Douglas DC-3 VH-AGU

Douglas DC-3C-S1C3G VH-AGU (c/n 32688) was wet-leased by the Department of Transport in the 1970s for development testing of the INTERSCAN Microwave Landing System (MLS). The photo above shows it at, probably, Melbourne/Essendon during the trials. The van at left contained a Ground Monitoring unit for the MLS. Note also the light fitted on the nose of the aircraft to facilitate tracking of the aircraft's flight path by a ground party. The MLS experimental unit itself was installed at Melbourne/Tullamarine in 1974 - click here to see a photo.


Left: The interior of VH-AGU was equipped with comprehensive test equipment to measure the performance of the MLS.

DC-3 VH-AGU was originally constructed for the USAAC in 1944 as a C-47B-35-DK and allocated the military serial 44-76336. In February 1945 it was acquired by the RAAF and allocated the serial A65-72. Operated until 1959, it was then sold to Adastra Airways and converted for civil use. In October 1964 the aircraft was re-registered to Sepal Pty Ltd, but in October 1969 it was acquired by Adastra Aerial Surveys Pty Ltd.

Adastra Aerial Surveys was acquired by East-West Airlines Ltd in April 1973 and VH-AGU was re-registered to East-West Airlines on 12 November 1974. East-West won the MLS trials support contract in December 1974 and VH-AGU was re-painted in East-West colours at Tamworth in the month prior to positioning at Melbourne/Essendon for the commencement of the contract on 25 January 1975. The contact was for 3 years with options to extend and it appears to have been extended twice before terminating on 10 August 1979.

Click here to see a colour photo of VH-AGU and read the rest of its story

(Photos: CAHS collection via Bill Millward)

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