VH-MMF. Douglas C-47A-10-DK. c/n 12540.


Construction completed at the Douglas Oklahoma City plant - February 1944

Built as a Douglas C-47A-10-DK

Allocated the U. S. serial number 42-92709

Delivered to United States Army Air Force - February 19, 1944

Transferred to the R.A.A.F. under lend / lease agreement and arrived at Amberley, Qld - March 19, 1944

Allocated the R.A.A.F. serial number A65-41 - March 20, 1944

Operated using the radio call-sign 'VHCUK'

Allocated to No 36 Squadron, Parafield, S.A. - April 06, 1944

Due to extensive metal corrosion it was given a complete overhaul (2,464 hours) - September 1945

Overhaul was carried out by Australian National Airways

Allocated to 1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton - February 01, 1946

Allocated to No 37 Squadron, 86th Transport Wing, Schofields, N.S.W. - September 16, 1946

Allocated to the Care & Maintenance Depot, Tocumwal - February 04, 1948

Arrived Tocumwal for storage - April 14, 1948

Inspected by Qantas for possible purchase - December 23, 1948

D.C.A. approved the issue of an ex-RAAF C-47 to MMA for use in the Air Beef Scheme - January 21, 1949

MMA Engineer F. Colquhoun commenced servicing the aircraft - January 1949

Ferried Tocumwal - Perth - February 03 - 04, 1949

Flight crew: Captains C. Kleinig, A. Whitham; Engineer F. Colquhoun

Officially sold to MacRobertson Miller Aviation Company for $A12,500 - March 24, 1949

Aircraft was converted to 'customised' freighter standards in Perth

To maximise the payload all 'non-essentials' were removed from the aircraft including:

all de-icing panels, auto pilot, cockpit sound-proofing, auxiliary fuel tanks - main fuel tanks were cut in half

and rewelded, metal cargo floor replaced with lighter material, all screws and bolts checked for weight

Nett result was that this aircraft was one of the lightest DC-3 in the world at 6,852 kg empty weight

Freight capacity had increased from 4.080 kg to 4,540 kg

Entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-MMF - April 23, 1949

Registered to MacRobertson Miller Aviation Co Ltd

Based at Glenroy Station for operations on the Air Beef scheme flying Glenroy - Wyndham three times daily

Operated first service - May 13, 1949

Carried approximately 4,180 kg of chilled beef per flight to the Derby Meatworks for export

For more information about the Air Beef Scheme click 'HERE'

Replaced by A.N.A. Bristol 170 Freighter VH-INL on this service - May 1950

Returned to Perth and converted to passenger configuration seating 25 passengers

Registered to Commercial Aviation Company - October 01, 1955

Leased to MacRobertson Miller Airlines as registered operator

10,000 hour overhaul carried out at Perth over six weeks - October 1963

Used for high altitude photographic work by Kevron Photographics - 1964

Aircraft modified with paddle-blade props, superchargers and oxygen for flight crew

Registered to MacRoberston Miller Airlines Ltd - December 22, 1966

Withdrawn from service at Perth - January 1969

Registered to Ansett Transport Industries (Operations) Pty Ltd - September 29, 1969

Returned to service (freighter) and based at Port Headland for several weeks - December 02, 1969

Utilised on Perth - Kalgoorlie - Perth passenger services - January - March 1970

Sold to Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea - March 07, 1970

Aircraft had flown 47,344 hours

Departed Perth on the ferry flight to Papua New Guinea - March 7, 1970

Ferry route: Perth - Forrest - Adelaide - Broken Hill - Rockhampton - Cairns - Lae

Registered to Ansett Airlines (Papua New Guinea) Ltd, Boroko - March 09, 1970

Entered service in the standard MMA livery

Repainted into full Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea 'delta' livery at Madang - October 15, 1971

Leased to Air Tasmania initially for 8 weeks - July 06, 1973

Arrived Hobart at the conclusion of the ferry flight in the standard Ansett Airlines 'delta' livery - July 07, 1973

Entered service with Air Tasmania in the Ansett 'delta' livery with Air Tasmania titles - July 23, 1973

Operated in mixed cargo / passenger configuration

Aircraft was granted a liquor licence and classed as a public place - February 1974

Licensee was Air Tasmania's Chief Pilot Captain Terry Burns and aircraft configured with 32 seats

Sold to Air Tasmania - February 1974

Registered to Air Tasmania Ltd - February 12, 1974

Carried its 10,000th passenger - July 1974

Withdrawn from use when Air Tasmania ceased operations - 1977

Sold to H.C. Sleigh Ltd t/a Forrestair, Essendon - September 26, 1977

Cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register - September 27, 1977

Overhaulled and converted to freighter configuration at Melbourne (Essendon) Airport

Entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-MMF - November 18, 1977

Registered to H. C. Sleigh Pty Ltd

Entered service carrying freight between Melbourne (Essendon) and Tasmania

Named 'Spirit of Port Arthur' by the Tasmanian Premier at Hobart - December 05, 1977

Operated final freight service Melbourne (Essendon) - Launceston - Melbourne (Essendon) - October 30, 1978

Withdrawn from use and stored at Melbourne (Essendon) Airport having flown 54,255 hours

Cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register - November 14, 1978

Sold to Great Pacific Aeroplane Company, Melbourne - September 1979

Aircraft remained stored at Melbourne (Essendon) Airport

Sold to film producer John Lamond - February 1983

Aircraft was painted up in drab olive USAAF livery with false serial number '6903007' - May 1984

Trucked to Quarry Deer Park, Melbourne for use as a prop in movie 'Sky Pirates'

Trucked to Casey Airfield, Berwick, Victoria after filming - July 08, 1984

Trucked to Camden Airport, New South Wales for rebuild to airworthy condition

Sold to South Pacific Airmotive, Camden, N.S.W.

