Last updated 28.10.15
EDGAR PERCIVAL EP.9 IN AUSTRALIA

Compiled by Geoff Goodall


Super Spread Aviation's EP.9 VH-SSV at Moorabbin Vic in 1961.                                The Collection p5533-0040

           During 1954, Australian-born designer Edgar Percival re-entered the aviation industry to produce a private-venture specialist agricultural aircraft, which he believed would have a strong market in Australasia and South Africa.  He established a new business Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd at Stapleford Tawney Aerodrome, Essex renting a hut for the drawing office and a single story airport building became the factory. Percival had spent four months visiting crop-spraying operators in Australia and NZ, and had clear ideas for a functional design that evolved into the EP.9. He did not give it a name. The roomy cabin behind and below the pilot could be fitted with an agricultural hopper of up to a ton capacity plus seat for the loader-driver, while a utility version offered passenger seating, freight or a patient stretcher, with access via cabin side doors and a large rear door.  The rear clam-shell doors were designed to be large enough to load standard wool or hay bales.

          The prototype made its maiden flight on 21 December 1955 flown by Edgar Percial, who did all the test and development flying for British type certification. After 18 months on the market, only twenty EP.9s had been sold, well below Percival's expectations. This new aircraft was a big step for an Australian aerial agricultural industry dominated by inexpensive military disposals Tiger Moths, but the small Edgar Percival company did not have the resources to hold out while sales developed. Percival sold out his interest in 1958 to Samlesbury Engineering Ltd.  The sale included an additional 20 airframes in varying stages of completion, and two registered aircraft; the works were transferred to Squires Gate Aerodrome, Blackpool and the company renamed Lancashire Aircraft Co. Ltd.  At Squires Gate two aircraft were completed under the name Lancashire Prospector EP.9 or Prospector 1 with a 295hp Lycoming replacing the original 270hp Lycoming, and the assembly line had 7 airframes under way.  In early 1960 the works were once again transferred, this time to Samlesbury Aerodrome where five more examples were completed, before production ceased in July 1961 with the twenty-eighth airframe (c/n 47) as the sole Prospector 2 powered by a radial Cheetah engine. Lancashire Aircraft Co Ltd moved its remaining EP.9 airframes by road to Stansted and Lympne airports in July-August 1961.

         At the time Percival sold out in 1958, it is recorded that 20 EP.9s were in the process of construction: five were completely assembled, five were ready for assembly and the remainder completed in component form.  The sale deal included all jigs, parts and design rights.  Thus it can be considered that all EP.9 aircraft were in fact built by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd, but that c/ns 41 to 47 were either completed or assembled by the Lancashire Aircraft Co. Ltd.

        Edgar Percival shipped a demonstrator EP.9 G-APAD to Australia and engaged popular British racing pilot Beverley Snook to fly it on an 18,000 miles tour around Australia in May-July 1957.  It was fitted with 4 chairs in the cabin for the sales tour.  Early Australian orders were for five EP.9s in agricultural configuration, two each for Super Spread Aviation, Melbourne and Skyspread Ltd, Sydney and one for Proctors’ Rural Services, Victoria. Later Super Spread purchased the demonstrator and a utility model was ordered by Tasmanian Aero Club,  configured for utility/ambulance use for the thge aero club's contract with Royal Flying Doctor Service in Tasmania.  The final Australian EP.9 VH-SSR was built up by Super Spread Aviation in their Moorabbin hangar during 1961-1962, using an imported fuselage frame, spare parts and components from a crashed aircraft.



Austin "Aussie" Miller, (left) co-founder of Super Spread Aviation, on arrival at home base Moorabbin Vic
after he and partner Ernie Tadgell flew G-APFY & G-APBR in company from England on delivery.
The EP.9s became VH-SSW and VH-SSV respectively.               Photo: Ben Dannecker collection

        Four EP.9s were flown from England to Australia in 1957, an impressive feat for a single engined agricultural type. They came out in two pairs.

        First to leave were G-APFY and G-APBR flown by Super Spread Aviation founders and directors Austin Miller and Ernie Tadgell. They departed London on 19 September 1957, each aircraft carrying a racing car engine in the cargo hold. They made 32 stops before reaching home base at Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne. 
       A month later on 27 October 1957 two bright red painted EP.9s G-APIA and GAPIB departed London on delivery to Skyspread Australia, Sydney, flown by well-known Australian pilots A. J. R. Titus Oates and J. L.D. Wac Whiteman, accompanied by EP.9 sales pilot Beverley Snook. The second pair reached Darwin on 19 November after what were reported to be routine flights.

        See end of aircraft listing for a report of the delivery of Skyspread's two G-APIA & G-APIB.
   
        In Australian service, operators experienced engine problems from the start. The six cylinder 270hp Lycoming GIO-480 engine was geared to reduce the propeller rpm, introducing a range of maintenance issues. The engine overheated while low flying in Australia's hot weather conditions. In discussion with operators, Kingsford Smith Aviation Service and its associate company Austerserve Pty Ltd at Bankstown proposed a modification to re-engine with 375hp Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah 10 radials. The Cheetah offered the EP.9 a 50% increase in power and operational advantages from a slower revving engine. DCA approved the modification and gave it the designation EP.9C.   As an indication of the problems with the Lycoming engine, Neil McInnes, proprietor of Farm Air Pty Ltd, West Sale Vic purchased VH-SSR in February 1964 but put it up for sale only a few months later due to its poor performance and high engine maintenance costs while crop-spraying during a hot summer.

        Of the eight EP.9s operated in Australia, two have survived, VH-EPN (c/n 28) under long-term restoration to fly in Victoria by Todd Miller, son of Super Spread founder Austin Miller who ferried it from England in 1957, and VH-DAV (c/n F46) displayed partially restored in a museum at Greenock SA.

        Because Edgar Percival did not give his new production aircraft a name, it was designated "E.P.9" in the British Civil Register hand-written ledger pages. However it was also widely referred to as both EP.9 and EP-9.  I have chosen to use EP.9.


This listing of Australian EP.9s is presented in order of appearance on the Civil Register:


                      c/n 28                                                                G-APBR, (VH-SSC), VH-SSV, VH-DAI, VH-EPN
57
Built Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd
2.57
Allocated Class B registration G-43-7 for testflying
17.2.57
8 EP.9s G-43-1 to G-43-8 were noted at the works at Stapleford Aerodrome
11.5.57
G-43-5 & G-43-7 noted at Stapleford, both being resprayed yellow and green
23.5.57
Registered G-APBR: Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd, Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex
29.5.57
CofA issued
6.57
Displayed at the Paris Air Show, fitted with spraybars under the wings, a 170 gallon liquid tank, with a fan driven pump mounted under the nose. It was then flown on a demonstration tour to Spain and North Africa by pilot Harold Best-Devereux
6.57
EP.9s G-APBR & G-AOZO flew demonstration flights at airshow, Ypenburg, Netherlands
6.57
G-APBR purchased by Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Melbourne-Moorabbin Airport Vic

A bureaucratic merry-go-round now commenced:
c/ns 28 and 32 were sold directly by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd to Super Spread Aviation and the owners intended that they be flown to Australia in British markings.  However, the British Ministry declined, stating that their policy was that aircraft diectly sold to another country must be ferried under that country's registration markings.
Thus Super Spread requested DCA issue Australian registrations in their preferred VH-SS series, and DCA allocated VH-SSC and VH-SSB respectively. The appropriate paper work for Australian CofR and CofA was despatched to the Civil Aviation Liaison Officer at Australian House, London the following day. 
When this Australian certification was submitted to the British Ministry, it was pointed out to Australia House that they were already British registered, so the Australian registrations could not be used!

G-APBR and G-APFY were flown to Australia under their British markings, as originally requested.

