Last updated 22 December 2021


Compiled by Geoff Goodall

Chrislea CH.3 Super Ace VH-BAE at Cowra NSW in July 1967.                                                                      Photo by Geoff Goodall

    The Chrislea Aircraft Company was founded in 1936 by R. C. Christoforides and B. V. Leak and designed several low and high wing light aircraft designs. Bernard Leak left to join Folland Aircraft Co at outbreak of WWII in 1939, and after the war Christoforides continued with his own aircraft designs. A prototype CH.3 Ace was built at Heston and first flew in September 1946. Its conventional tailplane showed inadequate directional stablity and was replaced by twin fins and rudders.

    There was early interest in this new postwar British 4 seater with attractive features such as tricyle undercarriage and a roomy raised cabin with all-round views. Development of Heathrow Airport forced Chrislea to move out of its premises at Heston to Exeter Airport where the company established a production line of a revised model CH.3 Series 2 Super Ace, powered by a 145hp DH Gipsy Major 10 engine. The first Super Ace was G-AKFD, which first flew in February 1948 and after performance trials was issued a CofA on 7 May 1948. It became the company demonstrator, showing the Christoforides patented non-conventional flying control system in which the circular control wheel was moved up-and-down, side to side and in and out. The engine throttle was operated by a foot control.

    These unorthodox flying controls were controversial and generally disliked, so all production aircraft were modified on the line by replacing the sideways movement of the control wheel by foot rudder pedals, but elevator control was still by wheel up and down instead of the usual in and out.  The prototype was retrofitted before it was shipped to Australia.

    Chrislea planned a production run of 30 aircraft but only 20 Super Aces were delivered, mostly overseas. A promising order for 4 Super Aces for New Zealand was later halved. A tailwheel utility version was produced, named CH.3 Series 4 Skyjeep, with a more powerful 155hp Blackburn Cirrus Major III engine and featured broader fins and rudders, wider track main undercarriage and rear fuselage decking which hinged upwards to allow a stretcher patient to be loaded from the rear. The Skyjeep was fitted with a joystick and conventional controls. Chrislea Aircraft Co laid down five Skyjeeps on the production line but only two were completed.  

     The Chrislea Aircraft Company was wound up in 1952 and the remaining uncompleted airframes were scrapped.

     Australian Chrislea Sales

    Brown & Dureau Ltd, an established Melbourne aviation agency specialising in importing aircraft, engines and spare parts, was appointed Australian agent for Chrislea. They immediately ordered a Super Ace, and requested the registration VH-BRO to signify the company name. An advertising campaign resulted in this first Super Ace being sold to a Queensland grazier before it arrived at Port Melbourne and assembled at Essendon Airport in March 1949.

   Brown & Dureau Ltd ordered a second Super Ace, accepting the prototype after its was fitted with conventional flying controls. It was allocated the registration VH-BRP but was destroyed in a deck cargo fire while the ship was docked at Port Said, Egypt.  It was replaced with an order for a tail wheel Skyjeep and the registration VH-BRP was transferred to the Skjeep, which was assembled at Brisbane-Archerfield in January 1952 for a Queensland outback property owner.

    Two other Australia Super Aces were second-hand imports later in the 1950s.


     1949 Brown & Dureau advertisement in Aircraft magazine

Australian Chrislea CH.3s listed in registration order:

C/n 132                   CH.3 Super Ace Series 2                                                                                                          VH-BRO

.48 Built by Chrislea Aircraft Ltd at Exeter Airport, Devon. 145hp DH Gipsy Major 10

Ordered by Chrislea's Australian agents Brown & Dureau Ltd, Melbourne Vic
10.48 Australian DCA allocated out-of-sequence registration VH-BRO at the request of Brown & Dureau Ltd.
14.10.48 First flight Exeter Airport
22.10.48 British CofA issued as VH-BRO: Brown & Dureau Ltd, Melbourne Vic

