Compiled by Geoff Goodall


             A change in Indonesian Government policy in the 1960s allowed new-start airlines to fly domestic services, resulting in a variety of new operations being established. The Douglas DC-3 was the airliner of choice for the majority of these companies, and the timing coincided with the Australian airlines retiring their DC-3 fleets.  Australian Aircraft Sales Pty Ltd handled the majority of these sales to Indonesia.

Seulawah Air Services PT:
Founded 6.68, commenced with 3 ex-Garuda Convair 340s.  Taken over by Mandala Airlines in 1971 then reformed again as Seulawah Air Services. Used a large fleet of DC-3s, the following of which were acquired in Australia or ferried via Australia:

- DC-3 PK-RDB (32895) ex 5W-FAA Polynesian Airlines, sold to AAS, collected at Auckland by an Australian crew,
ferried via Brisbane 30.9.68,  impounded by Customs at Darwin 2.10.68, abandoned at Darwin, wrecked by Cyclone Tracy 25.12.74.

5W-FAA with Polynesian Airlines, visiting Auckland NZ for maintenance in 1967.          Photo by Allan Bovelt

5W-FAA repainted as PK-RDB, ferrying via Brisbane-Eagle Farm 30.9.68. 
Polynesian installed the "Maximiser" kit modified engine nacelles and undercarriage doors.
Photo by David Thollar

Abandoned at Darwin after a dispute with Customs, PK-RDB had faded paint and flat tyres by August 1974
Photo by Doug MacDonald

PK-RDB blown over on to its back at Darwin Airport by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day 1974.
It was blown against these destroyed RAAF buildings.                   Photo: RAAF via Ron Cuskelly

- DC-3 PK-RDC (6023) ex VH-SBK TAA. Retired at Brisbane 10.67, sold to AAS 30.3.68, sold to Seulawah 27.7.68.
Registered PK-RDC 24.8.68 to Seulawah, named Dharma Putra. Departed Brisbane 22.9.68 on delivery painted as PK-RDC.
Tfd to Seulawah-Manadala 1971. Retired.

Former TAA DC-3 VH-SBK at Brisbane in September 1968, a few days before it departed for Indonesia.
Photo by Geoff Goodall

- DC-3  PK-RDE (11967) ex VH-SBM TAA. Retired Lae 16.11.67, ferried to Brisbane 26.1.68, sold to AAS 30.3.68.
Sold to Seulawah 27.7.68.  Registered PK-RDE 24.8.68 to Seulawah, named Windu Kentjana.
Departed Brisbane 26.9.68 on delivery painted as PK-RDE.  Tfd to Seulawah-Mandala 1971. Fate unknown.

VH-SBM fires up at Lae, New Guinea in 1967 with TAA Sunbird Services.                Photo by Allan Bovelt

VH-SBM repainted as PK-RDE at Brisbane-Eagle Farm Airport in September 1968.   Photo by David Thollar

- DC-3 PK-RDF (12035) ex VH-MAR Ansett-MAL. Retired at Lae 1.69, sold to AAS 12.5.69, ferried Lae-Sydney, arrived 12.5.69,
painted in Seulawah scheme as PK-RDF at Sydney Airport. Departed Sydney 18.6.69 for Brisbane, Darwin to Indonesia.
Registered 19.7.69 PK-RDF to Seulawah, named Dharma Bakti. Tfd to Seulawah-Manadala 1971. Rereg PK-RDK 2.73 to Seulawah.

PK-RDF at Sydney Airport in June 1969 after repaint in full Seulawah scheme.           Photo by Chris O'Neill

- DC-3 PK-RDG (6353) ex VH-MMT MMA. Retired at Perth 1.69, "AAS" titles painted on 10.69,  ferried Perth-Adelaide-Essendon,
arrived 12.10.69 as VH-MMT. Delivered ex Essendon 11.69. Registered PK-RDG 17.12.69 to Seulawah. Tfd to Seulawah-Mandala 1971.
Rereg PK-OSA 1.78 Seulawah Air Services, retired Jakarta-Kemajoran by 1981, stripped hulk by 10.85.

