new innovation commenced on or about 21 October 1965. The first
single was a Cessna 180 (normally with seats for four) registered
VH-ASP, with myself as pilot and Bill Sander as navigator/camera
operator. It was an interesting exercise in the beginning, adapting
to work in the confined space.
Bill Sander left in early November and was replaced by Tony Whybrow,
another pilot from Sydney, so we shared the dual responsibilities
of piloting and navigating; another interesting exercise.
Tony hung around long enough to get his instructors rating and left
in early March 1966 for his new career. He was to eventually join
Qantas and on retirement was a Captain on the 747. Tony was replaced
by Trevor Mallon and commenced navigator training on 10th March
1966 and thrown to the wolves on 16 March. The C180 was permanently
based in Melbourne for the Victoria Lands Department and continued
until the end of April 1967.
Late in 1966, Peter Payens who had an interest in Adastra's Victorian
operation, with myself, discovered a damaged Cessna 185 owned by
Superspread Aviation and we considered that while it was being repaired,
a camera and drift sight mounting should be installed. The aircraft
was purchased and work commenced late 1966.
The C185 (registered VH-AGE) was bigger (six seats) with a more
powerful engine (300hp) and started work in May 1967 still with
Vic. Lands Department and crewed by Trevor and myself. This continued
until March 1968 when Trevor departed for greener pastures. Peter
Payens elected to fill in as navigator until another could be found
who thought that a Melbourne base would be suitable.
It didn't take a lot of convincing for Hal McKinley to come and
give it a go, with him joining me on 1 July 1968, Hal's last flight
with me was on 9 September 1969.
VH-AGE continued with Adastra on and off in Victoria as contracts
were won or lost to Civil Aerial Surveys. When not in Victoria,
Adastra made full use of the aircraft in all manner of work, and
it stayed in use with them until Adastra's demise when taken over
by East-West Airlines and AGE was sold (to J. Donaghy, Vic.) on
6 August 1976.
Other aircraft I piloted whilst with Adastra were:
VH-CFV Beech B35 V Tail
VH-DRK Cessna 320
VH-CTR Beech Musketeer
VH-CTE Beech Queenair
VH-KRA Aero Commander 680F
VH-AGA Aero Commander 500A
My last flight with Adastra was Melbourne to Tamworth with Peter
Cowan in VH-CFV on 16 September 1976.
11 May 2005