BEAGLE 206S-2 VH-UNL C/N B.047 Prod. No. C23

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QAM thanks Dr Russell Broadbent for this aircraft which was donated through the Australian Governments Cultural Gifts Program.

The Charleville based Western Air Navigation Limited (Westernair) issued shares to Airfast Services Pty Ltd (owned by the Airfast group) to raise money to purchase additional aircraft, a Cessna 310 and a Piper Aztec - making Airfast the largest shareholder in this small public company. (Source: 1)

Fitted with Rolls Royce Continental GTSIO-520C engines at the factory.
s/n 150522-6-C (port)
s/n 150524-6-C (stbd)
(Source: 9)

Registered G-ATZR. (Source: 2)

First flown. (Source: 9)

Stored at Castle Donington. (Source: 2)

Taken out of storage. (Source: 2)

Fuel pump on the port engine was changed by A. Letelric, a LAME with MacRobertson Miller Airlines at an unstated location. (Source: 9)
The fuel pump was changed by MMA at Perth, WA. (Source: 4)

While engaged on a demonstration flight to the Warburton Range Mission in Western Australia, G-ATZR answered an RFDS emergency call 100 miles north of Kalgoorlie. The aircraft was being flown by former Qantas 707 Captain Hoddy Howse. (Source: 4)

G-ATZR visited Western Junction, Launceston, Tasmania. (Source: 15)

G-ATZR arrived at Hobart from Western Junction. (Source: 15)

Noted as G-ATZR at West Beach, Adelaide, SA. (Source: 10)

Flown on this date as G-ATZR. (Source: 4)

Struck off the UK Register. (Source: 8)

Flown on this date as VH-UNL. (Source: 4)

A 100 hourly inspection was performed by Helicopter Utilities Pty. Ltd for initial issue of Australian CofA. TT: 241:28 (Source: 9)

Noted as VH-UNL at the Mangalore Air Show. (Source: 10)

Registered VH-UNL to Beagle Aircraft (Australasia), Mascot, NSW. (Source: 5)

Flew from Norfolk Island to Auckland for a sales tour of N.Z. (Source: 3)

Noted at Wellington. (Source: 3)

Flew from Wellington to Christchurch. (Source: 3)

Flew from Christchurch to Wellington. (Source: 3)

Flew from Auckland to Norfolk Island. (Source: 3)
Also on Norfolk Island this day was an HS748 carrying HRH The Duke of Edinburgh who seemed more interested in VH-UNL than he was in the welcoming ceremony which had been arranged in his honour. The Duke sat inside VH-UNL chatting to the crew for about ten minutes. (Source: 4)

Registered to Group Air, Berwick, Vic. (Source: 5)

(Same day!) Registered to Beagle Aircraft (Australasia), Mascot, NSW. (Source: 5)

Ferried from the Airfast hangar at Mascot (Sydney) to the Westernair hangar at Eagle Farm (Brisbane) by Jim Rhodin and John Darcy Williams (Source: 13)

Began operating Westernair services from Brisbane to Kingaroy, Wondai and Gayndah (Flight E.58/9) and to Theodore and Springsure (Flight E.502/3). Also used on charters. (Source: 13)

Operated a Westernair service from Brisbane to Theodore and Springsure and return flown by Col Newlove. (Source: 6 who was also a passenger)

Noted at Eagle Farm, Brisbane in Western Air markings with silver iodide burners under the wing tips for cloud-seeding operations. (Source: 6)

Airfast sold all their shares in Westernair to Air Sales and Parts Pty Ltd, owned by the founders of Jetair Australia Limited. This included the Beagle 206 VH-UNL along with other aircraft. The share transaction took place at a time when Westernair were expanding their commuter routes. The Beagle operated:

Mon. Wed. Fri. - Brisbane - Kingaroy - Wondai - Gayndah and return
Tue. Sat. - Brisbane - Theodore - Springsure and return
Thu. - Brisbane - Gayndah - Theodore - Springsure - Rockhampton

The company's Piper Aztec VH-WAB was used as a back-up aircraft as well as continuing previous charter activities. (Source: 1)

Operated Westernair's last passenger service before taking up cloud-seeding work. (Source: 13)

Log Book reopened at TT: 773:00 on sale to Western Air Navigation. (Air Sales & Parts Pty. Ltd. has been crossed out and Western Air Navigation substituted. (Source: 9)

Registered to Western Air Navigation Ltd, Hangar 3A, Brisbane Airport, Qld. (Source: 5)

Log Book entry by Air Express (Holdings) Ltd., Archerfield. Work included: "C.S.I.R.O. Cloud seeding equipment installed in accordance with Air Express Drawing AE 325" (Source: 9)

