|Last updated 25 June 2020
|EARLY WEST AUSTRALIAN AERIAL AGRICULTURAL OPERATORS - G to Z
A summary of WA aerial ag companies up to 1980, compiled by Geoff Goodall
|R.K. Giles t/a Giles Aviation Pty Ltd, Wagin (1972-1984)
Richard K. Giles, P.O.Box 258 Wagin.
Dick Giles purchased Pawnee 235 VH-TOJ from Doggett Aviation at Jandakot in November 1972 when Doggett shut down.
A DCA Airwork Licence was originally issued in the name K.N.Hobman & R.K. Giles, 8 Strickland Street, Wagin indicating a partnership with former Doggett pilot K.Hobman, but re-issued in April 1973 as just R.K.Giles, P.O.Box 258 Wagin.
With pilot J.Morton, aerial ag operations were conducted in the southern WA farming districts. On 18 July 1973 VH-TOJ received minor damage when the tailwheel snagged power lines 18 miles south of Narrogin, pilot J.Morton was not hurt.
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-TOJ 11.72 ex Doggett Aviation. Sold 1.74 to Alpine Aviation, Vic
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-BMF 10.80 ex Wagin Aero Spray. Crashed 2.2.83 Donnybrook, sold, repurchased, sold 5.90
Air Tractor AT-301 VH-WWA 3.80 new Crashed 3.3.81 Donnybrook
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-CPV 6.83 ex Dunn's Aviation Sold 4.84
Aviation Pawnee 235 VH-TOJ sprayer at Narrogin
Photo by Geoff Goodall
Air Tractor AT-301 VH-WWA at Kojonup in September
Photo by Geoff Goodall
235 VH-BMF sprayer at Wagin in September
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|David Gray & Co Ltd, Perth (1951-1961)
David Gray & Co Ltd, 10 Railway Parade, West Perth was a manufacturer of chemicals, insecticides, fertilizers and specialists in pest control. Managing Director Mr. David Gray was interested in the development of aerial agriculture and saw it as a good business investment to use and promote the company's products.. In April 1951 the first Tiger Moth was acquired from Aero Service Pty Ltd at Maylands who were contracted to convert it for agricultural use. That same month the company wrote to DCA requesting VH-DD_ registrations be reserved to identify their aircraft to the public and DCA agreed. The first two Tigers became VH-DDT and VH-DDA while a DH.94 Moth Minor support aircraft used to carry pilots, mechanics and supplies between aircraft in the field, was VH-DDG.
The inaugural ag pilot was D.M. (Max) Taylor who was to became widely known over the next 25 years flying for many WA ag operations. By 1953 the company's Aviation Manager was chief pilot George Beamish, who went on to an airline career with MMA.
David Gray & Co leased a hangar with licenced workshop at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth for maintenance of its aircraft under Chief Engineer Keith R. Chappell. He was to leave in 1960 to establish his own maintenance business at Maylands, WA Aircraft Service Co.
- G. J. Baily 1952
- R.McKenna 1953
- Jim Pekin 1954
- Sydney Bignell 1955
- Donald McClyment 1955
- Robert Faulds 1955
- H.A.H. (Hal) Watts 1956-1957
- Tony Edgerton-Green 1957
- R. Digby Bull 1960
The support Moth Minor was replaced by a much more useful Fairchild Argus VH-DDG, which was also used on WA Dept of Agriculture contracts to drop poison baits to eradicate wild dogs and dingos from sheep farming districts. By 1956 the company was appointed Cessna dealers for WA and Mr. David Gray attended the 1957 Australian Cessna dealers conference in Sydney. A Cessna 175 was ordered, which was also used for dog baiting, fitted with a bait dispenser, but by June 1960 its registration was changed from Airwork to Private category.
By early 1962 the remaining three ag Tigers were retired at Maylands and this pioneering WA aerial agricultural business ceased operations. Aircraft:
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-DDT 4.51 Crashed 10.2.55 Toodyay
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-DDA 5.52 CofA lapsed 4.5.61, left in hangar Maylands
DH.94 Moth Minor VH-DDG 7.52 Sold 3.54 to Tom Talbot, Bunbury as VH-THT
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-BEI 7.54 CofA lapsed 4.5.61, left in hangar Maylands, sold 6.63
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-BKS 5.54 Sold 6.62 to W.Michaels, Perenjori
Fairchild 24W Argus VH-DDG 1.55 Sold 5.58 to E.M.Fitzgerald, Carnarvon as VH-EMF, VH-EMP
Cessna 175 VH-DDG 6.59 Del. 1.7.59 ex Bankstown Sold 8.60 to E.M.Fitzgerald, Mullewa as VH-EMF
|Fred Hampton t/a Farmland Aerial Spraying, Yanchep (1973-1979)
Fred D. Hampton, 3 Yilgarn Street, Shenton Park, Perth, to 37 Compass Circle, Yanchep.
In 1973 formed a partnership with Timothy A. McIndoe, 11 Shaw Street, Floreat Park, Perth.
DCA Airwork and Charter Licences were issued to:
T.A.McIndoe & F.D.Hampton t/a Farmland Aerial Spraying, Yanchep and Sun City Air Charter, Yanchep
Commenced operations with a Cessna A188 Agwagon VH-KQA purchased from Falcon Super Spread in July 1973. Charter was flown with hired local light aircraft until September 1974 when Tim McIndoe acquired Cessna 182B VH-CKG which the partnership operated as both ag sprayer fitted with a Sorenson spray kit, or 4 seater, as required. In September 1974 the 182 was based at Morawa as a sprayer, and the following month Fred Hampton flew it as a 4 seater in the annual WA Air Trial, that year from Perth to Exmouth.
Tim McIndoe was lost at sea 14 December 1974 when the catamaran he and a friend were sailing from Perth to Rottnest Island overturned and a large search failed to find the two men. Press reports at the time said McIndoe was scheduled to go to Sydney two days later to collect an additional aircraft for the crop spraying business in which he was a partner. That aircraft was Cessna A185E VH-RKZ which was delivered from Sydney in January 1975 and painted with Sun City Air Charter titles. Hampton continued the business, ownership of McIndoe's Cessna 182 being transferred to his name in February 1975. A new venture towing advertising banners along Perth's beaches was expanded and ex ag Callairs were acquired for that task. Fred Hampton escaped serious injury when he made a forced landing on North Cottesloe Beach, Perth in Callair VH-MPS which overturned in the soft sand.
Cessna A188 VH-KQA 7.73 ex Falcon Super Spread Crashed 20.8.74 Morawa
Cessna 182B VH-CKG 9.74 Sold 3.76
Cessna A185E VH-RKZ 1.75 Sold 2.77
Callair A9A VH-MPI 7.76 Sold 1.77
Callair A9A VH-MPS 7.77 Wrecked 3.78 forced landing on Cottosloe Beach, Perth
Pawnee 235 VH-FBJ .76 lsd ex Farmair Damaged .77 blown on back by windstorm Jandakot
Cessna A188B VH-MXH 11.80 Sold 11.83 to Ian Dunn, Ballidu
|Cessna 182B VH-CKG rigged for spraying at Morawa September 1974. Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Callair VH-MPI at Jandakot December 1976 used for towing advertising banners. Photo by Geoff Goodall
Callair VH-MPS came to grief in a forced landing on Perth's Cottesloe Beach in March 1978.
Geoff Goodall collection
|T.S.Higgins, Perth (1963-1967)
Tim Higgins, widely known as "Timothy Smithy Higgins"was a trucking and haulage contractor at Yuna via Northampton and later Perth.
His first aircraft was a new Cessna 182E VH-DBS in August 1962 which was written off two months later when pilot P.McNeil made a forced landing near Geraldton enroute Yuna-Maylands on 15 October 1962. It was promptly replaced by another new 182E VH-TSH in November 1962.
