CESSNA 336 SKYMASTER VH-CMY C/N 336-0005

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Registered as N1705Z.

Arrived in Darwin on its delivery flight. (Source: AHSA Journal, June 1963)

The aircraft was demonstrated at Adelaide Airport and made several flights to Parafield. (Source: South Australian Air Journal)

Arrived at Bankstown as N1705Z. (Source: AHSA Journal, June 1963)

Registered to Rex Aviation Pty Ltd, Bankstown as VH-RLW.

"Transporting drums of fuel in Cessna 185s was no longer practicable. In mid-1963, Dave Robertson (Aerial Tours) had arranged for a demonstration tour of the first Cessna 336 push-pull twin to come to PNG. The aeroplane attracted a lot of interest, and Dennis Buchanan (Territory Airlines) was quick to recognise its potential. He placed an order for three 336s, the first to be delivered in early 1964. Bryan McCook (Chief Pilot, Territory Airlines) recalls:

We were the first to order the 336, followed by Ansett. We hired the demonstrator from Rex Aviation until the first of ours arrived. I was not overjoyed with the 336, as I had some doubts about its take-off ability at places like Wonenara. I had taken the demonstrator aircraft, VH-RLW, in there a few times, but its take-off performance left a lot to be desired. The engines, though apparently turning out full power for the elevation, just didn't seem to be right. They were fuel-injected, and the first of their kind in New Guinea. I was relieved when after several complaints from me, Dennis and Gerry Boag, our Goroka manager, packed the machine back to Sydney, post-haste, with the reminder that as its performance wasn't up to specs, the hire fees on it would probably not be paid, and the order for further 336s possibly cancelled. Well, Rex quickly got on to inspecting it, and found the cause of the trouble to be in the injectors - wrong size or adjustment. All instrument indications were as if maximum power was being developed, which was not the case, and we had in fact been flying that machine on about 70 per cent power for take-off. I picked up our first 336, VH-GKY, in April, 1964, and flew it to Goroka with Dennis as passenger. It was quite a different aeroplane to old RLW, and would obviously meet our requirements well."

(Source: James Sinclair, Balus Vol. II pp. 83-84)

"Says Dave Robertson (Aerial Tours):
Then I introduced the Cessna 336 push-pull. I found them very good. There was a lot of prejudice against them, but they were a good aeroplane for the types of strips we had, particularly short strips. Had no assymetrics, a pretty good ground performance, sort of super single engined 'plane. No engineering or operational problems, in my own experience.
The Cessna 336 was an oddity amongst light twin-engined aircraft, and few New Guinea pilots liked it. A twin-engined, high-winged monoplane, the 336 was designed to overcome the principal problem that private pilots of limited experience faced with twins of conventional design - thrust asymmetry in the event of engine failure. The 336 was not commercially successful, and was soon replaced with the 337, which had retractable gear and a better performance. This proved more acceptable, but the aeroplane was never popular in PNG. The odd configuration did not appeal to passengers, and it was certainly a noisy beast in which to fly."
(Source: James Sinclair, Balus Vol. II pp. 55-56)

"Dave Robertson's C336 was VH-RYX. He soon found that the fuselage configuration made the loading of long items of freight difficult. It will be remembered that Dave Robertson was one of the rare breed of engineer-pilots, and he also held the Cessna franchise for Papua. He began to ponder on ways of overcoming the problem:
I went down to Rex at Bankstown with a bright idea. I said to the chief engineer, 'What if we reconstruct the rear of the fuselage, so that we can swing it aside, open up the complete back of the aircraft?' They thought it a terrific idea. Could it be done, was the next thing. Hadn't been done anywhere else. So we got a design engineer, and he designed it. The rear of the fuselage, with engine, just swung aside. Where we made the mistake was, we put the modification in a 336. The 337 had just come out, with more performance and retractable gear. That would have been the 'plane to convert. The one we converted was sold to Ansett.
The converted 336 was VH-CMY. It was registered by ANSETT-MAL in June, 1965, and was based in the Sepik District. The conversion had cost 2,500, bringing the total cost of the aeroplane to 23,500. The swinging rear was secured by a manually-operated hydraulic lock, and the modification reduced the normal payload by only 18 kilograms. CMY was able to take five passengers, plus pilot, and swallowed 408.2 kilograms of long, awkward freight with ease. All things considered, it is surprising that this was the only 336 or 337 to be so modified."
(Source: James Sinclair, Balus Vol. II pp. 55-56)