VH-MMT "RMA Turner" at Perth Airport 1968.  The MMA DC-3s were distinctive in their bare metal finish.
Photo by Barrie Colledge

Here's VH-MMT as PK-OSA at Jakarta-Kemajoran in May 1979.                       Photo by Barnie B. Deatrick

- DC-3 PK-RDH (13085) ex VH-TAJ TAA. Retired at Brisbane 1.8.68, sold to AAS 3.1.69, painted as PK-RDH in Seulawah scheme at Brisbane 5.69, departed 24.5.69 on delivery. Registered PK-RDH 3.6.69 to Seulawah. Tfd to Seulawah-Manadala 1971. Fate unknown.

PN Merpati Nusantara Airlines
Established in 1964 to replace De Kroonduif in the the former Dutch New Guinea, which had been taken over by Indonesia.

- DC-3 PK-NDG (34228) ex VH-MMB MMA, retired at Perth 1.69 with airframe time 40,107 hours. All MMA markings were first noted removed on 4.5.69 and "AAS" titles painted above windows by 15.5.69.  Sold to AAS 15.5.69. Registered PK-NDG 22.5.69.
Departed Perth 30.5.69, metallic finish, painted as PK-NDG.
Rereg PK-VTB 9.80 Dirgantara Air Services, to Indonesian AF 7.93 as AF 4775, flown as "RI-001 Indonesian Airways" markings to commemorate the first aircraft of Sukarno's Indonesian independence fighters' air force in 1948.  Retired Jakarta-Halim 2012.

VH-MMB "RMA Blackwood"in MMA service at Perth in July 1968.                        Photo by Geoff Goodall

- DC-3 PK-NDH (19694) ex VH-AOI Ansett-MAL. Retired at Lae 1.69, ferried from Lae to Sydney, arrived  1.6.69.
Repainted at Sydney Airport as PK-NDH in MNA scheme, completed by  3.7.69.  Departed Sydney 8.7.69 on delivery to MNA.
Later to Dirgantara Air Servies. Crashed 7.2.77 Santan, Kalimantan (former Borneo)

VH-AOI at Sydney in June 1969, just ferried from down from New Guinea.            Photo by Barrie Colledge

VH-AOI repainted as PK-NDH at Sydney Airport a month later 7.7.69.                     Photo by Barrie Colledge

Pan Indonesian Airways

Pan Indonesian Airways was reportedly founded as a partnership between Australian charter company SA and Territory Air Services (SAAATS) at Darwin NT and Indonesian charter airline Gartari Air Services.  In early 1970 two DC-3s were ordered from Australian Aircraft Sales.  After both were prepared at Essendon, the Indonesian Government refused an import permit and the sale was cancelled.

- DC-3 VH-ANV (10082) Ansett-ANA retired Essendon 10.9.68, sold to AAS. Painted in Pan Indonesian Airways scheme at Essendon 3.70 with no reguistration.  Registration PK-PIA reserved 18.3.70 but was not taken up. Sale cancelled, parked at Essendon.
Sold 2.71 to Cambodia. VH-ANV & VH-ANO departed Essendon in company 4.3.71 on delivery.Wright Cyclone engines.
Registered .71 XU-EAH United Khmer Airlines.

- DC-3 VH-ANO (4094) Ansett-ANA retired at Essendon 28.9.69, one of their last passenger DC-3s, used to replace F.27s while they were on overhaul.  Painted in Pan Indonesian Airways scheme at Essendon in 3.70 with no registration. Registration PK-PIB reserved 27.3.70 but was not taken up.  Sale cancelled, parked at Essendon until 7.70 when restored to the Australian Register as VH-ANO to Consolidated Aviation Holdings, Sydney (an AAS associate company) . VH-ANO flew Essendon to Adelaide and return 19.7.70.
Sold 2.71 to Cambodia. VH-ANO & VH-ANV departed Essendon in company 4.3.71 on delivery. Wright Cyclone engines.
Registered .71 XU-FAI United Khmer Airlines.