To add to an already confusing situation, DCA then cancelled VH-SSC & VH-SSB from the Australian Civil Aircraft Register master ledger, with the patently incorrect notation "these two aircraft are no longer to be imported - CofA and CofR can be cancelled”.
2.9.57
Australia House, London, seemingly oblivious to the previous flurry of cables and correspondence, cabled DCA HQ Melbourne,  "Two EP-9s expected to depart tomorrow on delivery to Australia, request Australian registrations."
3.9.57
DCA cable blunt reply: "Agree for 2 EP-9s to be ferried to Australia under British registrations"
11.9.57
G-APBR change of ownership: Wright Stephenson & Co Ltd, Melbourne Vic

Wright Stephenson & Co, an established New Zealand agricultural stock and station agency, had bought a controlling financial interest in Super Spread Aviation.
19.9.57
G-APBR and G-APFY departed London on delivery flight to Australia, flown by Super Spread directors Ernie Tadgell & Austin Miller. Each aircraft carried a racing car engine as freight.
They made 32 refuelling stops enroute to Australia
27.9.57
G-APBR and G-APFY noted at Bahrein on delivery. Both still at Bahrein 29.9.57.
Photo of G-APBR at Bahrein: painted with titles "Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Australia"
10.57
G-APBR flown by Austin Miller on the Timor Sea crossing Koepang, Timor to Darwin. He experienced engine problems and high fuel consumption, finally landing at Darwin right on fuel exhaustion. The engine was inspected by resident pilot/engineer Doug Muir who found the exhaust pipe had broken and heat from exhaust had been directed straight on to the carburettor causing excessive fuel to enter the engine.
19.10.57
G-APBR and G-APFY arrived at Moorabbin on delivery from England, both landed at 12.10pm
10.57
G-APBR photo at Moorabbin: cream with red trim  “Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Australia” titles
22.10.57
Added to Australian Civil Register as VH-SSV: Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Moorabbin Vic
11.57
VH-SSV entered service with Super Spread Aviation, operating as an agricultural sprayer in southern Australian states, alongside a large fleet of Tiger Moths
11.57
DCA file memo: VH-SSV & VH-SSW are operating on the British ARB Approved Flight Manual, pending issue of Australian CofA, due being "first-of-type"on the Civil Register
59
EP.9s VH-SSV and SSX ferried to Perth to be based in WA on agricultural work. Both returned to Melbourne by the end of that year. In 1960 Super Spread sent CA-28 Ceres VH-SSZ to WA.
6.4.60
Serious damage at Penshurst Vic when engine power was lost landing causing aircraft to strike rough terrain hort of the strip. Pilot TT 3135 hrs, on type 1559 hrs
8.10.60
noted outside at Moorabbin, spraybars, in service. Allover silver with green trim. “Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd” titles
7.10.61
noted Moorabbin parked on on grass, spraybars, freshly painted in the new company scheme of two–tone green, “Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd” titles
18.11.61
visited the annual Australian Aerial Agricultural Association symposium at Ballarat Vic
23.9.62
noted Moorabbin in service, fitted with spraybars, titles “Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd & associated companies”
29.9.62
visited Mildura Vic airshow, Super Spread two-tone green paint scheme and titles
31.10.62
Change of ownership: Doggett Aviation & Engineering Co, Jandakot Airport, Perth WA
31.10.62
Re-registered VH-DAI
23.2.63
noted at Maylands aerodorme, Perth. Painted silver with dayglo orange
10.8.63
noted at Perth Airport (Guildford), temporarily based here after DCA closed Maylands 6.63.
1.1.64
noted on an agricultural strip near York WA, “Doggett Aviation” titles, "Percival EP9" on nose, horizontal stripes on tail
4.2.64
Forced landing North Bannister WA, due engine failure, no damage. Pilot Stan Doggett
19.2.64
Undercarriage collapsed during landing near Donnybrook WA, pilot Donald.
Wing and undercarriage seriously damaged
3.4.64
Forced landing Armadale WA due power loss, no damage. Pilot Keith Hobman
18.4.65
noted Jandakot parked outside Doggett hangar with EP-9s VH-DAV & DAX.
"Doggett Aviation" titles on tail boom, retains horizontal stripes on tail, while other two have Speedbird style 
12.5.65
Damaged in heavy landing at Gin Gin WA, pilot Keith Hobman
1.65
Photo at Jandakot in Doggett hangar under maintenance, "Doggett Aviation" titles, horizontal stripes on tail, "Percival EP9" on nose
31.1.65
Brake failure on ground at Jandakot, pilot Keith Hobman
5.3.65
Starboard tyre punctured at Campbell’s strip WA, pilot Embury
9.7.65
Brake failure during landing, Jandakot, pilot Roney
1.8.65
noted Jandakot, parked outside Doggett hangar
15.10.66
noted Jandakot, white with red trim, now painted with "Doggett Aviation" titles, lightning strike down fuselage sides ending in arrow on nose, stylised flying goose insignia in a triangle on tail, and on the nose "Lancashire EP9 Prospector".  Also 10.12.66
10.12.66
noted at Jandakot
1.1.67
Change of ownership: Timothy R. O’Neill, Tintinara SA t/a TonAir Pty Ltd, Tintinara
16.1.67
arrived at Adelaide-West Beach Airport on delivery flight from Jandakot to Tintinara for
Ton Air. All white with red trim
29.1.67
noted at Tintinara SA, now with titles “Ton Air Pty Ltd, Tintinara SA”. Also 4.2.67, 1.4.67,
31.10.67, 31.12.67
69
Retired from ag service at Tintinara SA
3.10.69
Change of ownership: Austral Exploration Services Pty Ltd, Adelaide SA
18.10.69
noted at Parafield, having agricultural hopper removed
26.2.70
noted at Parafield, overhaul for survey work completed: white with black trim, no titles.
The curved rear cabin window and cabin side doors have been retained
8.3.70
noted at Parafield “Airesearch Exploration Pty Ltd” titles now applied. Flown to Essendon that day
9.3.70
noted at Essendon, “Airesearch Exploration Pty Ltd” titles, at Executive Air Services hangar to have mineral survey gear fitted
24.3.70
Returned Essendon-Parafield
2.5.70
noted at Parafield, all white "Airesearch Exploration Pty Ltd” titles, now with survey boom aerials installed under teach wingtip. Also 24.5.70
10.8.70
Damaged in forced landing Punthari SA
13.8.70
Arrived at Parafield by truck, to Robbys Aircraft hangar for repairs. Completed by end of month
5.7.71
Damaged in forced landing at Burra Homestead, near Burra SA.
While flying Parafield to Broken Hill, a partial engine failure necessitated a forced landing.
Pilot J. Doherty was unhurt, operator quoted in DCA report as Austral Air Services.
31.7.71
noted Parafield, “Airesearch Exploration Pty Ltd” titles, dismantled in hangar awaiting repair
27.8.71
noted Parafield, repair not started
17.9.71
Struck-off Regster as withdrawn from service
1.9.72
Departed Parafield on a truck, heading for Broken Hill for rebuild by Barrier Air Taxis
12.72
noted Broken Hill NSW: all white “Airesearch Exploration Pty Ltd” titles.  Re-assembled.
It was under maintenance by Barrier Air Taxis for new owner Lionel Van Praag of Adastra Aerial Surveys, who was based at Broken Hill at that time conducting survey flying.
2.8.73
Restored to Register VH-DAI: Lionel M. Van Praag, Sydney NSW

