for charter.  
6.60 noted at Bankstown, maroon and cream with black trim. Name Rapide on nose
16.8.60 Change of ownership: Robert G. Carswell, Brisbane Qld
Bob Carswell had earlier operated in New Guinea under the name Carsair, but in 1958 pulled out and based his charter operation at Archerfield
8.60 VH-AAG arrived Darwin to commence a Carsair charter contract carrying freshly killed buffalo meat from shooters camps to meatworks in Darwin. Bob Carswell had just taken over the contract previously operated by Muir Aviation, Darwin.
VH-AAG was fitted with X9 propellers which gave an increased payload of 1750 pounds
11.9.60 Darwin pilot E. C. Ossie Osgood logbook: endorsed on VH-AAG at Darwin
13.9.60 E.C.Osgood log: AAG circuits at Darwin
18.9.60 E.C.Osgood log: his first buffalo meat run: Darwin-Wolner Station-Wild Bore-Darwin
10.60 E.C.Osgood log: buffalo meat runs from Darwin to strips on Oct 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 17
10.11.60 E.C.Osgood log: Darwin-Port Stuart-Darwin
11.12.60 E.C.Osgood log: Darwin-Moline-Darwin
12.12.60 E.C.Osgood log: Darwin-Banyan-Port Stuart-Darwin-Banyan
12.12.60 Damaged by fire during engine start at Banyan Station NT. Upper and lower starboard wings were burnt out. Pilot E. C. Osgood unhurt.
12.60 Carsair replaced VH-AAG on the NT buffalo meat contract with a leased DH.84 Dragon VH-AON brought across from Archerfield

AAG rebuilt at Banyan Strip by experienced LAME Ivan Unwin who camped inside the fuselage while he worked on the aircraft through The Wet
2.61 Temporary repairs completed at Banyan, two wings flown in by helicopter
16.2.61 Ferried Banyan to Darwin by E.C.Osgood, where further work was carried out to prepare the aircraft for CofA renewal
8.4.61 E.C.Osgood log: first buffalo meat run since rebuild, Darwin-Banyan-Darwin
4.61 E.C.Osgood log: buffalo meat runs from Darwin to strips April 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
5.61 E.C.Osgood log: buffalo meat runs from Darwin to strips May 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12
6.61 E.C.Osgood log: buffalo meat runs from Darwin to strips June 19, 20. 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30
7.61 E.C.Osgood log: buffalo meat runs from Darwin to strips July 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31
8.61 E.C.Osgood log: buffalo meat runs from Darwin to strips August 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
9.61 E.C.Osgood log: buffalo meat runs from Darwin to strips September 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12,13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
Osgood also flew Carsair Lockheed 12A VH-ASG to the buffalo meat camps September 5, 9, 21, 23, 25, 30.
9.10.61 E.C.Osgood log: next and last flight in VH-AAG: Darwin local
Buffalo camp runs now flown in Carsair Lockheed 12A VH-ASG.
9.10.61 Change of ownership: Neville Bell, Darwin NT trading as Darwin Air Taxis
11.6.62 noted at Darwin in a hangar, silver with Carsair markings painted over. CofA due to expire 29.6.62
.63 Struck a kangaroo at “Wolner” Station NT, fracturing lower section wingspar
.63 Ferried to Darwin where repair considered uneconomical

Retired parked in open, Darwin Airport. Became derelict in tropical weather.

VH-AAG taken over again by Bob Carswell after Darwin Air Taxis went into liquidation
.64 Engines, radios and parts removed at Darwin Airport, then airframe stored in backyard of Neville Bell’s house in town, Darwin
.64 Donated to RAAF for use as a target
21.12.64 Struck-off Register as withdrawn from Service.

Destroyed by RAAF Sabres as ground target on Leanyea Range near Darwin

  

  South Island Airways’ inaugural flight to Ashburton 24 February 1953.                          Photo: Ashburton Aviation Museum


  

  Cootamundra NSW in 1958, Alpine Airways Pty Ltd titles.                                                       Photo by Ben Dannecker


  

  Cootamundra NSW 1958, red and cream.                                                                             Photo by Ben Dannecker


  

  During rebuild at Banyan airstrip NT in January 1961.                                                                     Photo by Ivan Unwin




C/n 6530  Dominie I, Rapide 3                                                                                                                                                        VH-CBU, VH-ECW

.41 Built at Hatfield by De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order for 150 DH.89B Dominies, serial range X7320-X7525
6.41 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie 1 X7370

18 Maintenance Unit

60 Operational Training Unit

52 Operational Training Unit

2 Delivery Flight

1 Radio School, Halton

5 Maintenance Unit

1 School of Technical Training
29.5.47 Struck-off RAF charge as sold to Field Aircraft Services Ltd
14.6.47 Registered as DH.89A G-AJXB Field Aircraft Services Ltd, Croydon Aerodrome, London
13.12.48 Change of ownership: British European Airways Corporation, Renfrew
Named RMA William Gilbert Grace
15.12.48 CofA issued
11.50 BEA Rapides G-AJXB & G-AHXW based at Lands End on their Scilly Islands scheduled services.
12.12.53 G-AJXB visited Manchester-Ringway
28.4.55 Change of ownership: Eagle Aviation Ltd, Blackbushe
2.2.56 Change of ownership: Independent Air Travel Ltd, Hurn
Independent began as a charter operator in 1954, soon purchased a fleet of Vickers Vikings for inclusive tour charters to Europe.
4.3.56 Struck-off British Register, sold to Sweden
.56 G-AJXB visited Croydon Airport, London early 1956 for work prior to export to Dragon Airways, Bromma, Sweden
2.8.56 Registered SE-CBU Dragon Aviation A. B., Ekero
29.8.56 SE-CBU noted at Stockholm-Bromma Airport, reported as “Dragon Aviation’s newly acquired Rapide”
5.8.60 Sold by Dragon Aviation to Petur Wilhelm Adolf R. Ahrens, Stockholm

