Type: Aero Commander 500A
MSN: 1253-77
Previous Identities: N36A


Note: registration VH-AGA was previously allocated to an Adastra Anson.
14AUG62 Registered to Aero Commander Inc., Bethany, Oklahoma as N36A. (Source: Barry Collman)
Colour scheme ex factory was Bluestone White, Capri Blue and Baltic Blue. (Source: Barry Collman)
06SEP62 Registration application: Sepal Pty Ltd, 41-45 Vickers Ave, Mascot. New aircraft built by Aero Commander Inc, Bethany, Oklahoma 1962.
Letter to DCA from Sepal Pty Ltd signed by Ops Manager A.E.McKenzie: "the Aero Commander is a new aircraft expected to be ready at the works 30.10.62. You will note that we have applied for registration VH-AGA. This marking was previously held by one of our Avro Ansons Mk.1 aircraft, now out of service." Ferried from USA by Air Ferry International. A letter to DCA from them refers to the delivery of "Adastra's Aero Commander."
(NAA via G. Goodall)
10OCT62 The FAA file reads: "change of marks from N36A to VH-AGA authorised on 10 Oct 62". (Source: Barry Collman)
Note: The aircraft was not actually entered on the Australian Register until 25OCT62. (Source: Tony Arbon, AustAirData)
24OCT62 The export certificate to Australia was issued to dealer E.L.Heymanson & Co. Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. (Source: Barry Collman)
25OCT62 Registered VH-AGA to Sepal Pty Ltd, Mascot, NSW. CofA & CofR issued by Australian Embassy, Washington DC based on validation of the FAA Export CofA. (NAA via G. Goodall)
The "Australian Aerial Survey Review" of December 1963 reported that the Aero Commander was ferried to Australia by two American pilots. The route was San Francisco - Honolulu - Canton Island - Nadi - Brisbane.
Certificate of Registration No 3758. (Source: Tony Arbon, AustAirData)
Flown from Nadi, Fiji to Australia. (Source: JAHSA Vol III No 11 NOV62)
JUL74 Photographed at Essendon in the orange colour scheme (see photo above).
19OCT77 Registered to Mr Sydney Rogers, Moruya, NSW. (Source: Russell Legg)
22JUN78 Registered to Scapela Bianca Pty. Ltd., Deer Park, Vic. (Jim Richardson). (Source: Russell Legg & Tony Arbon)
78 Repainted in a three-tone blue colour scheme in the final Shrike style. Operated on charter flights.
Seat mods and installation of IFR avionics were carried out at Canberra. The aircraft was then flown to Essendon for certification. (Source: Chris Hill who supervised the mods)
20AUG82 Registered to Mr Edward Priest, Holder, ACT, trading as Fairbairn Air Charter Pty. Ltd. (Source: Russell Legg & Tony Arbon)
APR83 Photographed at Mangalore, Vic. carrying titles of Fairburn Aviation Services. (Source: Mike Madden via Russell Legg)
Note different spelling of name. The trading name of the owner was Fairbairn which is also the name of the airport in Canberra, ACT but the aeroplane was clearly painted as Fairburn.
01DEC84 The aircraft was being used to transport equipment for members of the Bathurst Aero Club, who were to carry out training in the Commander at Goulburn Airport. As the pilot was undergoing formation flying training, it was decided that he would lead a formation of two aircraft for the flight. A briefing on the procedures to be followed was carried out. During the flight the pilot of the second aircraft began to suspect the accuracy of his aircraft's airspeed indicator and requested that it be checked against that of AGA as they joined the circuit. The pilot of AGA extended the landing gear and flew the initial leg of the circuit at an indicated airspeed of 96 knots. At the end of this leg the pilot turned sharply to the left, the nose dropped slightly and the aircraft flicked into a steep right turn. AGA then assumed a steep nose down attitude, however the pilot was able to level the wings and raise the nose to the level attitude before impact. The impact occurred at a very high rate of sink. The pilot had not previously practised steep turns at relatively slow speed and was not aware of the stalling speed in the given configuration and attitude. The pilot was subsequently unable to recall the reason for attempting a steeper than normal turn. When the aircraft stalled the pilot was unable to effect a full recovery in the height available before the impact with the ground. Unfortunately this spelt the end for AGA. The wreckage was recovered as an insurance write-off and then stored in the back of a hangar at Goulburn Airport where it remained until late 1989. At this time it was dismantled and moved to Bankstown Airport by its new owners Helimuster Pty Ltd. Helimuster were operating another 500A (VH-IOE s/n 985-34) at the time and were chasing spares. At this time all non-recoverable sections were scrapped. The parts were then moved to Warnervale Airport in late 1993 and finally purchased by Denis Beahan Aircraft Pty Ltd and moved by container to Roma Airport, Queensland during April 2001. (Thanks to Russell Legg for this contribution).
01DEC84 Cancelled from Register. (Source: Tony Arbon)

Issue Date Remarks
10 26MAY21
Added delivery details on 20NOV62.
9 31AUG11
Added an image of the aircraft at Mascot on 14JUN66 thanks to Greg Banfield.
8 18JUN08
Clarified the sequence of events regarding the change of registration from N36A to VH-AGA. See 10OCT62 and 24OCT62. Thanks to Russell Legg, Barry Collman and Tony Arbon.
7 15JUN08
Deleted reference to VH-AGA having been registered to Adastra. The aircraft was registered to Sepal (an Adastra subsidiary) for its entire career with Adastra. Also deleted reference to the aircraft having been owned by the Bathurst Aero Club. Also added further detail of owners post-Adastra. Thanks to Tony Arbon, AustAirData.
Also added previous identity N36A and other early regsitration details thanks to Barry Collman.
6 14JUN08
Added two new images and also added details of ownership post Adastra thanks to Russell Legg.
5 09JUN08
Clarified nature of work on aircraft in 1978. Thanks to Chris Hill.
4 03SEP05
Added details addition to Australian Register under 06SEP62 and 25OCT62 thanks to Geoff Goodall.
3 20APR03
Added details of the crash thanks to Russell Legg.