Swearingen Merlin IIB VH-CAK

Purchased new by DCA at a cost of A$432,000, Swearingen SA26AT Merlin IIB VH-CAK (c/n T26-172E) was registered on 31 August 1970. This aircraft was the final of four Merlin IIBs purchased to provide the Department with high speed, turbine-powered utility aircraft. It was powered by two Garrett Airesearch TPE 331-1-151G turboprops.

This aircraft was actually VH-CAK(2), the previous one being a DCA Avro Anson.

It is thought that VH-CAK spent most, if not all, of its service as the NSW Region's aircraft. The photo above was taken at Condobolin, NSW, on 14 August 1971. VH-CAK wears the DCA 'house colours' including the DCA Flying Unit logo on the fin. The black, fibreglass radome indicates that this aircraft was equipped with weather radar. Unlike at least two of the other DCA Merlin IIBs, VH-CAK was probably delivered with radar fitted.



The photo above was taken at Wagga Wagga, NSW, on 20 February 1977 after DCA had become the Department of Transport-Air Transport Group. The Flying Unit logo has been removed from the fin, but the aircraft has not yet been adorned with the new Departmental logo. The photo below was taken at an unknown location, possibly Brisbane/Eagle Farm, around the same time.

This aircraft's Australian registration was cancelled on 24 May 1985 and it was exported to USA as N390SP. In 1994 it was re-registered N135SR. Just over three months later it was exported to Canada as C-FCAW, where it continues to operate as of January 2011 with Carson Air of Kelowna, British Columbia.



(Photos: 1&2-Roger McDonald / 3-CAHS/Ben Dannecker collection)

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