Van Praag, a veteran flyer and world champion motorbike rider, intended to use the EP.9 as a transport to carry supplies to Temple Island, south of Mackay Qld where he planned to retire.
However he abandoned these plans and the EP-9 did not complete the inspections required at Broken Hill to renew its CofA.
20.3.74
Struck-off Register.
74-75
Parked in the open at Broken Hill, pending sale.
9.9.74
noted at Broken Hill, parked in open, white and green. Tailplane area under repair.
No change by 11.74
.75
Purchased from Van Praag by Joe G. Drage/ Drage’s Historic Aircraft Museum, Wodonga Vic
.75
Wings removed and sent to Wodonga by road. Fuselage on wheels followed later
3.1.76
VH-DAI noted at Wodonga Vic at Drage’s farm airstrip: white and green, reassembled
5.11.76
noted Wodonga at Drage's strip, parked outside, white and green. The EP-9 and Drage’s
Percival Gull VH-CCM were inspected by Edgar Percival, who was guest of honour at the Aviation Historical Society of Australia Conference held that weekend
29.1.77
noted at Wodonga at Drage's farm hangar
17.6.79
noted at Wodonga at Drage's farm hangar, now painted all-over mustard yellow
21.8.80
noted at nearby Albury Airport, parked with other Drage collection aircraft. DCA had placed restrictions on flying from the Wodonga farm airstrip because it conflicted with instrument approach procedures at Albury Airport.  Also noted at Albury 21.8.80, 6.6.81, 23.1.83
1.85
Moved to Airworld, Wangaratta Vic with other aircraft of the Drage collection, to be displayed in a newly built large igloo hangar at Wangaratta Airport. 8 were flown to Wangaratta on 27.1.85

Airworld began as a collaboration between Joe Drage and the Wangaratta City Council, to boost tourist visitors. An interstate bus terminal and cafeteria were established at Airworld
1.6.85
Displayed inside Airword, Wangaratta on opening day, allover mustard yellow, good condition
8.96
Auction announced for disposal of 10 aircraft of the Airworld Collection, which had been forced to rationalise to continue. Among the ten aircraft was EP.9 VH-DAI
19.11.96
EP.9 VH-DAI was Lot No.8 in the auction at Wangaratta of selected aircraft from the Airworld collection.  Sold to Todd & Aussie Miller, Western Aerial Pty Ltd, Derrinallum Vic

Aussie Miller and Ernie Tadgell had founded Super Spread Pty Ltd at Moorabbin in 1952. Miller had flown this particular aircraft on delivery from England. He and his son Todd planned to restore this EP.9 to fly. Todd operated aerial agricultural business Western Aerial Pty Ltd at Derrinallum Vic

Todd Miller wrote in a letter dated 6.4.98: “Work has started on VH-DAI with an initial strip down of the fuselage. While the basic frame is OK, there is a fair degree of corrosion in some of the tubing and panels under the floor. Apart from that, the aircraft is reasonably sound. Work will progress as time and funds allow.”
21.7.98
Restored to Civil Register as VH-EPN:  Todd Miller, Derrinallum Vic
7.5.02
noted at Derrinallum in the Western Aewrial hangar, under part-time rebuild by Aussie & Todd Miller
21.8.07
noted at Derrinallum, slow rebuild, still marked as VH-DAI

Current

,
G-APBR at Moorabbin in November 1957 after ferry flight from England. Cream with red trim
Photo by Jeff Atkinson, courtesy Nigel Daw


Now VH-SSV with Super Spread Aviation, seen at Moorabbin as a duster.                     Photo by Neil Follett


Moorabbin September 1962 as a sprayer, with changes to the two-tone green scheme.   Photo by Dick Hourigan
"Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd and associated companies" below the cockpit


Re-registered VH-DAI with Doggett Aviation, Perth, seen on an ag strip near York WA on New Years Day 1964
Photo by Alistair Coutts


At Doggett Aviation's home base Jandakot Airport, Perth during April 1965.                   Photo by Neil Follett


Alistair Coutts caught all three Doggett Aviation EP.9s together at Jandakot in April 1965, VH-DAI at front.
The cabin windows had been uncovered on the starboard side. They were soon covered again.


By October 1966 VH-DAI had changes to the paintwork, now "Lancashire Prospector" under the cockpit
Photo by Merv Prime


VH-DAI then moved to Ton Air at Tintinara SA, where it is seen soon after delivery from WA.
Photo by John M. Smith via SA Aviation Museum


Tintinara SA early morning in April 1967, with frost-covered windscreen
Still in Doggett's paint scheme with name "Lancashire Prospector".   Photo by Geoff Goodall


Parafield SA in May 1970 fitted with magnetometer gear for mineral survey.  Photo by Nigel K. Daw


Broken Hill NSW in November 1974, pushed outside after its rebuild as a utility freighter was not completed.
Note the cabin windows have been opened up again.                                                Photo by Dave Eyre


Albury March 1983 when Joe Drage's Historic Aircraft Museum was closing its display at nearby Wodonga Vic.
By this time the EP-9 had been sprayed in this unpleasant mustard yellow undercoat.  Photo by Roger McDonald



 c/n 31                                                     Re-engined as EP.9C                           VH-PRS, VH-BOG 
.56
Built Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd. Completed as E.P.9.P2
.56
Allocated Class B registration G-43-1 for testflying
29.12.56
noted at Stapleford were 5 new EP.9s parked in a row, G-43-1 to G-43-5
17.2.57
Eight EP.9s G-43-1 to G-43-8 were noted at Stapleford Aerodrome 

Purchased from manufacturers by Wynne Proctor, proprietor of Proctors’ Rural Services Pty Ltd, Alexandra Vic
9.57
Shipped to Australia

Assembled at Melbourne-Moorabbin Airport by Super Spread Aviation
29.10.57
Registered VH-PRS: Proctors’ Rural Services Pty Ltd, Alexandra Vic
24.11.57
VH-PRS noted at Moorabbin, white “Proctors’ Rural Services Pty Ltd” titles
24.1.58
Flew sorties dropping young rainbow trout fish into Lake Eildon Vic to stock the lake for fishermen
2.1.59
Press release: an EP.9 aircraft dropped a total of 2.5 million trout into Victorian rivers and Eildon Lake during the past year. VH-PRS was the aircraft used on this Government contract.
19.9.59
Crashed during forced landing near Bulla Vic. No injuries
DCA Accident report: "The engine power failed because of water in the fuel system and the aircraft overturned during a landing on unsuitable terrain." 
13.7.60
Change of ownership: Austerserve, Sydney-Bankstown Airport NSW

Kingsford Smith Flying Service associate company Austerserve provided specialist Auster support and sales. From 1947 the original operation, Kingsford Smith Aviation Service, was the main Auster agent for Australia, importing over 200 airframes. KSAS also specialised in rebuilds, re-engining and modifications

Rebuilt at Bankstown
8.2.61
Re-registered VH-BOG: leased to Airfarm Associates Pty Ltd, Tamworth
27.3.61
Change of ownership: Airfarm Associates Pty Ltd, Tamworth
15.4.61
VH-BOG visited Scone NSW airshow, flew an agrcultural display
18.5.61
noted visiting Moorabbin Vic. Also 20.5.61. Red and yellow, “Airfarm Associates, Tamworth” titles, Lycoming engine
23.10.61
Crashed near Quirindi NSW, no injuries: DCA accident report:
"The pilot overshot during an approach to land and the aircraft overturned when harsh brake was applied to stop it within the limited area remaining."