Higgins agreed to finance ag pilot Max Taylor and took delivery of a PA-25 Pawnee 150 VH-MCI in August 1963 to be operated by Taylor. Early the following year the partners agreed that more powerful Pawnee 235 was needed and Higgins ordered a new aircraft delivered April 1964 as VH-FBI, the Pawnee 150 going to Doggett Aviation. Max Taylor flew VH-FBI for the next three seasons. Its sale to Avon Aviation at Northam in May 1967 ended Higgins' involvement with aerial agricuture.
Meanwhile in June 1963 T.S.Higgins purchased two retired David Gray & Co ag Tigers VH-DDA & VH-BEI, languishing in poor condition in a Maylands hangar. VH-BEI had its CofA renewed in the Private category on 25 June, in time to be flown out before the aerodrome closed on 30 June 1963. Both led shadowy lives before being on-sold.
In 1964 Higgins financed a Republic RC-3 Seabee VH-KNA for Geraldton charter pilot Fred Connell to fly commercial fishermen to the Abrolhos Islands. Later ventures in the early 1970s saw Higgins purchase a Cessna 180 VH-SCB and Cessna 182G VH-DKR.
PA-25 Pawnee 150 VH-MCI 8.63 Sold 3.64 to Doggett Aviation, to VH-DAU
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-FBI 4.64 New Sold 5.67 to Avon Aviation, Northam
|T.S.Higgins' new Pawnee 235 VH-FBI outside the Piper dealer's hangar at Perth Airport on 11 May 1964.
Note the crowd on the terminal observation deck farewelling an International flight. Photo by Merv Prime
|Hoft & Ward, Wyalkatchem (1972-1981)
Established in 1972 as a partnership between Ken .J.Hoft and Ben H.Ward, trading as Hoft & Ward, P.O.Box Applecross, Perth.
Both were experienced ag pilots, Ben Ward was flying Tiger Moths for Aero Service Pty Ltd by 1958, and had the following accidents: -18.8.58 DH.82 VH-BNW at Morowa
-4.3.60 DH.82 VH-WFU at Irwin
-4.1.61 DH.82 VH-WFU at Northam
DCA Airwork Licence was issued to Hoft & Ward in 1972 and operations commenced with Pawnee 235 VH-BCP based at Wyalkatchem.
BCP sustained minor damage 20.8.75 when it struck power lines near Trayning, pilot B.Craig unhurt.
Two-seater Piper PA-22 Colt VH-PMK was purchased in November 1975 for support work, and was flown by Ken Hoft in the October 1976 annual air trial, over the Perth to Carnarvon course.
By 1981 ownership of the remaining Pawnee was changed to Ward's Aerial, Applecross, Perth.
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-BCP 10.72 ex Bob Couper Pty Ltd Sold 7.85
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-KLD 7.75 ex Les Keys Aviation Qld Tfd 11.81 to Ward's Aerial, sold 9.93
|Pawnee 235 VH-BCP "Hoft & Ward, Wyalkatchem" titles, at Jandakot April 1965. Photo by Geoff Goodall
235 VH-KLD duster at Jandakot in March 1977.
Photo by Roger
|Hoft & Ward hangar at Wyalkatchem Aerodrome, September 1985 with VH-BCP at front, VH-KLD behind.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Kun Air Krop Kontrol, Kununurra (1965-1970)
Formed at Kununurra in 1965 by pilot partners Stuart A. Skogland and Charles H. "Chuck" Wolf.
American born Chuck Wolf had been a Bell 47 pilot with Helicopter Utilities, Sydney but had been based in the Ord River area. He decided to leave Helicopter Utilities to form his own Ord River spraying company at Kununurra
Their operation was set up as a division of Ord River Crop Control Pty Ltd, Darwin which owned the aircraft which it leased to KAKK.
The DCA Airwork Licence was issued in the name of Stuart A. Skogland and Charles H. Wolf., Kununurra.
Their first aircraft was Callair A9A VH-CYC purchased from Super Spread Aviation in Melbourne in October 1965. An order was placed for two new Callairs with agents Aerial Agriculture Pty Ltd., Sydney. The first VH-KKZ was test flown after assembly at Bankstown Airport by Chuck Wolf on 21 December 1965. He ferried it to Kununurara However it was wrecked only days after arrival when it crashed 2 January 1966 while spraying due engine failure caused by an engine bay fire, pilot Chuck Wolf unhurt.
Another new Callair VH-MPR delivered ln February 1967 lasted less than a month when it was wrecked on takeoff from a road lined by high sugar cane grass and a wing tangled in the crop.
The DCA report into a minor accident suffered by VH-MPF on 30 January 1969 near Kununurra gives an idea of the operating conditions:
"The pilot briefed the men acting as markers on the swathe width only and gave them a sketch map of the area to be sprayed. When airborne, the pilot found that the markers had taken up position in the wrong paddock. The aircraft was landed back at Farm Hill and instructions given to re-direct the markers. Arriving back at the spraying site the pilot saw one marker in position and commenced his spray run over him. At the other end of the field the farmer, who was an experienced marker, left his utility truck at the end of the paddock and stood in front of it to mark for the runs. As the aircraft, flying with its wheels about 18 inches above the ground approached, the farmer moved rapidly to the right of the flight path. The aircraft continued straight ahead and as it commenced to climb at the end of the run its starboard wheel struck the door of the vehicle. The wheel rim, tyre and tube were dislodged and later, while landing at Kununurra, the starboard undercarriage collapsed and further damage occurred."
Kun Air Krop Kontrol seems to have been discontinued around 1970 when its operation and aircraft continued in the name of parent company Ord River Crop Control Pty Ltd under its own DCA Airwork Licence. See Ord River Crop Control
Callair A9A VH-CYC 10.65 Crashed, Reg cancelled 5.68
Callair A9A VH-KKZ 12.65 New Crashed 2.1.66 near Kununurra
Callair A9A VH-MPQ 1.66 New Crashed 16.1.70 on takeoff Farm Hill airstrip Kununurra
Callair A9A VH-MPR 2.67 New Crashed 21.3.67 on takeoff on road near Kununurra
Callair A9A VH-MPH .67 Hired ex Aerial Ag Returned to Aerial Agriculture, Sydney
Callair A9A VH-MPF 1.68 Sold 8.78
Callair A9A VH-MPS 1.69 New Sold 5.74
|Callair A9A VH-KKZ at Bankstown December 1965, just out of its shipping crate. Photo by Ian McDonell
Callair VH-MPH at the Farm Hill ag strip Kununurra in June
a long way from home at Jandakot Airport, Perth in May
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|VH-MPS at Batchelor NT October 1975 after its sale but still wearing Kun-Air markings.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
VH-MPF at Kununurra in February 1975
Photo by Robert Zweck
|Mingenew Aerial Spraying Co, Mingenew (1969)
This was veteran ag pilot Max Taylor's operation for the 1969 season, financed by Perth builder Leon R. Evans.
Leon Evans trading as Mingenew Aerial Spraying Co, Mingenew Airport filed for bankrupcy in December 1969 and Max Taylor moved on to find his next backer for the 1970 season.
Cessna A188 VH-KVE 4.69 purchased ex Simpson Avtn, Jandakot Returned 4.70 to Simpson Aviation/Westralian Aviation
|Mingenew Aerial Spraying Co's Cessna Agwagon VH-KVE at Jandakot April 1969. Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Miles Morcombe, Coorow later Scadden (1965-1989)
Miles Y. Morcombe was a Coorow farmer who gained his pilot licence in 1959. The following year he purchased Tiger Moth VH-AZA from the Royal Queensland Aero Club which was delivered to him by his good friend John Forrest. He subsequently owned an Auster VH-KSN and Cessna 172C VH-RBY.
