Type: Douglas C-47A-85-DL
MSN: 19934
Previous Identities: 43-15468
Subsequent Identities: 9N-AAY

Note: This aircraft never served with Adastra but as an Australian survey DC-3 its story deserves to be told somewhere.




28MAR44   Delivered to USAAF as 43-15468. (Source: 1)
26APR44   Assigned to USAAF at Brisbane. (Source: 2)
29NOV46   Sold by US Disposals at Clark Field, Philippines. (Source: 2)
04DEC46   Arrived at Mascot from Manila as "315468". Captain R. Godsall plus 2 crew, no passengers. (Source: 2)
28FEB47   Registered VH-BHE to The Zinc Corp Ltd., Melbourne, Vic. (Source: 2)
47   Inspected for civil certification by the Department of Aircraft Production at Parafield, SA. (Source: 2)
02SEP47   CofA issued at Parafield. (Source: 2)
29MAR48   DCA memo to the effect that VH-BHE (and VH-BHD) are being operated under charter to Qantas Empire Airways. (Source: 2)
29MAR48   Arrived Mascot from Lae, PNG. Capt G.S. Richardson, 2 crew, 2 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
04APR48   Arrived Mascot from Rabaul, PNG. Capt Bamman, 3 crew, 10 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
03MAY48   Arrived Mascot from Singapore. Capt Richardson, 4 crew, 15 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
25MAY48   Arrived Mascot from Singapore. Capt Richardson, 4 crew, 15 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
27JUN48   Arrived Mascot from Singapore. Capt Richardson, 5 crew, 12 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
05JUL48   DCA memo to the effect that VH-BHE is operated by Silver City Airways (Australia) Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of The Zinc Corporation. (Source: 2)
08JUL48   Arrived Mascot from Lae, PNG. Capt Richardson, 3 crew, 2 pax. (Source: 2)
AUG48   Change of ownership to Silver City Airways (Australia) Pty. Ltd., Broken Hill, NSW. (Source: 2)
04OCT48   Arrived Mascot from Singapore. Capt Richardson, 5 crew, 17 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
19OCT48   Arrived Mascot from Singapore. Capt Richardson, 5 crew, 19 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
28OCT48   Arrived Mascot from Ambon. Capt Jacobsen, 5 crew, 18 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
14NOV48   Arrived Mascot from Singapore. Capt Robinson, 5 crew, 15 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
21NOV48   Arrived Mascot from Ambon. Capt Proctor, 5 crew, 21 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
26NOV48   Arrived Mascot from Ambon. Capt Richardson, 5 crew, 22 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
01DEC48   Arrived Mascot from Lae. 3 crew, 3 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
19DEC48   Arrived Mascot from Ambon. Capt Herbert, 5 crew, 14 pax, agent QEA. (Source: 2)
16OCT50   Taken over by Trans-Australia Airlines as a freighter under charter from the owners. 21 passenger seats, buffet and hat racks removed. Total Time: 1294.35 hrs. (Source: 2)
27DEC50   Charter to TAA terminated. (Source: 2)
27DEC50   Change of ownership to Bureau of Mineral Resources, Ministry of National Development, Melbourne, Vic. (Source: 2)
51 Aerial survey electronic engineer and geophysicist, John Newman converted the first Bureau of Mineral Resources magnetometer and installed it into their DC-3 VH-BUR and again in their second DC-3 VH-MIN. He built his own magnetometers and pioneered electronic printed circuit technology. (Source: 3)