Rebuilt, re-engined with an Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah 10 radial engine
Re-designated EP.9C
11.4.62
Crashed near Glen Innes NSW, pilot seriously injured.
Accident occurred on the aircraft’s third drop dusting run on a property near Glen Innes: the engine was found 40 metres from the wreck, and a propeller blade 200 metres distant.
DCA accident report: "Aircraft crashed into bank of a creek after one blade of its wooden propeller failed in flight and its engine had been torn from its mountings."
3.5.62
Struck-off Register


VH-PRS at Moorabbin Vic in 1958.                                        Photo: The Collection



c/n 32                                                                                                           G-APFY, (VH-SSB), VH-SSW(1)
.56
Built Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd.
.56
Allocated Class B registration G-43-2 for testflying
29.12.56
noted at Stapleford Aerodrome, five new EP.9s parked in a row, G-43-1 to G-43-5 inclusive
17.2.57
noted at Stapleford Aerodrome were EP.9s G-43-1 to G-43-8 inclusive

Ordered new by Super Spread Aviation, Melbourne Vic
11.9.57
Registered G-APFY: Wright Stephenson & Co Ltd, Melbourne Vic

Wright Stephenson & Co, an established New Zealand agricultural stock and station agency, had bought a controlling financial interest in Super Spread Aviation.
17.9.57
CofA issued: Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd, Stapleford

c/ns 28 and 32 were sold directly by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd to Super Spread Aviation and the owners intended that they be flown to Australia in British markings.  However, the British Ministry declined, stating that their policy was that aircraft diectly sold to another country must be ferried under that country's registration markings.
Thus Super Spread requested DCA issue Australian registrations in their preferred VH-SS block, and DCA allocated VH-SSC and VH-SSB respectively. The appropriate paper work for Australian CofR and CofA was despatched to the Civil Aviation Liaison Officer at Australian House, London the following day. 
When this Australian certification was submitted to the British Ministry, it was pointed out to Australia House that they were already British registered, so the Australian registrations could not be used!
G-APBR and G-APFY were flown to Australia under their British markings, as originally requested.
2.9.57
Australia House, London, seemingly oblivious to the previous flurry of cables and correspondence, cabled DCA HQ Melbourne,  "Two EP-9s expected to depart tomorrow on delivery to Australia, request Australian registrations."
3.9.57
DCA cable reply: "Agree for 2 EP-9s to be ferried to Australia under British registrations"
9.57
DCA cancelled the allocated EP.9 registrations VH-SSC & VH-SSB from the Australian Civil Aircraft Register. 
19.9.57
G-APBR and G-APFY departed London on delivery flight to Australia, flown by Super Spread directors Ernie Tadgell & Austin Miller. Each aircraft carried a racing car engine as freight.
They made 32 refuelling stops enroute to Australia
27.9.57
G-APBR and G-APFY noted at Bahrein on delivery. Both were still at Bahrein 29.9.57.
19.10.57
G-APBR and G-APFY arrived at Moorabbin on delivery from England, both landed at 12.10pm
10.57
G-APFY noted at Moorabbin outside Super Spread hangar. Painted overall cream with bright green trim, “Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Australia” titles.
22.10.57
Australian Registration Application: Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Moorabbin Airport Vic, signed by Austin Miller
22.10.57
Registered VH-SSW: Super Spread ┼viation Pty Ltd, Moorabbin Vic
11.57
VH-SSW entered service with Super Spread Aviation, operating as an agricultural sprayer in southern Australian states, alongside a large fleet of Tiger Moths
11.57
DCA file memo: VH-SSV & VH-SSW are operating on the British ARB Approved Flight Manual, pending issue of Australian CofA, due being "first-of-type"on the Civil Register
23.2.58
Damaged during landing at Flinders Island on Furneaux Estate when the tailplane struck an object during an attempted short landing.  Pilot Helmut Apitz was unhurt.
DCA Accident report: "In endeavouring to land short the pilot misjudged his height and the tailplane struck an obstruction on the threshold."

Shipped to Moorabbin for repair by Super Spread Aviation
15.4.58
Crashed on takeoff Moorabbin. Test flight after rebuild from Flinders Island accident.
Took off late in the afternoon, with pilot Austin W. Miller (Super Spread Aviation founder and Director) and engineer Bill Symons on board. Stalled and crashed close to the control tower. Cause was found to be elevator cables having being installed in reverse.
Aircraft wrecked, both seriously hurt.

DCA Accident report: "Immediately after takeoff aircraft climbed steeply, stalled and crashed on to the aerodrome. The elevator cables had been installed so as to reverse normal operating sense."
28.4.58
Struck-off Register

Wing sections and other airframe parts later used to assemble VH-SSR c/n 46 at Moorabbin


Moorabbin October 1957, cream with green trim.                                                        Photo by Neil Follett


VH-SSW during spray testing at Moorabbin in 1957.  The circular hopper filling hatch can be seen on the roof
and propeller for the wind-driven spray generator under the belly.                   Photo: Maurice Austin collection



 c/n 33                                                                                                                              G-APIA, VH-FBY
.56
Built Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd
.56
Allotted Class B registration G-43-3 for testflying
29.12.56
noted at Stapleford Aerodrome were 5 new EP.9s parked in a row, G-43-1 to G-43-5 inclusive
17.2.57
noted at Stapleford Aerodrome were EP.9s G-43-1 to G-43-8 inclusive
.57
C/n 33 & 34 ordered from the manufacturers by Aubrey J. R. Oates, Sydney who was acting as agent for a new company Skyspread Ltd, formed by Lindsay Campbell, Sydney
11.10.57
Registered G-APIA: Beverley John Snook, Stapleford

Snook was acting as agent for Skyspread, Sydney to facilitate registration, clearances etc. Snook was a well known British air racing pilot and adventurer who earlier that year was hired as a flying salesman for the EP.9 and had flown an Australian demonstration tour in G-APAD
15.10.57
British CofA issued
27.10.57
G-APIA & G-APIB departed Croydon Aerodrome, London on ferry flight to Australia, flown by pilots A. J. R. Titus Oates and J. L.D. "Wac" Whiteman.
Both aircraft painted all red with white and yellow trim,  "Skyspread Australia" titles in white, Australian flag on the tails.

See "The Eventful Delivery Flight of Skysporead's two EP.9s" below
29.10.57
G-APIA & G-APIB noted at Bahrein
19.11.57
Both arrived Darwin, pilots Oates and Whiteman.
21.1.58
Australian Registration application: L. D. Campbell, Sydney NSW.
The delay in Australian certification is believed to be due to installation of a different exhaust system after arrival at Sydney. Cowlings were modified to allow stub exhausts
22.1.58
G-APIA noted Bankstown in Fawcett Aviation hangar
21.2.58
Registered VH-FBY: Lindsay Douglas Campbell t/a Skyspread Ltd, Sydney
6.58
Skyspread's two EP-9s VH-FBY & FBZ noted at Bankstown, hangared
9.7.58
A Skyspread EP.9 flew a dusting demonstration at Hawkesbury Agricultural College NSW during the Aerial Agricultural Conference, pilot Wac Whiteman
6.9.59
Crashed near Booroowa NSW. Pilot unhurt.
DCA Accident report: "The pilot miscalculated fuel consumption and the engine power failed during takeoff due fuel exhaustion. The aircraft struck ploughed ground collapsing the undercarriage. "
60-62
VH-FBY wreck stored in Kingsford Smith Flying Service hangar at Bankstown.

Reported that Skyspread initially planned to have Kingsford Smith Aviation Service rebuild it with Cheetah 10 radial engine, as had been carried out on their VH-FBZ.
However Skyspread ceased operations before rebuild commenced
20.7.61
Struck-off Register
2.4.62
Fuselage of VH-FBY noted stored in KSFS hangar at Bankstown, appears complete. In the same red scheme as when delivered, still with titles “Skyspread Australia”.

Fate unrecorded, but no doubt the fuselage and parts were acquired by another EP-9 operator for spares stock 


Bright red G-APIA in Fawcett Aviation's hangar at Bankstown, January 1958.
Photo by Jeff Atkinson via Nigel Daw


VH-FBY at Bankstown 1959 in the same red scheme, in service as a duster with Skyspread.   Photo by Eric Allen



                   c/n 34                                      Re-engined as EP-9C              G-APIB, VH-FBZ,  VH-DCM                                                   
5.10.57
Construction completed at Stapleford Aerodrome by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd.
Completed as model EP.9.P2
.57
Allotted Class B registration G-43-1 for testflying. Re-issue of Class B originally used on c/n 31.
30.8.57
G-43-1 noted at Stapleford Aerodrome

C/n 33 & 34 ordered from the manufacturers by Aubrey J. R. Oates, Sydney who was acting as agent for a new company Skyspread Ltd, formed by Lindsay Campbell, Sydney
11.10.57
British CofA issued
15.10.57
Registered G-APIB: Beverley John Snook, Stapleford

Snook was acting as agent for Skyspread to facilitiate registration, clearances etc. Snook was a well known British air racing pilot and adventurer who earlier that year was hired as a flying salesman for the EP.9 and had flown an Australian demonstration tour in G-APAD
27.10.57
G-APIA & G-APIB departed Croydon Aerodrome, London on ferry flight to Australia, flown by pilots A. J. R. "Titus" Oates and J. L.D. "Wac" Whiteman. Both aircraft painted bright red all over with white & yellow trim, “Skyspread Australia” titles, Australian flag on tail.