"This involved fitting a tank in the cabin to accommodate the silver iodide (AgI) seeding agent in acetone solution, and connecting it by copper tubing in the wings to burners under each wing tip. The operation was relatively simple involving an on/off switch at the tank and magnetos activated to ignite the solution in the burners. The result was a near-invisible flame that dispersed AgI nuclei into the atmosphere behind the aircraft." (Source: 11)

Cloud-seeding equipment was first tested at Eagle Farm. Later the same day the aircraft positioned to Rockhampton crewed by Arthur Tapp (CSIRO), Barry White (Qld. Dept of Primary Industries) and John Williams (Pilot). (Source:13)

The aircraft positioned to Rockhampton at the start of a three-month cloud-seeding contract to the Division of Development Planning and Soil Conservation of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries. The operation began at a time when conditions were unsuitable for seeding. "These far from optimal conditions were normal for that time of year, which is what the government had been advised when QDPI suggested a start later in the season." (Source: 11)

The aircraft returned to Brisbane for maintenance. (Source: 11)

The aircraft returned to Rockhampton to resume cloud-seeding. (Source: 11)

Operated its last cloud-seeding flight ex Rockhampton for this period. (Source: 13)

The aircraft returned to Brisbane. (Source: 11)

The aircraft departed Brisbane for seeding in the Toowoomba, Charleville and Roma areas. (Source: 11)

The aircraft returned to Brisbane for a 50 hourly inspection. (Source: 11)

Seeding resumed in the Longreach, Barcaldine, Millmerran, Warwick, Kingaroy, Moura and Theodore areas. (Source: 11)

The aircraft positioned to Longreach. (Source: 11)

Jetair commenced a daily Brisbane - Warwick - Stanthorpe service with their own Beech Queenair 65 VH-CMI and this aircraft, along with the Beagle and Aztec were the complete Westernair fleet based at Eagle Farm. (Source: 1)

The aircraft returned to Brisbane for a 100 hourly inspection. (Source: 11)

Seeding resumed in the Rockhampton and Longreach areas. (Source: 11)

The aircraft returned to Brisbane for maintenance. (Source: 11)

The aircraft positioned to Longreach. (Source: 11)

The aircraft was unserviceable (port propellor and artificial horizon) at Longreach awaiting spares. Maintenance was performed in the original QANTAS hangar. (Source: 11)

Seeding resumed between Emerald and Roma. (Source: 11)

Good seeding conditions were experienced in the Longreach, Muttaburra, Barcaldine and Winton areas. (Source: 11)

The aircraft returned to Brisbane at the conclusion of the cloud-seeding contract.

"Out of a total of 169 hours flying, 38 hours and 11 minutes were seeding. The most concentrated phase was in the last week at the start of the wet season. The operation stopped when there was the best chance of adding significantly to rainfall and boosting Queensland's water storages. Barry White prepared a feasibility study for a follow-on operation/experiment at a modest cost of $72,000, but the rains had returned and dissolved the last vestiges of political interest." (Source: 11)

The aircraft resumed Reg 203 (commuter) services ex Eagle Farm as a backup aircraft to Queenair VH-CMI. (Source: 13)

A concession of 10 hours granted on the maintenance release due to flight program and Aztec VH-WAB undergoing overhaul. (Source: 9)

TT: 1017:25 (Source: 9)

Noted at Eagle Farm, Brisbane in Western Air markings but without silver iodide burners. (Source: 6)

Aircraft had flown an additional 92 hours since 12JAN70. (Source: 9)

Jetair DC-3 VH-TAI was moved to Eagle Farm and took over all the former Westernair routes. (Source: 1)

A 100 hourly inspection was performed by Hawker de Havilland (presumably Bankstown) TT: 1109:25 (Source: 9)

Jetair applied to DCA to add Beech Twin Bonanza and Piper Aztec to its licence to replace the Beagle 206 which was sent to Bankstown for sale by Jetairsales Australia. (Source: 1)

VH-UNL was acquired by Air Sales & Parts Pty Ltd. (a Jetair associate company). (Source: 1)

Western Air Navigation Ltd. was purchased by Jetair Australia Ltd. (Source: 1)

Jetair ceased operations. (Source: 1)

Noted at Mascot stored with the Jetair fleet. (Source: 6)

Registered to Welch Bros. (Plant) Pty., Waverton, NSW. (Source: 5)
(Note: Company name is spelt Welch but pronounced Welsh which leads to frequent misspellings).