Peter Ahrens, a Swedish pilot/engineer, intended to migrate to Australia but found airline fares were too expensive for the family.  He purchased the Rapide to fly his family to Australia.
5.9.60 SE-CBU noted at Nicosia, Cyprus enroute to Australia. Owner Mr. Ahrens.
17.9.60 SE-CBU noted at Singapore-Paya Lebar, Sweden to Australia
25.9.60 SE-CBU arrived Darwin NT, pilot Peter Ahrens with 5 of his family on board

Flew Darwin-Brisbane-Sydney
25.1.61 SE-CBU flew Sydney to Launceston, Tasmania with one refuelling stop Mallacoota Vic
12.5.61 Registered VH-CBU W. A. R. Ahrens, Burleigh Heads Qld
20.12.61 VH-CBU noted at Coolangatta Qld, "East Coast Airways" titles
7.6.62 Reregistered VH-ECW W. A. R. Ahrens t/a East Coast Airways, Coolangatta Qld
62 East Coast Airways operated charter with a mixed fleet of Rapide VH-ECW, PA-23 Apache VH-ECY, PA-22 Tripacer VH-ECX and RC-3 Seabee VH-ECZ. Ahrens imported Grumman Mallard JZ-POB from Dutch New Guinea and planned scheduled airline services from Brisbane to northern NSW towns, leasing a Piaggio P166 VH-BBG, but DCA refused an airline licence.
11.1.63 Change of ownership: R. H. Healy, RAAF Station, Darwin NT
10.12.63 VH-ECW arrived Adelaide-Parafield Airport from Darwin for major overhaul. White, grey & blue paint scheme, visible through the paintwork were previous registration VH-CBU and East Coast Airlines titles. Parked at back of AeroKair hangar for some months then work commenced at a slow pace.
29.1.65 Change of ownership: Merv Ward, Brisbane Qld t/a Pastoral Aviation (Qld) Pty Ltd
Purchased to replace Rapide VH-BIF on dingo-bait dropping contracts in western Queensland.
1.65 Work commenced on CofA renewal at Parafield by AeroKair
3.66 noted Parafield parked outside, overhaul completed, new white & silver paint scheme
25.6.66 VH-ECW finally departed Parafield at end of extended overhaul and repaint. Staff of Rossair and AeroKair posed for group picture around the Rapide to mark its 30 month stay in their hangar. Flew Parafield-Archerfield by Merv Ward
27.6.66 Arrived Brisbane-Archerfield Airport, based here
9.66 Dropping popisoned meat dingo baits in Victoria River Downs NT and East Kimberley district of WA, along with PA-32 Cherokee Six VH-AVO.
3.67 noted at Archerfield in hangar, white and silver, “Pastoral Aviation” titles, also 31.5.67
4.1.68 noted Blackall Qld, along with Merv Ward’s Yeoman YA-1 Cropmaster VH-TPN
30.3.68 Destroyed by fire when fabric caught alight during engine start, Blackall Qld
30.3.68 Struck-off Register
.68 Merv Ward replaced VH-ECW with DHA-3 Drover VH-PAB which continued the contract spreading dingo baits.

  

  St Just, Lands End 21 July 1952, while in BEA service.                                                           Photo by Dave Freeman


  

  SE-CBU parked at Coolangatta Qld in 1960, after its flight from Sweden.                              Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  VH-CBU at Coolangatta Qld, December 1961, East Coast Airways titles.                                            Photo by Brian Baker

  

  VH-ECW in the same paintwork but no titles, Parafield December 1963.                                         Photo by Geoff Goodall


  

  Parafield March 1966, on completion of an extended overhaul, silver and white.                               Photo by Geoff Goodall


  

  At Blackall Qld in January 1968, “Pastoral Aviation (Qld) Pty Ltd Seeding and Spraying” titles.    




3) 1970s IMPORTS by Australian vintage aircraft enthusiasts:


A pair of Rapides were purchased in New Zealand in 1974 and both were ferried across the Tasman by NZ pilot Ray Cooney, who had much experience on the type. They made popular additions to the Australian antique aircraft scene, both regularly attending airshows and fly-ins. 


A third Rapide G-AJSL was imported in 1976 from England as a damaged airframe. It had an extended restoration at various Melbourne area airfields over the next three decades. In 2014 it took to the air again as VH-UXZ, looking superb painted in 1930s ANA scheme.



