Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar VH-CAC
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VH-CAC was one of 3 Lockheed Model 18 Lodestars acquired in March 1947 from RAAF surplus stock at RAAF Tocumwal, NSW. Built at Burbank, California, as a C-60-5-LO (c/n 2612) the aircraft was allocated USAAC Serial Number 43-16452. The aircraft later saw wartime RAAF service, being allocated serial A67-8.

After the war, the DCA purchased A67-8 for £2,500 along with two other Lodestars. The aircraft were not considered safe to be ferried out of storage at Tocumwal because of a recurring problem with the sealant in their wing fuel tanks. Instead, they were trucked to Adelaide in September 1947 where two were rebuilt to full civil standards by the Department of Aircraft Production at Parafield Airport. The aircraft were initially fitted for 8 passengers and 2 crew. After this overhaul, the aircraft was added to the civil register as VH-CAC on 20 July 1950 and based at Melbourne/Essendon. The photo above shows it on the Adelaide/Parafield apron in June or July 1950 resplendent in freshly painted blue & white trim over polished metal with the DCA emblem on the nose and fin. The figures are Norm Warner and DCA Aircraft Surveyor Bill Sykes.


The photo above shows VH-CAC at DCA's Essendon base in 1950.

VH-CAC's Certificate of Airworthiness was renewed on 24 April 1951 following conversion to 10 passenger seats, however the aircraft was immediately leased to the Government airline, Trans Australia Airlines. VH-CAC was based in Townsville, extending the daily DC-3 coastal service from Brisbane to Cairns with stops at Ingham and Innisfail. The aircraft was sold to TAA on 22 Feb 1952 and re-registered VH-TAZ Stockdale on 26 February. A year later, in 1953, the aircraft was sold to the USA as N4848V to be re-manufactured as Learstar executive aircraft by the Lear Corporation.

Click here to see another shot of one of the DCA's Lodestars.

(Photos: Top - CAHS Collection; Bottom - Eddie Coates collection)

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