See "The Eventful Delivery Flight of Skysporead's two EP.9s" below
29.10.57
G-APIA & G-APIB noted at Bahrein, enroute to Australia
19.11.57
Both arrived Darwin, pilots Oates and Whiteman
7.2.58
Registered VH-FBZ: Lindsay Douglas Campbell t/a Skyspread Ltd, Sydney     

The delay in Australian certification is believed to be due to installation of a different exhaust system after arrival at Sydney. Cowlings were modified to allow stub exhausts
7.2.58
Australian CofA issued
6.58
Skyspread's two EP-9s VH-FBY & FBZ noted at Bankstown, hangared
24.3.59 Crashed "Chatsworth" Station, Binda NSW. Pilot unhurt.
DCA Accident report: "Whilst attempting to land on a wet grass strip with excessive transverse grade under crosswind conditions, the pilot was unable to maintain directional control and the aircraft collided with trees."

L. D. Campbell replaced the wrecked VH-FBZ with DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-PCD purchased 18.5.59 from Aerial Agriculture Pty Ltd, Bankstown.
59
VH-FBZ rebuilt at Bankstown by Kingsford Smith Aviation Service and used as the prototype Cheetah 10 radial engine conversion, to a KSAS modification procedure approved by DCA
10.59
DCA redesignated type as EP.9C
3.60
Completed 300 hours of performance flying at Bankstown for DCA certification, rejoined Skyspread service
6.61
noted at Bankstown, cowled Cheetah engine, same red paint scheme but titles "Skyspread" removed
30.11.61
Change of ownership: Lombard Australia Ltd, Sydney NSW  (a finance company)

Skyspread Ltd had ceased opertations and the company wound up.
19.4.62
Change of ownership: Airfarm Associates Pty Ltd, Tamworth NSW
30.7.62
Crashed near Walcha NSW while cropdusting. Pilot E. Whallon was seriously injured.
DCA accident report: "The aircraft stalled into trees and struck the ground heavily whilst the pilot was attempting to fly at a low height and airspeed over rising terrain."
20.8.62
Struck-off Register
10.10.62
Restored to Register as VH-DCM: Airfarm Associates Pty Ltd, Tamworth NSW
9.4.63
Crashed Murrurundi, near Blandford NSW: Pilot serious injuries.
DCA accident report: "During a level turn between spreading runs there was a substantial loss of engine power and aircraft collided with trees."
9.4.63
Struck-off Register
1.67
Remains of a crashed EP.9 stored in Airfarm hangar at Tamworth, probably VH-DCM


VH-FBZ at Bankstown 1959 as a duster with Skyspread.                                       Photo by Dave Eyre


Rural scene on "The Ranch" ag strip in NSW around 1958. This posed picture for NZL Seeds
shows VH-FBZ's pilot waiting for the next load to be mixed by Ed Wilson (left) and Frank Yates
.
Photo via Ed Wilson courtesy Peter Norville


VH-FBZ immediately after conversion to EP.9C with Cheetah radial engine at Bankstown in 1959. 
Photo by Eric Allen


Pictures of EP.9s at work are rare. I am indebted to Peter Norville for these two views of VH-FBZ in 1960 after
Cheetah engine conversion. It was being flown from an ag strip on "Rock Dhu", Murrundi NSW.
Peter was 10 years old when he took these photographs on his brand new Box Brownie camera





June 1961 at Bankstown, Skyspread titles painted over.                                               Photo by Dave Eyre



                                                    c/n 27                                  Re-engined as EP.9C                        G-APAD, VH-SSW(2, VH-SSX                                                     
.57
Built Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd.
Completed as a model EP.9.P2
2.57
Assigned Class B registration G-43-6 for test flying
17.2.57
EP.9s G-43-1 to G-43-8 inclusive were noted at Stapleford Aerodrome
18.3.57
Registered G-APAD: Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd, Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex
23.4.57
British CofA issued
4.57
G-APAD was dismantled at Stapleford early April for shipping to Australia for demo tour
17.5.57
Arrived Port Melbourne, assembled at Moorabbin Airport by Schutt Aircraft for an Australian demonstration tour by pilot Beverley Snook. Snook was a well-known British air racing pilot and adventurer who was hired as a flying salesman for the EP.9. He had previously flown a Proctor from England to Australia.

G-APAD was a fitted as a 6 seater, with 4 passenger seats in the freight compartment behind and below the pilot in the area where a hopper would be installed for agricultural use.
It was reported that the tour covered 18,000 miles and included 323 flights.
10.6.57
Demonstrated at Perth-Maylands Aerodrome WA, pilot Beverley Snook
7.57
Demonstrated at Tamworth NSW
2.8.57
Demonstrated at Moorabbin, flying with passengers in the rear compartment
9.57
Australian demo tour ended. Snook returned to England, quoted as having achieved 4 firm orders
9.57
G-APAD was left in storage at Moorabbin
4.58
Purchased by Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd to replace VH-SSW which crashed at Moorabbin on a test flight 15.4.58.  An agricultural conversion kit was ordered from the manufacturer and shipped from England
8.9.58
Registered VH-SSW: Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne Vic
13.9.58
VH-SSW noted at Moorabbin flying, white, spray bars, "Super Spread" titles
8.12.58
Re-registered VH-SSX due to DCA policy not to re-issue the registration of a crashed aircraft
.59
EP.9s VH-SSV & SSX ferried to Perth to be based in WA on agricultural work. Both returned to Melbourne by the end of that year. In 1960 Super Spread deployed CA-28 Ceres VH-SSZ to WA.
18.7.59
Forced landing en route Yorkrakine to Wyalkatchem, pilot Helmut Apitz, operator Super Spread
13.8.59
Forced landing while spraying 10 miles south of Moora WA, pilot Helmut Apitz, operator Super Spread
12.12.59
noted at Moorabbin in Super Spread hangar, white “Super Spread Aviation” titles, spray bars
1.60
Photo at Moorabbin, spraybars, “Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd” titles, with name Westward Ho on port cowling from its WA deployment.
14.2.60
VH-SSX noted at Moorabbin, no spraybars, "Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd" titles, Lycoming
4.60
Flown to Bankstown for conversion to EP.9C by Kingsford Smith Aviation Service, replacing the Lycoming engine with a 375hp Cheetah 10 radial
28.5.60
First test-flight at Bankstown as EP.9C with Cheetah engine
18.11.60
Change of ownership: Tadgell Aviation Pty Ltd, Toowoomba QLD

Super Spread founders Aussie Miller and Ernie Tadgell sold out their share in the company in 1960 to Wright Stephenson & Co Ltd.  Sale included an agreement that neither would start a new agricultural company in Victoria for 4 years.  Miller purchased a hotel at Launceston, Tasmania, while Ernie Tadgell established Tadgell Aviation at Toowoomba Qld.