C/n 6655  Dominie 1, Rapide 3                                                                                                                                                          VH-IAN, VH-UTV

.43 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to
De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order for 75 DH.89B Dominies, serial range HG644 to HG732 of which HG644-HG674 were built between March and November 1943
.43 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie 1 HG656
23.7.43 Issued No.76 Maintenance Unit

Transferred to Royal New Zealand Air Force
26.8.43 Embarked on ship LS732 for New Zealand
29.8.43 Struck-off RAF charge
6.10.43 Arrived Auckland as cargo on merchant vessel.
.43 Taken on RNZAF charge as Dominie NZ527
12.43 Jim Monk logbook: flew Dominies NZ527 & NZ558 between Whenuapai, Rongotai and Wigram


30.8.46 Registered ZK-ALB New Zealand National Airways Corporation.  Named Tikaka
22.7.57 Change of ownership: Trans Island Airways Ltd, Oamaru
8.58 Change of ownership: Coastal Airways Ltd, Auckland
Briefly operated passenger services from Whenuapai RNZAF Base near Auckland to Northland and towns along the north coast of the NZ North Island. The venture was under-capitalised and ceased operations after only a month.
13.8.58 Coastal Airways commenced scheduled services with Rapides ZK-ALB & ZK-BCP
27.9.58 Coastal Airways ceased operations

ZK-ALB was retired in a hangar at Whangerei, while ZK-BCP was left parked on the grass at Whenuapai,
16.1.59 ZK-ALB noted at Christchurch, Coastal Airways titles
2.59 Leased by Trans Island Airways Ltd, Oamaru
2.59 ZK-ALB & ZK-BCP were ferried to Christchurch to maintain Trans Island Airways services after their Lockheed 10A ZK-BUT suffered serious structural damage in a ground-loop while landing at Christchurch on 18.2.59
1.4.59 ZK-ALB flew TIA’s final scheduled service before the airline ceased operations, pilot Brian Waugh
30.3.59 ZK-ALB flown on a charter by Brian Waugh
.59 Change of ownership: Marlborough Aero Club, Marlborough
7.61 Change of ownership: Ritchie Air Services Ltd, Gore, later Te Anau
7.7.61 Delivered Blenheim to Christchurch, then Gore next day, pilot Ian Ritchie. Aircraft had just completed a CofA renewal and was painted with “Ritchie Air Services” titles
19.8.61 noted at Christchurch, "Ritchie Air Services Ltd" titles, with "RAS" on tail
.64 Change of ownership due company merger with NZ Tourist Air Travel Ltd:
New Zealand Tourist Air Travel, Queenstown
10.6.66 noted at Invercargill in service "Ritchie Air Services a subsidiary of TAT" titles with "TAT" on tail
1.1.68 Change of ownership due company merger: Mount Cook Airlines, Queenstown
10.69 flew Te Anau-Milford Sound, "Tourist Air Travel" titles
18.7.73 Change of company name: Mount Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Co Ltd
Continued the same tourist scenic flights from Queenstown.
.72 Withdrawn from service at Lake Te Anau airfield. Mount Cook replaced four Rapides with new BN-2A Islanders on scheduled services and tourist sight-seeing flights
1.11.73 ZK-BCP & ZK-ALB ferried to nearby Manapouri due Te Anau airfield being closed to operations. then to Queenstown for storage pending sale
8.11.73 ZK-BCP & ZK-ALB ferried to Queenstown, where stored in hangar with Rapides ZK-AHS & -AKY.
.74 Sold to C. Tracey & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne Victoria, Australia c/- Bill Waterton
8.6.74 ZK-ALB noted at Auckland-Ardmore, blue and white Mount Cook paint scheme, no titles, with registration hand-taped on tail.
15.6.74 ZK-ALB ferried Norfolk island-Brisbane, pilot Ray Cooney, navigator Ted Allen of TAA. Registration in tape
16.6.74 Arrived Melbourne-Essendon Airport from Brisbane on delivery
8.7.74 Registration VH-UNZ reserved by DCA for DH.89 at request of C. Tracey & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne
7.74 Sold to Ken Orrman, Shepparton Vic
2.8.74 Registered VH-IAN C. Tracey & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne c/- W. Waterton
Registration requested for new owner Ken Orrman’s son Ian, who was a keen pilot
16.10.74 Change of ownership: Kenneth E. Orrman, Shepparton Vic
8.12.74 visited fly-in Point Cook Vic
21-22.2.75 visited airshow Berwick Vic, flew displays with Rapide VH-BGP
7.12.75 visited fly-in Point Cook Vic
22.10.76 Flew Adelaide-Sydney as competitor in Benson & Hedges Air Race, race #154
6.11.76 visited fly-in Wodonga Vic, with Rapide VH-BGP
5.12.76 visited fly-in Point Cook Vic
3.4.77 visited fly-in Sunbury Vic
23.4.77 visited airshow West Maitland NSW
30.10.77 visited fly-in Sunbury Vic
20.11.77 visited fly-in Point Cook Vic
4.6.78 flew at fly-in Shepparton Vic, based here
11.2.79 visited airshow Lilydale Vic
4.3.79 visited airshow Ballarat Vic
4.6.99 Change of ownership: Roy Fox, Sydney NSW
4.6.99 Reregistered VH-UTV
(Roy Fox had a collection of vintage aircraft, including the derelict Short Scion VH-UTV as a long-term restoration project. He requested the registration for the Rapide to hold the registration for later use on Scion)
3.11 Rapide was repainted all silver in pre-war RAAF markings as “A33-1”, flew Temora-Tocumwal-Ballarat-Point Cook as participant in RAAF WWII training base commemoration flight.