Shipped to Australia
3.49 Assembled at Essendon Airport, Melbourne
17.3.49 Registration application: Robert L. Green, "Minamere" Station, Nelia Qld, later changed to
"Thylungi" Station, Yalleroi via Blackall Qld
19.3.49 Testflown Essendon after assembly, silver with blue trim.
23.3.49 Australian CofA issued
25.3.49 Registered VH-BRO
25.3.49 Departed Essendon on delivery flight to Queensland, flown by Group Captain Norman Adler, Technical Manager of Brown & Dureau's Aviation Division.
Green also owned Tiger Moth VH-BIN.
2.50 Green wrote to DCA advising that he wished to fit a different propeller because he is not obtaining satisfactory cruising speeds at specified cruising RPM. The existing propeller suffers continuous gravel damage on unmade airstrips due to its diameter, which gives low ground clearance.
20.7.50 Forced landing on "Bora" Station Qld due to failure of the tip of a propeller blade which resulted in structural failure of the engine mounts when the engine was pulled from the mounts, pilot R. L. Green. Further damage sustained in the forced landing.
22.11.51 CofA renewed after lengthy repair, in which a new type of propeller was installed
4.4.54 Change of ownership: Arthur M. Lowe, Julia Creek, Qld
30.4.54 Change of ownership: William J. Spence, "Culloden" Station, Muttaburra Qld
15.2.55 Change of ownership: Air Mech, Bankstown Airport, Sydney NSW

Air Mech was a subsidiary company of Fawcett Aviation Pty Ltd, Bankstown who operated the successful Illawarra Flying School, Bankstown.

Doug Fawcett later wrote of the development of Illawarra Flying School in his book Pilots and Propellers :
"Although we had the six Tiger Moths, it was obvious we needed some different types of aircraft to allow the pilots to further their experience. So we purchased, over a period, six Austers, a Chipmunk, and a Fairchild Argus plus the odd aircraft we kept for a short time. I traded my 30 foot DC-3 motor home for a three-seater high wing Desoutter and a Chrislea Ace. The British built Chrislea was an unusual aircraft and its controls were not standard. The rudders were operated like organ pedals with the front section moving up and down - pushing the right pedal down moved the right rudder to the right and vice versa. The elevators were operated by moving the control wheel up for elevator down, and down for elevator up, which was all very confusing. We did not keep it for long."
3.7.55 Change of ownership: Reginald S. & C. Young, Yanco NSW
19.10.56 Change of ownership: Peter K. Gerakiteys, Newcastle NSW
15.10.60 visited airshow at Tamworth NSW, repainted white with red & blue trim. Reportedly being operated by Royal Newcastle Aero Club
8.61 noted at Rutherford airfield, West Maitland NSW
10.62 noted at Rutherford airfield, West Maitland NSW, based here
17.11.62 noted Rutherford, white and red paint scheme
11.1.63 noted at Camden NSW
13.3.63 Change of ownership: P. L. Cox & Mathew Brothers, "Rockdale" Station, Yanco NSW
12.1.64 noted Albury NSW, white with red & blue trim, engine removed
28.1.64 noted Albury NSW, white with red & blue trim, engine removed
3.5.65 Log book: Last flight Yanco-Oxley-Yanco, then withdrawn from service pending an overhaul
8.7.67 noted on "Rockdale" Research Station near Yanco NSW, complete but retired. Rear cabin perspex had been covered over by fabric. The Chrislea was parked in a shed, with the wreck of DH.83 Fox Moth VH-GAS which crashed near here in October 1962.
21.7.69 Struck-off Register at owner's request
- Sold without CofA to Newton Hodgekiss, Sydney
.72 Sold as restoration project to Cliff Douglas, Tallebudgera Qld
Short Scion VH-UTV was purchased from Hodgekiss at the same time and both were collected in Sydney by Nick & Greg Challinor of Murwillumbah NSW for Cliff and moved by truck from Sydney to Tallebudgera.

