DE HAVILLAND DROVER MK 3 VH-FDR John Flynn
MSN 5006

 

 

QAM thanks David Bussey for facilitating the acquisition of this aircraft.

 


    Built by De Havilland Aircraft at Bankstown, NSW.
04JUN51
  First flown at Bankstown as a Mk 1 with Gipsy Major Mk 10 engines.
06JUN51
  Delivered to TAA at Bankstown.
20JUN51
  Certificate of Airworthiness issued.
VH-DRB
   
25JUN51
  Registered to Trans-Australia Airlines, Brisbane as VH-DRB. The aircraft was painted in TAA livery and used to operate TAA's western Queensland services replacing a DH.84 Dragon. It was also operated as required on behalf of the Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Queensland Section).
26JUN51
  Delivered to TAA Sydney.
26JUN51
  Ferried Sydney/Coffs Harbour/Brisbane by Capt. W.D. Young.
27JUN51
  Publicity flying at Brisbane Airport. Named John Flynn in honour of the founder of the Flying Doctor Service.
28JUN51
  Ferried to Charleville by Capt. Young. Based at Charleville for TAA services and Flying Doctor contract services.
52
  Modified to Mk 1F with Fairey-Reed fixed pitch propellers. This modification resulted from a series of accidents which were caused by the failure of the earlier DH variable pitch propellers.
53
  Modified to Mk 2 with double-slotted flaps by DHA at Bankstown.
55
  The organisation received Royal assent becoming the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. The same year, DC-3s replaced Drovers on TAA's Gulf Country Service and Channel Country Service making the Drovers available exclusively for RFDS operations. Around this time, VH-DRB was based in Charleville.
01JUL59
  Sold to RFDS (Queensland Section) but continued to be operated and maintained by TAA.
JAN61
  Modified to Mk 3 by DHA at Bankstown. This modification involved the fitment of Lycoming O-360-A1A engines with two-bladed Hartzell constant speed feathering propellers. The maximum all-up weight was also increased by 100 pounds to 6,600 pounds.
    Subsequent Drover modifications featuring an extended span tailplane with 14 degrees dihedral (Mk 3A) and further increased MAUW of 6,800 pounds (Mk 3B) were not incorporated in this airframe.
VH-FDR
   
01OCT62
  Re-registered VH-FDR.
05JAN66
  Damaged during take-off at Thargomindah when struck by a windstorm causing it to collide with rocks tearing off the undercarriage. Capt. Killen and two passengers were unhurt.
04AUG66
  Struck off register at owner's request.
15MAY73
  Noted stored dismantled in the back of the RFDS hangar at Charleville. No engines, full RFDS colours and still named John Flynn.
75
  Sold to Tangalooma Air Taxis as spares for Drover VH-AZS.
76
  Trucked to Brisbane.
FEB76
  Traded-in with Drover VH-AZS to Forrestair Pty Ltd, Melbourne but VH-FDR was not collected.
    Along with Drover VH-AZS, the remains of VH-FDR passed through several owners including Laurie Cheras and Joe Drage.
DEC77
  Stripped airframe acquired by Ross Stephens and used as a child's playhouse at his Aspley home.
23DEC79
  Acquired by QAM in exchange for a play aeroplane constructed by David Bussey. By this time all that remained was the fuselage and two wings one of which had been run over by a vehicle prior to collection by QAM.
13SEP80
  Moved from Ross Stephens' Aspley residence to QAM storage area at Brisbane Airport.
18JAN85
  The northern suburbs of Brisbane were struck by a severe hailstorm with high winds. QAM aircraft escaped significant damage although one of the Drover wings was picked up by the winds and carried an estimated 100 metres being severely damaged in the process. Fortunately this was the wing which had been run over by a vehicle.
23FEB86
  Transported to Caloundra.
SEP86
  Markings on fuselage repainted by Wal Waterton.
    Several components from VH-FDR, including the fin and rudder, were subsequently acquired after the closure of the Drage Air World collection.

 

Compiled by Ron Cuskelly

 



 


ISSUE
DATE
REMARKS
5
24FEB17
History completely updated from the newly published Air-Britan book DE HAVILLAND DROVER by Geoff Goodall. QAM thanks the author for permission to quote from this source.
4
20MAR12
Added an air-to-air image of the aircraft as VH-DRB.
3
21DEC09
Added a new image with the centre cowling repainted.
2
22NOV09
Added a recent image.
1
02JAN02
Original issue