Ansett-ANA Skyliner DC-3 VH-ANO still in passenger service, parked at Essendon in February 1969.
Note the shorter nacelles of the Wreight Cyclone engines.                               Photo by Geoff Goodall

VH-ANV at Essendon 4.70, repainted for Pan Indonesia Airways. The cargo straps can be seen in the windows
from its many years as an Ansett-ANA "Cargoliner".                                                     Photo by Mike Madden

After the sale to Pan Indonesian Airways was cancelled, VH-ANO and VH-ANV regained their Australian
registrations while parked at Essendon waiting for a new owner.           Seen in July 1970 by Chris O'Neill

VH-ANO was a surprise visitor to Adelaide 19.7.70, flown by an AAS crew.  The purpose of the day trip from
Essendon was reportedly to collect DC-3 spares held by Airlines of SA.                       Photo by Nigel K. Daw

        An unusual deal for Australian Aircraft Sales occurred in early 1969.  A team of 42 Indonesian Navy officers made a two week official tour of Australia in the Indonesian Navy's two passenger-configured C-47s U-601 and U-602. One of the C-47s made a forced landing at Camooweal, Queensland on 23.2.69 which would disrupt all the scheduled formal events of the tour. HQ approved the immediate purchase of a replacement airecraft. Who do you call? Australian Aircraft Sales!
       AAS happened to have just purchased a Dutch DC-3 PH-MAB which was parked at Sydney Airport. It had escorted Dutch entries in the London to Sydney Marathon car rally, carrying spare parts and supplies.  PH-MAB reached Perth 14.12.68 and Sydney 18.12.68, when the surviving cars were scheduled to cross the finish line. AAS were quick to make an offer to purchase, because by 27.12.68 the DC-3 had been painted with large Australian Aircraft Sales titles and AAS advertised it for sale at $A25K.

- DC-3 PH-MAB (4500) Martins Air Charter, Amsterdam. Purchased by AAS 1.69, sold to Indonesian Navy 2.69.
Departed Sydney 2.69 in mixture of MAC, AAS markings and "U-603", flown by an Indonesian crew.  To Indonesian Navy U-603.
Still in service by 1980.

PH-MAB at Sydney Airport in February 1969 with AAS titles. The Martins Air Charter "MAC" emblem on the
tail has been cleverly touched up to "AAS". It was sold to the Indonesian Navy that month.
Geoff Goodall collection


Many new-start air operaters sprung up in Cambodia during the Vietnam war period, mostly using DC-3s.  A growing internal civil war with the Khmer Rouge generated almost limitless military loads.  The capital city of Phnom Penh was inundated with millions of refugees, and during 1973 roads access to the city became blocked by Khmer Rouge forces. A little-remembered massive airlift of food and supplies commenced, with over a dozen air cargo companies running shuttles into Phnom Penh's Pochetong Airport. There was no effective Government supervision of the aircraft or the pilots who flew them, and maintenance was minimal, even when larger aircraft joined the airlift: Convairs, DC-4s, DC-6s, Viscounts, Curtiss C-46s and even an ex Australian Carvair. Many were owned and flown by Americans, and as the seige of Phom Penh escalated, rocket attacks on the airport increased, destroying several aircraft.

Highly recommended is a two-part feature Mercy Angles of Angkor - The Phnom Penh Airlift 1973-1975 by Paul Howard with Bob Hickox
published over two issues of Air Enthusiast magazine November-December 1975 and January-February 2006.

United Khmer Airlines: One of the operating names used by Stanley T. Booker, an American aircraft salesman, who had established Trans Nusantara Airways in Indonesia with DC-3s in 1970 and now saw the potential of operating transport aircraft in Cambodia at that time.
Part 3 of this series gives Stan Booker's background and links with Australia.
Using DC-3s registered in various countries, mostly flown by American pilots on short-term contracts, Booker built up a lucrative operation in Cambodia. His pilots were pushed get the loads delivered despite grossly overloaded and unserviceable aircraft, severe weather, minimal airstrips and groundfire.  His pilots formed a social association The Pig Pilots of Phnom Penh, referring to their many loads of live pigs.
Stan Booker's DC-3s had short lives, most abandoned after forced landings due engine failures or overload.

