VH-BAF. Avro 652M Anson. c/n MH120.

Was also registered as: MH120; ZK-RRA.


This aircraft was built to an Air Ministry Contract covering the construction of 800 Avro Anson Mk. 1 aircraft

Construction was ompleted at the A. V. Roe and Co Ltd plant at Yeadon, Leeds - 1943

Powered by Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah 15 engines

It was allocated the R.A.F serial number MH120

Issued to the Royal Australian Air Force under the Empire Air Training Scheme and shipped to Australia

Taken on-charge by the R.A.A.F. as MH120 at No. 2 Aircraft Park, Bankstown - March 20, 1944

Allocated to 1 Air Observers School, Evens Head, N.S.W. ex 2AP - April 20, 1944

Issued to Advanced Flying and Refresher Unit, Deniliquin, N.S.W. ex 1AOS - February 12, 1945

Aircraft was then fitted with Marconi W/T and astrodomes

Transferred to AFRU Storage Reserve - October 03, 1945

Selected for post-war use and stored as 'Category C' at Care & Maintenance Unit, Deniliquin - April 10, 1946

Received 1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton pending further instructions - December 12, 1947

Received Department of Aircraft Production, Parafield - February 25, 1948

Received Airflite Pty Ltd, Sydney (Bankstown) for complete overhaul - October 29, 1948

Received 2 Aircraft Depot, Sydney (Richmond) for the fitment of navigation equipment - October 25, 1949

Received 3 Aircraft Depot, Brisbane (Amberley) - November 14, 1949

Received RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria - April 18, 1950

It was allocated to the chool of Air Navigation, East Sale, Victoria - May 19, 1950

Transferred to RAAF Station Flight, East Sale, Victoria - August 25, 1950

Allocated for storage at Tocumwal, N.S.W. and downgraded from Category B to Category C - February 22, 1951

Received 1 Aircraft Depot Detachment B, Tocumwal, N.S.W. for Category C storage - March 13, 1951

The aircraft was downgraded to Category D for continued storage at Tocumwal - January 09, 1952

It was held stored and under cover at Tocumwal as a Category D airframe - July 01, 1952

The aircraft was declared surplus to requirements and offered for disposal - September 15, 1952

Sold to A. M. Greenfield t/a Greenfield's Air Taxis, Albury, N.S.W. for 100 Pounds - February 23, 1953

Ferried Tocumwal - Albury - ?

This aircraft was acquired to provide parts for the rebuild of Greenfield's Anson VH-BLP at Albury

That aircraft had been grounded due to the deterioration of the wooden main wing spar - October 14, 1952

The registration 'VH-BLP' had been reserved for MH120 by John McInnerney - August 1953

Greenfield's Air Taxis ceased operations - 1955

Work to convert MH120 to civil standards did not proceed and it was parked next to the Anson 'VH-BLP'

Sold to Brain and Brown Airfreighters, Melbourne - ?

It was observed at Melbourne (Moorabbin) in the RAAF markings in a weathered condition - May 25, 1957

Entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-BAF - September 09, 1957

Registered to Aerocartographic Services Pty Ltd, Morrabbin Airport, Melbourne

It is unknown if this aircraft was ever used for aerial survey work

However the aircraft was utilised as a freighter between Tasmania, Bass Strait Islands and Melbourne

It was badly damaged whilst taking-off from Melbourne (Moorabbin) en route to King Island - October 07, 1960

An incorrectly installed tyre inner tube burst during the take-off run inducing a ground loop

The starboard undercarriage collapsed causing extensive damage to the wooden wing

Pilot J. Mansbridge and his co-pilot were not injured

Cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register - October 07, 1960

The aircraft was dismantled and stored in the Brain & Brown hangar at Melbourne (Moorabbin)

Repairs to the aircraft were considered to be uneconomical at the time given that the Department of Civil Aviation

intended to ground Anson Mk 1 operations in Australia due to the wooden wing problems effective - June 30, 1962

Brain & Brown sought DCA approval to rebuild the aircraft using Avro 19 metal mainplane and tailplane - 1961

Executive Air Services Pty Ltd, Essendon Airport commissioned to provide technical control for

the modifications to VH-BAF - August 16, 1961

The modifications involved the fitting of metal wings and tailplane, Avro 19 hydraulic system for both

undercarriage and controls, Armstrong Siddeley XV engines and an improved braking system

The fuselage and the new wing centre-section joined at the Brain & Brown hangar - February 1962

