PIAGGIO P.166 VH-BHK
MSN 370

 

 

The original
QAL Piaggio P.166B
VH-PQA

 

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

 


    MSN 370 was the 19th P.166 off the Piaggio production line at Finale Ligure.
AUG60
  The Australian agent for Piaggio aircraft, The Bristol Aeroplane Company (Australia) Pty Ltd, advised the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) that they would be importing a new Piaggio P.166 (msn 370) on behalf of The Zinc Corporation of Melbourne.
29AUG60
  Bristol advised DCA that the aircraft would be operated by Essendon-based Associated Airlines Pty Ltd which was jointly owned by Broken Hill Pty and The Zinc Corporation. The registration VH-BHK was requested.
06DEC60
  The Italian CofA was issued and the aircraft was registered to The Zinc Corporation Ltd., of Melbourne.VIC. as VH-BHK.
10DEC60
  The aircraft departed Piaggio's Villanova aerodrome flown by Associated Airlines Captain Alan Polkinghorne.
24DEC60
  Arrived at Essendon on delivery to Associated Airlines. The aircraft was painted in a pale blue and white colour scheme.
05JAN61
  Name of certificate holder changed to Associated Airlines, Essendon, VIC.
61
  CofA inspection at Bankstown by The Bristol Aeroplane Company.
JUL61
  Noted at Perth on its first visit to WA.
    The aircraft was a frequent visitor to the Aeropelican Airport at Belmont near Newcastle where BHP had a steel works. Regular maintenance was carried out by Associated Airlines at Essendon.
01OCT62
  Name of certificate holder changed to Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia Ltd., Melbourne, VIC. This change reflected the merger of The Zinc Corporation and Rio Tinto.
08JAN64
  Noted in the Associated Airlines hangar at Essendon where it was based.
03APR64
  Noted outside the Associated Airlines hangar at Essendon.
64
  Name of certificate holder changed to Commonwealth Aluminium Corp. (Comalco) of Cairns, QLD. The aircraft operated regular flights between Cairns and Weipa where the company was developing a bauxite mine.
08JUL64
  Noted at Mascot, Sydney.
25AUG64
  Arrived at Mascot, Sydney from Cairns.
27AUG64
  Departed Mascot, Sydney for Cairns.
DEC66
  Noted at Essendon parked on the grass.
20JAN67
  Noted at Eagle Farm, Brisbane.
23FEB67
  Noted at Bankstown undergoing maintenance by Hawker de Havilland. The titling "Comalco Aluminium" was added to the tip tanks.
68
  Noted at Cairns with tip tank titles shortened to "Comalco" and the light blue trim replaced in pink. This inevitably led to the aeroplane being known locally as the "Pink Pig". Regular maintenance was performed in Cairns by Bush Pilots Airways who also provided a back-up aircraft when required. The aircraft operated frequent flights to Weipa and at times the flights were daily.
08JAN71
  Noted at Cairns flying regularly during the following week.
03JAN73
  Noted at Cairns, parked outside with covers.
13MAY73
  Noted at Cairns in a hangar.
JAN76
  Noted in Sydney.
01OCT77
  Advertised for sale in The Courier-Mail, Brisbane. View the advertisement here
26OCT77
  Comalco's address changed to Brisbane.
15DEC77
  Check flight by Leslie Pitt Nind before aircraft was "sold to the wreckers". (Statement by Mr Nind who visited QAM in August 1992.)
21DEC77
  Sold to Ray Causer (General Aviation Air Freighters Pty Ltd., Mascot) and ferried from Cairns to Mascot the same day.
22DEC77
  Change of ownership to General Aviation Air Freighters Pty. Ltd., Mascot. Struck off register the same day as withdrawn from use.
26JAN78
  Noted at Mascot.
20MAR78
  A severe storm struck Bankstown causing the port undercarriage of VH-BHK to collapse. At this time the aircraft was complete. Picture
JAN79
  Noted at Bankstown in a row of nine retired Piaggios.
02JUL83
  Noted at Bankstown without engines.
AUG83
  Noted at Bankstown parked on the grass with Piaggios VH-FSC, GOE and SMF.
JAN84
  Sold to John Hill.
JUL88
  Sold to David Bussey and donated to QAM.
89
  Transported from John Hill's property at Bahrs Scrub Road, Bahrs Scrub to Caloundra.
91
 

Repainted in Queensland Airlines colours but still carries the registration VH-BHK. (Represents the sole QAL Piaggio P.166B VH-PQA which was burned on the fire dump at Tullamarine).

JAN92
Pegasus Aviation at Coolangatta donated two Lycoming engines in return for items removed from the hulk of QAM's Cessna 337 P2-ELO to be used in the restoration of Pegasus Aviation's own Cessna 337. (P2-ELO was returned to QAM in MAR92 and ultimately deaccessioned in MAY01).
30OCT19
The correct registration VH-BHK was applied to the aeroplane.
   

 

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Piaggio VH-PQA holds a place in history as having operated the first of Australia's new "supplemental services" when it entered service with QAL on 20JAN64. The QAL schedule was as follows:

Brisbane-Kingaroy-Wondai 

5 services weekly replacing 3 DC-3 services.

Brisbane-Moree-St George  giving an extra service per week.
Brisbane-Bundaberg  providing a daily midday service.
Brisbane-Rockhampton   

providing a twice weekly connection to North Qld.

[Reference: AHSA Journal Vol XV No 5 p.72]

VH-PQA was dismantled at Essendon between 5-9 December 1977 and trucked to the fire dump at Tullamarine on 9 December 1977. (Source: personal observation by Greg Thom)

 


 

Compiled by Ron Cuskelly

 

To view this page as it was designed please click HERE

 



 


ISSUE
DATE
REMARKS
8
31OCT19
Added an image after application of the correct registration VH-BHK. Thanks to Angelo Calleja.
7
21DEC17
Added a reference to donated engines in JAN92.
6
25FEB17
Completely revised the history based on an article prepared for Aviation Heritage (AHSA Journal) thanks to Roger McDonald.
5
15JAN17
Added an image of the aircraft being dismantled at Bankstown.
Added an image of QAM taking delivery of the aircraft.
4
05OCT12
Added the date that VH-PQA was transported to the Tullamarine fire dump.
3
04MAR09
Added a newspaper cutting advertising the aircraft for sale. See 01OCT77.
2
01MAR02
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