Current


  

  Invercargill 1963 with Ritchie Air Services.                                                                            Photo by Dennis Kelly


  

  Queenstown NZ in September 1968, with NZ Tourist Air Travel.                                              Photo by Lindsay Nothrop


  

  Auckland 8 June 1974, a week before its ferry flight to Australia.                                                   Photo by Ray Deerness


  

  VH-IAN visited an airshow at Berwick Vic in February 1975. Photo by Geoff Goodall

  

  Circa 1976.                                                                                                                 Photo: Neil Follett collection


  

  At Temora NSW in March 2011,  in prewar RAAF markings.                                                                      Photo by Phil Vabre





C/n 6648  Dominie 1, Rapide                                                                                                                                                                  VH-BGP

5.43 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to
De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order for 75 DH.89B Dominies, serial range HG644 to HG674 which were built between March and November 1943
.43 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie 1 HG649

Diverted to Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Packed by RAF No.76 Maintenance Unit for shipping to NZ
4.8.43 Struck-off RAF charge
9.43 Arrived Auckland as cargo on merchant vessel Sussex, also on board was 6647/NZ523.
Moved by barge to Hobsonville Air Base for assembly
9.43 Taken on RNZAF charge as Dominie NZ524

Central Group Communication Flight, Rongatai

42 Squadron, Ohakea
10.45 Based in Fiji with RNZAF detachment, replacing DH.89 NZ555 which was retired 9.45 due tropical deterioration of the wooden airframe
8.47 Returned to New Zealand from Fiji
.53 The final three RNZAF Dominies were retired, replaced by DH.104 Devons
7.53 Struck-off RNZAF charge, the last RNZAF Dominie to remain in service. DH.89s had been operated by RNZAF since 1939
10.53 NZ524 put up for sale by tender by Government Stores Board
11.53 Successful disposal tender submitted by Airwork (NZ) Ltd, Christchurch
11.53 Reportedly delivered to Airwork by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Carnegie
11.53 Purchased by Airwork (NZ) Ltd to provide a second DH.89 for their associate company South Island Airways, Christchurch.  SIA had been operating scheduled services since February 1953 with a single DH.89 ZK-BBP
11.12.53 Registered as DH.89B ZK-BCP Airwork (NZ) Ltd, Christchurch.
Identity quoted in NZ Civil Register as “M2524” due misreading of hand-written “NZ524” on registration application form.
1.2.54 NZ CofA issued.
8.2.54 First test flight by SIA Chief Pilot Brian Chadwick, at Christchurch
8.2.54 Flew Christchurch-Oamaru, returned to Christchurch the following day
12.2.54 Commenced scheduled services with South Island Airways: Christchurch-Nelson, flown by Captain Brian Chadwick. Joined SIA DH.89 ZK-BBP on the route network.
12.55 Management of South Island Airways announced they were forced cease services. IFR aircraft were essential to maintain services but they were unable tor raise the finance or gain Government support to purchase replacement aircraft for the two Rapides.
10.2.56 Final SIA service flown by ZK-BCP, Christchurch-Timaru-Oamaru return, Captain Brian Waugh

Both Rapides used for non scheduled work for a period until sold

South Island Airways’ licence was acquired by Mount Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Co. Prior to starting services, the licence was transferred to a newly formed company Trans Island Airways Ltd, financed by Oamaru business interests. TIA announced it would import IFR Beech D18S aircraft.
12.3.56 TIA commenced scheduled services with DH.89 ZK-BBP leased from Airwork.
Lease ended on 14.5.56 when replaced by ZK-BCP purchased by TIA
5.56 Change of ownership: Trans Island Airways Ltd, Oamaru
15.5.56 ZK-BCP commenced scheduled service for TIA on South island routes. It entered service already repainted with Trans Island Airways titles. Flown by Cpt. Brian Waugh

Trans Island Airways operated services with Rapides ZK-BCP & ZK-ALB while negotiated with the Air Services Licencing Authority for routes to the NZ North Island, and locating a suitable Beech D18S in USA.
13.5.57 Trans Island Airways’ Beech D18S ZK-BQE entered service following lengthy delays due undercarriage collapse on takeoff at Brisbane on the delivery flight from USA
5.57 Trans Island Airways retired Rapide ZK-BCP
11.8.58 Change of ownership: Coastal Airways Ltd, Auckland
Briefly operated non-scheduled passenger services from Whenuapai RNZAF Base near Auckland to Northland and towns along the north coast of the NZ North Island. The venture was under-capitalised and ceased operations after only a month.
13.8.58 Coastal Airways commenced services with Rapides ZK-ALB & ZK-BCP
27.9.58 Coastal Airways ceased operations

ZK-BCP was left parked on the grass at Whenuapai, while ZK-ALB was retired in a hangar at Whangerei
2.59 Leased by Trans Island Airways Ltd, Oamaru
2.59 ZK-ALB & ZK-BCP were ferried to Christchurch to maintain Trans Island Airways services after their Lockheed 10A ZK-BUT suffered serious structural damage in a ground-loop while landing at Christchurch on 18.2.59.
9.59 Change of ownership: Brian G. Chadwick t/a Air Charter, later Air Charter Ltd, Christchurch
Chadwick was formerly chief pilot of Trans island Airways. Established his own company to fly tourist sight-seeing, passenger and freight charter and parachuting.