Received into workshop of Kingsford Smith Flying Service Pty. Ltd. at Bankstown. (Source: 9)

Test flown for 1 hour on a permit to fly after 100 hourly and major inspection by Kingsford Smith Flying Service Pty. Ltd. for Welch Bros (Plant) Pty. Ltd. TT: 1145:25 (Source: 9)

Test flown for 1 hour on a permit to fly after 100 hourly and major inspection by Kingsford Smith Flying Service Pty. Ltd. for Welch Bros (Plant) Pty. Ltd. TT: 1146:25 (Source: 9)

Maintenance Release issued by Kingsford Smith Flying Service Pty. Ltd. (Source: 9)

John D. Williams was engaged as pilot for Welch Bros. (Source: 13)

The aircraft returned to Bankstown with the port propellor feathered. The undercarriage failed to indicate down during the approach to runway 11C and the pilot elected to conduct a go-around. Adequate airspeed could not be maintained on this circuit and the aircraft was landed at an angle to runway 11C with the undercarriage retracted. The pilot (I. Hutchinson) received minor injuries but the 7 passengers were uninjured. (Source: 12)

The aircraft had flown 96:45 since 10MAR71. TT: 1243:00 (Source: 9)

By this time John Williams had 238 hours total on VH-UNL. (Source: 13)

Two new props fitted by Hawker de Havilland, Bankstown. (Source: 9)

Test flight 0:30 after repairs. (Source: 9)

Test flight 2:00 after repairs. (Source: 9)

Photographed taxying at Bankstown. (Source: 6)

Departed Mascot for Charleville and Mount Isa on the first leg of a trip to Japan with several members of the Welch family. "With 7 POB plus baggage and the life raft, the aircraft was at max weight (7499 lbs) on every take-off. Single engine performance at gross weight was worse than the book figures but thankfully she never missed a beat. When I was complaining about how the Beagle full of Welches needed the curvature of the Earth to get off, Leigh Welch said; 'We like our Winston Spencer Beagle, thank you pilot'." (Source: 13)

Mount Isa - Katherine - Darwin. (Source: 13)

Darwin - Baucau (East Timor). (Source: 13)

Baucau - Ambon - Menado (Celebes). Blew a starter motor on the right hand engine at Menado. (Source: 13)

Menado - Davao - Manila. The right hand engine was started by swinging the prop! (Source: 13)

Manila - Laoag - Taipei. A Qantas engineer at Manila took the unserviceable starter motor to a local auto electrician who had it repaired in a day. (Source: 13)

Taipei - Amami - Kagoshima. (Source: 13)

Kagoshima - Amami - Taipei. (Source: 13)

Taipei - Hong Kong. (Source: 13)

Hong Kong - Manila. (Source: 13)

Manila - Davao. (Source: 13)

Davao - Ambon - Darwin. (Source: 13)

Darwin - Tennant Creek - Ayer's Rock - Leigh Creek. (Source: 13)

Leigh Creek - Broken Hill - Cobar - Orange - Sydney. Total time for the trip: 68 hrs 25 mins. (Source: 13)

Sydney - Orange. This was John Williams' last flight for Welch Bros and his last flight in VH-UNL. (Source: 13)
Note: This flight does not appear in the aircraft log book (see below).

Flew for 3:10. First flight since 22MAR72 thence flown regularly until 24JUN72. (see above). (Source: 9)

A 100 hourly inspection was performed by Hazelton Air Services Pty. Ltd. TT:1344:30. Thence flown every month until DEC75. (Source: 9)

Test flown after 100 hourly and major inspection by Barrier Air Taxis. TT: 1546:27 (Source: 9)

A 100 hourly inspection was performed by Welch Bros. TT: 1646:30 (Source: 9)

Arrived Brisbane from Norfolk Island. (Source: 6)

A 100 hourly inspection was performed by Welch Bros. TT: 1751:14 (Source: 9)

Not flown. (Source: 9)

Not flown. (Source: 9)

Not flown. (Source: 9)

Flying resumed, thence flown every month until JUL76. (Source: 9)

A 100 hourly inspection was performed by Welch Bros. TT: 1854:21 (Source: 9)

A 100 hourly inspection was performed by Welch Bros. TT: 1954:21 (Source: 9)

Withdrawn from use. (Source: 5)

Registered to Welch Bros. (Plant) Pty., Waverton, NSW. (Source: 5)

A 100 hourly and major inspection performed by Barrier Air Taxis Service Pty. Ltd. TT: 1971:03 (Source: 9)

Damaged at Mascot, NSW. (Source: 5)

Right hand engine (s/n 150524-6-C) was removed. (Source: 9)