Cliff Douglas established Chewing Gum Field Air Museum, Tallebudgera Qld
18.8.76 VH-BRO noted in the main hangar at CGFAM, stored dismantled in poor condition, requires much work to restore for display
18.4.78 VH-BRO noted at CGFAM dismantled
23.4.80 VH-BRO noted at CGFAM dismantled

Acquired unrestored to Gary Volkers, Sydney. Moved from Tallebudgera to Sydney, stored dismantled at Scheyville, western Sydney. Held under cover in storage in sheds with Historical Aircraft Restoration Society aircraft collection. Reported that Gary Volkers was acting as an agent for Cliff Douglas in disposing of some of his CGFAM aircraft after the museum closed.
5.87 CH.3 fuselage frame noted at Scheyville, bare frame with no fabric
4.92 Sold to Queensland Air Museum, Caloundra Qld.
Aircraft is missing engine, wheels and fabric.
5.92 Moved by road from Sydney to Caloundra to QAM, fuselage frame without fabric, no engine or wheels

Stored by QAM pending restoration for display
1.04 Wings moved from a member's house to display site at Caloundra Airport where they were stored inside a shipping container.
All components later stored on site at QAM Caloundra.
Restoration for display under way by QAM members
Completed, painted as VH-BRO. Wings not attached initially due lack of interior display floor space at QAM


  VH-BRO at Inverell NSW in 1950, with a Stinson Sentinel to the right.                      Photo by Barry Admans via QAM   


  VH-BRO at Bankstown circa 1955, still in factory paint scheme.                                        Photo by James Dyson


  Visiting an airshow at Tamworth NSW in October 1960.                                                   Photo by Peter R. Keating


  Under threatening skies, a different angle on the Super Ace.                                                The Collection p1136-0006


  Going flying on a pleasant afternoon at West Maitland NSW during 1962.                                 Photo by Darryl Connell


  VH-BRO at "Rockdale" Station, Yanco NSW in July 1967 where it was retired in a shed.            Photo by Geoff Goodall

  VH-BRO's stripped airframe in storage at Scheyville NSW in April 1987.                               Photo by Bob Livingstone

  Restored at Queensland Air Museum, seen in May 2017.                                                        Photo by Ron Cuskelly

C/n 101                 CH.3 Super Ace Series 2                                                                                                            G-AKFD, VH-BRP(1)

Prototype Super Ace
47/48 Built by Chrislea Aircraft Ltd at Exeter Airport, Devon. 145hp DH Gipsy Major Mk.10
27.8.47 Registered G-AKFD The Chrislea Aircraft Co Ltd, Exeter Airport
2.48 First flight at Exeter, flown by Chrislea's test pilot Rex S. Stedman
7.5.48 British CofA issued
15.5.48 Arrived at Staverton for demonstration flight, pilot Rex Stedman

Chrislea replaced the original unorthodox control system by conventional controls

Ordered by Australian Chrislea agent Brown & Dureau Ltd, Melbourne Vic
3.49 Crated for shipping to Australia
5.49 Departed England as deck cargo on SS Largs Bay
8.6.49 Struck-off British Register as "sold abroad to VH-BRP"
7.49 Destroyed by fire as deck cargo at Port Said, Egypt

C/n 125                 CH.3 Skyjeep Series 4                                                          G-AKVR, VH-BRP(2), VH-RCD, VH-OLD, G-AKVR

8.3.48 Registered G-AKVR:  Chrislea Aircraft Co Ltd, Exeter Airport
.51 Built by Chrislea Aircraft Ltd at Exeter Airport, Devon. 155hp Blackburn Cirrus Major 3.

