Delivery of Aero Commander 560Es VH-CAW & VH-CAU
Aero Commander handover

To replace its fleet of aging Avro Anson wartime transports in the late 1950s, DCA ordered four brand new Aero Commander light twins. The photo above shows the first pair VH-CAW (c/n 729-53) & VH-CAU (c/n 726-51) being accepted by DCA at the Aero Commander factory in Oklahoma City prior to the ferry flight to Australia in 1959.

L-R: Eric Sims (DCA Airways Surveyor), Ian Perry (DCA Senior Examiner of Airmen - Navigators), Ian R. Richardson (Civil Air Attache, Washington), W. Brinckehoff (Aero Design and Engineering Co., Oklahoma), Alec Spooner (DCA Airways Surveyor), Laurie Bond (DCA Senior Examiner of Airmen), Svend Solberg (Aero Design and Engineering Co.)


Aero Commander delivery

Aero Commander 560Es VH-CAW & VH-CAU were ferried from the factory in Oklahoma City, USA, to Australia via the North Atlantic route. They passed through Prestwick, Scotland on 28 April 1959, finally arriving at Essendon on 17 May 1959. Flying time was 110 hours 46 minutes.

The DCA ferry pilots, shown above on arrival in Australia, were Laurie Bond (Senior Examiner of Airmen), Ian Perry (Senior Examiner of Airmen - Navigators), Eric Sims (Airways Surveyor) and Alec Spooner (Airways Surveyor).


The following press release concerning the delivery of Aero Commanders VH-CAW & VH-CAU was written in May 1959:


The two aircraft - Aero Commander 560E’s - have completed the longest light aircraft delivery flight ever made to Australia. The route flown by the aircraft from the United States took them across the North Atlantic, through Europe and the Middle East, and over a total distance of about 20,500 miles.

The aircraft will be used by the Department of Civil Aviation for examination and survey work, testing flying aids, in land search and rescue operations and for quick emergency transport.

The Department at present uses 18 year old Avro Anson aircraft for this work, and they are inadequate and obsolete.

The new aircraft are twin engine high wing monoplanes which cruise at 210 miles and hour. They have a range of about 1400 miles and are powered by two 295 horsepower Lycoming engines. The two aircraft, with radio equipment, cost about £100,000.

They are made in Oklahoma, U.S.A., by the Aero Design and Engineering Company. Australian agents are E. L. Heymanson and Company, Pty. Ltd, Melbourne.

Department of Civil Aviation crews went to the United States to take delivery of the aircraft. They are:

Mr Alex Spooner, an Airways Surveyor who is in charge of the flight;

Mr Lauire Bond, Senior Examiner of Airmen;

Mr Eric Sims, an Airways Surveyor; and

My Ian Perry, Senior Examiner of Airmen (Navigators).

All live in Melbourne.

The 20,500 [later amended to 18,500] mile flight was covered in 21 stages. The route was chosen because the aircraft would have required special long range tanks for the Pacific flight, and this long range equipment would not have been required for their operation in Australia.

The route flown was Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Montreal, Goose Bay, Narsarssuak, Keflavik, Prestwick, London, Marseilles, Rome, Athens, Cairo, Kuwait, Bahrein, Karachi, New Delhi, Calcutta, Rangoon, Bangkok, Singapore, Djakarta, Soura Baya, Darwin, Alice Springs, Broken Hill, Melbourne.




click here to download the Trip Logbook
< Download the Journey Logbook for Aero Commander VH-CAU's delivery flight (1.71 MB .pdf file)

Click here to read a flight test report on the DCA's Aero Commander 560E.

(Photos: 1-Chase Ltd./CAHS collection; 2-CAHS collection)

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