During July-August 1964 John Forrest trained Morcombe in agricultural flying using Forrest's Tiger Moth VH-AZT at Carnamah. This was in preparation for the friends forming an aerial ag business in partnership, Morcombe and Forrest Pty Ltd which commenced spraying operations in April 1965 with a new Pawnee 235 VH-BMF flown by Morcombe, based at Waddi Forrest or John Forrest Pty Ltd's Carnamah base. A Cessna 180 followed, which was used as a 4 seater and agricultural work during the season.
From 1969 Morcombe began developing a farming property at Scadden, north of Esperance, spending most of his time there and conducting limited aerial ag in the Esperance district. A DCA Airwork Licence was issued to M.Y. & J.M.Morcombe, Scadden
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-BMF 4.65 Morcombe & Forrest Pty Ltd Sold 3.77 Wagin Aero Spray
Cessna 180 VH-BVW 4.69 ex Yilgarn Aviation Leased 1.72 to United Air Services as 4 seater, crashed 5.72
Cessna 180A VH-BNJ 11.76 Sold 10.89
|Pawnee 235 VH-BMF at Carnamah in June 1970 operating from John Forrest's base. Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Morawa Three Springs Aerial Spraying Co, Morawa (1960-1962)
Mr. Roy Wallis, 77 Market Street Fremantle was a car dealer and vehicle financier who became D. M. (Max) Taylor's backer for the 1960 and 1961 seasons using Tiger Moth VH-TSC registered in Wallis' name.
In April 1960 Wallis was issued with a WA State Airwork licence as Morawa Three Springs Aerial Spraying Co, Aerodrome Morawa.
His application stated that the aircraft was Tiger Moth VH-TSC already configured for spraying. His pilot D.M.Taylor was ready to commence operarions immediately.
In November 1961 Wallis wrote to DCA complaining that his pilot Max Taylor had ignored his instruction that only Taylor was to fly the aircraft. Taylor had recently flown VH-TSC from Morawa to Perth for conversion from spraying to dusting by Jim Pekin's Air Activities company at Maylands Aerodrome. However Wallis has learnt no work had been carried out, so he instructed Taylor to bring it back to Morawa. The duster conversion was done by Pekin in January 1962.
However the Tiger Moth was lost ony a month later. Max Taylor was on a bush fire spotting patrol near Mingenew when the propeller detached in flight. Taylor made a forced landing in rough terrain during whch the Tiger Moth oveturned and was burnt out, setting off a new bush fire. Max Taylor survived the crash and fire without serious injuries. Without an aircraft the business was dissolved. After investigation, DCA issued a severe reprimand to Max Taylor and Jim Pekin for gross neglect for inadequate tightening of the propeller hub bolts.
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-TSC 3.60 Crashed 14.2.62 Mingenew, burnt out
|Ord River Crop Control Pty Ltd, Kununurra (1965-1977)
Formed 1964 with a Darwin office to cater for the needs of agricultural crops being developed as part of the vast Ord River Irrigation project near Kununurra. The aerial agriculture component began in Octonber 1965 by associate company Kun-Air Krop Kontrol using Callair A9As for spraying. All Callairs were owned by ORCC and leased to KAKK to be operated under KAKK's DCA Airwork Licence.
Bell 47 sprayers were introduced from 1968 which appear to have been operated by ORCC.
By the early 1970s ORCC took over aerial agricultural flying in its own name, under a DCA Airwork Licence issued to Ord River Crop Control Pty Ltd, PO Box 72, Kununurra. The helicopters were used for cattle mustering as well as ag work and VH-WHR crashed while mustering in September 1973 on a station inland from Derby, with the death of pilot T.Meed. KAKK founder Stuart Skogland continued with the company. A Cessna 180 VH-SCB was purchased in October 1972 as a support aircraft but was wrecked on 5 May 1973 in a forced landing in scrub country 90 miles south of Kunurra, pilot Stuart Skogland was unhurt.
Bell 47G VH-UTK 9.68 Accident, reg cancelled 10.73
Bell 47G VHWHR 6.72 Crashed 26.9.73 mustering Calwynyardah Station
Bell 47G VH-UTD 4.73 Accident, reg cancelled 10.73
Bell 47G VH-UTA 9.76 Accident 31.5.77
Bell 47G VH-UTD 6.77 Rebuilt, returned to service
|Jim Pekin - see Farmair
|Rob Poynton, "Yandee"farm, Toodyay
Southern Aerial Spreaders (1972-1974)
Rob Poynton Aerial Spraying (1974-1978)
Aero Yandee Pty Ltd (1978-1983)
Robert H. Poynton was son of a Toodyay farmer who began flying training to CPL in 1971 with John Douglas at the Narrogin Flying Club. In late 1972 he established an aerial ag business Southern Aerial Spreaders and purchased Pawnee 235 VH-PFF from Rural Aviation. It had been parked in the weather at Jandakot for some months and completed an overhaul at Bernies Aviation in February 1973. Two months later the Pawnee changed ownership to Falcon Superspread, but returned to Poynon only weeks later. The operation was based on the family farm, Poynton flying the Pawnee in a main work area the Wagin-Kojonup district.
By 1974 the business name was Rob Poynton Aerial Spraying, "Yandee", Toodyay.
In 1978 the business name was changed to Aero Yandee Pty Ltd, Tooday
Rob Poynton owned a Pitts Special VH-IOO and became a champion aerobatic pilot, competing in worldwide events. In 1981 he teamed up with fellow aerobatic champion Guido Zuccoli to import four former Iraq Air Force Hawker Furies to Australia from USA and restored one in his hangar on "Yandee", also a RNZAF Harvard. For the 1986 Americas Cup yacht races at Perth, Rob personally refitted a freighter DC-3 VH-SBL in Melbourne with a passenger cabin to operate scenic flights as a new business Travair Western Australia. He was a pilot on the Pacific delivery flight of restored WWII Lockheed PV-1 Ventura VH-SFF from Stockton California to RAAF Museum at Point Cook June-July 1988. He then established Panama Jack's Aircraft Service as a warbird specialist maintenance business at Jandakot Airport, Perth.
Piper PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-PFF 2.73 ex Rural Aviation Retired 7.83, sold
Ayers Air Tractor AT-301 VH-AYY 1.81 new Retired 5.83, sold 4.87
|Aero Yandee Pawnee VH-PFF sprayer at Yandee, Toodyay in January 1983. Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Air Tractor AT-301 VH-AYY at Wagin in September 1986. Tail advertising has covered the registration.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Rob Poynton with his Iraq Air Force Hawker Fury restoration project VH-ISS at Yandee, Toodyay 1983.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Rural Aviation Co, Perth (1957-1972)
Established late 1957 at Perth by experienced agricultural pilot Henry Arthur Halley "Hal" Watts. The venture began in partnership with Perth private pilot Reginald C . Currell, who provided his two-seat Tiger Moth VH-BNY to be converted for ag use.
H.A.H.Watts began flying in England in 1930 and by 1957 had logged 9,000 hours on 60 aircraft types. During wartime service in RAF Bomber and Transport Commands he was promoted to Squadron Leader and awarded a DSO (Distinguished Service Order) for his service in the European Theatre, Canada and Africa. From July 1944 to February 1945 S/L Watts commanded RAF 548 Squadron based at Darwin equipped with Spitfire VIIIs.
Hal Watts was flying for WA aerial agricultural companies by 1953:
-14.7.53 test flew DH.82 VH-BTO at Maylands after CofA overhaul for Aerial Enterprises
-22.7.53 flying DH.82 VH-BTO when damaged spraying at Mingenew, Aerial Enterprises
-14.8.53 flying DH.82 VH-BTO when damaged spraying at Mingenew, Aerial Enterprises
-13.6.55 flying DH.82 VH-AKN when crashed Midland Junction, Scientific Spraying Service
- 5.3.57 flying DH.82 VH-BEI when damaged Brunswick Junction, David Gray & Co
Hal Watts applied for his own Airwork Licence on 6 November 1957 quoting the name of his proposed operation as simply Air Agriculture, using one Tiger Moth VH-BNY, to be used for spraying and spreading with himself as the only pilot. His address was c/- R.C.Currell, Perth.