5.10.61
Change of ownership: Airfarm Associates Pty Ltd, Tamworth NSW
18.11.61
attended Australian Aerial Agricultural Association symposium at Ballarat Vic, demonstrating the re-engined EP-9C
16.1.64
noted at Tamworth, “Airfarm Associates, Tamworth" titles, fitted spraybars; red fuselage and wingtips, yellow wings & tailplane, company name in white, black chequerboard on rudder. Uncowled Cheetah engine. Also noted at Tamworth 9.10.64, 4.4.66
15.4.66
Change of ownership: Timothy R. O’Neill, Tintinara SA t/a TonAir Pty Ltd, Tintinara SA
28.5.66
noted at Adelaide-Parafield. Red & yellow with "EP9 Cheetah" on nose.
Previous registrations VH-BOG & VH-PRS could be read on tailplane panels under the paint, “Airfarm Associates” had been painted over on the fuselage boom. Departed in the late afternoon for Tintinara.
12.9.66
noted Tintinara, red & yellow. Also 29.1.67, 4.2.67, 1.4.67
11.4.67
Damaged by grass fire while parked in a paddock near Keith SA.
Reported that a car's exhaust had set alight dry grass and the fire spread to the tailplane and rear fuselage of the parked EP.9
11.4.67
Struck-off Register due fire damage
22.1.68
VH-SSX noted at Tintinara behind a shed in the main street, standing on wheels with wings stacked nearby, burnt fabric removed from rear fuselage, registration on tail. 
Noted unmoved 12.4.68, 8.6.68, 7.3.70


Beverley Snook poses with G-APAD at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth during the Australian demo tour.
Geoff Goodall collection


VH-SSX at Moorabbin in February 1960 with dayglo orange patches on tail and wing tips.
Photo by Neil Follett


After re-engining with Cheetah radial, VH-SSX at Tamworth in Airfarm Associates' yellow & red scheme.
Note the unusual short span spray bars.                                          Photo: Ben Dannecker collection


VH-SSX dusting from an ag strip in northern NSW. An Airfarm Associates' Fletcher Fu 24 takes off downhill.
Ben Dannecker collection


Now with Ton Air in SA, VH-SSX visits Parafield in May 1966 still in Airfarm red and yellow paint scheme.
Note name "EP9 Cheetah" and the more conventional spaybars.                            Photo by Geoff Goodall


A nice colour shot at Parafield in September 1966.           Photo by John M. Smith via SA Aviation Museum


 C/n 40                                                                                                     VH-TCA, VH-DAX
4.57
Photograph of EP.9 production line at Stapleford shows fuselage frame under construction, with identifying sign "Aircraft No.40"
4.58
Purchased ex manufacturer by Tasmanian Aero Club, Launceston Tasmania
4.6.58
Construction completed at Stapleford Aerodrome, Essex by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd.

Shipped to Australia
10.10.58
Registered VH-TCA: Tasmanian Aero Club, Launceston, Tasmania

Purchased by the Aero Club for use on their contract with the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia for medical flights. The freight hold was fitted for a stretcher and seating for doctor and nurse. The stretcher patient was loaded through the rear fairing door
30.4.59
Dropped 2000 rainbow trout into a lake near Ross Tasmania, flown by Ron Monroe, CFI of Tasmanian Aero Club. The rear fairing door was removed for the operation.
8.61
Sold to Air Mist Pty Ltd, Launceston Tasmania.

The Aero Club replaced it on the RFDS contract with Cessna 175 VH-RBF.
9.61
Delivered to Moorabbin for conversion by Super Spread to agricultural configuration. A hopper was fitted in the cabin area and spraybars system installed
23.9.61
noted at Moorabbin, parked outside after arrival from Tasmania, waiting to having agricultural conversion by Super Spread Aviation.
Retained the Tasmanian Aero Club paint scheme with club vertical stripes on rudder, and RFDS emblem on fuselage sides. Transparent cabin windows in the rear cabin.
2.10.61
Change of ownership: Air Mist Pty Ltd, Launceston, later Adelaide, Melbourne, Adelaide

Agricultural conversion completed by Super Spread. Hopper fitted in the cabin area and spraybar system installed
5.62
noted at Parafield SA, cream and dark green, spraybars.
“Air Mist Pty Ltd” and “Elders Agricultural Aviation Services” titles
24.6.62
noted at Moorabbin, cream & dark green. “Air Mist Pty Ltd” and “Elders Agricultural Aviation Services” titles.  Also 14.7.62
28.7.62
noted at Parafield, Air Mist titles
16.8.62
noted at Parafield, just repainted yellow and olive, no titles
30.9.62
visited airshow Mildura Vic, yellow and olive with no titles
8.10.62
noted at Parafield, having maintenance in Aero Kair hangar. Manufacturers plate: c/n 40
17.1.63
noted Parafield at Air Mist hangar, yellow and olive, "AIR MIST" titles on tail boom, spraybars
Also noted at Parafield 9.3.63, 30.3.63, 10.8.63, 28.9.63, 12.10.63, 9.11.63
16.11.63
noted at Moorabbin, yellow and olive, "AIR MIST" titles on tail boom
22.8.64
noted Launceston, dismantled, poor condition in Aero Club hangar
1.4.65
Change of ownership: Doggett Aviation & Engineering Co Ltd, Perth-Jandakot WA
1.4.65
Re-registered VH-DAX
18.4.65
VH-DAX noted at Jandakot WA, all white with Doggett Aviation titles,  red stripe down fuselage sides, Speedbird style flash on tail. "Lancashire Prospector EP9" painted on the nose.
Parked outside with Doggett's other two EP-9s VH-DAV and VH-DAI
20.7.65
Forced landing Namban WA due engine failure, pilot Embury not hurt
13.12.65
Damaged during landing on rough surface near Toodyay WA: tail wheel torn away by a rock, pilot Roney not hurt
13.7.66
Extensive damage in accident at Watheroo WA, pilot Harris not hurt
15.10.66
noted at Jandakot in Doggett Aviation hangar, white with red trim. Also 22.1.67, 1.6.67, 20.9.67
7.10.67
noted at Jandakot, tied down on grass, covers over the cockpit, fitted with spray booms and belly propeller driven pump, appears to be retired. Doggett titles have been painted over on tail boom, replaced with smaller sticker "Doggett Aviation Agricultural Aviation Services - Elders GM”.
Also 29.10.67, 30.12.67.   This was now Doggett's last EP-9
26.1.68
Change of ownership: Sasin Aircraft Pty Ltd, Geraldton WA

Maintenance and aerial agricultural company established by Mike Sasin, formerly based at Goulburn NSW. Sasin's belief in modified Chipmunks as a low-cost agricultural Tiger Moth replacement resulted in the Sasin-Aerostructures SA-29 Spraymaster series, built at Bankstown from 1965.
3.68
Mike Sasin was repairing Cessna 172A VH-AWG in his hangar at Geraldton for owner Keith Kid Wilkin, manager of Hamersley Station near Wittenoom WA. The Cessna's nosewheel had struck a car while low flying near Roebourne in October 1967.
Wilkin needed a replacement aircraft while the Cessna was being repaired, so Sasin loaned him the EP.9, removed agricultural equipment and delivered it to Wittenoom
7.4.68
Crashed on Juna Downs Station, Mount Bruce, near Wittenoom WA.
DCA accident report: “The pilot was unfamiliar with the aircraft. He did not maintain flying speed on final approach and the aircraft stalled then touched down heavily, collapsing the landing gear before overturning.”
Pilot Keith Wilkin had only 1 hour experience on type, 2000 hours total time.
He and his female passenger, sitting in the loader-driver seat, received minor injuries.
21.8.68
William Keith Wilkin prosecuted by DCA in court over breaches of Air Navigation Relations involved in the EP-9 accident. He had earlier been procecuted for the Cessna accident
2013
Fuselage frame and sections of wing and tailplane remain at the crash site in scrub on Juna Downs Station.