Chadwick with 4 passengers disappeared 12.2.62 in DH.90 Dragonfly ZK-AFB near Milford Sound
31.1.62 Struck fence at end of landing run at Queenstown, damaging starboard lower wing, pilot Henry Ochsner. Temporary repairs by Southern Scenic Air Services and later ferried to Christchurch for complete repair.
18.9.62 Leased to Airwork (NZ) Ltd, Christchurch for charter work
7.64 Change of ownership: Southern Scenic Air Services Ltd, Queenstown
Operated scenic flights from Queenstown and Milford Sound
25.3.65 Minor damage when rolled into an earth bank on landing at Milford Sound
1.5.65 Change of ownership due company merger with NZ Tourist Air Travel Ltd:
New Zealand Tourist Air Travel, Queenstown.
NZTAT then owned a total of 21 aircraft: Rapides, Grumman Widgeons, Cessnas
1.1.68 Change of ownership due company merger: Mount Cook Airlines, Queenstown
16.11.69 Ground-loop on landing Te Anau, struck a fence. Minor damage only.
18.7.73 Change of company name: Mount Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Co Ltd
Continued the same tourist scenic flights from Queenstown.
.72 Withdrawn from service at Lake Te Anau airfield. Mount Cook replaced four Rapides with new BN-2A Islanders on scheduled services and tourist sight-seeing flights
1.11.73 ZK-BCP & ZK-ALB ferried to nearby Manapouri when Te Anau airfield was closed to operations. storage pending sale
8.11.73 ZK-BCP & ZK-ALB ferried from Manapouri to Queenstown, where stored pending sale.  They were parked in a hangar with
two other Rapides ZK-AHS & -AKY.
74
In early 1974 Joe Drage of Drage's Historic Aircraft Collection at Wodonga Vic was approached by long-time friend Bill Waterton (TAA F.27 Captain) suggesting that they each buy a DH.89 from NZ because they could negotiate a better deal for the two aircraft available, plus share the ferry tanks for the flights home.
- DCA was unenthusiastic about the import of wooden construction passenger aircraft and suggested that on arrival thery would require fabric removed and full inspection of the wooden frame, despite a current NZ CofA and Export CofA. Eventually DCA relented and agreed to honour the NZ CofA.
- Drage was to get ZK-ALB, whch Waterton had ferried. However Waterton sold it to another owner and told Joe he would have Waterton's assigned ZK-BCP which was in better condition of the two. Joe first saw it as VH-BGP at the Berwick airshow when Bill Waterton took him for a fly in it, with no cabin seats because the ferry tank had just been removed.
.74 Sold to C. Tracey & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne Victoria, Australia c/- Bill Waterton
.74 ZK-BCP ferried from Queenstown to Dunedin for overhaul by Southair Aviation Services, to prepare delivery flight to Australia
18.11.74 Ferried to Christchurch for installation of long range fuel tanks
.74 Refurbished at Christchurch Airport and NZ CofA renewed for ferry flight to Australia. Repainted red and silver with Australian registration VH-BGP. Registration covered over and ZK-BCP taped over it for the delivery flight.
7.1.75 noted at Christchurch, red and silver, taped over registration reading “ZK-BCP”
14.1.75 Departed Christchurch for Auckland then Australia, pilot Ray Cooney who had ferried ZK-ALB to Australia in June 1974.
At Auckland Cooney was joined by navigator Ted Allen who had also been on ZK-ALB’s cross-Tasman ferry.
19.1.75 ZK-BCP Auckland-Kaitaia-Norfolk Island, flying time 4.47 hrs
20.1.75 ZK-BCP departed Norfolk island for Brisbane but turned back due radio problems
21.1.75 Norfolk-Brisbane Airport, flying time 7.40 hrs
22.1.75 Owner Bill Waterton, a TAA F.27 Captain, took over ZK-BCP to continue the flight to Victoria:  Brisbane Airport-Tamworth- Albury-Kyneton Vic. Landed at Kyneton at dusk.
23.1.75 Registration on airframe changed to VH-BGP at Kyneton airfield during Australian CofA inspection
24.1.75 VH-BGP noted at Kyneton
31.1.75 Registered VH-BGP C. Tracey & Co Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic c/- Bill Waterton
21-22.2.75 Public debut at Berwick Vic airshow, flown by Bill Waterton. Arrived in formation from Mangalore Vic with Rapide VH-IAN and DH.84 Dragon VH-AON.  Both Rapides flew displays during the two day airshow.
3.75
Waterton delivered VH-BGP to Joe Drage's farm at Wodonga
20.5.75 Official Change of ownership: Joseph G. Drage/ Drage’s Historical Aircraft, Wodonga Vic
Based on owner’s farm near Wodonga, housed in large hangar with other vintage aircraft
Joe Drage was BGP's only pilot for the next 10 years, then occasionally Kevin Gleeson.
7.12.75 visited flyin at RAAF Point Cook Vic
6.11.76 visited fly-in Wodonga Vic, with Rapide VH-IAN
4.6.78 flying at Shepparton fly-in
17.6.79 noted at Wodonga Vic
6.6.81 noted at Wodonga Vic
16-17.4.83
visited Canberra airshow, pilot Joe Drage
27.1.85 Flown from Wodonga to Wangaratta when Drage Historic Aircraft Collection was moved to the newly built Drage Air World hangar at Wangaratta Airport. Eight were delivered by air, remainder moved by road.
4.3.85
flew to Bathurst NSW for movie work, pilot Joe Drage
3.4.85 Change of ownership: City of Wangaratta Vic  
The Airworld aircraft collection was transferred to the ownership of the shire