11JAN51   TAA applied to DCA to change the registration to VH-BUR. Aircraft was operated and serviced by TAA for the new owners. (Source: 2)
    TAA provided flight crew, engineering and full airworthiness responsibility. (Source: 8)
25JAN51   Re-registered VH-BUR. The aircraft is not fitted with VHF radio and therefore cannot be operated as a passenger or freight aircraft in the Regular Public Transport Category. (Source: 2)
20JUL51   To 02APR52 East Gippsland (onshore) Vic (#101) 4,800 kms. (Source: 3)
06NOV51   To 23NOV51 Eyre Peninsula SA (#102) 6,080 kms. (Source: 3)
20FEB52   To 28FEB52 Yorke Peninsula SA (#106) 4,320 kms. (Source: 3)
26AUG52   To 02OCT52 Darwin- Katherine, Rum Jungle NT (#103) 8,640 kms (with Austers VH-RSF and VH GBC). (Source: 3)
03OCT52   To 07OCT52 Edith River NT (#104) 100 kms. (Source: 3)
27NOV52   To 15DEC52 Radium Hill SA (#105) 11,260 kms. (Source: 3)
15JAN53   To 24FEB53 Eyre Peninsula SA (#109) 9,840 kms. (Source: 3)
01JUN53   To 25OCT53 Darwin- Katherine NT (#108) 5,070 kms. (Source: 3)
20JAN54   To 03MAR54 Broken Hill NSW (#111) 6,880 kms. (Source: 3)
16MAY54   To 23MAY54 Eucla Basin SA/WA (#114) 8,090 kms. (Source: 3)
28JUN54   To 03SEP54 Halls Creek- Wyndham Region WA/NT (#116) 7,600 kms. (Source: 3)
13JUL54   To 01SEP54 Canning Basin WA (#112) 500 kms. (Source: 3)
04SEP54   To 01NOV54 Darwin-Katherine, Anson Bay NT (#113) 20,290 kms. (Source: 3)
08NOV54   To 18NOV54 Georgetown Area Qld (#115) 6,960 kms. (Source: 3)
01APR55   To 31JUL55 Muldiva Crk- Moyle River NT (#127) 5,200 kms. (Source: 3)
27APR55   To 03AUG55 Mundogie Hill NT (#128) 5,280 kms. (Source: 3)
05OCT55   To 05OCT55 [? error] Hampshire-Blythe River Tas (#145) 8,000 kms. (Source: 3)
11OCT55   To 10DEC55 Eyre Peninsula SA (#123) 9,820 kms. (Source: 3)
55   (1955? No date) Gregory Range (Rugged Hills)- Woody Woody Crk Area WA (#124) 125 kms. (Source: 3)
26MAR56   To 02JUN56 East Gippsland (offshore) Vic (#152) 17,910 kms. (Source: 3)
04MAY56   To 07JUN56 Nelson River - Rocky River Tas (#156) 500 kms. (Source: 3)
01JUN56   To 29NOV56 Tennant Ck NT (#162) 22,150 kms. (Source: 3)
13JUL56   To 19OCT56 Davenport Range NT (#150) 2,480 kms (with Auster VH-GVC). (Source: 3)
01JAN57   To 01JUN57 Woomera Rocket Range SA (#181) 3,500 kms. (Source: 3)
25FEB57   To 20MAR57 Eastern Highlands Vic/NSW (#169) 3,440 kms. (Source: 3)
16APR57   To 31JUL57 Kalgoorlie region (Barlee, Jackson, Kalgoorlie) WA (#172) 37,280 kms. (Source: 3)
23AUG57   The BMR requested TAA to install "a towed scintillometer bird, winch and accessory unit." (Source: 7)
20SEP57   To 15NOV59 [sic] Broken Hill NSW (#182) 12,600 kms. (Source: 3)
22NOV57   To 16DEC57 Cobar NSW (#166) 10,900 kms. (Source: 3)
01APR58   To 30MAY58 Captains Flat NSW (#185) 63 kms. (Source: 3)
08APR58   To 11APR58 Canberra ACT/NSW (#184) 1,710 kms. (Source: 3)
03MAY58   To 14JUN58 Kurnalpi, Widgiemooltha WA (#190) 20,700 kms. (Source: 3)
21JUN58   To 16JUL58 Tallaringa-Coober Pedy SA (#196) 10,320 kms. (Source: 3)
22JUL58   To 13AUG58 Mount Hardy region NT (#191) 10,640 kms. (Source: 3)
08OCT58   To 02DEC58 Nymagee- Cargelligo (Euabolong) NSW (#194) 23,100 kms. (Source: 3)
29APR60   Change of ownership to Airlines of New South Wales, Sydney. Operated for NSW Department of Lands. Painted in Airlines of NSW colours with titles Aerial Survey Unit. (Source: 2)
03MAY60   Registered to Airlines of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW. (Source: 4)
15JAN66   Withdrawn from use. (Source: 4)