The modification took four months with the design and installation performed by Aerostructures Ltd. at Bankstown. Mike Burns, owner of Aerostructures, tells the story.
"It all started one day when Dave Irons from Rex Aviation came to the Aerostructures workshop explaining that Ansett wanted to buy some Cessna 336 aircraft for their New Guinea operations, BUT the aircraft had to be able to carry 8 foot lengths of building materials.
"Dave wanted the sale and asked me to look into a possible modification to get the building materials into the cabin. The only solution possible was to swing open the rear engine, load in the materials, then shut the door. It looked OK on paper and Ansett agreed to one being modified. The modification depended on the rear firewall being re-built into a very stiff door, to which the engine mount bolted. The 'door' had to be fireproof as well. The final firewall design consisted of a stainless steel sheet on the engine side, 25 mm of fire resistant honeycomb and 2024-T3 duralumin sheet on the cabin side. The whole thing needing to be glued together with a fire resistant glue. We found a company in North Sydney who could do the fabrication using an autoclave that could both pressurize and heat cure the glue.
"Where do we get a suitable glue? Numerous phone calls and telegrams to the USA and we found a glue manufacturer who had just the right product. There was one hitch which looked insurmountable. They had to mix the glue themselves, giving us a maximum of 60 hours of pot life. We talked to QANTAS and determined that with timing and luck we might be able to get the mixed glue from the US and apply it inside the 60 hours. The US manufacturer worked with QANTAS such that they were able to get a mixed batch onto a Boeing 707 at San Francisco airport, just before takeoff, in fact the 707 waited for the glue to arrive. QANTAS kept us up to date on the 707s progress, finally giving us a landing time at Mascot. With clearance we were able to access the tarmac and take delivery of the parcel, getting it across to North Sydney where the guys with the autoclave were all set up and waiting.
"The finished firewall was unbelievably stiff and not very heavy, allowing completion of the modification. After functional checks and several test flights the 336 was delivered to Ansett. It flew out to New Guinea and we never heard from Ansett at all about how it performed. The project was done under very demanding time restraints which meant some of the installation details were not as we would have liked. To maintain a decent payload, all of the internal lining and sound proofing was removed. In flight it was absolutely deafening. We wondered how long Ansett would put up with that. The installation included mechanical and electric interlocking such that if the door was not shut and locked, the engines could not be started. Swinging the engine to the left also ensured the door was self locking when it was running, using the generated torque and thrust loads.
"Sadly, the drawings and photographs of the modification were later lost in a fire."
(Source: Correspondence with Mike Burns, May 2020)

Photographed at Bankstown painted in ANSETT-M.A.L. livery as VH-CMY with modifications seemingly complete.

Registered to ANSETT-M.A.L. as VH-RLW.

Registered (same day) to ANSETT-M.A.L. as VH-CMY.

Photographed at Bankstown painted in ANSETT-M.A.L. livery as VH-CMY with modifications seemingly complete.

Photographed at Bankstown painted in ANSETT-M.A.L. livery as VH-CMY with modifications seemingly complete.

Arrived at Lae, PNG via Daru and Goroka. Flying time: 13 hours 43 minutes. (Source: New Guinea Times Courier 22JUL65)

Sold to Territory Airlines for $6,500 after the closure of ANSETT-MAL Light Aircraft Division.
(Source: James Sinclair, Balus Vol. II p. 102)

Registered to Territory Airlines Ltd.

Flown for the first time by Ain Kiiver who many years later became a member of QAM. Ain was then with Territory Airlines based in Mendi in the Southern Highlands. On this day he flew seven sectors in the aircraft and many more thereafter. (Source: Log book of Ain Kiiver)

Flown from Goroka to Omkalai and return by Ain Kiiver. This was his last flight in the aircraft. (Source: Log book of Ain Kiiver)

Sold to Sacred Heart Missionaries, Kavieng, PNG.

Struck off the Australian Register.

Registered P2-CMY.

Struck off the PNG Register.

Registered VH-CMY to RC & CJ Lanham, Tugun, QLD.

Registered to TC Air of Annandale, NSW.

Struck off Register.

"Gold Coast Airport Ltd has advised that it intends to sell an abandoned Cessna 336, former registration VH-CMY, if the plane's owner does not come forward by June 20. An airport spokesman said yesterday the plane had been on the tarmac for at least five years and racked up about $25,000 in unpaid fees and charges. But all efforts to contact the owner had failed, she said."
(Source: Courier-Mail, Brisbane 19MAY03)

Aircraft offered for silent auction sale by the Gold Coast Airport.

Aircraft inspected by QAM at Coolangatta.

Nominal bid submitted by QAM.

Tenders closed. QAM were subsequently advised that its tender was unsuccessful.

Moved to the Fire Service training area at Gold Coast Airport.

QAM again expressed interest in acquiring the aircraft.

Inspected by QAM and Coolangatta Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) agreed in principle to exchange the aircraft for something similar.

Coolangatta AARF officially agreed to exchange VH-CMY for the airframe of Cessna 402 VH-RJH.

The aircraft was dismantled at Coolangatta in preparation for transportation to QAM at Caloundra.

The aircraft departed Coolangatta by road for Caloundra.

The rear engine was swung open for the first time in many years. This feature will be preserved in the restored aircraft.

Static restoration completed.

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

Compiled By Ron Cuskelly

Remarks

Added details of the design and manufacture of the swing engine thanks to Mike Burns.

Issue: 10

DATE: 12 MAY 20

Added two images of the newly restored aircraft.

Issue: 09

DATE: 22 JUL 12

Added a photo of the aircraft arriving at Bankstown on its delivery flight. Also added details of the delivery flight all thanks to Roger McDonald.

Issue: 08

DATE: 01 FEB 11

Added a newspaper cutting with a photo showing the rear engine swung aside. Also added details of the delivery flight to PNG on 16JUL65.

Issue: 07

DATE: 07 JAN 11

Added two images of the rear engine swung aside during restoration work. Also recorded that the aircraft was flown in PNG by QAM member Ain Kiiver.

Issue: 06

DATE: 16 AUG 10

Added a pre-delivery colour image of the aircraft in ANSETT-MAL colours and an image of the aircraft in Paradise Airways colours. Thanks to Dave Eyre.

Issue: 05

DATE: 12 FEB 10

Added an image of the Cessna 402 airframe which was exchanged for VH-CMY.

Issue: 04

DATE: 07 JAN 10

Added an image of the aircraft in Territory Airlines colours thanks to Dennis Gray.

Issue: 03

DATE: 31 DEC 09

Aircraft was moved to QAM Caloundra.

Issue: 02

DATE: 30 DEC 09

Original issue. Unless shown otherwise, this chronology was sourced from Ansett historian Fred Niven.

Issue: 01

DATE: 17 JUN 09

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