Swearingen Merlin IIB VH-CAH
Swearingen SA26AT Merlin IIB VH-CAH (c/n T26-111) was purchased new by DCA at a cost of $382,000 and was first registered on 18 August 1969. This aircraft was one of four Merlin IIBs purchased to provide the Department with high speed, turbine-powered utility aircraft.
The aircraft is seen above at the DCA Flying Unit base at Melbourne/Essendon on 23 November 1973. Judging by the missing port wingtip fairing and panel on the nose, it appears to be running up following maintenance. Note the DCA Flying Unit logo on the fuselage and fin cheat-lines. The post-1973 photo below shows VH-CAH without the logos but not repainted in Department of Transport and Communications colours.
The registration for VH-CAH was cancelled on 14 May 1985 and the aircraft was exported to the USA as N135SP.
This was the second aircraft to carry the registration VH-CAH - the previous one being a Departmental De Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth.
(Photo: 1-John Hopton/The Collection / 2-CAHS/Ben Dannecker collection)