Commander 560E VH-CAU
its fleet of ageing Avro Anson
wartime transports in the late 1950s, DCA
ordered four brand new Aero Commander light twins: two model 560Es and
two more-powerful 680Es. This photograph shows one of the first pair,
Aero Commander 560E VH-CAU (c/n 726-51). The aircraft was registered
new to DCA on 30 March 1959 and delivered by DCA pilots from the USA
via Europe and the Middle East, arriving at Melbourne/Essendon on 17
here to read
about the handover and delivery flight
here to read a flight test
of DCA's Aero Commander 560E
above shows VH-CAU at Gatwick, UK, on its delivery flight. The rare colour photo below shows VH-CAU in Australia in the original overall polished metal with blue cheatline colour scheme.
the early post-war years, when war surplus equipment was de rigeur,
DCA usually attempted to select aircraft types that were advanced for
their day with the objective of 'proving' the type in Australia ahead
of commercial orders - thus leading by example. In this spirit, VH-CAU
was loaned to Connellan Airways by DCA during October 1959 to test the aircraft type for 'bush' services.
It was delivered to Connellan's Alice Springs base by DCA pilot Eberbach.
The aircraft was not considered suitable and was subsequently returned
Aero Commanders of various sub-types went on to a long and successful
history in Australian commercial service.
It is thought
that VH-CAU became the Victoria/Tasmania
Region aircraft, based at Essendon. The photo above shows VH-CAU at RAAF Richmond, NSW, on 19 July 1967. This photo below shows it at an
airshow at St Arnaud, in north-western Victoria, on 2 March 1969. A
decade after its delivery,
VH-CAU has been re-painted in the 'new' DCA house colours of white with
light blue fin and trim. Note the DCA Flying
Unit logo on the nose and fin.
Below: VH-CAU at an unknown country aerodrome - a typical destination while ferrying Departmental personnel around on duty.
was disposed of by DCA in 1970, the Aero Commander fleet being replaced
by Swearingen Merlins. VH-CAU
was sold to Civil Flying Services Pty. Ltd. at Melbourne/Moorabbin and
re-registered on 16 January. The aircraft has had various owners since
and the photo below shows it at Melbourne/Tullamarine in March 1982
where it had been flown by John Conley of Australian Aircraft Sales
(note the logo on the nose) to negotiate the purchase of TAA's retiring Douglas
DC-9s. VH-CAU was still on the Register in 2015, though it is not known
whether the aircraft is still airworthy.
1-Ian D Johnson collection; 2-CAHS/Ben Dannecker collection; 3-Ben Dannecker; 4-John M. Smith; 5-CAHS collection; 6-Greg Thom)
the Departmental Aero Commander index
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