VH-RMA


Type: L-188A / L-188AF Electra
MSN: 1039
Previous Identities: Nil
Subsequent Identities: N356Q
N355WS
N356Q
N356CE
N356Q
OE-ILB
C-FBAQ Tanker 417

History:

09DEC58
Ordered by ANSETT-ANA
13FEB59
First flight
27FEB59
Purchased by ANSETT-ANA and handed over at Burbank
VH-RMA
 
05MAR59
Registered to ANSETT-ANA as VH-RMA (Reginald Myles Ansett)
07MAR59
Departed Burbank via Las Vegas, San Francisco, Honolulu, Canton Island and Nadi. (The aircraft was paid for in Las Vegas to avoid state taxes). Crew: Captains A. Lane, A. Lovell and A. Thomson, Navigator W.C. Kennedy and Flight Engineers M. Perry and C. Ford. Sadly, Captain F. Patterson, who was to be part of the crew, died of a heart attack in Las Vegas.
10MAR59
Arrived Essendon. Reg Ansett had joined the flight at Nadi.
18MAR59
Entered service Essendon to Sydney with Captains A. Lovell and A. Lane
22MAR59
Shortly after departure from Sydney, rising oil temperature resulted in an engine being shut-down. The aircraft continued on to Melbourne where it arrived only a few minutes late.
06APR59
Set a record Sydney/Brisbane. Captains A. Lovell and K. Nicholls.
22JUN59
ANSETT-ANA placed an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald on this date:

"Announcement to our patrons. ANSETT-ANA Electra refinement programme started yesterday. For the next 12 days only one Electra will operate and during that period, the other Electra schedules will be maintained by the all-new Viscount II's, jet-giants which also flew first for ANSETT-ANA. The Electra refinements are being carried out by our own engineering staff, assisted by Lockheed technicians. Engines will be uplifted 3 degrees, to eliminate even the slightest vibration and still further reduce the already low noise volume. On completion of this programme, the ANSETT-ANA Electras will be identical with the latest Electras now rolling off the Lockheed production line in Burbank, U.S.A. The ANSETT-ANA Electras will resume service well before any other Australian airline operates an Electra, and will be as modern as any Electra flying or about to enter service here or anywhere else in the world. Since March 18th., ANSETT-ANA Electras have carried 74,485 passengers on more than 1,000 inter-Capital flights. Most people prefer to walk the Golden Carpet to ANSETT-ANA Golden Jet Service."

The original thrust line was -1 degree so uptilting the engines by 3 degrees resulted in a thrust line of +2 degrees. Only VH-RMA and VH-RMB required this modification as all other Australian Electras were delivered with the modification incorporated on the production line.

In June 2008, Ray Watson recalls: "I was involved in decorating VH-RMA at Essendon Aerodrome. I was a signwriter employed by A C Mence Pty Ltd and we did all the signs for ANA and eventually ANSETT-ANA. VH-RMA arrived with the rear lounge wall painted with a large map of the USA states. Reg Ansett wanted the painting changed so my boss sent me and a fellow signwriter, Allen Heap, out to Essendon to repaint the wall with Australian wildflowers. Because Reg Ansett was determined to be first with a Mark II Electra * in service, my boss told us to keep working until we finished. While we were painting the new designs on the vinyl wall, Lockheed mechanics were working on the engine mountings making our job very difficult because the plane was shaking up and down and also the central aisle plywood floor was lifted up whilst they worked on the cables and wiring. We kept going through the night until 3am next morning when they wheeled it out on the tarmac and ran the motors up to full power with us trying to finish off fine detail lines on the flowers while the aircraft was shaking and bouncing". (Source: Ray Watson)

Ray Watson also recalls that he was involved in changing the titles on the tail from "Electra Prop-Jet" to "Electra Mk II Prop-Jet". In those days it was a "mask and spray" job.