VH-TCA at Moorabbin September 1961, waiting for agricultural conversion after sale by Tasmanian Aero Club to Air Mist.
It still wears the aero club's two-tone blue scheme, rudder stripes and RFDS badge behind the side windows of the cabin.      
Photo by Neil Follett



Neil Follett also took this close-up photograph of the RFDS symbol painted on VH-TCA


Norm Weeding caught VH-TCA at work crop-dusting fort Air Mist in Tasmania in 1962


Parafield January 1963, after Air Mist had repainted VH-TCA in a gaudy yellow and olive green scheme.
The hangar sign reads "Air Mist Pty Ltd in association with Super Spread Pty Ltd".   Photo by Geoff Goodall


Visiting Moorabbin in November 1963, configured as a duster.                      Photo by Neil Follett


Now with Doggett Aviation as VH-DAX, seen at Jandakot WA in April 1965. White with red trim.
 "Lancashire Prospector EP9" was painted on the nose.                   Photo by Alistair Coutts


The battered wreck of VH-DAX was still on Juna Downs Station WA in 2013.        Photo via John Boden



  c/n F46           Lancashire Prospector 1                                                  VH-SSR, VH-DAV
10.58
When production by Edgar Percival Aircraft Ltd ceased at Stapleford, c/ns 41, 42, 43 were essentially complete, c/ns 45-48 were recognisable as EP.9 fuselages

Fuselage c/n 46 moved to Squires Gate Aerodrome, Blackpool

Fuselage c/n 46 completed by Lancashire Aircraft Co at Samlesbury Aerodrome, England.
Planned to be completed as a Lancashire Prospector 1
61
Lancashire Aircraft Co abandoned production and development of the EP.9.
Owner of Lancashire Aircraft Co was David Brown, who also owned Skyways of London, Skyways Coach Air and Aston Martin motor cars.

Lancashire Aircraft Co's remaining EP.9 stocks were moved from Salmesbury for storage at Stansted and Lympne
15.7.61
EP.9s noted at Stansted, stored in Skyways hangar, recently arrived by road from Salmesbury:
- c/ns 45, 46 complete but dismantled,
- G-APWZ, and wreck of G-APLP
19.7.61
EP.9s noted in hangar at Lympne Aerodrome:
- G-APWZ, G-APXW, G-ARDG & G-47-1 plate c/n 44.
12.8.61
EP-9s noted at Stansted in Skyways hangar:
- G-APWZ and two uncompleted airframes (assumed to be 45 & 46): reported that they were due to be moved to Lympne shortly. 
- G-47-1 c/n 44 with silver upper fuselage and olive drab undersides.”
8.2.62
EP.9s noted at Stansted, stored in Skyways hangar:
- G-AOZO airworthy, G-APWZ and c/n 45 dismanted.
An engineer advised that c/n 46 had been shipped to Australia several months earlier.
30.9.62
G-AOZO, G-APWZ & c/n 45 were moved by road from Stansted to Lympne


.61
Completed fuselage of c/n 46 was purchased by Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
.61
Fuselage shipped to Australia
.61
Fuselage c/n 46 used by Super Spread to construct a new EP.9 in their Moorabbin hangar, using the wings, tailplane and other parts from the crashed VH-SSW (c/n 32).
The new aircraft was allocated registration VH-SSR
25.2.62
VH-SSR noted Moorabbin, parked outside Super Spread hangar, freshly painted in the new company scheme of two–tone green, “Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd” titles.  Undergoing tests for DCA certification.
6.3.62
New airframe Log Book VH-SSR opened by M.W.Oliver, Chief Inspector for Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd:
Type quoted as Lancashire Aircraft Ltd Percival EP9, serial number EP9F46
Construction made up from:
- Fuselage: Part No.9F600E,
- Mainplanes and empennage items ex VH-SSW repaired
- Undercarriage and shock struts: serviceable components
- Main & tail wheels: new, part number LACB260
- Engine: Lycoming GO480B
9.3.62
Added to Civil Register as VH-SSR: Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne Vic
Civil Register quotes identity as "F46", the prefix believed to refer to "field rebuild"
11.3.62
Log book: commenced regular flying
30.6.62
VH-SSR noted at Moorabbin, painted medium & pale green, red, dayglo orange,
“Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd” titles. Also 2.12.62
2.12.62
visited airshow Berwick Vic
25.2.63
noted at Moorabbin
9.3.63
noted at Moorabbin, repainted all white with yellow stripe, with titles
“Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd inc. Proctors”

Super Spread Aviation had taken over Proctors Rural Services, Alexandra Vic
5.9.63
noted at Parafield, whiyte with yellow stripe
23.10.63
Struck power lines near Freeling SA while spraying a pea crop.
DCA accident report: "The aircraft collided with a known power line during a spraying run because of an attempt to pass under it with inadequate clearance and a piece of cable strand penetrated the windscreen and the chest of the pilot"
Forced landing in a nearby wheat crop, shattered propeller. Pilot Kenneth Reardon of Super Spread lost consciousness after landing, taken to hospital with serious inhuries
11.63
Log book: Repairs to windscreen and damage after contact with power line. Total time 1410 hrs
9.11.63
noted at Parafield having maintenance in Aviation Services (SA) Ltd hangar
23.11.63
noted at Parafield
14.12.63
noted at Moorabbin, white & yellow stripe, “Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd inc. Proctors”.
11.1.64
noted at Moorabbin at Super Spread hangar
6.2.64
Change of ownership: Farm Air Pty Ltd, Tinamba Vic. Based at West Sale Vic

Farm Air was founded in November 1955 by Neil McInnes and his brother Donald, using Tiger Moths and later PA-25 Pawnees. Neil McInnes later established other aviation ventures including Commuter Airlines flying Piaggio P.166s on passenger services to the Gippsland region of eastern Victoria.
The EP.9 was based at West Sale Vic, acquired for crop-spraying in the Gippsland region.
13.3.64
Log book: CofA renewal by Farm Air Pty Ltd, repainted white with red fuselage flash
15.3.64
noted at West Sale Vic, flying. White & red, Farm Air titles, no spraybars
22.7.64
noted at Moorabbin, titles “Farm Air Pty Ltd, Tinamba Aerial Spraying Specialists”, all cream with red flash, "EP9" on nose. fitted with spraybars
64
Neil McInnes, proprietor of Farm Air Pty Ltd, Tinamba Vic put VH-SSR up for sale. He later recalled that the EP.9 was unsatisfactory due to its poor performance in hot weather and high engine maintenance costs 
13.8.64
Change of ownership: Doggett Aviation & Engineering Co Ltd, Perth-Jandakot WA
13.8.64
Re-registered VH-DAV
16.8.64
Airframe log book: received this date by Doggett Aviation from Farm Air, spray gear and hopper fitted. Minor modifications undertaken, and registration changed from VH-SSR to VH-DAV
8.9.64
Struck power lines near Grass Valley WA, no damage. Pilot Hobman
9.9.64
Log book: inspection after cutting power line Grass Valley WA: no damage
15.11.64
noted Jandakot, in service
18.4.65
noted Jandakot, parked outside with EP-9s VH-DAI & VH-DAX. White with red trim, Speedbird style flash on tail, "Doggett Aviation" titles on boom,  "EP9" painted on nose
5.5.65
Propeller damaged at Bunbury WA, pilot Ravey
26.6.65
tail casting damaged on landing near Babbakin WA, pilot Huggett
31.6.65
Log book: tail section repaired after damage Babbakin
12.8.65
Forced landing enroute Yerecoin-Moora WA due engine failure, pilot Embury
22.9.65
Log book: last Daily Inspection recorded. Probably the last flight. Total time: 2453 hrs 55 mins
12.65
noted at Jandakot, retired
5.2.66
Struck-off Register. Withdrawn from service at Jandakot WA
15.5.66
noted at Jandakot, being stripped for parts in Doggett Aviation hangar to keep their other two EP.9s flying.  Same 15.10.66
15.10.66
Airframe Log Book entry: Ron Harbord, Chief Engineer, Doggett Aviation records radiographic inspection of upper fuselage tubes carried out by MMA in 12.65. Aircraft has not flown since then.
1.67
Sold dismantled to Timothy R. O’Neill t/a TonAir Pty Ltd, Tintinara SA
VH-DAV was included in the sale of airworthy VH-DAI by Doggett Aviation to Tim O’Neill as a parts source.
4.2.67
VH-DAV stripped fuselage frame noted in TonAir’s vehicle shed in the town, Tintinara SA
22.1.68
no longer in the Tonair shed at Tintinara. By now Tim O'Neill had moved the aiframe to a farm property at McLaren Vale SA.
3.79
Purchased as a bare airframe with fabric removed by Lincoln Nitschke, Adelaide SA