On 31 December 1957 Watts wrote that he has changed the name to Rural Aviation Company, because the Commissioner of Companies had ruled that his proposed name was too similar to the existing Perth company Aerial Agriculture (WA) Pty Ltd (Max Taylor - see Part 1)
DCA Airwork Licence was issued 30.1.58 to Rural Aviation Co, Perth c/- H.A.H.Watts and R.C.Currell.
Operations commenced with Tiger Moth VH-BNY and by the end of that year a second Tiger was needed. With no local ag Tigers available for sale, Watts purchased VH-FAI from a NSW ag company and collected it at Bankstown 22 December 1958 when he test flew it after a CofA renewal and set off on the long ferry flight to Perth. Unfortunately VH-FAI was quickly lost in a crash at Toodyay on 10 February 1959 while flown by P.Benton. Watts advised DCA he had sold the wreck as scrap.
Reorganisation of the company to make Watts the sole proprietor resulted in a name change in March 1959 to: Rural Aviation Co Pty Ltd.
In that month another Tiger VH-BTT was purchased in Sydney, followed by VH-BUB in 1960 (ex Doggett Aviation's VH-DAK). During 1960 Tiger VH-ARU was hired from Airwork but crashed at Wongan Hills on 1 August while being flown by Watts. The DCA investigation report stated that he now had 10,250 flying hours with 2000 hours on agricultural Tiger Moths.
The DCA restrictions on agricultural Tiger Moths resulted in Rural Aviation Co ordering a new PA-25 Pawnee 235 which was delivered in october 1962, followed by another in April 1964.
In late 1963 Watts sold three retired Tiger Moths to Mr. Len Froud, who had painted his Victoria Park house. VH-CKB was at Jandakot in damaged condition after being blown over by wind and VH-BTT and a wrecked aircraft (probably VH-BUB) were moved from a hangar at the closed Maylands Aerodrome to Fround's motor garage in the Perth suburb of Belmont, as planned restoration projects.
Rural Aviation Co continued with the two Pawnees. Hal Watts moved from the Perth suburb of Victoria Park to Gosnells. A hangar was built on Morowa aerodrome, where its aircraft were based for each season.
In the late 1960s Hal Watts took on a new partner Ron Hislop, his son-in-law and former TAA airline pilot. A 1970 report stated that Rural Aviation Co Pty Ltd provided seasonal employment for 3 to 14 staff operating from Perth and Morowa. Manager was Hal Watts, chief pilot Ron Hislop. The company ceased operations during 1972 when both Pawnees were retired outside at Jandakot and advertised for sale.
Tiger Moth VH-BNY
Crashed 21.8.59 Dalwallinu spraying, pilot Hal Watts
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-FAI 12.58 Crashed 10.3.59 Toodyay dusting, pilot P.Benton
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-BTT 3.59 CofA expired 21.2.63 Maylands, sold to Len Froud, Perth
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-ARU 60 Leased ex Airwork Co Crashed1.8.60 Wongan Hills, pilot Watts
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-BUB 11.60 ex Doggett VH-DAK Crashed 16.3.61 Yarloop dusting, pilot Watts
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-CKB 2.62 ex Doggett VH-DAI Retired Maylands 63, ferried to Jandakot 10.7.63 by Watts,
blown over by wind Jandakot late 63, sold to Len Froud, Perth
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-PFF 10.62 New Sold 2.73 to Rob Poynton, Toodyay
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-PFA 4.64 New Sold 5.73 yo Grasslands Aviation, Albury NSW
|VH-BNY after the Dalwallinu accident 21 August 1958.
Geoff Goodall collection
after the Toodyay dusting crash 10 February
Geoff Goodall collection
|VH-BUB at Yarloop 16 March 1961 with cut away rear fuselage fabric modification. Geoff Goodall collection
|VH-BTT at Maylands on 4 March 1963 with spray bars and "Rural Aviation" painted on the fuselage.
Photo by Mike Madden
Pawnee 235 VH-PFA at Jandakot in August 1968.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Mike Sasin t/a Sasin Aircraft Pty Ltd, Geraldton (1967-1974)
Miecyslaw "Mike" Sasin was born in Poland in 1923. When Russia invaded eastern Poland in 1939 he was arrested for his Polish patriot activities, deported to Russia where he endured three brutal years tortured as a political prisoner, then working at slave labour camps. After his release, in a series of military attachments he found himself with allied forces in Egypt before being sent to England on a packed troop ship.
In July 1943 Sasin enlisted in the RAF and flew 26 missions as tail gunner on Lancasters, baling out of crippled aircaft over Germany on 16 January 1945, captured by the Gestapo and held in POW camps. Liberated by advancing American troops in April 1945, Sasin was granted post-war RAF unpaid leave to take a 3 year Diploma course at College of Aeronautical Engineering, London. Having gained that qualification he took an Honorable Discharge from RAF with rank of Warrant Officer. Unable to return home to Poland because of the Soviet regime, he was employed as an aircraft engineer at Field Aircraft Services Ltd in England before migrating to Australia as a single man in 1951.
His first aviation employment in Australia was as an engineer with Kingsford Smith Aviation Service at Bankstown Aerodrome, Sydney. There he gained his Australian aircraft maintenance engineer qualifications and trained for a pilot licence. Sasin was engaged as an engineer by Qantas at Sydney Airport but the workplace was highly unionised and he resented the unions' then trend to communism. He quit and joined Adastra Aerial Surveys as an engineer. Then followed employment with the following:
World Wide Air Services/Bermuda Helicopters, Port Moresby PNG (engineer)
Goilala Air Service, Port Moresby PNG (Manager/pilot/engineer on Ansons)
Farmair, West Sale Vic (Chief engineer/pilot)
Super Spread Aviation, Moorabbin Vic (engineer/pilot)
In 1961 Mike Sasin left Super Spread to establish his own business Sasin Aircraft Service, Goulburn NSW. He provided aircraft maintenance and a crop spraying service using Tiger Moth VH-RIN which he had purchased.
With the looming DCA ban on agricultural Tiger Moths after December 1964, Sasin was confident that DHC-1 Chipmunks could be modified to make low-cost ag Tiger replacements. In partnership with Bankstown Airport modifications specialists Aerostructures Pty Ltd his basic design was developed to produce the Sasin-Aerostructures SA-29 Spraymaster. Initial orders were promising but delays carrying out the airframe modifications and DCA type certification resulted in only three being delivered.
Sasin flew his own SA-29 VH-SJD home to Goulburn on 2 September 1965 but his pleasure was short-lived: it was wrecked later that same day when it ran out of fuel while being flown by a local aero club instructor. In December that year Sasin was seriously injured when his Pawnee VH-SFF crashed while he was spraying near Goulburn.
Mike Sasin moved from Goulburn to WA in 1966 and, after initially working with Bob Couper at Cunderdin, started his own new business the following year Sasin Aircraft Pty Ltd, P.O.Box 227 Geraldton. A hangar was leased at Geraldton Airport for light aircraft maintenance and aerial agriculture. General maintenance repairs and CofA renewals were carried out on local aircraft. Sasin purchased a Tiger Moth VH-AMD for himself in April 1968 whIch he kept for a year. In September 1968 he wrote to the Air Force Association in Perth with a detailed submission to restore the deteriorated woodwork on DH Mosquito VH-WAD which had been displayed alongside the AFA Lancaster NX622 in a fenced compound at Perth Airport. Unfortunately by that time the Mosquito had been handed back to its owner Jimmy Woods and had been severely vandalised.
Mike had flown Edgar Percival EP.9s agricultural aircaft with Super Spread and liked the type. In January 1968 he purchased EP.9 VH-DAX from Doggett Aviation at Jandakot, the last of three they had operated. The deal included the all remaining EP.9 airframe and engine spare parts stock, which were sent by road to Geraldton. He employed a pilot to fly agricultural work because his head injuries from the Goulburn Pawnee crash prevented him from flying himself. In March he removed the ag gear from VH-DAX and on 26 March 1968 it was flown from Geraldton to East Wallaby Island in the Abrolhos Islands on a DCA approved night mercy flight to collect a critically ill fisherman.