No British CofA issued
25.5.51 DCA allocated VH-BRP on request from Australian Chrislea agents Brown & Dureau Ltd, Brisbane Qld
27.7.51 Struck-off British Register as "Sold Abroad to VH-BRP"

Shipped to Australia
1.52 Assembled at Archerfield Airport, Brisbane
11.1.52 Registration application: Arthur R. Tindall, "MacFarlane Downs" Station, Tambo Qld
22.1.52 Testflown Archerfield after assembly
22.1.52 Australian CofA issued
22.1.52 Registered VH-BRP
27.2.52 Ownership amended to include Arthur's son William L. Tindall: A.T. & W.L. Tindall
18.5.55 Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service.
Log book indicates only 21 hours flown
28.11.55 Registration Application: Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty Ltd, Bankstown Airport, Sydney
3.12.55 Testflown at Bankstown after engine changed by KSAS to a more powerful 200hp DH Gipsy Six in a deeper cowling.
3.12.55 CofA renewed
3.12.55 Registered VH-RCD Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty Ltd, Bankstown Airport NSW
19.12.55 Change of ownership:  Roderick C. Dyer, "Woodside" farm, via Buangor Vic
2.56 Log book records last flight. Only 30 hours flown since re-engined. Returned to KSAS due poor performance
21.4.56 Change of ownership: Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty Ltd, Bankstown
21.5.56 noted Bankstown, parked outside KSAS hangar with original cabin glazing and rear fuselage.

KSAS were specialists in modifications to Austers and other types. VH-RCD was further modified at Bankstown: the hinged rear fuselage spine was raised higher to meet the cabin roof line and the rear cabin window was redesigned. The engine cowling was redesigned and deepened.
6.58 noted Bankstown in KSAS hangar, covered with dust
17.4.62 Change of ownership: Austerserve Pty Ltd, Bankstown Airport, Sydney
KSAS associated company, managed by KSAS founder J.T. Brown to concentrate on Auster maintenance and sales
5.63 noted at Bankstown outside Ray & Larkin hangar, propeller removed
12.11.63 noted at Bankstown outside Ray & Larkin hangar, engine removed
11.1.64 noted at Bankstown in hangar
15.1.65 noted at Bankstown in Austerserve hangar, dismantled for overhaul but discontinued. Reported as "scattered in parts around the rear of the hangar"
21.9.65 fuselage noted in Austerserve hangar, Bankstown
29.9.65 Struck-off Register
15.10.65 noted at Bankstown, complete fuselage and tailplane without wings outside a hangar
11.65 noted at Bankstown, complete fuselage and tailplane without wings outside a hangar
1.5.66 Wings of VH-RCD moved from Austerserve hangar to Aerostructures hangar, where work has begun on overhaul of the fuselage
6.66 work appears to have ceased in Aerostructures hangar
28.3.71 VH-RCD noted at Camden NSW under rebuild
2.72 VH-RCD noted under rebuild Bankstown in small hangar near Aero Club
3.3.77 VH-BRP reserved by DCA on request from Alan Stanfield, Supreme Mousetraps, Sydney
noted at Bankstown, complete, all over yellow, no registration. Appears to be ready for test flights.
Reported that the rebuild failed CAA Airworthiness certification, requiring changed construction methodology
77 Being rebuilt in the Supreme Mousetraps factory, Sydney by Alan Stanfield. He plans to use as many modern weight-saving techniques as possible
77 Advertised for sale by Alan Stanfield as a restoration project, with a zero-time Cirrus Major 3 engine
1.79 stored dismantled in Aero Club hangar at Bankstown
19.6.79 noted at Bankstown now in Fawcett Aviation hangar, moved here earlier in the year from the aero club hangar
28.4.80 noted at Bankstown outside Fawcett hangar, no registration
7.80 noted at Bankstown, complete but no registration, original Cirrus Major 3 engine
25.2.83 noted at Bankstown outside Sydney Airways hangar
7.12.83 Registration VH-OLD reserved on request from M. English, Bathurst NSW
83/87 Restored to airworthy at Bankstown and Bathurst over 4 years by Mick English, Cirrus Major 3 engine. Weight was reduced by using light-weight seats and interior, modern fabrics, and an aluminium turtle deck in place of the steel and timber lift-up turtle deck.
2.9.86 noted at Bathurst, nearing end of restoration
18.8.87 Registered VH-OLD Michael J. V. English, t/a Mick English Aviation, Bathurst NSW  
21.9.88 First flight at Bathurst after restoration. First flight since 1956
27.9.88 VH-OLD noted at Bathurst, freshly painted maroon and white on silver
15.10.88 visited Bicentennial Air Show, RAAF Richmond NSW
27.4.91 visited airshow at Temora NSW
5.7.91 Damaged in forced landing on beach, Moruya NSW
24.2.93 Change of ownership: Michael J. Bonnick, Negara, Brunei
Purchased in damaged condition from Moruya forced landing
23.10.98 Struck-off Australian Register
27.10.98 Registered G-AKVR David R. "Jim" Bean, Old Manor Farm, Anwick, Lincolnshire
.99 Moved from Australia to England, still in damaged condition

