Beech A36 Bonanza VH-CAQ

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza VH-CAQ (c/n E150) was one of a number of modern production light aircraft purchased by DCA and its successors during the 1960s and 70s as utility aircraft. It was purchased new at a cost of $52,000 and entered DCA service in July 1969. Unlike previous four Bonanzas purchased by the Department, VH-CAQ was a 'straight tail' rather than the earlier 'V tail'. The A36 model also had provision for an extra row of seats.

This aircraft was the second to carry the registration VH-CAQ, the previous one being a DCA Douglas DC-3.

The photograph above shows VH-CAQ in its elegant DCA colour scheme at Melbourne/Moorabbin on 30 October 1971, whilst the one below shows the aircraft two months later, in December 1971. Note the DCA Flying Unit badges on the fin and forward fuselage.



The photos above and below show VH-CAQ later in the 1970s after DCA became the Department of Transport, Air Transport Group. Note that the DCA Flying Unit badges have been removed. The photo above is possibly at Moorabbin, where the aircraft was based, and the one below is outside the Wangaratta, Vic, Aero Club hangar on 31 August 1976.

The photo below shows VH-CAQ after a repaint into the new Department of Transport colour scheme. DoT badges are now carried on the forward fuselage and fin. The same basic scheme was carried over when DoT became the Department of Aviation, with the substitution of new badges. This photo is taken at the Flying Unit's Essendon base.



VH-CAQ was disposed of on 10 September 1992 following an internal 'Review of Resources' which recommended, among other things, disposing entirely of the then CAA's fleet of light aircraft. VH-CAQ remains registered, as of June 2017, to a private owner in Echuca, Vic.

(Photos: 1-Roland Jahne; 2-Ern Mainka; 3-CAHS/Mac Job collection; 4-John Hopton/The Collection; 5-Ken Watson)

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