Change of name: Airworld Collection, Wangaratta Vic
4.1.86
Flown by Joe Drage Wangaratta-Merimbula-Lakes Entrance-Phillip Island-Geelong-Wangaratta, promoting Air World
4.3.86
Flown by Joe Drage Wangaratta to Bendigo Vic to promote Air World
12.10.91 visited airshow RAAF Richmond NSW, pilot Joe Drage
17.11.91
visited airshow RAAF Point Cook Vic
24.10.92 visited airshow Avalon Vic
20.3.97 Last flight. Joe Drage flew VH-BGP at Wangaratta for a TV documentary
1.02 Airworld closed in late January due falling visitor numbers and costs
9.03 Advertised for sale during disposal of the Airworld collection: total airframe time 6329 hours, last flew 1998.
.04 Purchased by Bruce Ivers, Subiaco, Perth WA
26.7.04 Change of ownership: Dime Nominees Pty Ltd, Perth c/o Bruce Ives

Significant deterioration found in woodwork and glued joints of the airframe
9.04 Airframe loaded into a shipping container at Wangaratta by Ivers with Colin and Malcolm Smith of Croydon Aircraft  Co. 
To be completely restored to airworthy by Croydon Aircraft Company at Mandeville NZ.
(Croydon Aircraft Co were rebuilding their own Rapide ZK-AKS c/n 6647 (which had been originally shipped from Britain to NZ in 1943 with BGP: see 9.43 above this entry)
9.04 Shipped on ANL Progress to Port Chalmers, Dundedin NZ

Engines sent to Robert and Donald Bunn's facility at their farm at Howlong NSW for overhaul
04/08 Rebuild under way at Mandeville NZ. The fuselage was found to be in very poor condition with previous repairs during prior NZ service. An entirely new fuselage was constructed at Mandeville.
08
Restoration 60% completed but work ceased at Mandeville due finances.
Croydon Aircraft  Co stored the project in a 50 feet long railway carriage, which has doors in the middle to allow access.


  

  NZ524 in RNZAF service.                                                                                      Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  ZK-BCP at Queenstown NZ, December 1968 with Tourist Air Travel titles.                    Photo: Geoff Goodall collection


  

  Queenstown November 1970, still with TAT but new paint scheme.                            Photo: Dave Freeman collection


  

  Christchurch 7 January 1975, silver and red, VH-BGP taped over to read “ZK-BCP”.                        Photo by Ray Deerness


  

  VH-BGP at Berwick Vic in February 1975. Bill Waterton leaves dust.                                              Photo by Geoff Goodall




C/n 6801  Dominie 1, Rapide 3                                     Lady Penrhyn                                                                                        G-AJSL, VH-UXZ (2)

10.44 Built at Loughborough by Brush Coachworks Ltd under wartime sub-contracting to
De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd

Built to RAF order for 150 DH.89B Dominies, serial range NR713 to NR756 which were built between 10.44 and 1.45
1.11.44 Taken on RAF charge as Dominie 1 NR713
1.11.44 Issued No.18 Maintenance Unit
8.9.45 Issued Technical Training Command Communications Flight, White Waltham
29.10.45 Issued Technical Training Command Communications Flight, Wyton
.46 Issued Technical Training Command Communications Flight, Halton
16.1.47 Issued No.5 Maintenance Unit
29.5.47 Struck-off RAF charge as sold to Field Aircraft Services Ltd
8.5.47 Registered as DH.89A G-AJSL Field Aircraft Services Ltd, Croydon Aerodrome, London
16.6.47 Struck-off Register as sold abroad
17.1.48 Restored to Register G-AJSL Field Aircraft Services Ltd, Croydon Aerodrome, London
14.9.49 Change of ownership: Trent Valley Aviation Ltd, Tollerton  Named Friar Tuck
26.10.49 CofA issued
7.50 Eastleigh report: G-AJSL of Trent Valley Aviation arrived, name Friar Tuck
1.9.50 Change of ownership: Eagle Aviation Ltd, London  
11.50 Tollerton report: Trent Valley Aviation Ltd have closed down along with the local flying club operated by T. Shipside Ltd. Eagle Aviation will run the new club. Rapide G-AJSL was parked in a hangar.
29.11.51 W. S.Shackleton Ltd, London telegram to DCA: they are supplying a DH.89 G-AJSL as a replacement aircraft for QATB’s VH-CFA1 which ditched in sea 26.11.51. Will be delivered to Australia by Captain B.W.Monkton.. Replaced by DH.89 G-ALNT which was shipped to Australia, became VH-CFA2
24.12.51 Change of ownership: Air Charter Ltd, Croydon Aerodrome, London
7.4.52 Change of ownership: Eagle Aviation Ltd, London
9.4.52 Change of ownership: Surrey Flying Services Ltd, Croydon Aerodrome, London
22.3.56 Change of ownership: Southern Flying Schools Ltd, Portsmouth
Commercial arm of the Portsmouth Aero Club
9.8.58 visited RNAS Lee-on-Solent airshow, operated joyrides
10.1.61 Change of ownership: Portsmouth Aero Club Ltd, Portsmouth
12.61 noted at Portsmouth, with Portsmouth Aero Club
22.3.62 Change of ownership: Thomas H. Marshall, Christchurch
23.8.62 Change of ownership: P. E. Palmer Holdings Ltd, Ringwood
26.4.63 Change of ownership: Shackleton Aviation Ltd, London
22.9.64 Change of ownership: Airgeneers Ltd, Staverton Airport
7.66 noted at Staverton
66 Operated by Scillonia Airways
16.9.66 Change of ownership: Parachute Regiment Free Fall Club, Aldershot
17.9.66 visited Portsmouth
31.3.68 Change of ownership: Trent Valley Aviation Ltd, East Midlands Airport
The company owned Rapides G-AJSL, G-AKRS & G-AHJA which were operated for The Rothmans Parachuting Team in a blue & white paintwork with Rothmans logo.
4.68 based at Farnborough for parachuting, named Pegasus
5.8.68 visited Newcasle-Woolsington
23.2.69 Damaged when nosed over on landing Usworth. Stored at Usworth
.69 Trent Valley Aviation ceased operations after all three Rapides were damaged in accidents during 1969. G-AHJA had been stripped for parts for the repair of G-AJSL.
25.3.70 Change of ownership but not re-registered in name of new owner
9.70 noted at Usworth, also 11.70
17.12.70 Struck-off Register as Withdrawn from Service
7.71 noted at Usworth, with damaged nose. Also 4.74, 8.76
c77 Moved by road from Usworth to Biggin Hill for repair and overhaul
77 Reported at Biggin Hill under rebuild
.77 Sold to Sander Veenstra, Melbourne Vic. Veenstra imported a number of vintage aircraft from UK to Australia for resale
.77 Sold by Veenstra to Doc Penny, Sunbury Vic
2.78 Arrived Sunbury-Penfield Airfield. Damaged nose section, retains Rothmans Parachuting Team blue & white paint scheme with titles "Trent Valley Aviation Ltd." Dismantled, requires a complete rebuild.
4.78 noted at Sunbury, dismantled in hangar pending rebuild
5.78 DH.89 parts found stored in a workshop on Cairns Airport were donated to Doc Penny, Sunbury Vic. They were moved to Sunbury 5.78 as parts for his restoration of DH.89 G-AJSL. Included 3 wings. Probably ANA post-war Rapide spares, but possibly included parts of VH-ADE.
2.12.78 G-AJSL noted at Sunbury, dismantled in hangar. Also 5.79, 4.80
5.80 Advertised for sale: "new major overhaul, 3 years since rebuild, requires rebuild": Post Office Box, Sunbury Vic
.80 Sold to Ron Bloss, Melbourne Vic. Bloss was an engineer with Essendon company Speedair. He planned a 5 year rebuild of the Rapide.
6.80 Moved by road from Sunbury to Essendon Airport, Melbourne
17.6.80 fuselage noted in the back of IPEC hangar at Essendon. Also 4.82
.82 Ron Bloss died
.83 G-AJSL purchased by Maurice Rolfe, Melbourne Vic t/a Vintage Air Aviation. The Rapide was only partially restored and required much more work. Rolfe was an experienced aircraft engineer then working at Essendon Airport. He also owned Percival Proctor VH-DUL as a restoration project.
2.4.83 G-AJSL noted Essendon stored
26.3.84 G-AJSL noted Essendon stored
  G-AJSL and Proctor VH-DUL stored in various hangars at Essendon Airport where Rolfe worked as an aircraft engineer
.86 Moved from Essendon to Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne by Rolfe to continue the rebuild
1.88 G-AJSL noted Moorabbin, in Schutt Aviation hangar, with Proctor VH-DUL
7.01 G-AJSL noted Moorabbin, under rebuild in hangar. Rolfe has a plan to fly the Rapide around the world with paying passengers
04/05 G-AJSL restoration continues at Moorabbin by Maurice Rolf, now at the back of the old Flinders Island Airways hangar
8.6.05 Registered VH-UXZ Maurice Rolfe, Melbourne Vic
12.11 Rebuild almost complete, aircraft repainted in back of FIA hangar at Moorabbin.
30.4.12 First taxying trials at Moorabbin under its own power. All over silver with Australian National Airways "ANA" flag on the rudder, registration VH-UXZ on fuselage and wings, "Royal Mail" insignia and name on nose Lady Penrhyn.(Maurice Rolfe named the Rapide after the female convict ship of the First Fleet of 11 sailing ships which brought prisoners from England to the new penal colony at Sydney, Australia in 1787)
28.3.14 First flight at Moorabbin at 1239 Local time, pilot John Darcy Williams.
29.3.14 Flew Moorabbin-Temora NSW to attend an airshow.

Current



G-AJSL at Staverton in September 1965.                                                                                Photo by Ian MacFarlane

 In storage at Penfield airfield, Sunbury, Victoria, May 1979.                                                    Photo by Ian MacFarlane

After a 30-year rebuild, G-AJSL emerged in Australian National Airways (ANA) markings with registration VH-UXZ which had been worn by an ANA Rapide (not this aircraft). Seen at Temora NSW 30 March 2014, flown by John Darcy Williams, test pilot for its first fllght at Moorabbin only two days earlier. These two excellent photographs were taken by Phil Vabre.



