206S VH-UNL at Casey Field, Berwick in 1968.
Left to right:
Colonel Keith Hatfield, Groupair
Ruth Hodges, Victorian Secretary of the Australian Women Pilots' Association
Allan Vial, Helicopter Utilities/Airfast (Beagle agents for Australasia)
His Excellency Lord Casey, Governor General of Australia
Elva Raper (now Elva Rush) Victorian Treasurer of the AWPA
Elva Rush explains (April 2008):
"Ruth and I had been to Canberra for a few weeks being endorsed
on the Beagle (the best twin I ever flew) and given 30 hours instrument
training in Ansett's Link Trainer, which was to prepare for a publicity
trip we were making to bring a Beagle twin out from England *. (Flying
housewives, and all that stuff!) We got our endorsements and lots of
press at the time, and actually had our injections and our bags packed
ready to depart in 48 hours when disaster struck. A helicopter owned
by Helicopter Utilities had an accident whilst landing on an oil rig
in Bass Strait and killed three workers waiting to return to the mainland.
As a result, it was decided that the company wanted no more publicity,
and so after much discussion the trip was called off - we were deflated
but understood and unpacked our bags. The photo was taken before the
accident when we were given a posh lunch when we returned from Canberra
with our endorsements. Sad all round - but history now."
* Believed to be VH-KCA (B.075) registered to Groupair in January 1970.
Photo: Allan Vial
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