DE HAVILLAND DROVER MK III VH-FDR “John Flynn” C/N 5006

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

Built by De Havilland Aircraft at Bankstown, NSW.

First flown at Bankstown as a Mk 1 with Gipsy Major Mk 10 engines.

Delivered to TAA at Bankstown.

Certificate of Airworthiness issued.

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).

Delivered to TAA Sydney.

Ferried Sydney/Coffs Harbour/Brisbane by Capt. W.D. Young.

Publicity flying at Brisbane Airport. Named John Flynn in honour of the founder of the Flying Doctor Service. Picture

Ferried to Charleville by Capt. Young. Based at Charleville for TAA services and Flying Doctor contract services.

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.

Modified to Mk 2 with double-slotted flaps by DHA at Bankstown.

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.

Sold to RFDS (Queensland Section) but continued to be operated and maintained by TAA.

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.

Re-registered VH-FDR.

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.

Struck off register at owner's request.

Noted stored dismantled in the back of the RFDS hangar at Charleville. No engines, full RFDS colours and still named John Flynn.

Sold to Tangalooma Air Taxis as spares for Drover VH-AZS.

Trucked to Brisbane.

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.

Stripped airframe acquired by Ross Stephens and used as a child's playhouse at his Aspley home.

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.

Moved from Ross Stephens' Aspley residence to QAM storage area at Brisbane Airport.

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.

Transported to Caloundra.

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
To view this page as it was designed please click HERE

Compiled By Ron Cuskelly

Remarks

Added an image of VH-DRB at Eagle Farm during its delivery flight. Thanks to Ben Dannecker.

Issue: 6

DATE: 03 NOV 19

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.

Issue: 5

DATE: 24 FEB 17

Added an air-to-air image of the aircraft as VH-DRB.

Issue: 4

DATE: 20 MAR 12

Added a new image with the centre cowling repainted.

Issue: 3

DATE: 21 DEC 09

Added a recent image.

Issue: 2

DATE: 22 NOV 09

Original issue

Issue: 1

DATE: 02 JAN 02

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