1960s ADELAIDE AIRPORT VISITORS

Adelaide-West Beach Airport was a quiet domestic airport in the 1960s, with only occasional visits by international aircraft.
The exception was the weekly British Air Ministry UK-Woomera-Adelaide courier service, which loaded high security passengers and cargo at Adelalaide, before the long haul back to England.


My earliest schoolboy recollections from our family home on the boundary of Adelaide Airport was the Sunday morning arrivals
of these magnificent Avro Tudor 4B Super Traders, usually with an engine shut down and propeller feathered.  I remember the
backfiring of the Merlins as the power came off when settling on to the runway and the squealing brakes as they taxied up to the
ANA hangar terminal, by which time I would have arrived on my bicycle. They were operated by Air Charter Ltd, London, one
of Freddie Laker's British aviation enterprises, on the weekly Air Ministry contract from Blackbushe to Woomera and Adelaide.

Here a TAA Viscount passes G-AHNL Mistral parked at Adelaide in 1957. Photo by the late E. W. Daw, courtesy Nigel Daw.


One of my earliest photographs circa 1957, Handley Page Hermes G-ALDI of Britavia at Adelaide Airport as a substitute for
the usual Tudor service.  Without cargo doors, it must have been mostly passengers on this run. The cleaned cabin carpet has
been hung from the door to dry before that evening's departure for UK.

Air Charter Ltd held the Air Ministry Australian contract untl 1960, replacing Tudors with DC-4s and Britannias, before the
long-haul contract went to British United Airways, using Britannias.  G-ARWZ is seen loading at Adelaide in May 1962.


By 1962 the contract for the weekly British Air Ministry courier was held by Cunard Eagle Airways. Here DC-6B G-ARZO has
arrived at West Beach from Woomera in September 1962 and is waiting for cargo and security passengers to load for the return
trip back to UK. The courier supported the Weapons Research Establishment activities at Woomera and Adelaide, and the aircraft
were handled at Adelaide Airport by Trans Australia Airlines.


During 1963 the Cunard Steamship Co sold its shareholding in Cunard Eagle Airways and the airline was renamed British Eagle International.  The same red and white colour scheme was retained. DC-6A G-ARMY at Adelaide in October 1963


Loading of cargo for UK, mostly Australian GAF Jindivik target drones, was carried out under a strong security presence. As is
typical of mindless airport security, the "secret" cargo had often been left in the open doorway of the TAA hangar for several
days prior to the Eagle flight.  The Jindiviks were painted all white and carried RAAF serials in the A92- series.


Earlier in 1963 Cunard Eagle began using its growing fleet of Bristol Britannias on the Air Ministry courier to Woomera.  One of
the first seen at Adelaide was Britannia 324 G-ARKB. Later with British Eagle it was to be named Endeavour and Resolution.


British Eagle Britannia 324 G-ARKA at Adelaide in January 1964, with name Good Fortune in green on the nose. By now the
DC-6s had been replaced by Britannias on all services to Adelaide. The hapless British security guard in the van was briefed to
stop photographs showing cargo doors open, but had no instructions to cover pictures from this side.


Visitor of the decade was Avro Lancaster MR.7 WU16 (ex RAF NX622) of the French Aeronavale, which stopped overnight on
30 November 1962.  It had been donated to the Airforce Association in Perth, Western Australia and was being ferried from its
former base at Tontouta, New Caledonia to Perth by a French navy crew. It was later displayed at Perth Airport in wartime
camouflage as RAF NX622 for over a decade before moving to the Aviation Heritage Museum at Bull Creek, Perth.


Sud Aviation Caravelle F-BJAO on demonstration to Trans Australia Airlines, at Adelaide in April 1962.  Invited guests are
lined up at the rear stairs for a local flight.  The Caravelle lost out to the Boeing 727 as the first Australian domestic jet airliner.


USAF Martin B-57B 52-1500 overnighted outside the TAA hangar at West Beach in October 1963. It was part of a detachment
of B-57s and U-2s based at RAAF East Sale, ostensibly for high altitude weather research.


This Martin B-57B 52-1502 dropped into Adelaide on 24 January 1964. Without shutting down engines, the two crew were handed
paperwork from waiting men in suits. After three minutes parked, the Martin taxied away and departed to the west.


Douglas C-47H Bu12436 was based in Canberra with the US Naval Attache to the US Embassy. At Adelaide December 1963.


The US Air Force consulate aircraft at Canberra was this Convair VT-29D 52-5829, seen being refuelled at Adelaide Airport
in May 1965. The aircraft always looked immaculate with polished metal surfaces and white roof and tail.


These two USAF Douglas C-118s visited in May 1962, one undergoing maintenance in the TAA hangar.


USAF Douglas C-54E 44-9041 was a visitor in May 1965.


The first US Navy Lockheed Orion visit was this P-3A Bu151365 in May 1966. 


Another C-54, but this time French Aeronavale 9148 from the French Pacific base at Tontouta, New Caledonia in January 1965.


A rare visit of an RAF Argosy XP446 in September 1964. It was Singapore based with Royal Air Force Far East .


Another RAF Far East visitor was this Handley Page Hastings WJ324 in July 1965. It was configured with VIP seating, the cars
having just delivered the military top brass who were boarding the aircraft.


The only known visit of a Douglas DC-7 to Adelaide was this Pan American DC-7F N737PA, which arrived 23 November 1963
from Manila direct.  It was carrying the much publicised Chrysler Turbo-Car on a world tour. The aircraft's Pan Am name
was changed from Clipper Kingfisher to Clipper Chrysler for the tour. 


In June 1966 two Lockheed L382B civil Hercules N9263R & N9267R of Alaska Airlines deployed to Adelaide to operate a month
of shuttles to Saigon, transporting Adelaide-built dismantled military sheds to the US military in South Vietnam.  B&W does not do
justice to the bright gold, red and white Golden Nugget Freighter colour scheme, and grey underwing auxiliary fuel tanks.


Former RAAF Dakota PK-JDD (ex A65-101) dropped across from Parafield Airport in July 1969, flown by US aircraft dealer
Stan Booker of Stan's Airplane Sales, Fresno California.  He had just purchased six RAAF Dakotas listed for disposal at Parafield
and was picking up aeronautical charts for his ferry flights to buyers in Indonesia and Philippines. Stan left Parafield a few days
later in PK-JDD on delivery to Jakarta for Sempati Air Transport.

 

Back to the Photographs Menu

Back to the Photographs Menu