(* TAA's VH-TLA was the first Electra to have the 3 degree uptilt incorporated on the production line. VH-TLA arrived at Essendon on 24JUN59 and entered service on 08JUL59.)
01JUL59 A subsequent advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald on this date announced that ANSETT-ANA's first "Electra Mk II" (VH-RMA) was back in service and that the second Electra (VH-RMB) would return to service on 4 July 1959. (Source: Fred Niven)
25APR61
Arrived at Burbank from Melbourne via Nadi, Canton Island and Honolulu. Crew: Captains N. Murdoch, A. Thomson and D. Moodie, Navigator W.C. Kennedy and Engineer C. Ford
26APR61
Entered LEAP as LEAP #134 ANA-1
19MAY61
Completed LEAP
20MAY61
Returned to Melbourne from Burbank via Honolulu, Canton Island and Nadi after modifications. Crew: Captains N. Murdoch, W. Ross, P. Longbottom and A. Lane and Navigator W.C. Kennedy.
FEB63
Under major overhaul at Essendon, Melbourne. (12,823 hours). First Electra in the world to reach 6,000 hours, 12,000 hours and to undergo a major overhaul
07APR63
Delayed at Brisbane due to a bomb hoax (also involving Viscount VH-RMJ and F-27 VH-FNE)
NOV67
Under major overhaul at Essendon, Melbourne. (27,771 hours)
18DEC69
Registered to ATI (Operations) Ltd
01NOV70
Withdrawn from service until December 1970
28APR71
Operated last passenger service
06MAR72
Departed Melbourne for conversion to L-188AF freighter by Lockheed Aircraft Services, Ontario, California. Routing: Port Moresby, Wake Island and Honolulu. Crew: Captains B. Porter and S. Davis, Navigator W.C. Kennedy and Engineer P. Straney.
18JUL72
Test flown after freighter conversion.
20JUL72
Test flown after freighter conversion.
22JUL72
Departed Ontario for Melbourne via Honolulu, Wake Island and Port Moresby
25JUL72
Arrived Melbourne from Port Moresby after freighter conversion completed. Crew: Captains A. James and G. Backhouse, Navigator B.S. McEwen and Engineer G. Lynch.
03AUG72
Returned to service Melbourne to Launceston
16DEC81
Arrived in Darwin with a fuel leak from under a patch over a wing plank. Drip rate inside limits. Flown in service Darwin Adelaide on that day, and on arrival grounded with fuel leak rate well above limit. Overnight patch removed and wing plank found completely cracked with separation of 0.5 mm. Aircraft ferried to Melbourne and out of service for three months. (Source: Dominic Crain)
23DEC83
Last service Melbourne/Adelaide/Perth/Melbourne. Crew: Captain S. Smythe, First Officer K. Lumsden and Flight Engineer G. Young. The aircraft was stored at Tullamarine pending sale.
N356Q
 
29JUN84
Sold to Turbo Power International as N356Q
08OCT84
Cancelled from Australian register
12OCT84
Departed Melbourne on delivery to TPI International Airways via Nadi, Pago Pago, Hilo and San Francisco. Crew: Captains D. Brown and J.E. Rollston, Flight Engineer S.K. Finger, Navigator J.H. Delaat and Engineer W. Clow.
MAR85
Registered to JBQ Aviation Corporation, Miami, Florida
10FEB88
Delivered Miami/Gander/East Midlands Airport on lease to Air Bridge Carriers
11FEB88
Entered service with Air Bridge Carriers from East Midland to Dublin
AUG89
Registered to TPI International Airways Inc, Miami, Florida
N355WS
 
23NOV89
Seen at Stansted with Air Bridge Carriers and new registration N355WS
09AUG90
Delivered Ostend to Banjul on lease to World Airline Gambia
21DEC90
Departed Banjul after having been impounded
22DEC90
Departed Ostend for Prestwick and Keflavik on return to TPI
MAY91
TPI ceased trading and the aircraft was later stored at Opa Locka, Florida.
08APR92
Aircraft repossessed by Internationale Nederlanden Bank NV and sold to MCA Aviation Corp the same day. MCA then sold the aircraft to JBQ Aviation Corporation, Miami, Florida, again on the same day.
31MAY92
Seen stored at Opa Locka, Florida
N356Q
 
OCT92
Re-registered N356Q to JBQ Aviation Corporation, Miami, Florida
09NOV92
Arrived Castle Donington from Opa Locka via Gander and Keflavik
17NOV92
Seen at Dublin operating for Ei-Air Exports
N356CE
 
29DEC92
Re-registered N356CE
01MAY93
Leased to Hunting Cargo Airlines Ltd. (Source: Gil White)
06MAY93
Ferried Southend to East Midlands Airport in full Hunting Cargo Airlines colours
02AUG93
Ferried Edinburgh to Bournemouth for storage
28AUG93
Noted in service with Channel Express
07SEP93
Seen at Helsinki operating for Hunting Cargo
01JUL94
Departed Coventry for Keflavik, Bangor and Opa Locka. Call sign "Renown 801"
N356Q
 
20JUN95
Seen at Opa Locka, Florida in Renown Aviation colours as N356Q
NOV96
Registered to First Security Bank, Salt Lake City, Utah
06NOV96
Seen at Opa Locka, Florida with Amerer Air titles
04DEC96
Arrived Vienna, Austria
22AUG98
Cancelled from the US register on sale to Austria
OE-ILB
 