Trucked to Sydney (Bankstown) Airport and placed at the back of Winrye Aviation hangar - June 21, 2002

Winrye Aviation intended to restore aircraft to airworthy condition

Observed parked on its undercarriage at Sydney (Bankstown) Airport - January 20, 2006

Observed in poor condition at Adams Aviation hangar, Sydney (Bankstown) Airport - September 2007

Some work had been undertaken to bring the aircraft back to an airworthy condition

Advertised for unreserved sale by auction at Sydney (Bankstown) Airport - June 28, 2012

Auction to be conducted under the Warehousemen's Liens Act (NSW) 1935

Purchased by Ralph Gordon Chrystall, Mudgee, N.S.W. for $AUD 31,000 - June 28, 2012

Intended to be used as spares for another DC-3

Airframe to be removed from Bankstown Airport and transported to Mudgee - ?

Entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-XUX - July 28, 2015

Registered to Ralph Gordon Chrystall, Larras Lee, N.S.W.

Carried out first post restoration test flight from Sydney (Bankstown) Airport - November 25, 2015


VH-MMF. Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines - 'RMA Fortescue' in the standard livery at Perth Airport, December 1968.

(G. Bennett Collection Copyright Image 0250-959.)

VH-MMF. Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines - 'RMA Fortescue' in the standard livery at Perth Airport, December 1968.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 0250-647.)

VH-MMF. Mac.Robertson Miller Airlines - 'RMA Fortescue' in the standard livery at Adelaide Airport, March 1970.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 0250-212.)

VH-MMF. Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea - in the 'delta' livery at Lae Airport, December 1972.

(G. Bennett Collection Copyright Image 0250-960.)

VH-MMF. Air Tasmania - in the Ansett 'delta' livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, September 1973.

(E. D. Daw Copyright Image 0251-307.)

VH-MMF. Air Tasmania - in the Ansett 'delta' livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, September 1973.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 0251-036.)

VH-MMF. Air Tasmania - in the basic Ansett 'delta' livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, February 1974.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 0250-565.)

VH-MMF. Air Tasmania - in the basic Ansett 'delta' livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, March 1976.

(G. Bennett Copyright Image 0251-140.)

VH-MMF. Air Tasmania - in the basic Ansett 'delta' livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, March 1976.

(G. Bennett Copyright Image 0251-139.)

VH-MMF. Air Tasmania - in the basic Ansett 'delta' livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, March 1976.

(E. D. Daw Copyright Image 0251-306.)

VH-MMF. Air Tasmania - in the basic Ansett 'delta' livery at an unknown airport, April 1976.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 0250-452.)

VH-MMF. Air Tasmania - in the basic Ansett 'delta' livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, May 1976.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 0250-265.)

VH-MMF. Air Tasmania - in the basic Ansett 'delta' livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, May 1976.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 0250-480.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair Cargo - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the standard livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, January 1978.

(R. N. Smith Copyright Image 0250-572.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair Cargo - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the standard livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, January 1978.

(R. N. Smith Copyright Image 0250-939.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair Cargo - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the standard livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, January 1978.

(G. Bennett Copyright Image 0251-142.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair Cargo - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the standard livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, May 1978.

(G. Bennett Copyright Image 0251-141.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair Cargo - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the standard livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, September 1978.

(R. N. Smith Copyright Image 0250-073.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the basic livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, January 1978.

(G. Bennett Copyright Image 0251-143.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the basic livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, April 1981.

(R. N. Smith Copyright Image 0250-072.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the basic livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, April 1981.

(R. N. Smith Copyright Image 0250-074.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the basic livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, May 1984.

(G. Bennett Copyright Image 0251-144.)

VH-MMF. Forrestair - 'Spirit of Port Arthur' in the basic livery at Melbourne Essendon Airport, June 1984.

(G. Bennett Copyright Image 0251-145.)

6903077. U.S.A.A.F. - in the basic World War 2 camouflage livery at Deer Park, Melbourne, June 1984.

(E. D. Daw Copyright Image 0251-309.)

'F-DH'. R.A.A.F. - in the basic World War 2 camouflage livery at Deer Park, Melbourne, June 1984.

(E. D. Daw Copyright Image 0251-308.)

'F-DH'. R.A.A.F. - in the basic World War 2 camouflage livery at Berwick, Melbourne, July 1984.

(E. D. Daw Copyright Image 0251-310.)

'F-DH'. R.A.A.F. - in the basic World War 2 camouflage livery at Camden Airport, May 1987.

(G. Bennett Copyright Image 0251-146.)

'2100550'. U.S.A.A.F. - in the basic World War 2 camouflage livery at Camden Airport, October 1998.

(G. Bennett Copyright Image 0251-147.)

VH-XUX. U.S.A.A.F. - in the basic World War 2 camouflage livery at Sydney Bankstown Airport, November 22, 2015.

(G. Louis Copyright Image 0251-674.)