Among his early DC-3s were VH-ANO and VH-ANV parked at Essendon in 1970, purchased from AAS after their sale to Pan Indonesian Airways was cancelled (see immediately above). There was an anecdotal report that during the negotiations with AAS, Stan Booker was unconcerned about their non-standard Wright Cyclone engines, commenting that he doubted neither would still be flying by the time the engines required an overhaul.

- DC-3 VH-ANV (10082) AAS stored Essendon. Sold to United Kmer Airlines 2.71. Departed 4.3.71 on delivery, with VH-ANO.
Registered 3.71 XU-EAH to United Khmer Airlines. Ownership changed to Khmer Akas, later Khmer Airlines.
Wrecked at Phnom Penh-Pochentong Airport .74, probably a rocket attack.

- DC-3 VH-ANO (4094) AAS stored Essendon. Sold to United Kmer Airlines 2.71. Departed 4.3.71 on delivery, with VH-ANV.
Registered 3.71 XU-FAI to United Khmer Airlines. Ownership changed to Khmer Akas, later Khmer Airlines. Fate unknown.

South East Asia Air Transport, Singapore: Leasing company founded by Americans Robert M. Ferguson, Jack M. Garfinkle and Cecil Wroten, provided DC-3s and DC-4s and crews to Asian operators. Acquired Convair CV-440s after seeing competitor Tri-9 Corp, Singapore (also American backed) successfully operating Convairs in Cambodia.
Two CV440s retired by Airlines of SA, Adelaide were purchased from AAS. Both were prepared for delivery by Ansett at Essendon.

- CV440 VH-BZF (431). Airlines of SA retired 12.2.72, ferried to Essendon 15.2.72, parked. sold to SEAAT 4.73.
Registered N102KA 4.5.73 to Jack M. Garfinkle, Los Angeles CA.departed Essendon 5.73 on delivery.
Leased to Khmer Akas, leased to Cambodian Air Services. Escaped the fall of Cambodia, flew to Bangkok 12.4.75. Abandoned by SEAAT
Parked Bangkok-Don Muang until 1980s. Moved to Siam Park City water amusement park, Minburi, Bangkok where displayed in colourful paint scheme. Last reported still there 2008.

- CV440 VH-BZN (449) Airlines of SA retired 11.2.72, ferried to Essendon 14.2.72, parked. Sold to SEAAT 4.73.
Registered N103KA 4.5.73 to Jack M. Garfinkle, Los Angeles CA, departed Essendon 5.73 on delivery.
Leased to Khmer Akas, then Air Cambodge named Debbie. Destroyed at Phnom Penh-Pochentong 17.1.75 probably a rocket attack.

The FAA filed a letter from Jack Garfinkle 28.4.80 requesting the following aircraft registered in his name be cancelled. He stated that all were abandoned at Phnom Penh in 1975: DC-3s N82AC & N83AC, DC-4 N32AC, Carvair N33AC, Convair 440 N102KA & N103KA.
(In fact, N102KA escaped to Bangkok where it was abandoned)

  Airlines of South Australia's distinctive scheme seen on their CV-440 VH-BZN at Whyalla SA in 1969.
Photo by Geoff Goodall

VH-BZN painted as N103KA at Essendon on 4 May 1973.       Photo by Terry Ellis via Nigel Daw collection

VH-BZF repainted as N102KA at Essendon in May 1973.                                            Photo by Gordon Reid

N102KA in CAS markings at Bangkok-Don Muang 10.75 after its escape from the civil war in Cambodia.
Despite a repaint, it still has the Airlines of SA trim on the nacelles.          Photo: Nigel Daw collection

VH-BZF ended its days at Siam City Park water amusement park in Bangkok.           Photo by Paul Howard

