Aero Commander 680E VH-CAY
DCA Flying Unit logo - click here for more

To replace its fleet of aging Avro Anson wartime transports in the late 1950s, DCA ordered four brand new Aero Commander light twins.
This aircraft, Aero Commander 680E VH-CAY (c/n 855-76) was in the second pair delivered. The 680Es differed from the earlier pair of Aero Commander 560Es principally in having more powerful engines.

VH-CAY cost A$129,000 and was registered new to DCA on 15 February 1960. The aircraft arrived at Mascot on 1 March 1960 following delivery across Pacific by a commercial ferry company. It was formally accepted by DCA on 3 April and spent at least part of its DCA service as the Western Australian Region's aircraft based in Perth.

The photo above shows VH-CAY at Mildura, Vic, on 30 September 1962 in a white with dark blue trim colour scheme with the DCA logo on forward fuselage and fin. A prop can also be seen fitted under the rear fuselage to prevent the aircraft accidentally sitting on its tail. The colour photo below was probably also taken in the mid-1960s, at an unknown location.



Click here to see a photo of the aircraft being loaded with Storepedoes for SAR work.

The photo below shows the aircraft in June 1979 at Melbourne/Essendon. The dark blue has been replaced with a lighter shade and the DCA logo has been replaced by the Department of Transport logo.


The following is a summary of VH-CAY's life:

21 July 1969 - Incident near Geraldton, WA - Engine baffle attachments failed and baffle cut through prop pitch control cable, causing prop to overspeed.

23 January 1971 - Incident at Roy Hill, WA - Takeoff abandoned when visibility was lost due to mud and water. Prop and fuselage damaged by stones.

10 September 1972 - Incident at Launceston, TAS - Bolt dislodged and hit prop then punctured hole in fuselage.

7 June 1974 - Registered to Department of Transport, Air Transport Group.

11 May 1979 - Incident at Sydney, NSW - Due to congested parking area, aircraft parked downwind and control locks were installed. However, when aircraft was left unattended, the control lock fell from the rudder pedals, causing rudder to flail in wind, causing bell crank assembly damage.

7 May 1982 - Registered to Department of Aviation.

1 November 1982 - This aircraft was sold by DOA following replacement of the Aero Commanders with turbine-powered Merlins. Registered to Civil Flying Services Pty Ltd, Kew, VIC.

25 August 1983 - Registered to Waveson Pty Ltd, Echuca, VIC.

29 September 1983 - Registered to Peter Williams, Karratha, WA trading as Repete Air. Trading name later changed to Barpet Aviation and then Horizon Aviation.

26 March 1986 - Registered to Barbara L. Griffith, Eaglemont, VIC.

22 January 1987 - Registered to Andrew Harris Pty Ltd, Lower Templestowe, VIC.

14 July 1988 - Written-off in crash at King Island, TAS - Pilot had declared flight to be IFR when the weather at destination was marginal. Pilot was not IFR rated. Pilot continued approach in heavy rain, under low cloud. Aircraft struck trees before impacting the ground and burning.

26 May 1992 - Aircraft struck off register as destroyed.


(Photos: 1-John M Smith collection; 2-CAHS/Ben Dannecker collection; 3-Greg Thom)

Back to the Departmental Aero Commander index

Back to Departmental Aircraft index page

If this page appears without a menu bar at top and left, click here




DoT logo