Nitschke was an aircraft maintenance engineer
at Parafield who was collecting aircraft and parts with plans for an aviation museum, which he later established at Greenock SA
25.3.79
VH-DAV bare fuselage frame in chromate yellow arrived at Parafield by truck from Tim O’Neill’s farm at McLaren Vale SA.
It had been noticed on the farm by a Robbys Aerial Services Beaver pilot who was topdressing nearby, who told Robbys mechanic Lincoln Nitschke, who acquired it and collected it 25.3.79.
8.79
Bare fuselage frame stored in an open compound at Parafield Airport with other airframes and engines collected by Lincoln Nitschke.
by 92
Lincoln Nitschke established his aircraft collection at Parafield, later moved to Greenock SA
by 98
Displayed at Lincoln Nitschke’s Aviation Museum, Greenock SA
Standing on its own undercarriage while under restoration by Nitschke inside his museum. Bare airframe requiring fabric covering, but has been painted in camouflage to represent the British Army EP.9 Prospectors.
It was also reported that Lincoln Nitschke planned to install a Cheetah radial engine (salvaged from RAAF disposals Ansons and Oxfords on SA farms) to represent the Australian agricultural EP.9s converted to Cheetah radials
03
Fuselage frame on undercarriage displayed without fabric at Lincoln Nitschke’s Aviation Museum, Greenock SA

Current


VH-SSR at Moorabbin on 25 February 1962, immediately after assembly by Super Spread Aviation.
Light and dark green with dayglo orange fin and wingtips.                           Photo by Neil Follett


In Super Spread service as a duster, at Moorabbin in June 1962.                              Photo by Dick Hourigan


November 1963 at Parafield SA, white with a yellow flash.  Photo by John M. Smith via SA Aviation Museum
"Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd including Proctors" was painted on the sides.             


A year later, at West Sale Vic in March 1964 now white and red with Farm Air Pty Ltd, Tinamba Vic
Photo by Neil Follett


Re-registered VH-DAV with Doggett Aviation, seen at Perth-Jandakot in April 1965. White and red.
Photo by Alistair Coutts


VH-DAV's stripped fuselage frame and wings in a Ton Air shed in the town of Tintinara SA, February 1967.
Photo by Geoff Goodall

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THE EVENTFUL DELIVERY FLIGHT OF SKYSPREAD'S TWO EP-9s



Skyspread's bright red G-APIA and G-APIB in England prior to being flown to Australa in 1957.
Photo: David Freeman collection via SA Aviation Museum

         This first-hand account of the ferry flight of Skyspread's two EP-9s from England to Sydney was written by James "Wac" Whiteman in correspondence with agricultural aviation historian Ben Dannecker.  It is edited to remove uncomplimentary references to the other EP-9's pilot Aubrey "Titus" Oates DFC, due to a personality-clash between these two strong-willed former wartime RAAF pilots.

         "After leaving Aerial Agriculture I was approached in mid 1957 by one Aubrey Oates who had the nick-name "Titus", to join a new company being formed by the name Skyspread. He had convinced the partners of the new company, Lindsay Campbell and Joan White, who knew nothing about aircraft or crop-dusting, that good money could be made and to buy two newly designed aircraft called the EP-9.
         To save travel costs getting to England, it was decided that Titus and I would join a DC-3 delivery flight to Lagos, Nigeria by Brian Monkton. The three of us shared the flying to make it a quick trip, then we took a commercial flight to Holland and then on to UK. It wasn't long before I realised that Titus was in no hurry to leave his socialising in London. Even when the EP-9s had been flight tested and were ready for the flight, he found endless reasons for not leaving. He had located three Australians who were desperate to return home on the cheap and offered them seats with us. Although my EP-9 had been loaded with all the spare parts included in the purchase, he allocated me two female passengers which made conditions in my cockpit very cramped.
        We finally took off from Croydon Airport in late October 1957. I had to abort my first attempt as I was overloaded to hell. I lightened the aircraft by off-loading a racing car engine which Titus was taking to Australia for a friend.  I was to do the navigation and Oates would follow me.  Our first planned stop was Lyon, France but Titus somehow ended up in Spain. The trip was hard slogging all the way in my cramped cockpit, 28 refuelling stops, ground speed 90 miles per hour and the only navigation aid a small compass. There was no radio. My log book reads: Roanne-Lyon-Marseilles-Roma-Araxas-Athens-Rhodes-Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad-Basra-Bahrein-Mauraeva-Karachi-Ahmedabad-Nagpur-Calcutta-Chittagong-Rangoon -Mergui-Butterworth-Penang-Singapore-Palembang-Djakarta-Soerabaya-Denpasar-Koepang-Darwin-Tennant Creek-Cloncuury-Charleville-Dalby-Archerfield- Newcastle-Bankstown.
        At Damascus we were forced to land by military jets and the aircraft was searched. When we reached Singapore, Titus had a disagreement with his male passenger, grabbed his suitcase and emptied all his belongings on the airport tarmac then left the man stranded in Singapore. On the last leg into Sydney, Titus insisted we land at Newcastle where he unloaded all the spare parts which were were carried in my aircraft.  These parts were later subject of a court case brought against him by Campbell.

        The EP-9s were not an ideal aircraft for agricultural work and Skyspread was an unreliable firm to work for. Finally after several near misses because of mechanical trouble including a fire in the engine I decided I had had more than enough and parted company with Skyspread. One event I recall was on a strip at Birriwa. This was a short down-hill strip with a dam at the bottom and a windmill. I had a full load of three-quarterts of a ton and the trick was to hold your brakes on, build revs up to full bore and then release brakes.  I had just got airborne with flying speed when one of the Lycoming's cylinders blew off,  piston and all, leaving oil all over the windscreen.  I immediately jettisoned the load and pulled the nose up in a split-arse turn and landed uphill on the strip, rolling to a stop with the dead engine. Dropping the load gave me the extra speed to manouvre a "wing up" turn.  Such a turn was frowned on by DCA, their idea was to force land straight ahead, which in this case would have been upside down in the dam."

(Compiler's note: The remarkable flying careers of Whiteman, Oates and Monkton are described in The Migrant Caper on this site)

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END PIECE

A bug's-eye view of an EP-9 spraying insecticide on a farm crop


In fact Super Spread Aviation's VH-SSW (1) during spray gear tests at Moorabbin Airport in late 1957. 
Courtesy Maurice Austin collection


References:
- Australian Civil Aircraft Register, Department of Civil Aviation and its successors
- DCA aircraft files, National Archives of Australia, Melbourne
- Survey of Accidents to Australian Civil Aircraft, DCA, annual 1957-1968
- British Civil Register: g-info website for British Civil Aviation Authority
- British Civil Aircraft since 1919, Second Edition, A. J. Jackson, Putnam 1973
- Flypast A record of Aviation in Australia, Neville Parnell and Trevor Boughton, AGPS 1988
- Aerial Agriculture in Australia, Derrick Rolland, Aerial Agricultural Assoc of Australia 1996
- Edgar Percival E.P.9 in Australia, G. Goodall, AHSA Journal No.3 Volume 19
- Edgar Percival EP-9, Jack Meaden, Air Britain Archive, 1991-1992, and later updates
- The Percival EP.9 Prospector, Jack Meaden, Air Britain Digest, Autumn & Winter 1993
- Aircraft magazine, Melbourne, monthly, 1957-1970, reports on Australian EP-9
- Australian Air Log, monthly journal 1965-1968, various reports
- Aeroplane in Australia series compiled by John Hopton: EP-9 early draft
- The EP.9 on Show, Keith Robey, Aircraft magazine, July 1957
- Classic Wings Downunder magazine, renamed Classic Wings: editor Graham Orphan: various references to EP.9
- Airframe and Engine Log books for VH-SSR/VH-DAV courtesy Melvyn Davis
- Correspondence with James Whiteman, courtesy Ben Dannecker


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