Restoration commenced to take the aircraft back to factory Skyjeep configuration. Bean fell ill and died before rebuild completed.
12.10.00 Struck-off British Register due no Permit to Fly issued since its return from Australia
2.3.01 Restored to Register G-AKVR: Neil David Needham, Sleaford, Lincolnshire
01/03 Moved to Needham's farm at Sleaford where he rebuilt it to immaculate condition. He was a flying enthusiast who had based a Cessna 150, L-21 Super Cub and Cessna L-19 Bird Dog on his farm strip. When the Chrislea was close to completion, David Needham died of an illness on 26 March 2003. His wife Cherith and son Justin oversaw the final stages through to Permit to Fly stage and offered the aircraft for sale.
26.8.03 Change of ownership: Cherith L. Needham, Sleaford
30.5.04 First test flight after rebuild, at the farm strip Sleaford. Painted in original Chrislea factory scheme of maroon and silver.
04 Test flight program flown by display pilot Dennis Neville
6.7.05 Change of ownership: Richard Brian Webber, Chumleigh
8.9.06 Permit to Fly issued
19.5.07 G-AKVR flew from its base at Eggesford to a fly-in at Hullavington where it parked alongside two airworthy Super Aces
16.8.08 G-AKVR visited airshow Shaffen-Diest, Belgium



          Eagle Farm Airport, Brisbane circa 1952 in a TAA hangar.                                                   Photo by Henry W. Pryor


              Eagle Farm circa 1952.                                                                                                   Photo by Henry W. Pryor


VH-RCD at Moorabbin 1956, in the Schutt Aircraft hangar. Painted cream and purple with registration in black.
                                                                      Photo by Eddie Coates


The much-modified VH-RCD, left out in the weather at Bankstown May 1963. The rear fuselage decking has been raised,

rear window added  and a much deeper engine cowling designed.                                                     Photo by Geoff Goodall

Bankstown May 1977, completed after a long rebuild. Unfortunately some of the construction required further work.

Photo by Rene Biber


Under rebuild again at Bankstown in July 1984.                                                                         Photo by Bob Livingstone

VH-OLD's public debut at an October 1988 RAAF Richmond airshow, a month after her first flght. Photo by Geoff Goodall

 In flight near Temora in April 1991, flown by Mick English.                                                  Photo by Bob Livingstone


               Restored as VH-OLD, visiting a fly-in at Temora NSW in April 1991.                                             Photo by Nigel Daw


              Rebuilt in England to original Chrislea Skyjeep configuration and paint scheme, seen in 2008.