Right hand engine (s/n 150745-6-C) was fitted. (Source: 9)

Maintenance Release issued for a ferry flight from Mascot to Bankstown with the gear locked down. TT: 2014:04 (Source: 9)

Registered to Surfers Paradise Flying Services (Erik Nielson), Carrara, Qld. (Source: 5)
Maintenance Release issued for a ferry flight from Bankstown to Archerfield (2:30) TT: 2014:29 (Source: 9)

A major inspection was performed by Aircraft Engineers Associates Pty. Ltd. at Archerfield. The aircraft was repainted. TT: 2016:59 (Source: 9)

A periodic inspection was performed by Aircraft Engineers Associates Pty. Ltd. at Archerfield. TT: 2057:39 (Source: 9)

Withdrawn from use. (Source: 5)

A major inspection was performed by Aircraft Engineers Associates Pty. Ltd. at Archerfield. TT: 2070:30 (Source: 9)

Registered to Erik Nielson, Carrara, Qld. (Source: 5)

Withdrawn from use. (Source: 5)

Permit to Fly issued by Coffs Aero Maintenance for a ferry flight from Surfers Paradise to Coffs Harbour. TT: 2070:30 (Source: 9)

A major inspection and CofA renewal was performed by Coffs Aero Maintenance. The aircraft was stripped and repainted. TT: 2072:00 (Source: 9)

Registered to Michael Broadbent, Beenleigh, Qld. (Source: 5)

Registered to Montchel Pty Ltd, Southport, Qld. (Source: 5)
Montchel traded as Surfers Paradise Flying Services and Surf Air. (Source: 9)

Test flown (radio) at Eagle Farm, Brisbane. (Source: 9)

Periodic inspection performed by Montchel Pty. Ltd. TT: 2149:25 (Source: 9)

Flew from Norfolk Island to Auckland. (Source: 3)

Flew from Auckland to Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island. (Source: 3)

Tom Claffey did an endorsement on VH-UNL at Coolangatta under training by Ted Shaw (former Chief Pilot with de Havilland Australia). Subsequently he made a few short flights between Coolangatta, Surfers Gardens and Lismore. (Source: 14)

Tom Claffey did a charter to Birdsville with a Japanese film crew. The charter terminated at Sydney KSA Airport. This trip highlighted some issues with a turbocharger and oil consumption so the aircraft was ferried to Lismore for maintenance. Tom Claffey joined Qantas in January 1988 and did not fly VH-UNL again. (Source: 14)

A periodic inspection was performed by Aircraft Engineers Associates Pty. Ltd. at Archerfield. TT: 2232:46 (Source: 9)

Major avionics work by Aerotronics at Archerfield. (Source: 9)

A 100 hourly inspection was performed by Aircraft Engineers Associates Pty. Ltd. at Archerfield. TT: 2330:00 (Source: 9)

Damaged at Coffs Harbour, NSW. (Source: 5)
Incident was a right hand wheel up landing. (Source: 9)

Ferry flight from Coffs Harbour to Lismore after repairs to right hand engine and prop and temporary airframe repairs. (Source: 9)

A 100 hourly inspection was performed in conjunction with airframe repairs by Aircraft Engineers Associates Pty. Ltd. at Lismore. The right hand engine was bulk stripped and an overhauled prop fitted. TT: 2362:04 (Source: 9)

Registered to Michael Broadbent, Southport, Qld. (Source: 5)

Withdrawn from use. (Source: 5)

Registration VH-UNL was allocated to a Piper PA-28-151 (c/n 28-7415422) owned by the Australian Air League. (Source: 7)

Registered VH-UNI to Michael Broadbent, Southport, Qld. (Source: 5)
While the aircraft was off the register, VH-UNL was reallocated to a PA-28-151 (see above).

The aircraft was repainted as VH-UNI in preparation for re-issue of CofA. TT: 2362:06 (Source: 9)

Aircraft inspected by Aircraft Engineers Associates Pty. Ltd. for issue of a ferry permit. TT: 2362:06 (Source: 9)

Special flight permit (pilot only, day VFR) issued for flight near Lismore and from Lismore to Archerfield avoiding built-up areas. (Source: 9)

Special flight permit (pilot only, day VFR) issued for flight near Lismore and from Lismore to Archerfield avoiding built-up areas. (Source: 9)

Aircraft Engineers Associates Pty. Ltd. at Archerfield carried out a detailed inspection for restoration to flying condition. During this work, the wing leading edges were taken off to permit the removal of "excess wiring from cloud seeding operations".