The metal tailplane and Cheetah XV engines installed - November 1962

Outer wing sections fitted - January 25, 1963

Other modifications that were incorporated during the rebuild included a hydraulic undercarriage activation system

to replace the original hand-cranked system, hydraulic flap activation, cockpit controls and instrumentation to

replicate Douglas DC-3 layout to assist pilot training for this type, Rotol constant speed propellors

Test flown at Melbourne (Moorabbin) - May 24, 1963

Entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-BAF - August 16, 1963

Registered to Brain & Brown Airfreighters Pty Ltd, Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne

The aircraft was named 'Mercury'

Departed Melbourne (Moorabbin) on a Tourist Safari (Captain Bill Brown) - August 29, 1966

Route: Melbourne - Broken Hill - Darwin - Carnarvon - Perth - Kalgoorlie - Melboune

Departed Melbourne (Moorabbin) on a Tourist Safari (Captain Bill Brown) - September 23, 1966

Route: Melbourne - Cairns - Horn Island - Brisbane - Sydney - Melbourne

Visited Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport for the official opening ceremony - September 30, 1970

It was reported that the aircraft deposited copious amounts of engine oil on the new concrete apron

Brain and Brown Airfreighters relocated operations to Melbourne (Essendon) Airport - March 1972

Withdrawn from use and stored at Melbourne (Essendon) Airport - 1974

Cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register - October 02, 1974

Overhaul commenced to return the aircraft to airworthy condition - 1979

Observed at Melbourne (Essendon) in new silver and blue livery with 'Terry And Ritchie Brain' titles - April 04, 1980

It was observed at Melbourne (Essendon) awaiting test flight following completion of overhaul - November 1982

Entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-BAF - January 13, 1984

Registered to Z. A. Brain, Melbourne, Victoria

Test flown Melboune (Essendon) - Melbourne (Essendon) - January 19, 1984

Pilots: Terry Brain and Russ Legg

Underwent a further two weeks of test flying with DCA Airworthiness Inspector Clive Phillips

Aircraft flown Melbourne (Essendon) - Ballarat, Victoria (T. Brain, R. Legg) - August 31, 1984

Aircraft was then loaned to the Eureka Aviation Museum, Ballarat for display in their hangar

Major overhaul was undertaken at Ballarat - February 1987

Ferried Ballarat - Melbourne (Essendon) - June 02, 1988

Ferried Melbourne (Essendon) - Wangaratta (T. Brain) - August 25, 1988

The aircraft was placed on a long-term loan with Air World, Wangaratta for display

Ferried Wangaratta - RAAF Base Point Cook - April 1990

The aircraft was used during the filming of TV show 'Half A World Away' to represent a Boeing 247D NR257Y

Returned to Wangaratta and displayed as 'NR257Y' - 1990 - 2002

Air World Wangaratta closed its doors to the public due to falling visitor numbers - January 2002

The aircraft was advertised for sale

Sold to William Reed, Wakefield, Nelson, New Zealand - April 2002

The aircraft had flown a total of 387 hours since conversion to an Anson 652M - 1963

Cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register - ?

Dismantling commence at Wangaratta for shipping to New Zealand - June 2002

A total of six shipping containers were used

Stored in a dismantled state in a hangar at Nelson Airport, New Zealand - 2002

Transported by road to Bill Reed's farm at Wakefield, New Zealand for restoration to airworthy condition - 2003

Restoration commenced to restore aircraft to full airworthy military configuration - 2003

Cabin windows were replaced with the original military 'glasshouse' configuration. a dorasl gun turret

installed, helmet engine cowlings and the original sloping cockpit windscreen

Aircraft was repainted to represent RAF Coastal Command aircraft K6183 'VX-B'

Moved by road to Nelson Airport for final assembly and test flying - May 2012

First post-restoration test flight (CAA Test Pilot David Phillips, W. Reed) - June 17, 2012

Entered onto the New Zealand Aircraft Register as ZK-RRA - July 2012

Registered to W. and R. Reed, Wakefield, New Zealand

Current flying in New Zealand



VH-BAF. Brain & Brown Airfreighters Pty Ltd - 'Mercury' in the standard livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, April 12, 1975.

(R. N. Smith Copyright Image 1040-382.)

VH-BAF. Brain & Brown Airfreighters Pty Ltd - 'Mercury' in the standard livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, May 13, 1976.

(R. N. Smith Copyright Image 1040-249.)

VH-BAF. Terry & Ritchie Brain - in the standard livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, November 1982.

(R. N. Smith Copyright Image 1040-250.)

VH-BAF. Air World - in the 'all-silver' livery with additional 'Warner Bros Comet' titles at Melbourne Essendon Airport, December 1990.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 1040-418.)