C/n 111    CH.3 Super Ace Series 2        G-AKVC, VR-RBI, VH-RBI

.48 Built by Chrislea Aircraft Ltd at Exeter Airport, Devon. 145hp DH Gipsy Major 10
8.3.48 Registered G-AKVC Chrislea Aircraft Co Ltd, Exeter Airport
19.5.49 British CofA issued
20.4.49 Sold to A. Grut, Kuala Lumpur, Malaya
4.49 Registered VR-RBI  A.Grut, Bernam Oil Palms Ltd, Ulu Bernam, Perak
4.55 Air Britain British Overseas Register News published a letter from reader R. Golby:
"The Chrislea Super Ace VR-RBI has been withdrawn from use, lying on top of a pile of ex RAF Auster 5 airframes at Kallang aerodrome, Singapore."
25.4.56 Struck-off Malayan Register
6.58 Fuselage VR-RBI noted in a small hangar at Bankstown. Assumed dismantled
20.10.58 VH-RBI noted at Bankstown, complete, factory paint scheme, obvious overpainting of the VH- from VR-.
20.2.59 Registered VH-RBI James K. Callinan, Sydney NSW
26.6.61 Change of ownership:  J. R. Robinson, Quilpie Qld
12.63 Advertised for sale by Central Aircraft Exchange, Bankstown: 1949 model, total time 980 hours, grey, white & black paint, asking price 1,050
- Change of ownership: Australian Drilling Services, Brisbane Qld
6.4.66 noted Archerfield Airport, Brisbane, parked on grass
1.5.66 noted Archerfield, parked on grass
15.5.66 noted Archerfield, parked on grass
4.1.67 Badly damaged when blown over during storm at Archerfield
1.67 Sold damaged less engine and parts for 25 to Mr. & Mrs. J. Cameron, Salisbury, Brisbane
1.67 Removed from Archerfield late in month by Camerons, who began constructing a Volmer Sportsman homebuilt amphibian the previous year. Planned to use parts from RBI.
27.4.67 Struck-off Register "due accident"
11.68 VH-RBI's airframe in Cameron's backyard. Wheels had been used on the Volmer. The Chrislea had some parts roughly removed and it had been damaged by their children. A section of the wingspar (T-34 tube girder construction) was welded to the Cameron's car as a roof rack.
73 Chrislea frame now completely stripped in Cameron's backyard. Just tail, engine cowlings, floor, some structure, 2 seats. Remains taken to a rubbish tip later
.77 nose cowl sent to England to Paul Longthorp for his restoration of Super Ace G-AKVF, however it was found to be unusable.


  Bankstown October 1958 at the Fawcett Aviation hangar. The repaint from VR-RBI to VH-RBI can be clearly seen.

                                                                         Photo by Peter R. Keating


  VH-RBI at Archerfield in May 1966.                                                                                          Photo by Bob Neate


  A late evening picture at Archerfield on 1 May 1966.                                                          Photo by Roger McDonald


  Archerfield 6 January 1967, the morning after it was blown over by winds.                                    Photo by David Thollar

C/n 129     CH.3 Super Ace Series 2        ZK-ASJ, VH-BAE

.48 Built by Chrislea Aircraft Ltd at Exeter Airport, Devon. 145hp DH Gipsy Major Mk.10

Four production Super Aces were ordered by New Zealand for NZ agents Engineering Alliance Ltd, Hastings.  Registrations ZK-ASI, ASJ, ASK & ASL were allocated, but the last two orders were cancelled.
.48 ZK-ASI & ASJ were shipped together to Chrislea NZ agents Engineering Alliance Ltd
7.9.48 Registered ZK-ASJ Engineering Alliance Ltd, Hastings
18.11.48 British CofA issued, owner Engineering Alliance Ltd, Hastings NZ
1.12.49 Change of ownership: Southland Aero Club, Gore
24.9.50 James Monk logbook: endirsement flights in Super Ace ZK-ASJ
14.9.53 Change of ownership: Alexander N. Ferguson, Christchurch
20.9.53 Damaged in takeoff accident at Christchurch-Harewood Airport

