|AUSTRALIAN AERIAL AGRICULTURAL AIRCRAFT - 1960s
|The DH.82 Tiger Moth was still
the mainstay of the Australian aerial ag fleet at the beginning of the
decade. Although popular
with operators because of their low cost and plentiful spare parts, DCA was increasingly concerned by the high rate of severe
pilot injuries in routine accidents. DCA mandated the overturn truss to protect the pilot's head if the aircraft overturned, and from
1962 each agricultural company was required to reduce its DH.82 fleet by a third, until the type was grounded from ag. flying.
Super Spread Aviation at Moorabbin Vic owned over 20 Tiger Moths. Here's sprayer VH-SSH at Moorabbin in May 1964.
|Robbys Aircraft Co at Adelaide commenced cropspraying operations with Tiger Moths during 1950 and used them right up to
DCA's grounding order, despite more modern aircraft in the fleet. The company took its name from its 1946 founders, brothers
Pat and Frank Robilliard. VH-RAQ was photographed at Parafield in September 1963, just back to base from a spraying job.
|Another Parafield company was Trojan Aerial Spraying Co Ltd, formed by experienced ag pilot John Freeman in 1959. He used
Tiger Moths until replaced by Pawnees. Here's John taxying VH-TSE at Blyth SA in October 1963. Silver and red.
|VH-TSE working low-level at Blyth SA in October 1963 using Micronair rotary atomisers on each lower wing tip for
|Sad sight of VH-AHP abandoned in the weather at Jandakot Airport, Perth in June 1968 with main wheels sunk in the sand.
West Australian operator Farmair had moved on to Piper Pawnees. VH-AHP went to a small museum at the Channel 7 Studios
in Perth where it was given a cosmetic restoration by the Studio's stage prop builders and displayed as yellow RAAF A17-161.
Percival re-entered the aviation industry in 1954 with the EP.9 which
he designed as a specialised agricultural and utility
aircraft, put into production as a private venture at Stapleford, England. Eight were sold to Australia. VH-SSR at Parafield in
March 1963 was a rebuild by Super Spread Aviation, using the fuelage of a later model EP.9 Prospector.
its mother could love it. VH-SSX was one of several Australian
EP.9s to have their 270 hp Lycoming engine replaced
by a 375 hp Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah 10 radial. It was at Parafield in Aprll 1966, operated by Tim O'Neil's company Tonair
based at Tintinara SA, wearing the red and yellow paint scheme of its previous owner Airfarm Associates at Tamworth NSW.
|The American Fletcher Fu-24 was assembled and later put into full production in New Zealand from 1954, becoming a popular
workhorse for NZ aerial agriculture companies. Only four of the original model were imported from NZ to Australia in 1957,
one of these, VH-FBQ, seen at Airland's home base Cootamundra NSW in January 1964. Fletchers enjoyed a resurgence in the
late 1960s when large numbers of the improved and more powerful Air Parts (later AESL) models came across from NZ.
|Air Parts (NZ) Ltd's big engine 300 hp Fletcher ZK-CRZ was being evaluated by New England Aerial Topdressing at
Armidale NSW during July 1967.
|Air Culture Pty Ltd of Perth WA used five new production and reconditioned Fletchers during the 1968/1969 West Australian
aerial crop dusting seasons. VH-CYU was at Bunbury WA in October 1969.
|Cessna 180s were widely used by Australian ag companies, with the hopper installed in the cabin. For the dusters, the drop chute
was fitted under the belly, as seen on of Bathurst Pastoral Airwork's Cessna 180C VH-BBP at Bathurst NSW in September 1965.
|Looking hard worked, Super Spread Aviation Cessna 180 crop sprayer VH-SSE overnighted at Adelaide Airport in July 1963.
This base model 180 had been built at Wichita in January 1956 and shipped new to Australia as VH-MZK, later VH-MZR.
