|Type:||Avro 652A Anson Mk 1|
|27JUL41||Taken on charge by the RAAF as W2374. Received at No 1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton, Vic same day.|
|29NOV41||Received at No 6 Service Flying Training School, Mallala ex 1AD.|
|11FEB42||Forced landing 12 miles south of Mallala due to port engine trouble.|
|19JAN43||Landed with undercarriage retracted at Lower Light Satellite Field.|
|28DEC43||Collided with Anson W2145 on landing at Mallala.|
|15JAN44||Issued to Guinea Airways, Parafield ex 6SFTS.|
|24JAN45||Received at 6SFTS, Mallala ex Guinea Airways.|
|21MAY45||Transferred to storage ex unit equipment 6SFTS.|
|07MAR47||Received at Care and Maintenance Unit, Benalla ex CMU, Mallala.|
|11NOV48||Received at CMU, Tocumwal ex CMU, Benalla.|
|09NOV49||Received at Airflite Pty Ltd, Mascot ex Tocumwal.|
|04SEP50||Received at 2AD, Richmond ex Airflite, Mascot.|
|12SEP50||Received at 1AD Detachment B, Tocumwal ex 2AD.|
|09DEC53||Received at 2AD, Richmond ex Tocumwal.|
|01SEP54||Allotted to 3AD, Amberley ex 2AD.|
|15FEB55||Struck off charge.|
|05MAY55||Applications for CofR and CofA by Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (Division of Radio Physics), University Grounds, Chippendale, Sydney.|
|08JUL55||CofA No 2290 and CofR No 2290 issued as VH-WMA. Fitted with silver iodide burners under the wing tips for rain-making experiments.|
|15DEC55||Seating configuration: 2 pilots plus 2 auxiliary crew.|
|02AUG56||Total Time: 2263:55 hours.|
|20MAY57||Seating configuration: 2 pilots plus 1 auxiliary crew.|
|30JUL57||Pilot of the aircraft is Captain John Aitken who is also a Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer responsible for maintaining the aircraft.|
|05AUG57||Aircraft is operating from Port Pirie, SA.|
|19AUG58||Total Time: 2824:51 hours.|
|24NOV58||Aircraft arrived back in Sydney from North Queensland - its last flight for CSIRO. (The Anson had been replaced by two Cessna 310Bs VH-REK and VH-REL which were purchased by CSIRO in November 1957).|
|DEC58||Change of ownership to Adastra Airways Pty Ltd, Mascot.|
|21JUL59||Application for CofR by Adastra Airways who requested registration VH-AGO.|
|23JUL59||DCA (NSW) advise Adastra that VH-AGO was the registration of a crashed Anson and cannot be used again. Subsequently Jack McDonald requested VH-AGJ instead. (Note: Anson VH-AGO did not crash but had been permanently withdrawn from service and scrapped).|
|20AUG59||Letter from DCA HQ to Adastra: "As you are no doubt aware, it is the policy of this Department that no more of this type of aircraft will be approved for use in commercial operations. In addition, you will recall that the condition under which this aircraft was purchased from the Department of Supply was that it would be converted to spares. In view of this, application for registration cannot be approved and action is now being taken to remove the aircraft from the register."|
|16DEC59||Struck off Register.|
|61||Noted standing in the open alongside the Adastra hangar at Mascot with wings removed outboard of engines and in derelict condition.|
|DEC62||Last noted outside the Adastra hangar. Subsequently it was scrapped.|
by Bill Withers
was introduced to Whisky Mike Alpha at ARDU (Aircraft Research and
Development Unit), Detachment B, RAAF Base Richmond, NSW. It was
early in 1956 and the Avro Anson was owned by CSIRO (Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation). At that time I
was a Pilot Officer/Navigator with ARDU Det. B. The CSIRO’s flying
officer in charge of the aircraft’s operation was Arthur Tapp and
the contract pilot was John Aitken.
The Silver Iodide was made into a stable solution with acetone. That solution was then diluted to a usable mix with more acetone which then became the burning agent. The diluted liquid was atomised in the burners and ignited with a spark plug. When a silver iodide particle is burned and released as "smoke", that particle is much smaller than a particle of cigarette smoke. If the cigarette smoke particle were magnified to the size of a golf ball, then the silver iodide particle, under the same magnification, would only be the size of a pin's head. The silver iodide particle has an atomic lattice structure similar to an ice crystal so the super-cooled water vapour is "fooled" into thinking it is an ice crystal. The water vapour then condenses onto the nucleus and becomes an ice crystal. It grows with further condensation until it becomes too heavy for the convection in the air mass to hold it. The ice crystal then falls and begins to melt in the warmer air, whilst growing further by coalescence. It then falls as rain. However, if the cloud is very deep, with a low cloud base and very strong convection, then the particle can continue to grow as it is pushed into a higher and colder environment. Under those conditions it could later fall as hail. We endeavoured to avoid those conditions.
Bill Withers resigned from the CSIRO in March of 1964 to enter private enterprise as a new settler in the Ord River Scheme. On two occasions in later years he was asked by the CSIRO to do flying contracts for them. Bill later became the Member for North Province in the Legislative Council of the West Australian Parliament. He retired, with his wife Judy, to Perth in September 2002. One of his hobbies is singing with the Perth Male Voice Choir. Bill shares his name with singer/song writer, Bill Withers, an African American who is best remembered for his hit song "Ain't No Sunshine" (ironic, given Bill's rain-making activities!). Some years ago Bill and his wife Judy were dining in a Perth restaurant where a guitar toting troubadour invited him to sing. After the impromptu performance, Bill was complimented by the restaurant owner who confided in Bill; "You know I always thought you were black."
Added a CSIRO air-to-air image thanks to Geoff Goodall.
Added two images of the cloud seeding equipment thanks to Barry Colledge.
Added the above account "VH-WMA, the CSIRO and Rainmaking" courtesy of Bill Withers. Additional material was supplied by Geoff Goodall.
History greatly expanded thanks to Chris O'Neill. This material was extracted from file C3905/9 VH/WMA (32) (4040246) held at the NAA, Chester Hill, NSW.
Two new images added thanks to Bob Cozens and Roger McDonald.
Original Issue. Thanks to Geoff Goodall.