With the spare parts stock, Sasin believed he could operate two EP.9s and began negotiations to acquire one from South Australia. He designed modifications to install a higher powered 300hp Continental engine driving a 3 bladed propeller. However these plans were not to progress because of the Phantom Flier Affair:
An apparently unrelated event had occurred on 25 October 1967: Cessna 172A VH-AWG flown by unlicenced pilot Keith Wilkin, Manager of Hamersely Station, Wittenoom made low passes over Pyramid Station homestead then a vehicle driving on a nearby road. The nose wheel struck the rear window of the utility, shattering the glass and injuring the 3 occupants. The Cessna's nose leg was damaged but Wilkin continued to Hamersley Station and landed. Wilkin was widely known as The Phantom Flier, his larrikin activities seemingly of no concern to the station owner, iron ore magnate Lang Hancock, who had been flying his own aircraft since 1938.
Mike Sasin had earlier carried out helicopter maintenance on Hancock's cattle-mustering Brantley B.2 VH-DUO at Hamersley Station and repaired the damaged Cessna. In March 1968 he was asked to carry out a major inspection on the same Cessna 172A at Geraldton and supply a replacement aircraft while the Cessna was away. The Hamersley Station commercial pilot delivered the Cessna and, after endorsement on the EP.9, flew it back to Hamersley early April 1968. Sasin's instructions were that only he was to fly the EP.9, not the station manager.
Only days later on 7 April 1968 Keith Wilkin flew the EP.9 from Hamersley Station to Juna Downs Station carrying a lady passenger and a 44 gallon drum of fuel in the loader driver compartment. He wrecked the aircraft on landing, causing minor injuries to himself and the lady.
Wilkin, anxious to hide his latest indescretion from DCA, dragged the EP.9 wreck away behind jeeps and reportedly buried it. Sasin was convinced not to report the accident and was promised full compensation for the loss of his EP.9. A dismantled 1943 model Auster 5 VH-AGQ disused at Hamersley Station was thrown in as first instalment.
DCA did learn of the EP.9 event and the investigation and fall-out went on for years. Sasin felt his personal treatment by DCA was far harsher than the way Wilkin was dealt with and was convinced that was due to Lang Hancock's influence. Sasin was subsequently prosecuted for contravening a regulation that he as owner was required to report the accident. No futher compensation was forthcoming from Wilkin or Hancock despite promises. (The above based on Mike Sasin's book The EP.9 Story, available from Hesperian Press, Perth WA)
Life went on at Sasin Aircraft, Geraldton conducting general aviation maintenance. On the side, Sasin slowly rebuilt the Auster wreck from Hamersey, which he eventually sold as VH-CKD. In April 1969 a Cessna 180 VH-RGV was purchased from Super Spread, Moorabbin for agricutural work in the Geraldton district. He also operated it as a 4-seater or single-seater when carrying parachutists. In early 1971 Sasin closed his Geraldton business and moved to Perth to a house near Jandakot Airport where garden ornaments included sections of damaged Cessnas he was working on.
| Mike Sasin's Sasin Aerostructures SA-29 Spraymaster VH-SJD on completion at Bankstown late August 1965.
The modified Chipmunk featured agricultural hopper and plumbing, blown cockpit canopy, wingtip plates.
Photo by Neville Parnell
| Sasin Aircraft's short-lived EP-9 VH-DAX seen during its earlier Doggett days. Photo by Alistair Coutts
|Mike Sasin's agricultural Cessna 180C VH-RGV competed in the October 1969 Weekend News Air Trial from
Jandakot with the hopper in the cabin. Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Scientific Spraying Service, Perth - (1954-1956)
Formed early 1954 by Peter A. Strickland and Basil B. Taylor: see Strickland Pittaway & Co, Perth
First aircraft was Tiger Moth VH-BJT which had been purchased by Strickland a year earlier for The Crop Spraying Co, which did not commence operations. On completion of its conversion to a sprayer at Maylands, VH-BJT's ownership was transferred in May 1954 to
P. A.Strickland & B. B. Taylor trading as Scientific Spraying Service, 214 St Georges Terrace, Perth.
On 28 November 1955 Scientific Spraying Service, Perth was issued a DCA Import Permit for two Boeing Stearman A75N biplanes being purchased from USA. They were not delivered.
After two seasons Scientific Spraying Service name was discontinued and the two surviving Tiger Moth sprayers had their ownership transferred effective 29 March 1956 to a newly formed business Strickland Taylor & Co, Perth: see Strickland Pittaway & Co, Perth
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-BJT 5.54 tfd ex The Crop Spraying Co Crashed 17.7.54 Moora, write off
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-AMP 7.54 hired from Bob Couper Co Returned to Bob Couper by 5.55
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-AKN 4.55 ag conversion 5.55 Crashed 13.6.55 Midland Junction, Perth, write off
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-BLK 5.55 Tfd 29.3.56 to Strickland Taylor & Co
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-AHS 7.55 Tfd 29.3.56 to Strickland Taylor & Co
|VH-AKN after its accident at Midland Junction, a Perth outer suburb, 13 June 1955. Geoff Goodall collection
|Edmond Sheehan, Perth (1960-1962)
Edmond K. Sheehan, 199 Clayton Road, Newburn, Perth
Operated a single Tiger Moth VH-BGA which he purchased from Aviation Services (SA) Ltd at Parafield in May 1960. It was ferried to Perth the following month and converted to a sprayer at Maylands, test flown 14 July 1960 by his pilot G.P.Landry.
Sheehan was issued with a WA State Airwork Licence on 24 June 1960, his file indicating that in 1960 he was also operating ag Tiger VH-TSC whch was owned by R.Wallis, Perth: see R.Wallis t/a Morawa Three Springs Aerial Spraying Co.
Tiger VH-BGA was damaged while spraying at Yandanooka on 3 August 1960 flown by G.P.Landry, but quickly returned to service.
On 6 June 1962 Sheehan wrote to DCA advising he had left his Tiger Moth VH-BGA in the hands of MMA pilot Mr.Harold Rowell to dispose of, requesting the Department transfer its ownership to any person nominated by him. Rowell sold the aircraft to Bob Couper & Co, Cunderdin on 17 July 1962 where it continued as a sprayer.
|Skyways, Morawa (1967-1972)
Skyways, Morawa Airport c/- Duayne D. Switzer, 19 Electra Street, Brentwood, Perth
Formed in 1964 by D.D.Switzer as an aerial spraying business based at Morawa. He had been an ag pilot with Air Culture, Perth since 1961 at least and in 1965 was an IFR charter pilot for Murchison Air Charter, Perth flying their Cessna 411 and Piper Aztecs. He remained with Murchison, which expanded as Murchison Air Services, Perth well into the 1970s, while operating his seasonal ag business. In June 1970 Duayne Switzer ferried a Helio Courier VH-KTY from USA to a Perth owner.
