Type: Avro 652A Anson Mk 1
MSN: Nil
Previous Identities: MG796


43 Built by A.V. Roe & Co Ltd at Yeadon for the RAF as MG796. Delivered to Australia for the Empire Air Training Scheme.
14FEB44 Taken on charge by the RAAF as MG796. Received at No 2 Aircraft Park, Bankstown, NSW same day.
09MAR44 Test flown at Bankstown after assembly (Source: aircraft logbook)
20MAR44 Received at No 6 Service Flying Training School, Mallala, Vic ex 2AP.
05FEB45 Received at the General Reconnaissance School, Bairnsdale, Vic ex 6SFTS.
MAY45 Issued to Adastra Airways, Sydney ex GRS. Adastra had secured a contract to survey most of the state of Victoria and as the RAAF Survey Flight was unable to undertake the task, the RAAF released aircraft, spares and cameras to Adastra.
15MAY45 DCA wrote to Adastra advising that DCA were currently investigating the Anson to determine conditions under which a civil CofA might be issued to the type. The investigation was still incomplete but DCA would allow an Anson to enter service.
28MAY45 Registration application from Adastra Airways Pty Ltd, Sydney (c/- F. W. Follett)
05JUN45 Registration VH-AGG allotted to MG796. Adastra advise that the aircraft will be ready to enter civil service in AUG45.
  DCA advise that a maximum all up weight of 7,500 pounds will apply pending a full investigation of the type's performance.
29AUG45 VH-AGG was weighed by DCA at Mascot. Aircraft is fitted for 4 crew members. Equipment includes:
2 cameras (56 lbs each)
6 film magazines (14 lbs each)
6 films (6 lbs each)
Camera mounting (45 lbs)
18SEP45 Adastra advise that engines are under overhaul. On completion, aircraft will be ready for CofA.
18SEP45 F.W. Follett of Adastra cabled DCA urgently requesting an increase of MAUW to 8,500 pounds which is the standard RAAF operating weight. "We are now heavily committed to use Anson and reduction of this loading will severely hamper our operations. Request urgent reply as the purchase of further Ansons to standardise our fleet is now under consideration." Also advises that aircraft will be used for airwork duties only and will not carry passengers.
SEP45 DCA advise that tests are being carried out at No 1 Aircraft Performance Unit at Laverton to determine Anson performance, particularly on one engine. DCA refuses to allow Adastra to operate above 7,500 pounds for the time being.
21SEP45 Messrs Haines and Linfoot of Adastra visited DCA HQ in Melbourne to discuss the Anson weight limitation. They are en route to Bairnsdale to collect another Anson from CDC. They claim that survey work cannot be conducted with MAUW limited to 7,500 pounds and that it would not be worthwhile putting VH-AGG into service with such a restriction. DH-90 VH-AAD will be required to continue the survey alone.
OCT45 DCA inspected the camera installation on VH-AGG at Mascot. F.W. Follett preferred to await the results of performance tests at 1APU and have the flight tests performed with Adastra's second Anson (then under conversion) rather than have VH-AGG perform the tests.
OCT45 Several cables from F.W. Follett to DCA request a relaxation of the 7,500 pound limit but DCA refuses. Follett replies: "Total loaded weight 7500lb limit completely useless for our operations and brings our survey work with the Victorian Government to a standstill." He requests a limit of at least 8,200 pounds to enable VH-AGG to commence operations.
OCT45 Follett follows with several more angry cables to DCA HQ urging a weight limit relaxation. VH-AGG is due to leave Sydney for the Victorian survey in October 1945.
OCT45 An internal DCA memo notes: "This is the story of the purchase of an unsuitable aircraft in the first instance."
19OCT45 DCA finally approve a MAUW of 8,200 pounds for VH-AGG.
22OCT45 CofA issued at Mascot and aircraft added to the Register as VH-AGG. The aircraft entered service on the Victorian survey contract.
06JAN46 LAME T.W. Carpenter of Adastra wrote to DCA from Ballarat to advise that the Oxford cowlings fitted to VH-AGG give a marked reduction in engine temperatures with no change in performance. Oil temperature has been reduced 10 degrees F in hot weather. The fitment of Oxford type cowlings (as opposed to the early helmeted cowls) is now a British and Australian Airworthiness Modification requirement.
