Gulfstream American G1200 VH-LTM

In 1983 the Department of Aviation ordered five new turboprop Gulfsteam American G1000s (effectively Aero Commander 695As) to replace the Department's fleet of earlier Merlin IIs and IIIs. In 1986 a sixth aircraft, VH-LTM, was acquired. Powered by two Garrett Airesearch TPE 331-10 engines, VH-LTM (c/n 96208) was actually the second prototype G1200 (Aero Commander 695B) with a higher Maximum Takeoff Weight, formerly registered N230GA in the USA. It was registered new to the Department of Aviation on 20 February 1986.

VH-LTM was the Vic/Tas Region's aircraft and is seen in the photo above in the heyday of the annual Mangalore Airshows on 3 April 1988. As seen above, the G1000s were fitted specially with hardpoints on the rear fuselage for dropping Search And Rescue (SAR) stores such as life rafts - click here for some photos.

The Gulfstreams were disposed of c.1993 following the Civil Aviation Authority's 'Review of Resources'. However, VH-LTM was retained by the CAA, later Airservices Australia, for satellite navigation system trials (GPS NPA, GRAS and GBAS). It was sold to Essendon-based Shortstop Jet Charter in 1998 and re-registered VH-PJC, but continued to be leased by Airservices for some time for trials work.

The photo below shows VH-LTM at its Melbourne/Essendon base on 23 October 1997 wearing Airservices Australia markings.




(Photos: top - Roger McDonald / bottom - Greg Thom)

Click here to see VH-LTM's cockpit

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