Beech A36 Bonanza VH-CAQ

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza VH-CAQ (c/n E150) was one of a number of modern production light aircraft purchased by DCA and its successors during the 1960s and 70s as utility aircraft. It was purchased new at a cost of $52,000 and entered DCA service in July 1969. Unlike previous four Bonanzas purchased by the Department, VH-CAQ was a 'straight tail' rather than the earlier 'V tail'. The A36 model also had provision for an extra row of seats.

This aircraft was the second to carry the registration VH-CAQ, the previous one being a DCA Douglas DC.3.

The photograph above shows VH-CAQ in its elegant DCA colour scheme at Melbourne/Moorabbin on 30 October 1971, whilst the one below shows the aircraft two months later, in December 1971. Note the DCA Flying Unit badges on the fin and forward fuselage.


The photo below shows VH-CAQ outside the Wangaratta, Vic, Aero Club hangar on 31 August 1976, by this time with the Department of Transport, Air Transport Group (note the DCA Flying Unit badges have been removed).


VH-CAQ was disposed of on 10 September 1992 following an internal 'Review of Resources' which recommended, among other things, disposing entirely of the then CAA's fleet of light aircraft. VH-CAQ remains registered, as of February 2014, to a private owner in Echuca, Vic.

(Photos: Top-Roland Jahne; Middle-Ern Mainka; Bottom-John Hopton collection)

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