Sold and rebuilt
4.57 Change of ownership: Southern Scenic Air Services Ltd, Cromwell
5.3.58 Struck off NZ Register as sold to Australia
16.12.59 Registered VH-BAE Austerserve Pty Ltd, Bankstown Airport, Sydney
Registered with modified c/n "129-P-13" for reasons unknown.
.60 Change of ownership: Malcolm C. Leys, "Beckworth", Gunnedah NSW
9.4.60 at airshow Gunnedah NSW
15.10.60 at airshow Tamworth NSW
18.6.67 Change of ownership: Lachlan Valley Farm Services Pty Ltd, Cowra NSW
7.7.67 noted at Cowra NSW, parked outside, recently delivered from Gunnedah
21.10.67 noted at Broken Hill NSW, parked in Aero Cub hangar.
11.67 noted at Orange NSW, propeller removed
19.2.68 Change of ownership: F. Graf, Orange NSW
25.4.68 noted at Orange NSW
1.9.68 noted at Orange NSW
1.12.69 noted at Orange, parked outside in high grass
4.1.70 noted at Orange NSW
30.4.70 Change of ownership: James M. Steele, Wodonga Vic
28.9.70 noted at Albury NSW
9.4.72 noted at Albury NSW
15.6.72 noted at Albury NSW
c74 Sold to Joe G. Drage/ Drage's Historic Aircraft Museum, Wodonga Vic  
24.3.74 displayed in hangar on Joe Drage's farm, Wodonga Vic. Quoted as a recent arrival.
6.11.74 Struck-off Register, at owner's request
6.11.76 noted parked outside museum hangar on farm, Wodonga
77 noted in museum hangar, Wodonga
17.6.79 noted in museum hangar, Wodonga
6.6.81 noted in museum hangar, Wodonga
85/96 Static display at Drage Airworld, Wangaratta Vic, later renamed Airworld, Wangaratta Vic.
Ownership of museum collection taken over by City of Wangaratta
1.85 Moved from Wodonga to Wangaratta with the rest of the Drage collection. Eight were flown on 27.1.85.
2.85 noted at Airworld, Wangaratta on display
8.96 Auction announced for disposal of 10 aircraft of the Airworld Collection, which had been forced to rationalise to continue. Among the ten aircraft was Chrislea Super Ace VH-BAE which was complete but not airworthy.
19.11.96 Sold at auction of selected Airworld Collection aircraft to original owner Joe Drage
.96 Moved by road from Wangaratta and stored on a farm.
Parked complete in the former Air World hanngar at Wangaratta Airport
Moved by road to Caboolture Qld where stored dismantled in Australian Aviation Heritage Centre hangar


   ZK-ASJ at an airshow in New Zealand prior to export to Australia.                                    Geoff Goodall collection


  VH-BAE at Cowra NSW in July 1967, yellow with black and white trim.                                Photo by Geoff Goodall


  Orange NSW, December 1969.                                                                                      Photo by Roger McDonald


  Parked outside Drage's Historic Aircraft Museum hangar on the Drage farm at Wodonga Vic in November 1976.

                                                                        Photo by Nigel Daw


   VH-BAE in good company displayed inside the Drage Air World hangar at Wangaratta Airport Vic in Janury 1990.
Photo by Geoff Goodall


       VH-BAE stored in the Australian Aviation Heritage hangar at Caboolture Qld in March 2000.   Photo by Ian McDonell

Chrislea CH.3 Production summary:

Chrislea Aircraft Company's CH.3 production line was at Exeter Airport in Devon:

