Hawker Siddeley HS125 VH-JFT
Sir Donald Anderson

After the DoT&C sold surplus airways calibration Fokker F.28 VH-ATE in March 1988, the proceeds were used to purchase another Hawker Siddeley HS125 for general and VIP use (the first HS125, VH-CAO, had been sold in 1978). The replacement was this 1979 Series 700B (cn 25-7064), which became VH-JFT. This more modern version of the HS125 was powered by two Garrett TFE 731-3 turbofans, which made it significantly less noisy and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor.

VH-JFT had originally been registered in Saudi Arabia as HZ-NAD, then HZ-OFC(1) before going to the UK as G-BMOS. Immediately prior to purchase by the Department, it had been registered with the UK 'B Conditions' registration G-5-519, probably for some unknown flight testing by the manufacturer.

VH-JFT was based at Melbourne/Essendon, where it is seen in the photo above, and also below in the Departmental hangar. In the photo below it is carrying the Civil Air Ensign, but no titles. The photo above was used on the cover of the Civil Aviation Authority's Annual Report for 1989-90.


Below: VH-JFT outside at Essendon.



In the early 1990s, as a result of the then Civil Aviation Authority's 'Review of Resources', the bulk of the Departmental aircraft fleet was disposed of. After sale, VH-JFT was ferried to the UK by a contract crew but nearly came to a sticky end when they became 'navigationally challenged' and very short of fuel in cyclonic conditions in north-western Australia. The aircraft managed to land safely at Telfer with minimal fuel in the tanks.

VH-JFT was eventually sold in the USA to Regal Cinemas and became N395RD (US CofA 7 March 96). The aircraft was also re-designated as a Series 700A, a paperwork exercise to reflect compliance with US type certification (a B suffix indicates UK type certification). On 20 October 2000 the aircraft was again sold, becoming N48LB with Baron & Budd Pc, Dallas TX. On 4 May 2007 it was sold again, to Casillas Aviation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and on 22 February 2013 to Avmats of Chesterfield, Missouri.

(Photos: Top and middle - CAHS collection / Bottom - Ken Watson)

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