Piper PA-23 Aztec VH-CAR

It is not exactly known why DCA came to acquire a lone Piper PA-23-250C Aztec, but the aircraft is thought to have spent most of its Departmental life in the Papua and New Guinea Region as a general light transport and communications aircraft.

VH-CAR (cn 27-4532) was purchased for $90,000 and first registered on 14 September 1970. The photos on this page are undated, but the upper shot is at Sydney/Bankstown and the lower two at the Department of Transport's Melbourne/Essendon maintenance base. Note the DCA Flying Unit logos on the aircraft in the upper photo, dating it to before November 1973, whilst in the lower photos the aircraft carries the DoT's 'Irish Compass' logo, dating them to after November 1973.

When Papua New Guinea gained independence, VH-CAR was transferred to the new DCA of PNG, becoming P2-CAR on 15 July 1974. It was later sold back to a private owner in Australia and restored to the Register as VH-CAR on 26 June 1981 (the Department having by then abandoned it's reservation of the VH-CA_ block for its own aircraft).

This aircraft was actually the second VH-CAR - the earlier one being a DCA DC-3



(Photos: Top and Bottom-John Hopton/The Collection, Middle-Greg Thom)

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