Aero Commander 680E VH-CAY and SAR Stores - c.1967

For many years the Department carried responsibility for aviation Search And Rescue (SAR). SAR actions were coordinated through the Operational Control branch of Air Traffic Control (known as OPS/SAR). Various resources could be called upon or requsitioned to perform search and supply/survival equipment dropping tasks, inlcuding airline aircraft such as the Fokker F.27 Friendship.

The Department's own aircraft were also a prime SAR resource. This photo, and the close up below, shows DCA Aero Commander 680E VH-CAY being prepared for SAR work at Port Keats, NT, c.1967. The photo shows that the rear door and a rear seat have been removed to permit dropping of the two Storepedoes which are lying on the ground. The Storepedo was a supply container with a static-line activated parachute in which emergency supplies or equipment could be packed and dropped to survivors.

The original of this photograph was in colour, but very faded, so it has been reduced to greyscale for this website. The colour scheme of the aircraft was white overall with light blue trim.

(Photo: Bob Kretchmer via Doug Morrison)

From the 1980s the Department's later fleet of Gulfstream 1000s (Turbo Commanders) were fitted with hardpoints on the rear fuselage from which supply containers could be dropped - click here to see a photo.

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