4)  A VISITING RAPIDE


A New Zealand entrant in the 1969 BP England-Australia Air Race was DH.89A Rapide ZK-AKU, owned by David W. Gray of Auckland and based at Ardmore. He was sponsored by the Rothmans Sports Foundation, which operated Rapides on parachute displays in Britain.

The crew for the race was owner Dave Gray, Jack Moon, a SAFE Air Bristol Freighter pilot, and Ray Cooney who was to later deliver Rapides VH-IAN and VH-BGP from NZ to Australia.

They departed Auckland on 21 November 1969 to reach the race starting line at London-Gatwick. On departure NZ they were farewelled by an escort of 10 aircraft, before they set course for Norfolk Island and then Brisbane and Darwin.


ZK-AKU with race number 20 was at Gatwick on 16 December 1969 for the commencement of the race. The Rapide reached Parafield Airport, Adelaide 13 days later and continued to the finish line at Bankstown Airport, Sydney on 4 January 1970.  Although painted with sponsors’ emblems, it retained the name Tawaka on the nose from its days with NZ National Airways Corp. 

After the race, ZK-AKU passed through Melbourne-Moorabbin on 8 January 1970, where Dave Prossor noted that it had a large temporary fuel tank in the cabin, plus a folding scooter. It departed for Hobart, Tasmania where the crew waited for favourable winds before departing on 14 January 1970 for the Tasman Sea crossing home to NZ.


ZK-AKU is now owned by NZ Historic Aircraft Trust at Tauranga and flies in its former RNZAF markings.


  

  ZK-AKU at Parafield in December 1969.                                                                                                                                    Photo by Peter Kelly






References:

- Australian Civil Aircraft Register ledgers, Department of Civil Aviation and its successors

- DCA Aircraft files, National Archives of Australia, Melbourne

- RAAF Status Cards, RAAF Historical Section, Canberra (A33- series only, A3- not held)

- National Library of Australia - Trove newspaper archive website

- British Civil Aircraft Register: G-INFO website

- British Civil Aircraft Since 1919, A. J. Jackson, Putnam, London 1973

- British Military Aircraft Serials 1911-1979, Bruce Robertson, Patrick Stephens, Cambridge 1979

- De Havilland Aircraft Since 1909, A. J. Jackson, Putnam, London 1978

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

- Allotment of Civil Registration markings, CAB & DCA file, National Archives of Australia,

 Series A705 No.8/103/996 transcribed by Dion Makoswski, published in Man and Aerial Machines,

 quarterly, compiled by T.W.Boughton, April 1990

- Forgotten Flyer The Story of Charles W. Snook, Brian Hernan, Tangee Publishing 2007

- Wings of Gold - How the aeroplane developed New Guinea, James Sinclair, Pacific Publications,

 Sydney 1978

- Wings of Tomorrow, Clive Turnbull, 1948: A history of ANA.

- Failure of Triumph, The story of Connellan Airways, Edward J. Connellan, self-published 1992

- Virtue in Flying, A Biography of Keith Virtue, Joan Priest, Angus & Robinson 1975

- British CofA allocations series, Air Britain Archive: quarterly journal

- Historic Civil Aircraft Register G-AUAA to VH-UZZ, Bert Cookson, Austairdata 1996

- 1936 Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race, Aviation Historical Society of Australia Journal March 1964

- Crash on Coolibah, M. J. Flanagan, AHSA Aviation Heritage, 2010

- Aviation Historical Society of Australia Journal, monthly journal 1960-70

- The Centenary Air Race, Robert Veich, AHSA Aviation Heritage, Vol 24 No.1

- Australian Air Log, monthly journal, 1965-1968

- Air Britain Aeromilitaria quarterly journal: listings of RAF and RN Dominies

- Airlines and Aircraft of the Ansett Group 1921-2002, Fred Niven, Edition 8, 2011

- Forgotten Flyer: The Story of Charles W. Snook, Brian Hernan, Tangee Publishing 2007

- Classic Wings Downunder magazine, renamed Classic Wings: editor Graham Orphan:

 various references to Rapides

- Flight Path magazine, editor Rob Fox, various references

- Rag & Tube, monthly journal of Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia, 1977 onwards

- Database D.H.89 Dragon Rapide, Colin Dodds, Aeroplane magazine, April 2004

- New Hebrides Airways history, Pacific Island Aviation Society, Alan Bovelt 1968-75;

- Pandemonium or Paradise, Kath and Bob Paul in the New Hebrides 1946-1980, Marney Dunn,

 Crawford House Publishing, Bathurst 1997

- Trade Winds, The genesis of Polynesian Airways, Sir Reginald Barnewall BT, self published CD,  

 March 2002

- Taking Off, Pioneering Small Airlines of New Zealand 1945-1970, Richard Waugh 2003
- Correspondence between compiler and Merv Ward (VH-ECW & VH-BIF), Ivan Unwin (VH-AAG),
  Peter Brown (VH-AAG), E.C. “Ossie” Osgood (VH-AAG), W.R. Dalgleish (VH-AWG), E.R.Hall (A3-2),
  Keith Isaacs (A3-2), Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade (VH-CFA, VH-BFS), E. J. Connellan.



Back to the Australian Aviation Menu