Douglas DC-3 VH-CAQ
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This aircraft (c/n 12285) started life as a C47A-5-DK, built to a military order by the Douglas Aircraft Company in Oklahoma City, USA, and allocated the military serial 42-92480. It was fitted with two Pratt & Whitney R1830-92 engines of 1200 hp. It was acquired for the RAAF under the lend/lease programme, being officially taken on charge on 11 February 1944. It was allocated the RAAF serial A65-31 and the radio callsign VHCUC. It saw wartime transport service with the Allied Directorate of Air Transport and later 36 Squadron, RAAF.

Post-war it was sold to DCA by the Commonwealth Disposals Commission and struck off RAAF charge on 26 October 1948. The aircraft underwent civil conversion, being equipped with 'civil' Pratt & Whitney R1830-S1C3G engines and becoming a DC-3C. On 26 August 1949 a Certificate of Registration was issued for it as VH-ABC, after the former Director-General of Civil Aviation Arthur Brownlow Corbett.

Little more than a year later, however, the aircraft was re-registered in the 'DCA block' on 4 September 1950 as VH-CAQ, along with the other DC-3s in the Department's fleet. The photo above shows VH-CAQ at DCA's main base at Melbourne/Essendon c. December 1950. Incidentally, in the background can just be made out ANA's Bristol 170 Freighter VH-INL.

The aircraft did not have a long life with DCA as it crashed and was damaged beyond repair at Camden, NSW, on 27 March 1951.

(Photo: Ed Coates collection)

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