TAA Douglas DC-3s at Goroka - 1960s
During the '60s the TAA New Guinea operations were styled 'Sunbird Services'. The specially devised markings comprised a white fuselage top with blue band, fin and rudder. The lower fuselage and wings were in polished metal. Not clearly visible in this photo, the fin carried a logo comprising a white disk with a multi-coloured, sylised hummingbird superimposed.
The aircraft in the foreground is VH-SBJ. This aircraft was built as a C-47A-25-DK (c/n 13622, military serial 42-93683). In 1945 it was acquired by QEA and registered as VH-AII, later changed to VH-EBI at the direction of DCA due to possible confusion with radio codes. In November 1950 the aircraft was acquired by TAA and registered VH-TAV.
It was re-registered as VH-SBJ for the New Guinea 'Sunbird' services in February 1961 and converted at Melbourne/Essendon as a freighter with an unlined cabin. It could be fitted with removable forward-facing seats or 'side-saddle' type seating if required. VH-SBJ was later sold to Laos as XW-PEE in October 1968.
In the background is VH-SBF. This aircraft was built as a C-47A-10-DK (c/n 12541, military serial 42-927190) and in 1944 was acquired under Lend-Lease for the RAAF as A65-42. In 1948 it was acquired by QEA and registered as VH-EBG, changed in 1950 to VH-EBV. The aircraft was taken over by TAA from QEA when Qantas ceased operating in New Guinea and was re-registered as VH-SBF in December 1960 and named Mustar (afer 'Pard' Mustar, one of the aviation pioneers of New Guinea). It was used as a freighter, based for a while in Madang. Made redundant by the introduction of the Fokker Friendship, it was sold to Taiwan as B-209 in September 1967 where it crashed and was destroyed in January 1969.
(Photo: CAHS collection)
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