Main spar corrosion (lower LH spar cap) inspected at Archerfield by Aeronautical Design Service of Bundaberg. "The damage, even though it is on primary structure is not severe, is capable of being reworked so that the aircraft can be placed back into service."

Donated to QAM by Dr Russell Broadbent.

Final load arrived at QAM Caloundra. The aircraft had been dismantled at Archerfield during the previous week.

The wings were reattached and the aircraft was towed into Hangar 2.

The tail surfaces were reattached.

In a ceremony at the QAM, the aircraft was unveiled after having been repainted with its original Australian registration VH-UNL. The unveiling was performed by QAM Patron Mr. Allan Vial DFC, OAM, OPR (Pol). who was Sales Director of Airfast Pty Ltd when that company imported VH-UNL forty-two years ago.

Compiled by Ron Cuskelly
To view this page as it was designed please click HERE

Sources

1

Roger McDonald (specialist on Australian third level airlines)

2

Midland Counties Aviation Research Group 1974, Beagle Aircraft a Production History, Midland Counties Publications, England.

3

Ron Killick (specialiast on Trans-Tasman aircraft movements)

4

Allan Vial, DFC, OAM, OPR [Pol], Marketing Manager for HUPL (Airfast) who were Beagle agents at the time. Allan Vial is Patron of QAM.

5

Tony Arbon (AustAirData)

6

Ron Cuskelly

7

CASA

8

Appleton , John 1986, The Civil Aircraft Registers of Great Britain 1919-1985, The Aviation Hobby Shop, West Drayton.

9

Aircraft Log Book (1 of 1) and Radio Log Book.

10

Nigel Daw, West Beach Aviation Group.

11

Tony Wills, a Cloud Seeding Officer on VH-UNL during 1969.

12

CASA

13

John Darcy Williams who flew VH-UNL with Westernair and Welch Bros.

14

Log Book of Tom Claffey

15

Australian Air Log Vol 3 No 11 November 1967 p. 131

Remarks

Added movements in Tasmania in NOV67. (Source: 15)

Issue: 20

DATE: 7 APR 14

Added a flight Norfolk Island-Brisbane on 05MAR75 (Source: 6)

Issue: 19

DATE: 05 FEB 13

Added an image of VH-UNL in the yellow livery.

Issue: 18

DATE: 01 AUG 12

Added details of several flights in late 1987. Thanks to Tom Claffey (Source: 14)

Issue: 17

DATE: 22 FEB 12

Added the Westernair timetable dated 1 June 1969 and also added the Westernair logo.

Issue: 16

DATE: 07 JAN 10

Added significantly to the history thanks to John D. Williams who flew the aircraft with Westernair and Welch Bros. (Source: 13)

Issue: 15

DATE: 10 DEC 09

The aircraft is now displayed with its original Australian registration VH-UNL. Added three images of the unveiling ceremony.

Issue: 14

DATE: 21 APR 08

Added an image of VH-UNL in the tan and orange colour scheme. Thanks to David

Issue: 13

DATE: 10 APR 08

Added an image of G-ATZR prior to delivery ex the Beagle factory. The photo comes from The Masefield Collection at Brooklands Museum.

Issue: 12

DATE: 05 MAR 08

Added four new images of the aeroplane’s Regal and Vice-Regal connections thanks to Allan Vial. Also added four new images, including one of the aircraft as G-ATZR, thanks to Tony Clarke.

Issue: 11

DATE: 24 FEB 08

Added references to Surfers Paradise Flying Services and Surf Air.

Issue: 10

DATE: 22 FEB 08

Added details of belly landing at Bankstown on 24OCT71.

Issue: 09

DATE: 17 FEB 08

Added significantly to the history of the cloud-seeding operation thanks to Tony Wills who was a Cloud Seeding Officer on the aircraft. These new entries are appended “Source: 11”

Issue: 08

DATE: 02 FEB 08

Added significantly to the history after access to the aircraft log books. These new entries are appended “Source: 9”

Issue: 07

DATE: 27 JAN 08

Added date of reassembly at Caloundra and reference to an emergency flight on 05NOV67.

Issue: 06

DATE: 14 JAN 08

Added date of arrival at Caloundra.

Issue: 05

DATE: 06 JAN 08

Added date of donation to QAM.

Issue: 04

DATE: 29 DEC 07

Major update with input from Tony Arbon (AustAirData), Allan Vial and Roger McDonald.

Issue: 03

DATE: 29 NOV 07

Added details of the 1968 sales tour of N.Z. thanks to Ron Killick.

Issue: 02

DATE: 23 NOV 07

Original issue.

Issue: 01

DATE: 13 NOV 07

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