- Douglas DC-4 VH-INL (43071) Ansett-ANA, retired at Essendon .72 sold to AAS, sold to SEAAT 25.6.73

Registered N32AC 4.7.73 to Jack M. Garfinkle, Los Angeles CA.
N32AC and Carvair N33AC were scheduled to depart Melbourne 7.7.73 but Australian Customs cancelled the export permit the preceeding day due political concerns of their military use in the SE Asian war zone. After assurances were given by SEAAT, both departed Melbourne 2.8.73. They overnighted at Darwin then continued to Singapore-Seletar.  Leased to Air Cambodge.
Abandoned at Phnom Penh-Pochetong Airport 13.4.75 when Khmer Rouge forces captured the airport.

VH-INL repainted as N32AC, at Melbourne-Tullamarine in July 1973.                         Photo by Gordon Reid

- ATL-98 Carvair VH-INJ (42927-19) Ansett-ANA, retired at Melbourne-Tullamarine 9.6.72, sold to AAS, sold to SEAAT 23.6.73. Registered N33AC 4.7.73 to Jack M. Garfinkle, Los Angeles CA
N32AC and N33AC were scheduled to depart Melbourne 7.7.73 but Australian Customs cancelled the export permit the preceeding day due political concerns of their military use in the SE Asian war zone. After assurances were given by SEAAT, both departed Melbourne 2.8.73,
the Carvair under the command of ex Ansett Captain John Presgrave, now chief pilot of Australian Aircraft Sales Pty Ltd. Overnighted at Darwin then continued to Singapore-Seletar, where the roller floor was removed and replaced by a cargo floor. Leased to Air Cambodge.
Last flight in 3.75 when it flew Kampong Saom to Phnom Penh on 3 rengines, losing another enroute. Grounded at Pochentong waiting for replacement engines when Khmer Rouge over-ran the airport on 13.4.75 during which it was hit by mortar fire.

The FAA filed a letter from Jack Garfinkle 28.4.80 requesting the following aircraft registered in his name be cancelled. He stated that all were abandoned at Phnom Penh in 1975: DC-3s N82AC & N83AC, DC-4 N32AC, Carvair N33AC, Convair 440 N102KA & N103KA.

Ansett Airlines ATL-98 Carvair VH-INJ at Melbourne-Tullamarine in March 1973, parked awaiting sale.
Photo by Mike Madden

VH-INJ repainted as N33AC at Tullamarine in July 1973, ready for departure.          Photo by Mike Madden

Carvair N33AC and DC-4 N32AC at Darwin NT in the early hours of 3.8.73.          Photo by Robert Zweck

N33AC at Pochentong Airport, Phnom Penh before it was named "Barb"        Photo: Paul Howard collection

Poor quality reproduction showing local ingenuity to load vehicles on N33AC at Battembang, Cambodia.
Note the name "Barb" has now been applied.         Photo via SEAAT Chief Pilot Captain Paul Rakisits

Cambodia Air Commercial: A cargo operator linked to another company Air Union Co, Phnom Penh, using C-46 Commandos and DC-3s.

- DC-3 VH-ANZ (9559) Ansett, loaned to MMA .70 for freight work after their DC-3 fleet had been disposed of in 1969.
Retired Perth 29.8.70.  Sold to AAS 30.12.70. MMA titles painted over at Perth 12.70, ferried to Melbourne 4.1.71. Stored Essendon.
Sold to Air Union Co.  Departed Essendon 14.7.71 as VH-ANZ on delivery flight to Cambodia.
Registered XW-TFL .72 to Air Union Co, leased to Cambodia Air Commercial. Some Cambodian aircraft used Laos registrations.
Crashed during landing at Svay Rieng, Cambodia 20.4.74: ran off runway, hit buildings. 6 fatalities. Owner quoted as Air Union Co.