28SEP98
Registered OE-ILB to Amerer Air. Wet-leased to TNT International
24JUL01
Total Hours: 64341 Total Cycles: 49819
JUN02
Advertised for sale by Amerer Air.
21JAN05
According to the website www.Groundspeedrecords.com OE-ILB claimed a ground speed record for the Electra of 455 knots while en route to Vienna at FL220. Crew: Capt P. Gottinger, F/O C. Hartl, F/E T. Walther.
23DEC05
Positioned from Vienna to Linz and stored. Reportedly the CofA will not be renewed. (AL 470/59)
27OCT06
Ferried from Linz to Coventry in Amerer Air colours as OE-ILB. (Source: Chris Witt)
28OCT06
Departed Coventry, UK for Keflavik as OE-ILB on delivery to Buffalo Airways of Canada. Call-sign was BFL1039. (Source: Chris Witt)
29OCT06
Departed Keflavik for Iqaluit and Red Deer. (Source: Chris Witt)
27NOV06
Imported into Canada. (Source: Transport Canada)
C-FBAQ
 
03JUL07
Registered to Buffalo Airways Ltd., Hay River as C-FBAQ (AL489/67)
05MAR12
Damaged at Yellowknife landing with the right main gear retracted while inbound from a northern ice strip. The right main did not retract fully (unsafe gear indication), and got stuck in the wheel well. The right main would not extend, nor budge from where it got stuck upon first retraction. Emergency procedures were done and exhausted. Multiple gear cycles were completed with no change. Multiple positive G manoeuvres to stall buffet at 190kts were completed, as well as two touch and goes on the runway before committing to a landing after more than an hour trouble-shooting the problem. The aircraft departed the runway into a snowdrift. The #4 prop and gear box were dislodged in the landing, but luckily did not puncture the right wing planks although there was damage to the wing leading edge. The #3 prop was badly damaged and there was also damage to the right flaps, aileron and gear doors. There was no damage to the wing planks and no damage to the #1 and #2 props as the nose gear and left main gear were down and locked on landing. There was no serious damage to the fuselage although some small bits of debris impacted the hull without causing any punctures. (Source: Based on a post by the Co-Pilot on the AVCANADA website).
16NOV12
The aircraft was photographed at Red Deer undergoing repairs.
18MAY16
The aircraft was photographed at Red Deer as Tanker 417. The aircraft is painted in a style similar to the Ansett-ANA livery but with Buffalo's colours of green and orange substituted. The aircraft carries the inscription In Memory of Arnie Schreder to mark the passing of Buffalo's former Chief Pilot on 05MAY12.


Issue Date Remarks
22 18JUN17
Added three images of the aircraft as Tanker 417 thanks to John Olafson.
Image 1 Image 2 Image 3
21 12JUL16
Added an image of VH-RMA in Ansett Air Freight colours thanks to Geoff Goodall.
20 03APR16
Refreshed page layout with no change to data.
19 08DEC14
Added an image of the three Ansett Air Freight Electras lined up at Tullamarine. Thanks to Peter Gates.
18 09MAR13
Corrected the sequence of events relating to repainting done at Essendon during the engine uptilt mods. See 22JUN59. Also added a reference to the aircraft being repaired.
17 01DEC12
Added a reference to the engine thrust line (see 22JUN59). This was sourced from Lockheed drawings in the Qantas Heritage Collection thanks to Colin Lock and Juanita Franzi.
16 11MAR12
Added a report of a landing accident on 05MAR12,
15 28JUL08
Added an image of C-FBAQ in Buffalo livery thanks to Peter Gates.
14 28JUN08
Added two images of the aircraft being prepared to enter service with ANSETT-ANA. Also added details of changes to markings between delivery and service entry. Thanks to Ray Watson who was one of the signwriters.
13 22SEP07
Added a claim for a ground speed record on 21JAN05 thanks to Tom Walther.
12 20AUG07
Added date on to Canadian Register.
11 12DEC06
Added date of importation into Canada.
10 28NOV06
Added further detail of the delivery flight to Buffalo Airways thanks to Chris Witt.
9 30OCT06
Added reference to aircraft being delivered to Buffalo Airways.
8 22FEB06
Added reference to aircraft being withdrawn from service and stored.
7 23APR05
Added reference to wing damage. Refer 16DEC81. Thanks to Dominic Crain.
6 08FEB04
Added two images of the aircraft as N356Q with Air Bridge titles thanks to Peter Gates.
5 25JAN04
Added crew names thanks to Gil White.
4 14JUN02
Added two images of the aircraft in Amerer Air colours together with the fact that the aircraft is advertised for sale. Thanks to Ulrich Hoppe for the photos.





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