PA-25 Pawnee 150 VH-MIS 9.64 ex Alpine Avtn, Victoria Sold 10.66 to Avon Aviation, Northam
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-SKJ 5.67 Hazair import ex N7628Z Sold 1.72 to Nicholsons Air Svcs, Wee Waa NSW
|Pawnee 235 sprayer VH-SKJ at Jandakot in October 1968 also fitted with an underbelly spreader.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Southern Cross Spraying, Perth (1968-1969)
This was another Max Taylor seasonal operation, using a Cessna A188 Agwagon VH-RXD hired from Jandakot Cessna dealers Simpson Aviation. Pilot was D.M.Taylor.
|Agwagon VH-RXD at Jandakot in August 1968 with "Southern Cross Aviation" titles and an falcon emblem.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Strickland Pittaway & Co Pty Ltd, Perth (1953-1954)
Strickland Taylor & Co Pty Ltd, Perth (1956-1957
Strickland Pittaway & Co Pty Ltd, 122 Murray Street, Perth was a stock and station agency. The company represented rural customers and held agencies for farm machinery, equipment and agricultural chemicals. In June 1951 Peter Strickland purchased Rearwin Cloudster VH-ABL which was for sale at Maylands Aerodrome. Later that year he was visiting a Wittenoom station owner client and flew the Rearwin to help search for missing stock. To facilitate payment for his flying time, he applied for and was issued with a DCA Airwork Licence in the company's name. He wrote to the WA Transport Commission on 8 December 1951:
"The company originally intended to appoint an accountant-cum-pilot and engage in aerial work such as dog baiting, but were unsuccessful and have therefore withdrawn from this field."
However Peter Strickland watched the early WA aerial agricultural operations and decided to join them. In January 1953 a Tiger Moth VH-BJT was purchased at Maylands and a new company Crop Sprayers Pty Ltd was registered as a subsidiary of Strickland Pittaway & Co Pty Ltd, Perth. The following month the name was changed to The Crop Spraying Company. Agricultural operations did not commence and the Tiger was left in a hangar at Maylands as a two-seater.
By early 1954 Peter Strickland had found a suitable partner for his aerial agricultural plans, Basil Bain Taylor. The pair formed a new company named Scientific Spraying Service, 214 St Georges Terrace Perth: see Scientific Spraying Service
After two seasons, the Scientific Spraying Service name was discontinued and the two surviving Tiger Moths VH-BLK & VH-AHS had their ownership transferred effective 29 March 1956 to a newly business Strickland Taylor & Co, Perth. The letterhead stated
"Aerial agricultural specialists, Land Estate agents, Caledonian Insurance Coy, Stock and Station Agents, incorporating Scientific Spraying Service"
Following the 1957 season, the business was reorganised as Basil Taylor & Co Pty Ltd, Perth: see Basil Taylor & Co
|Strickland Taylor & Co aircraft:
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-BLK 3.56 tfd ex Scientific Spraying Svce 1.58 tfd to Basil Taylor & Co, Perth
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-AHS 3.56 tfd ex Scientific Spraying Svce 1.58 tfd to Basil Taylor & Co, Perth
Taylor & Co Tiger Moth VH-AHS near Mingenew in September
1956. Geoff Goodall collection
|Super Spray Pty Ltd, Kununurra (1974- )
Established in mid 1970s by S.K.Cox who operated an aerial ag business at Batchelor NT with Pawnees, Callairs and Snow Commander VH-SND. First mention of Super Spray Pty Ltd came in September 1975 with an advertisement offering for sale two Pawnee 235s plus a collection of Callair spare parts. One of Cox's Pawnees at Batchelor VH-FBN was changed to Super Spray Pty Ltd ownership in February 1975.
|Super Spray Pawnee 235 VH-FBN at Farm Hill airfield Kununurra in January 1979 with wingtip mods.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Super Spread Aviation Pty Ltd, Melbourne (WA ops 1952-1964)
Super Spread Aviation was established in 1952 at Melbourne's Moorabbin Airport by partners Austin W. (Aussie) Miller and C.Ernest (Ernie) Tadgell, both former wartime RAAF pilots. Their company was to grow to become one of largest Australian aerial agricultural businesses, but along the way the two founders were bought out in 1960, Miller purchasing a hotel at Launceston, Tasmania while Ernie Tadgell started Tadgell Aviation at Toowoomba Qld. Miller later returned to Victoriato form Western Aerial Services, Derinallum.
The Super Spread founders decided from the start to take advantage of differing aerial ag seasons in WA and its normal operating areas of Victoria, NSW,SA and Tasmania. The potential earnings in WA were considered worth the costs of sending Tiger Moth sprayers 3,500 Km across the country. The following are known Super Spread Aviation operations in WA, which some years were extensive and serious competition for the WA local aerial ag operators:
A.W.Miller trading as Super Spread, Melbourne wrote to WA State
licencing board to apply to operate two Tiger Moths on aerial
agriculture operations within Western Australia. Both aircraft would be owner-operated.
24.7.52 WA State Licence issued for Super Spread Tigers VH-AMD and VH-ARN
20.6.53 WA State Licence issued for Super Spread Tigers VH-ATQ and VH-PCH
7.6.54 WA State Licence issued for Super Spread Tigers VH-SSA and VH-SSB
4.6.57 WA State Licence issued for Super Spread Tiger VH-SSP
25.2.59 WA State Licence issued for Super Spread EP-9s VH-SSV and VH-SSX
20.5.59 EP-9 VH-SSV noted at Perth Airport
18.7.59 EP-9 VH-SSX forced landing no airframe damage enroute Yorkrakine-Wyalkatchem on soraying opsd, pilot H.Apitz
13.8.59 EP-9 VH-SSX forced landing 10 miels from Morawa while spraying, pilot H.Apitz
1.4.60 WA State Licence issued for Super Spread EP-9 VH-SSV and VH-SSX, Ceres VH-SSZ, Tiger Moths VH-SSA and VH-SSH
6.60 CA-28 Ceres VH-SSZ based in WA on 3 month contract to Shell Chemical Co to spray and spread its products. A demonstration
was given at the Perth outer suburb Armadale on 23 June and operations commenced at York the following day.
14.4.61 WA State Licence issued for Super Spread Ceres VH-SSV
29.6.63 Super Spread Cessna 180 VH-SSM overturned in a forced landing due last light between Narrogin and Williams, pilot J.Newton.
The damaged aircraft was moved by road back to Moorabbin for rebuild, seen passing through Adelaide on 13 July 1963.
|Typical of the large Super Spread Tiger Moth fleet, VH-SSA at Moorabbin in 1959 rigged for spraying.
Photo by Neil Follett
|CAC Ceres VH-SSZ at Perth Airport in June 1960 in special Shell Chemicals markings for its WA contract.
Photo: Richard E. Hourigan collection
|VH-SSZ at Parafield SA August 1962 back in standard Super Spead scheme with liberal dayglo orange.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Symes Brothers, Westonia , later Geraldton (1967-1999)
Bruce E. Symes, Manager of Symes Bros Aerial Spraying Contractors, Kalin Street, Westonia.
Commenced in 1967 with Cesana 180G VH-DLB purchased from Greenacres Air Agriculture, Tamworth NSW
During 1971 the business moved to Geraldton with an address 35 Ainsworth Street, Geraldton.
Cessna 180G VH-DLB 6.67 Sold 11.76
Cessba A188 VH-KVE 8.75 ex AGA Retired 11.78
Rockwell S-2R Thrush Commander VH-TXZ 7.76 new Retired Geraldton 86. Sold 1.99
|Cessna 180G sprayer VH-DLB at Jandakot June 1967 on delivery from Greenacres Air Agriculture, Tamworth
Photo by Alistair Coutts
|VH-DLB six years later lookings hard-worked, Geraldton December 1973. Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Symes Bros Rockwell Thrush Commander VH-TXZ at Geraldton in August 1982. Photo by Geoff Goodall
|The big Thrush Commander retired at Geraldton and looking quite sad in faded paintwork by August 1987.
Ten years later it was acquired by a Queensland operator and returned to service. Photo by Geoff Goodall
|TASCO (Ord River) Pty Ltd, Kununurra (1966-
A subsidiary of established Adelaide company Trojan Aerial Spraying Pty Ltd which had been formed in 1958 by pilot John Freeman. Original Tiger Moths were replaced by PA-25 Pawnee 235s. After assessing opportunities for spraying new crops being farmed as part of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme in the Kununurra region, Freeman dispatched Pawnees VH-TSI and -TSW from Parafield on New Years Day 1966 for the long ferry flight to Kununurra. Freeman flew the first night spraying in the Ord River region in early April 1966 while spraying cotton crops, necessary because the cotton flowers close over in daylight. Pawnee VH-TSF was also also at Kununurra that season, returning to Parafield April 1966.