27OCT46 Letter on Adastra Airways Pty Ltd letterhead from F.W.Follett, Managing Director to the Minister for Air (A.S.Drakeford): (précis) In early 1945 our company was allotted a contract by the Victorian Government to survey 60,000 square miles using two large survey cameras in each aircraft. This necessitated our purchase of an additional aircraft. We approached the Air Board and an Anson was made available through the Commonwealth Disposals Commission on a hire-purchase basis for a price of £4815. We protested strongly at this excessive figure. There being no other aircraft available at the time we had no option but to accept the terms. Since then Ansons have been declared surplus and we purchased two for £1000 and £500 and we were recently offered three Ansons for £400 each. This company requests to be released from the hire-purchase payments outstanding. £2438 has already been paid by Adastra Airways. (Source: NAA extracted by Geoff Goodall)
04DEC46 Reply from A.S.Drakeford: He will take no action in this matter. Follett replies with a very strongly worded protest. This commences a series of acrimonious correspondence with the Minister's office, each letter signed by Follett. He states that his company will not pay the outstanding amount on Anson MG796 (VH-AGG) and offers the aircraft back to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission. File ends with no outcome. (Source: NAA extracted by Geoff Goodall)
09JUN47 Camera test at Mascot by Joe Linfoot and Tom Carpenter (25 mins). (Source: Tom Carpenter's log book)
10JUN47 Camera test at Mascot by Joe Linfoot and Tom Carpenter (15 mins). (Source: Tom Carpenter's log book)
13JUN47 Camera test at Mascot by Joe Linfoot and Tom Carpenter (55 mins). (Source: Tom Carpenter's log book)
23JUN47 Ferried Mascot to Benalla by Joe Linfoot and Tom Carpenter (3 hrs 55 mins). (Source: Tom Carpenter's log book)
24JUN47 Ferried Benalla to Ballarat by Joe Linfoot and Tom Carpenter (1 hr 20mins). (Source: Tom Carpenter's log book)
15AUG47 Ferried Benalla to Cootamundra by Joe Linfoot and Tom Carpenter (1 hr 15 mins). (Source: Tom Carpenter's log book)
16AUG47 Ferried Cootamundra to Mascot by Joe Linfoot and Tom Carpenter (1 hr 25 mins). (Source: Tom Carpenter's log book). There is no subsequent mention of VH-AGG in Tom Carpenter's log book.
18SEP47 CofA expired.
19DEC47 Struck off Register as withdrawn from service.
03MAR48 Struck off RAAF charge.
48 Inspection of VH-AGG at Mascot reveals poor glue adhesion in mainplane and DCA inspector grounds the aircraft.
05JUL48 F.W. Follett writes to DCA: "Request a definite decision on DCA's position to Ansons with Betel glue mainplanes. Adastra will lose many thousands of pounds if VH-AGG is permanently condemned. It was not a CDC aircraft, but was chosen by Department of Air for this company, and has cost Adastra £4,000 to place it in civil service. The CofA was issued after conversion, but when up for its second CofA inspection was condemned by DCA inspector due to glue. Our second Anson was also specially picked out by Department of Air, and this also has Betel glue. If this second Anson is also grounded our loss will be £8,000, not to mention disruption of our survey contracts."
JUL48 DCA replied to Follett: "It has a definite policy on glue adhesion, and the specified test requires inspection of the mainspar of all Ansons before their next CofA renewal. Involves cutting 12" length of web of rear face of front wing spar in the fuel tank bay, and 12" of rear face of front wing spar in centre-section. If removal of these webs shows less than 60% wood failure, then glue joint is considered to be unsatisfactory, and the wing is to be rebuilt using Casein Glue. This particularly applies to Ansons whose construction has been made from Betel "W" Glue."
19AUG48 VH-AGG failed its wing spar test at Mascot. The aircraft was stored pending a decision on its future.
JUL50 Adastra advise DCA that VH-AGG which has been stored in their Mascot hangar will be scrapped. Adastra request that the registration VH-AGG be reserved for their new Lockheed Hudson VH-BLA.
  VH-AGG was subsequently scrapped at Mascot.


See Australia's First Civil Anson

Issue Date Remarks
6 08JAN18
Added an image of VH-AGG at Nhill circa 1947 thanks to Mike Kingwelll and Geoff Goodall.
5 12JUL16
Added an image which was previously thought to be VH-AGO. This image has been transferred from the page for VH-AGO.
4 02MAR13
Added details of correspondence relating to Adastra's purchase of this aircraft. See 27OCT46 and 04DEC46. Thanks to Geoff Goodall.
3 18SEP05
Added details of flying from June 1947 to August 1947 drawn from Tom Carpenter's log book. Thanks to Cay Carpenter.
2 29DEC03
Deleted a fleet photograph previously thought to include VH-AGG and added an image which is now believed to be VH-AGG.
1 23FEB03
Original Issue. Thanks to Geoff Goodall.
Images courtesy of Barry Admans.