C/n Reg Type CofA Fate
100 G-AHLG Ace 7.1.48 Prototype: ff 9.46, retired, scrapped Exeter 4.52
101 G-AKFD Super Ace 7.5.48 Prototype: to VH-BRP, burnt on ship Port Said 7.49
102 VP-YGI Super Ace 22.10.48 to VP-KGY, crashed Nairobi 29.3.56
103 VP-YGM Super Ace 22.10.48 Southern Rhodesia
104 G-AKUV Super Ace 30.6.48 crashed Thruxton 23.6.53
105 G-AKUW Super Ace 12.8.48 currently flying
106 G-AKUX Super Ace 6.9.48 retired Beirut .54, scrapped 4.56
107 G-AKUY Super Ace 6.9.48 to LV-RXV Argentina, retired 10.58
108 G-AKUZ Super Ace 6.9.48 to LV-RXW Argentina, retired Asuncion 9.61
109 G-AKVA Super Ace 18.11.48 to VP-AEE, 9G-ABJ, ZS-DPR, stored Namibia
110 G-AKVB Super Ace 4.1.49 crashed Rettenden, Essex 22.5.55
111 G-AKVC Super Ace 5.5.49 to VR-RBI Malaya, VH-RBI
112 G-AKVD Super Ace 19.5.49 to JA3062 Japan, crashed Fujisawa 31.8.58
113 G-AKVE Super Ace 22.5.50 to PT-AJG Brazil. Retired 6.59
114 G-AKVF Super Ace 25.8.50 to AP-ADT Pakistan, G-AKVF. Currently flying
115 G-AKVG Super Ace 9.5.50 to HB-EAA Switzerland, retired .54
116 G-AKVH Super Ace
completed by 4.49, not flown, scrapped
117 G-AKVI Super Ace
completed by 4.49, not flown, scrapped
118 G-AKVJ Super Ace
completed by 4.49, not flown, scrapped
119 G-AKVK Super Ace
completed by 4.49, not flown, scrapped
120 G-AKVL Super Ace
completed by 4.49, not flown, scrapped
121 G-AKVM Super Ace
not completed, scrapped
122 G-AKVN Super Ace
not completed, scrapped
123 G-AKVO Skyjeep
not completed, scrapped
124 G-AKVP Skyjeep
not completed, scrapped
125 G-AKVR Skyjeep (7.51) to VH-BRP, -RCD, -OLD, G-AKVR. Currently flying
126 G-AKVS Skyjeep 14.6.50 Prototype: to F-OAMP French Indo China. Destroyed
127 G-AKVT Skyjeep (12.50) to CX-AMR Uruguay
128 ZK-ASI Super Ace 18.11.48 Restoration project at Masterton NZ
129 ZK-ASJ Super Ace 18.11.48 to VH-BAE
130 ZK-ASK Super Ace
not completed, scrapped
131 ZK-ASL Super Ace
not completed, scrapped
132 VH-BRO Super Ace 22.10.48


A small aircraft with twin tailplanes was seen by the compiler in the rear of the Austerserve hangar at Bankstown Airport, Sydney in 1963.  Thought at the time to have been a Chrislea CH-3, it was dismantled and covered with a layer of dust.  Austerserve Pty Ltd was an Auster maintenance and parts support operation managed by John T.Brown. The company was established during the 1958 re-organisation of his successful Bankstown business, Kingsford Smith Aviation Service Pty Ltd, which had been the main Auster dealers for Australia.

The mystery aircraft is now known to have been Forney Aircoupe c/n 5709 which was imported in December 1959 by Philip Dulhunty, Sydney in association with Kingsford Smith Flying Service, with whom he had a close working relationship in his various aviation ventures. During unloading from the ship at Sydney wharves the Aircoupe was damaged. A subsequent owner wrote "It arrived at Bankstown Airport and remained in a damaged condition at the rear of the Austerserve hangar for several years. The damage and problems associated with first-of-type certification eventually meant that the damaged aircraft was transported by road to the third floor Aircraft School at the Ultimo Technical College."

The Aircoupe was to survive 20 years as an instructional airframe, before being acquired and restored to airworthy by Peter Middleton at Wagga NSW. It was completed in 1992 and registered VH-LDN.


- Australian Civil Aircraft Register, Department of Civil Aviation and its successors

- DCA aircraft files, National Archives of Australia, Melbourne

- Australian Air Log, monthly journal, 1965-1968

- Aviation Historical Society of Australia Journal, monthly, 1960-1970

- British Civil Aircraft Since 1919, A. J. Jackson, Putnam, London 1973

- Chrislea and the Super Ace, Jack Meaden, Air Britain Archive, Autumn & Winter 1992

- The Chrislea Super Ace, Rod Simpson, Air Britain Aviation World, Autumn 2012

- The Ace Takes a Trick, Aircraft magazine, Melbourne, May 1949

- One of a Kind, Ken Ellis, Flypast magazine, October 2004

- The Aircoupe, Peter Middleton, Rag & Tube magazine, March 1992

- Taking Off, Pioneering Small Airlines of New Zealand 1945-1970, Richard Waugh 2003

- Classic Wings Downunder quartly magazine, renamed Classic Wings: various reports

- Rag & Tube, monthly journal of Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia, 1977 onwards


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