This began a rotation of Trojan Aerial Spraying Pawnees and Rockwell Snow Commanders VH-SNA and -SND from Adelaide to Kunurra.. TASCO (Ord River) Pty Ltd, P.O.Box 113 Kununurra was established to manage the WA operation. Some Trojan aircraft were registered to TASCO (Ord River) Pty Ltd but spent most of their time in SA.
Trojan Aerial Spraying had changed its operating name to TASCO by 1974, and had a NSW subsidiary TASCO (Wee Waa) Pty Ltd.
Spraying was also carried out Batchelor NT.
Rockwell Snow Commander 600 VH-SNA at Parafield SA May 1969 with "Trojan Aerial Spraying Co Pty Ltd"
and "TASCO(Ord River) Pty Ltd" on the forward fuselage. It crashed spraying at Paskerville SA 4 months later.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Basil Taylor & Co Pty Ltd, Perth (1958-1962)
At the end of the 1957 season, the business Strickland Taylor & Co (see listing above) was reoganised under Basil Taylor's sole management. Effective 1 January 1958 it was renamed Basil Taylor & Co Pty Ltd, 97 St Georges Terrace, Perth. Manager Basil B. Taylor.
The two Strickland Taylor & Co Tiger Moths VH-BLK & AHS were included in the assets of the takeover.
On 23 January 1958 VH-AHS flew trials at the wartime Caversham airstrip on successful tests of a new spreading installation designed by Fawcett Aviation, Sydney. More Tiger Moths were acquired, with hopper capacity 1825 to 2,000 pounds. During 1961 a Piper Pawnee 150 and Cessna 180 were added to the fleet . The company letterhead in 1961 read:
Basil Taylor & Co Pty Ltd
Crop spraying, Top dressing, Crop dusting, Seed and Pasture Sowing, Pest and Weed Control
In 1962 DCA announced restrictions on Australian agricultural DH.82
Tiger Moths because of their high level of pilot fatalities and serious
injury compared with other agricultural aircraft types. This was
despite an earlier DCA mandatory modification of an overturn truss to
protect the pilot. The ANO required operators to reduce their DH.82
fleet by a third each year 1963-1965 until 31 December 1965 when CofAs
would be withdrawn for all agricultural Tiger Moths. This had a
major impact on the aerial agrcultural industry, with operators forced
to finance the purchase of more modern aircraft certified for
Basil Taylor discussed the situation with Cyril Flood of Aero Service Pty Ltd, also at Maylands Aerodrome. They both had fleets of Tiger Moths to replace and agreed to work together to make the the transition. By November 1962 Basil Taylor's letterrhead had been changed to
Basil Taylor & Co Pty Ltd (operating in association with Aero Service Pty Ltd)
The business arrangement was formalised in March 1962 with the registration of a new company Agricultural and General Aviation Pty Ltd, Perth to take over the operations and assets of Aero Service Pty Ltd and Basil Taylor & Co Ltd. Taylor was nominated as AGA General Manager and a Director. Basil Taylor & Co Pty Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary of AGA and its aircraft were changed to AGA ownwership on 5 November 1962. With new financial backing, AGA ordered three new Cessna 185As and commenced disposing the combined Tiger Moth fleet. Basil Taylor continued as AGA General Manager well into the 1970s. (See AGA)
|Basil Taylor & Co Pty Ltd aircraft:
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-BLK 1.58 tfd ex Strickland,Taylor & Co. Rereg VH-BTW 6.61. Tfd to AGA 11.62
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-AHS 1.58 tfd ex Strickland,Taylor & Co. Rereg VH-BTF 5.61 Tfd to AGA 11.62
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-ARA 9.58 conv to ag 12.59 Rereg VH-BTX 12.59 Tfd to AGA 11.62
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-RNM 11.59 ex Royal Newcastle Aero Club Rereg VH-BTU 11.59 Sold 6.61 to Blaxell & Grummels, Perth
DH.82 Tiger Moth VH-RNY 11.59 ex Royal Newcastle Aero Club Rereg VH-BTV 11.59 Sold 4.61 to private owner
PA-25 Pawnee 150 VH-DAJ 3.61 ex Doggett Aviation Rereg VH-BTY 3.61 Tfd to AGA 11.62
Cessna 180 VH-RDO 12.61 ex Bob Couper Tfd to AGA 11.62
|Tiger VH-AHS at Mingenew
in March 1959 loading superphosphate.
Geoff Goodall collection
|D. M. (Max) Taylor, Perth (1952-1970)
Donald Maxwell Taylor was unrelated to Basil Taylor but was a feature of the WA aerial agriculture scene for just as long.
His post-wartime flying was on aerial survey Avro Ansons from Perth but Max preferred the the low level work of aerial agriculture. His first business was Aerial Enterprises, Perth where he was Manager and Chief Pilot. For the 1957 season he reformed under a new name
Aerial Agriculture (WA) Pty Ltd, which seemingly had no affiliation with the large Sydney company Aerial Agriculture Pty Ltd.
From 1958 Max decided that he preferred the freedom of flying his own aeroplane on ag work for his own loyal farmer customers without organised business constraints. By then he was widely known throughout the WA wheatbelt and southern farming districts. His affable manner and proven cropdusting ability enabled him to find backers willing to finance his purchase of an aircraft to set up a new operation. These business partnerships usually only lasted for one or two seasons, when Max would find a new sponsor and acquire a new aircraft.
The following are known Max Taylor operations, further details will be found in the alphabetical isting:
Tiger Moths VH-ARU, BTM, BTO
1957-58 Aerial Agriculture (WA) Pty Ltd Tiger Moths VH-ARU, BTM, TSC
1958-59 R.B.Asplin, Bridgetown Tiger Moth VH-TSC
1960-62 Morawa Three Springs Aerial Spraying Co. Tiger Moth VH-TSC
1963-67 T.S.Higgins Pawnees VH-MCI, FBI,
1966 D.M.Taylor & R.D.Croft Cessna 180 VH-GCW
1967-68 J.H.Baker Cessna 180 VH-FSD
1968-71 Falcon Aerial Enterprises Cessna A188 VH-KQA, YA-1 VH-CYW
1968-69 Southern Cross Spraying Cessna A188 VH-RXD
1969 Mingenew Aerial Spraying Co Cessna A188 VH-KVE
|D.M.Taylor & R.D.Croft, Perth (1966)
Mr. R. D.Croft of the Perth suburb Ingewood became Max Taylor's business partner for 1966. Cessna 180 VH-GCW was purchased from Benalla Aero Work in Victoria in August 1966 and registered in the partnership's name. Only three months later it was sold to a Perth private owner.
|Tiger Spread, Wagga NSW (1958)
Commenced in 1956 at Wagga NSW with TIger Moth VH-TSA. In March 1957 a second Tiger VH-TSC was added, owned by Julian Cavanaugh who was manager and chief pilot. In early 1958 Cavanaugh flew VH-TSC to WA and commenced agricultural work.
DCA (WA Region) first received reports of his WA activities in March 1958 but were unable to contact him or establish under whose Airwork Certificate he was operating. Soon after that came news that Julian Cavanaugh had comitted suicide. His estate was wound up by Bridgetown WA solicitor R.B.Asplin acting for Cavanaugh's widow in NSW. On 1 July 1958 Asplin sold VH-TSC to D.M.Taylor c/- Aerial Agriculture (WA) Pty Ltd, Perth but payment was not forthcoming and Asplin wrote to DCA in Perth for assistance. Taylor did produce the outstanding funds and took delivery of the Tiger Moth but because of the solicitor's correspondence with DCA, its ownership on the Civil Aircraft Register remained with R.B.Asplin.
