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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 205253
Last updated: 12 August 2019
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Type:de Havilland DH.84 Dragon
Owner/operator:Butler Air Transport
Registration: VH-AAO
C/n / msn: 6112
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Castlereagh River, near Coonamble airport, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Standing
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Coonambie Airport, Coonambie, NSW (CMB/YCNM)
Destination airport:
14.08.36: Built by De Havilland Aircraft as a DH.84 Dragon II at the Hatfield Factory in Hertfordshire UK. 1st Flight at Hatfield 14.08.36.
16.08.36: Purchased by Colonel Carlos Pastor Krauel, representing Spanish Republican forces.
19.08.36: HM Government banned the export of aircraft to Spain.
01.09.36: Sold to Union Founders Trust Ltd Croydon London. UK civil registered as G-AEMK. UK Certificate of Registration [C of R] 7252. Certificate of Airworthines issued September 1936.
15.09.36: Sold to Commercial Air Hire Ltd Croydon London.
16.01.37: Sold to Mr Joseph Herman, Bengasse 3 Vienna Austria.
00.01.37: Sold to Mutual Finance Ltd Croydon London
05.03.37: Sold to Union Founders Trust Ltd Croydon London.
15.03.38: Sold to Air Travel & Survey (AT&S) Pty Ltd Sydney NSW Australia.
15.03.38: Civil Aviation Branch (Australia) allocated registration VH-AAO.
11.09.38: VH-AAO departed Croydon Airport on a ferry flight to Sydney Australia piloted by the directors of AT&S, the brothers Denzel and Andrew MacArthur-Onslow. The flight involved staging through 12 countries and took 40 days to complete. When the aircraft landed at Berka aerodrome in Benghazi, the brothers were arrested as British spies and goaled until they were cleared and released to go on their way.
19.10.38: Arrived at Darwin, Northern Territories at 12:30 hours
03.12.38: Australian Registration application by Air Travel & Surveys (AT&S) Pty Ltd, Sydney c/o A. W. Macarthur-Onslow.
31.07.39: C of A Inspection performed by Macquarie Grove Flying & Glider School, Camden airport NSW.
15.02.40: Registered as VH-AAO to AT&S. C of A issued.
06.07.40: Impressed by Australian Government for RAAF via Impressment Requisition Number 12595. Aircraft to be delivered to No 4 Elementary Flying Training School (4EFTS) at Mascot Airport, Sydney. The survey camera was also impressed and was to be sent to Survey Flight, Canberra.
15.07.40: Brought on charge as A34-5. DCA noted that “When taken over the aircraft had extra equipment fitted including an automatic pilot, the value of which was assessed at £660. It also had special camera equipment assessed at £50. Assessed at time of impressment as £2,540 as cost to RAAF” Total airframe time was 887 hours.

RAAF History:

15.07.40: Issued to Butler Air Transport (BAT) for modifications.
20.07.40: Struck off Civilian register, registration VH-AAO cancelled same day.
18.09.40: Serviceable at Butler Air Ttansport (BAT).
01.10.40: Allocated to Survey Flight (SF) at RAAF Station Canberra.
18.10.40: Received by Survey Flight, RAAF Canberra
25.10.40: Tyre blew out after heavy landing at Canberra. The aircraft received significant damage to the undercarriage and stub wings in the ensuing ground loop. Flight Lt L. Law was uninjured.
30.10.40: DCA report in response to RAAF complaints of delays with BAT stated: Overhaul by BAT completed 27.9.40 and RAAF advised. RAAF pilot arrived to collect A34-5 from BAT 4.10.40 but delayed because AID had not inspected and released the aircraft. Defects identified by AID and rectified by 10.10.40. BAT attempted to hand aircraft over to RAAF on 11.10.40 but Stores & Equipment Section refused to take delivery due no schedule had been done. BAT despatched a storeman to Richmond on 15.10.40 to have a new schedule prepared. Aircraft taken over by RAAF and housed at Mascot until 18.10.40 when a pilot arrived from Canberra to take delivery.
15.02.41: Detached to Mildura, Victoria, to carry out the 1st DH.84 Dragon survey flight. Photographed 500 square miles on direction of the Air Board.
30.05.41: Detached to Rockhampton for an indefinite period to carry out photographic survey tasks.
17.02.42: Returned to Canberra for servicing.
1942 : Directorate of Air Transport, Allied Air Forces allocated radio call sign VH-CSB, which was painted on the aircraft.
22.02.42: Departed to RAAF Base Pearce for more survey work.
25.03.42: Departed Pearce for Laverton at completion of survey.
27.03.42: Arrived Laverton for 180 hour inspection and survey work in support of the Government’s Victorian and Tasmanian Survey Program.
29,04,42: Returned to Suvery Floight at Canberra. Carried out survey of Cessnock, NSW.
13.05.42: Departed for Queensland survey work around Rockhampton and Townsville.
13.08.42: Returned to Survey Flight at Canberra at completion of tasks in Queensland.
31.08.42: Aircraft issued to No 2 Air Ambulance Unit.
12.12.42: Allocated to No 36 (T) Squadron at RAAF Townsville, Queensland.
11.12.42: Allocation cancelled. Reallocated to No 34 (T) Squadron at Parafield South Australia.
24.01.43 Received by 34 Squadron, RAAF.
27.01.43: Allocated to Guinea Airways at Parafield SA.
28.01.43: Received by Guinea Airways where it remained in their hangar and was overhauled.
08.07.43: DCA memo: “this aircraft has been given practically a complete overhaul. The work has been done by DAP under AID supervision and is of an extensive nature.” Airframe total time 2,217 hours, still has same engines as when impressed. It is still fitted with autopilot. Estimated cost would be £3,500 including autopilot or £3,000 without autopilot fitted.
24.07.43: Purchased by Mr Butler for Butler Air Transport Co. Ferried to Sydney as VH-AAO.
29.07.43: Registration application: Butler Air Transport Co, Mascot Sydney NSW.
30.07.43: Restored to Civil Register as VH-AA; to Commonwealth of Australia, operated by Butler Air Transport (BAT), Sydney. RAAF roundel and serial removed but camouflage paint scheme retained.
22.10.43: The Minister of Defence approved the sale of the aircraft to Butler Air Transport.

Post RAAF History

08.02.44: Engine failure caused a forced landing at Moruya, NSW. Captain I.J. Hosie and seven passengers were uninjured. Investigation revealed a faulty magneto in the starboard engine.
25.04.44: Rough running starboard engine resulted in a forced landing near Bega, NSW. Captain I.J. Hosie.
26.04.44: Same engine, same problem, this time forced landing at Albion Park NSW. Captain I.J. Hosie.
09.04.47: On a scheduled Bourke-Coonamble-Dubbo flight the starboard engine failed soon after take-off from Coonamble. Aircraft was unable to maintain height and force landed in a paddock at Yuma Station. Pilot James Corlette and four passengers were uninjured.
20.12.47: The aircraft was parked at Coonamble airport, NSW when a violent wind storm bore down on the airport. The aircraft was tied down with ropes and chains but despite those precautions the aircraft was picked up by the storm, lifted over trees around the airfield and deposited over a mile away into the Castlereagh River. Aircraft was totally destroyed. The event was reported (with photographs) in the Sydney Morning Herald on 23.12.47.



Revision history:

28-Jan-2018 21:37 Dr. John Smith Added
28-Jan-2018 21:39 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
28-Jan-2018 21:44 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source]

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