When acquired by Super Spread Aviation, insecticide spray gear was installed at their Moorabbin base in July 1962 and the
aircraft changed into the company's well known VH-SS_ registration series.
|Robbys Aircraft Co Cessna 180C VH-RAT at Parafield in August 1963, with seed spreader under the belly.
|In June 1962, Coveair Ltd of Kangaroo Island SA was one of the first operators to fit spraying gear to a Cessna 185, their
frshly imported 185A VH-COV. The belly tank allowed the cabin to retain its seats for charter work. Adelaide October 1962.
|The Cessna 188 Ag Wagon was a
great success with Australian operators. The first were uncrated
in late 1966 by Cessna dealers
Rex Aviation at Bankstown Airport, Sydney. Here's near new A188 VH-KVK at Cessnock NSW September 1968 as a sprayer.
Later more powerful models Ag Truck and Ag Husky were also widely used.
|Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation at Melbourne entered the aerial agricultural industry with their CAC CA-28 Ceres, which
first flew in February 1958. To reduce development time, the design used sections of CAC Wirraway trainer airframes and the
same geared 600hp P&W R1340 Wasp. Despite their popularity in Australia and NZ as heavy load lifters, only 20 were built.
|CA-28 Ceres VH-CEV with New England Aerial Top Dressing Pty Ltd at their home base Armidale NSW in July 1967. It has
been given the name Wirrawilly in recognition of its CAC Wirraway heritage. The loader driver was carried in a rearward facing
seat behind the pilot. Silver with red trim.
|Airfarm Associates at Tamworth NSW operated a total of eight Ceres, painted in the company's distinctive red and yellow scheme.
VH-CEB at Tamworth in July 1967 has the curved "blown" cockpit canopy modification to improve pilot visibility.
|Grumman G-164 Ag Cats were introduced to Australia by Cropcair at Brisbane. Their VH-CCJ at Parafield in September 1967.
Later more powerful models of these big biplanes were operated by a variety of other companies. After retired from agricultural
flying they were popular for joyriding and banner towing.
|G164A Ag Cat VH-FPA at Wagga NSW in March 1969, owned by Fred Burke's Agricultural Aviation Pty Ltd, Wagga.
|The first serious competitor to the dominance of the Piper PA-25 Pawnee in the Australian aerial agricultural industry was the
Intermountain Manufacturing Company's IMCO Call Air A9A, built in Wyoming. A total of 26 Call Air A-9s were sold in
Australia from 1964, followed by two larger Call Air B-1s. Although similar layout to the Pawnee 235 with the same Lycoming
0-540 engine, the Call Air was marketed at a lower price and safety features like wooden wings to protect the pilot in accidents.
VH-FBS was the first Call Air imported, seen at Parafield with Robby's Aircraft in November 1966. Yellow with black trim.
|Super Spread Aviation operated eight Call Air A9As. VH-MPN at Moorabbin in January 1969 parked between spraying jobs.
The original gleaming standard yellow and black factory finish is by now looking well worn.
|The Rockwell S.2D Snow Commander 600 designed by Leland P. Snow was the first of the long line of Snow and Ayers
agricultural aircraft used in Australia ever since, leading to the sophisticated Turbo Thrush range of today. VH-GCN was the first
S.2D imported in 1966, seen refuelling at Parafield SA in September 1966, with SA company Largent Aviation at Kingston SE.
The pilot has just fired up the big 600 hp Pratt &Whitney R-1340 radial. Yellow and black standard factory scheme.
|Another Rockwell S.2D was VH-FON operated by AG Airwork based at Stawell Vic. Seen at nearby Ararat in January 1968.
|Rockwell S.2D Commander 600 VH-SNA at Parafield SA in May 1969, wearing titles of Trojan Aerial Spraying Co Pty Ltd,
Adelaide and associate company TASCO (Ord River) Pty Ltd based at Kununurra in the north of WA. The loader driver's entry
door behind the pilot can be clearly seen.