VH-ANZ at Perth WA in March 1970 while in freight service with MMA.                Photo by Geoff Goodall

VH-ANZ with MMA markings painted over, Perth 2.1.71. It was ferried to Melbourne two days later.
Photo by Merv Prime

VH-ANZ became XW-TFL, seen here in Laos with Wright Cyclones.              Photo: Paul Howard collection


Trans Australia Airlines retired its fleet of five Douglas DC-4s in early 1969, when they were parked at Essendon.  Two were quickly sold to Air Vietnam that year, and the remaining three went to Air Siam at Bangkok during 1970.

DC-4 VH-TAF with TAA markings painted over, in a line of retired TAA DC-4s at Essendon in May 1969
Photo by Gordon Reid

Air Vietnam (Hang Khong Viet Nam) was an experienced airline, flying DC-4s, DC-6s and Viscounts on passenger services within South Vietnam and on international routes.  The US charter airline Flying Tiger Line, which operated extensively to SE Asia during the Vietnam war era, was appointed as Air Vietnam's international agent. A FTL team was sent to Essendon to inspect the TAA DC-4s, selecting VH-TAB & VH-TAF on behalf of Air Vietnam. The purchase contract required TAA to prepare and deliver the pair to Saigon.

- DC-4 VH-TAB (43066) TAA's last passenger DC-4, retired Essendon 8.4.69. Departed Essendon 17.10.69 under command TAA Captain Ivan East with Captain John Love. TAA took advantage of the ferry flight to send two spare DC-3 engines to Lae, then delayed cargo from Lae to Wewak. After Wewak they flew to Davao City, Philippines and arrived at Saigon 20.10.69. Registered XV-NUL 2.70 Air Vietnam.
Retired at Saigon-Tan Son Nhut in the chaos leading up to the fall of Saigon in 4.75.
Almost certainly survived and repainted in the scheme of the post-1975 Government reformed Hang Khong Viet Nam. Parked complete but badly deteriorated, with three other DC-4s,  in a storage area at Tan Son Nhut Airport in 1989, still with the TAA style radar nose.

- DC-4 VH-TAF (7469) TAA Cargomaster, retired Essendon 22.3.69.  Departed Essendon 8.11.69 with the same crew. The aircraft was loaded with 2,000lbs of spare parts and 35 sets of double First Class seats removed from retired TAA Viscounts.  Routed via Darwin, Singapore (10 hr leg), to Saigon, arrived 10.11.69. The TAA crew then continued the flight to Hong Kong-Kai Tak where  heavy aircraft maintenance company HAECO rectified a fuel leak and other faults. Air Vietnam accepted the aircraft on completion of the work at Hong Kong and used tghe Viscount seats to sit a 68 seat pasxsenger cabin.  Registered XV-NUM 2.70 Air Vietnam. Written-off  20.2.74 when a hijacker detonated explosives in flight, killing 4, 3 metre hole in fuselage but successful emergency landing at Hue Phu Bai Airport.

VH-TAB at Essendon July 1968 still with passenger seating, used for charters.            Photo: The Collection

TAA Captain Ivan East counts the prop turns, starting VH-TAB at Essendon 17.10.69 for the ferry to Saigon
Photo by Gordon Reid

VH-TAB taxies at Essendon for the last time on 17.10.69.  It was delivered new to TAA in November 1946.
Photo by Gordon Reid

The second TAA DC-4 sold to Air Vietnam was "Cargomaster" VH-TAF.                Photo by Gordon Reid

VH-TAF with TAA markings painted over, at Essendon the day before its departure for Air Vietnam
Photo by Greg Bell via Nigel Daw collection

I have been unable to find pictures of ex-TAA DC-4s XV-NUL & XV-NUM in Air Vietnam colours.
Here's a photo of sister ship XV-NUJ at Vientiane Laos 12 March 1975 taken by Christian Volpati

VH-TAB is in the foreground of this picture taken at a remote area of Tan Son Nhut Airport in 1980.
DC-4s and a DC-6 were parked retired, all in badly-weathered post-1975 HKVN paint scheme.
The radar nose cone design is distinctive to TAA.
                                    Photo by Paul Howard

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