Beechcraft V35A Bonanza VH-CAG
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From 1964-69, DCA purchased five current model Beechcraft Bonanzas - three V35s, an S35 and an A36 model - one each year. They were purchased as part of a policy to operate modern production light aircraft.

VH-CAG (c/n D-8783) was the fourth of DCA's Bonanzas - the third V35 - and was registered new on 19 August 1968. The purchase cost was A$48,000. The aircraft had previously been allocated the US registration N2770B.

The photo above shows VH-CAG when nearly a year old at Bankstown on 19 May 1969. Note the DCA insignia just forward of the open cabin door, beneath the windscreen. This VH-CAG was actually the second DCA aircraft to carry those marks, the previous being a Tiger Moth.

Somewhat unusually, the Bonanzas appear to have been delivered in standard factory colour schemes and not painted in DCA house colours until later in their lives. The photo below shows VH-CAG in later Department of Aviation house colours at the Schofields Airshow on 8 November 1985.



Unlike the other CAA Bonanzas, VH-CAG was not sold. Tragically, on 2 November 1990 the aircraft was destroyed in a mid-air collision with Blanik glider VH-GXO near Tocumwal, NSW. The Bonanza was departing and the glider was thermalling near the circuit area when the collision occurred. Both Departmental pilots aboard VH-CAG, Examiners of Airmen William 'Bill' Lord and Paul Hardy, were killed. The pilot of the Blanik was able to make a safe landing and was uninjured.

Full details of the accident can be found in Aviation Safety Investigation Report 199002021 at the ATSB website through our Links page.

(Photo: 1-Ian Mackenzie; 2-CAHS/Ben Dannecker collection)

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