Taylor was to sell VH-TSC in January 1959 to a Derby pastoralist, throwing in a spare fuselage A17-194. Later that year Taylor operated VH-TSC on ag work while registered to R.S.Maxted, Derby.
|Western Aerial Services Pty Ltd, Cunderdin (1964-1989)
Established as an aerial agricultural business in 1964 by Cunderdin agricultural agent P.B.Gilroy. An order was placed with Yeoman Aviation in Sydney for two new YA- 1 Cropmasters for delivery in April-May 1965. When Yeoman advised that production delays meant they could not make the agreed delivery dates, WAS cancelled the order and instead acquired two used Callair A9As from Robbys Aircraft, Adelaide.
More Callairs were added and two-seater Tiger Moth VH-FBO as a support aircraft.
WAS was a direct competitor to Bob Couper Pty Ltd at Cunderdin Aerodrome where WAS built its own new hangar.
A Grumman Agcat was purchased in June 1967 and its pilot John Mason flew it to Wee Waa NSW for local work outside the WA ag season.
An early WAS pilot was Ian Dunn of Albany who was spraying in the Ballidu area in May 1965 - see Dunn's Aviation
In 1974 WAS ordered a pre-used Callair from the Australian agents Aerial Agriculture Pty Ltd, Sydney. A used Callair A9B was imported from USA but although looking identical to the Australian certified A9A model, the Dept of Aviation deemed that there were sufficient structural differences that it was to be considered a new type. This required manufacturer's design and performance data which was no longer available since IMCO had gone out of business and the Callair A9 series was taken over by Rockwell and rights sold to Mexico. VH-MPT was operated for a few months on a permit, then grounded in the company hangar at Cunderdin while a 7 year paper war between WAS, Aerial Agriculture and Department of Aviation dragged on. Finally the A9B was rebuilt and modified to A9A standard and the Department agreed to issue a CofA as type A9A, and it returned to the air in June 1982 as VH-MPU.
After a company reorganisation, WAS was renamed Western Aerial Services (1978) Pty Ltd
In 1984 ownership of the remaining two Callairs was changed to M.L.Slater c/- Western Aerial Services (1978) Pty Ltd, trading as Waspray
Callair A9A VH-MPA 5.65 ex Robbys Sold 2.72 to K.W.Forest, Kununurra
Callair A9A VH-MPD 5.65 ex Robbys Sold 3.89
Callair A9A VH-MPB 5.65 ex Super Spread Sold 8.65 to Robbys, Adelaide
DH82 Tiger Moth VH-FBO 11.65 support aircraft Sold 3.75
Callair A9A VH-MPG 4.66 ex Air Culture Sold 12.84
Grumman AgCat VH-PUV 6.67 new Sold 2.72 to Cropcair, Brisbane
Callair A9B VH-MPT 8.74 ex N7267V Operated on permit, cancelled from Register 4.75, stored Cunderdin
Callair A9A VH-MPU 6.82 ex VH-MPT Modified from A9B to A9A. Sold 1.88
Aerial Services Callair A9A VH-MPA at Cunderdin in July
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|WAS Callair VH-MPG visiting Jandakot in March 1974 in faded original factory yellow paint scheme.
Photo by Roger McDonald
|Western Aerial Services Grumman Agcat VH-PUV at Archerfield June 1972 just after its purchase by Cropcair.
Photo by Ben Dannecker
|The troublesome Callair A9B VH-MPT at Jandakot September 1974 after assembly ex USA.
Photo by Roger McDonald
|Callair VH-MPG at Cunderdin in September 1985 in smart new paintwork with "Waspray" insignia.
Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Wagin Aero Spray Pty Ltd, Wagin (1976-1980)
Company formed in 1976 by pilot Lloyd J. C. Baker who had commenced spraying ops from Wagin the previous year.
Lloyd Baker was Managing Director and chief pilot.
By 1979 Lloyd Baker had moved to Gisbon near Esperance with Pawnee VH-BCK.
PA-25 Pawnee 150 VH-GAG 2.75 ex Rossair, Adelaide Tfd 10.76 to Wagin Aero Spray, crashed 29.8.77, later rebuilt for resale
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-BCK 7.76 ex Lloyd Aviation, Parafield Tfd 8.76 to Wagin Aero Spray, to L.C.J.Baker Gisbon 4.79, sold 6.83
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-BMF 3.77 ex Miles Morcombe Sold 10.80 to Giles Aviation, Wagin
|Wagin Aero Spray Pawnee 150 VH-GAG at Wagin in September 1975. Photo by Roger McDonald
|Pawnee 235 VH-BCK at Wagin in June 1977, with curved wingtip mod. Photo by Geoff Goodall
|Pawnee 235 VH-BMF at Wagin during August 1980.
|George Wells Aviation, Moonyoonooka (1973-1978)
|George T. Wells was an experienced NZ ag pilot who from 1972 became Chief pilot of Falcon Super Spread Pty Ltd, Perth.
He had been a RNZAF pilot from WWII on Douglas Dauntless dive bombers to DH.104 Devon transports in peacetime, before a civil ag flying career in NZ, mostly with Wanganui Aero Work flying Fletchers and CAC Ceres.
With Falcon Super Spread's customer base in the Geraldton area, Wells operated from a farming property at Moonyoonooka near Geraldton.
In 1974 George Wells purchased the original owner's investment in Falcon Super Spread and by 1977 was operating under his own name as
George Wells Aviation, Koogereena Pastoral Co, Moonyoonooka.
With his flying experience and type ratings, George helped with projects, such as ferrying an ex RNZAF Devon NZ1818 from Perth Airport to Jandakot in March 1972 for Cliff Brown Aircraft Sales. In 1974 he purchased Agwagon VH-KVD through Cliff Brown, ferrying a sales demonstrator Pawnee VH-CKL from Perth to Orange NSW where he collected VH-KVD and brought it back to WA.
Cessna A188A VH-RIK 3.76 Tfd ex Falcon Super Spread Crashed 16.8.78 near Gerladton
Cessna A188 VH-KVD .74 ex Pays Air Service NSW Sold 5.77 to Boconair, Moora
|George Wells Aviation Agwagon VH-RIK at the Rocky Gully airstrip inland from Geraldton in July 1977
Photo by Roger McDonald
|Westfield Aviation Pty Ltd, Muckinbudin
|Yilgarn Aviation Pty Ltd, Westonia (1967- )
|Established in 1967 by A.H. & F.R.Andrews, Applecross, Perth.
Arthur H.Andrews was an experienced WA aerial ag pilot who had flown Austers on charter for Jim Pekin's companies Northwest Air Service and Air Activities, and ag flying for Bob Couper by 1957. By 1963 he was Chief Pllot of Agricultural & General Aviation, Perth.
In April 1967 he purchased Cessna 180 VH-BVW to go out on his own.
Arthur Andrews applied for a WA State Licence for Yilgarn Aviation Pty Ltd to operate charter and agricutural services for the Eastern farming district with the Cessna 180 which was based on an airstrip 5 miles south of Westonia. In November 1969 he wrote to advise that the Cessna 180 had been replaced by a Piper Pawnee and Yilgarn Aviation was now only carrying out agricukutral work. By 1973 Yilgarn was covering an area as far as Esperance where the agent was Mr. W. Thomas.
Cessna 180 VH-BVW 4.67 ex Bob Couper Sold 4.69 to Miles Morcombe
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-AHA 5.69 new
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-PXI 8.75 ex Alan Baker,Wee Waa Sold 6.76
PA-25 Pawnee 235 VH-AYB 6.76 new
|Yilgarn Aviation Cessna 180 VH-BVW at Jandakot in April 1969 at the time of its sale to Miles Morcombe.
The Cessna was still in the yellow white and black paintwork of earlier owner Mafair in New Guinea.
Phto by Geoff Goodall
|Yilgarn Aviation Pawnee 235 VH-AHA at its Westonia base in October 1972. Photo by Geoff Goodall