19JUL69   The aircraft was ferried from Mascot to Tamworth for overhaul by East-West Airlines. (Source: 5)
24JUL69   Jetair advised the Department of Civil Aviation that they had purchased DC-3 VH-BUR. (Source: 5)
04NOV69   Restored to Jetair Australia, Sydney, NSW. (Source: 4)
Aircraft was purchased from Bandon Pty Ltd an associate of the Airfast Group. (Source: 5)
05JAN70   By this date VH-BUR had entered service with Jetair based at Essendon, Melbourne. The aircraft was named "Joseph Stewart" (one of Jetair's directors). (Source: 5)
JUL70   A DCA minute paper stated that VH-BUR was the only Jetair DC-3 based in Brisbane at that time. (Source: 5)
27NOV70   Without any public announcements, Jetair suspended all operations at 6.00pm. (Source: 5)
28NOV70   VH-BUR departed Essendon for storage at Mascot, Sydney along with most of the Jetair fleet. (Source: 5)
24JAN71   It was announced that the Australian Government would purchase the six Jetair DC-3s and that these along with five former RAAF DC-3s would be gifted to the Khmer Republic, Nepal and Laos as foreign aid. This controversial decision featured prominently in parliamentary debate and was widely reported in the national press. (Source: 5)
12MAR71   Registered to Department of Foreign Affairs, Canberra, ACT. (Source: 4)
JUN71   VH-BUR was ferried from Sydney to Archerfield, Brisbane for overhaul by Air Express. (Source: 5)
25JUL71   VH-BUR was photographed at Archerfield painted grey and white with "Australian Aid" above the cabin windows and the Australian flag on the fin.
14AUG71   Departed Brisbane (with VH-EQN) on delivery to Kathmandu crewed by Captain R.E. Overell and F/O K. Meggs. (Source: 6)
30AUG71   Removed from the Register as exported to Nepal as 9N-AAY. (Source: 4)
16OCT72   Jetair director Alexander Barton wrote to the Australian Government stating the purchase prices and overhaul costs of Jetair's six DC-3s. Perhaps not surprisingly given its time in open storage, VH-BUR had been the cheapest purchase at $24,000.00 but the most expensive to overhaul at $85,250.00. (Source: 5)


J.M.G. Gradidge, "The Douglas DC-3 and its Predecessors", Air-Britain 1984.
Geoff Goodall.
Doug Morrison. Compiler's Note: Mentions of VH-BUR in Bureau of Mineral Resources geophysical survey indexes. The dates show start and completion of surveys - and it is possible the aircraft was elsewhere during this time. Some surveys overlap. Some surveys were commenced in one season and finished the next. BMR project numbers (#) and reported approx kilometres flown are shown. Some errors exist in these indexes and information should be used as a guide only although the dates in some instances will be precise. No mention of survey bases/airports are shown in these indexes.
Tony Arbon, AustAirData.
Roger McDonald, "Jetair Australia Limited", Aviation Heritage Vol. 35 No. 1, AHSA, March 2004.
Gordon Reid, "Essendon Newsletter" 54/63 August/September 1971.
TAA Engineering Change Order A3-247 via Greg Thom.
Australian Airlines Engineering Department Engineering Report 147 Aircraft Owned / Operated / Maintained by TAA. Provided by Leigh Ryan.



Issue Date Remarks
5 31DEC22
Added a Slideshow
4 04APR18
Added 6 images of VH-BUR during its service with the BMR.
3 06FEB16
Added information from Source 8 reference at JAN51. Thanks to Leigh Ryan.
2 05OCT12
Added Source 7 reference at 23AUG57. Thanks to Greg Thom.
1 02FEB11
Original issue. Thanks to Geoff Goodall, Doug Morrison, Roger McDonald, Gordon Reid and Tony Arbon.