Aero Commander 680E VH-CAX

In 1983 the first of five new Gulfstream 1000s (Turbo Commanders) were being delivered to the Department of Transport and it was time to retire the piston-engined Aero Commanders that had served faithfully for over twenty years.

Accordingly, in April 1983 Aero Commander 680E VH-CAX was sold to Civil Flying Services at Melbourne/Moorabbin as a trade-in on the G1000s. The photo above shows VH-CAX at the Department's base at Melbourne/Essendon shortly before disposal, in April 1983. The aircraft wears a colour scheme of mid-blue and yellow cheatlines, with the Department of Transport logo on the nose and fin - compare with our slightly earlier colour photo.


Aviation historian Gordon Reid accompanied Departmental pilot Hugh Hopkins on the delivery flight from Essendon to Moorabbin for the handover to CFS. The photo at left shows Hugh Hopkins handing over the aircraft's documents to CFS' Rob Hart outside the CFS hangar at Moorabbin.

The aircraft's registration was officially changed over on 21 April 1983.

The photo below shows VH-CAX at Moorabbin on the same day. In readiness for the sale, the Departmental logos have been removed from the aircraft, but the colour scheme remains otherwise unaltered.


The photo below shows VH-CAX shortly afterward at Moorabbin marked as being 'For Sale'.



Since leaving Departmental service VH-CAX has passed through various hands. In 1990 it was painted by Douglas Aviation in the colour scheme seen below for Executive Air Charter in Darwin. As of 2014, VH-CAX remains registered to a private owner in New South Wales, based at Wedderburn. It is seen below tucking up the gear on departure from the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia's 40th Anniversary Fly-in on 30 March 2014.



(Photos: Top three-Gordon Reid; 4th-Greg Thom; bottom-Phil Vabre)

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