VH-TLA John Eyre

Type: L-188A / L-188AF Electra
MSN: 1061
Previous Identities: Nil
Subsequent Identities: N188LA


10OCT58 Ordered by TAA
19MAY59 First flight
15JUN59 Registered to Australian National Airlines Commission. Delivered to Trans Australia Airlines as VH-TLA "John Eyre". First Electra off production line with uptilted engines
24JUN59 Arrived Essendon on delivery to TAA.(It was previously stated that TLA was the only Electra to be delivered with a fluorescent orange tail, but there is photographic proof that it arrived with a natural metal tail with a diagonal red/white/blue stripe.) Delivery crew: Captains F. Fischer, J. Maloney, J. Hickey, Navigator, H. Cast and Engineer A. Wright. The aircraft performed a flypast at Essendon in company with Viscount VH-TVQ and Friendship VH-TFA which also arrived on the same day.
08JUL59 Entered service TN534 Melbourne to Sydney
TAA's DayGlo Livery
15FEB60 Record Melbourne/Brisbane 2 hrs 9 mins (Capt W.O. James)
25JAN61 Departed Melbourne to Burbank for wing and engine mount modifications. Crew: Captains R.B. Keig, I.A.F. Clarke and R. Lauchland, First Officer D.W.R. Pummeroy and Flight Engineer R.C. Lane.
27JAN61 Entered LEAP as LEAP #71 TAA-1
23FEB61 Completed LEAP
23FEB61 Departed Burbank after modifications. Crew: Captains V.C. Austen, M.I. Fitzgerald and T.R. Bennet, First Officer K.J. Purnell and Flight Engineer F.C. Storer.
13MAR61 Record Brisbane/Melbourne 2 hrs 28 mins 30 secs
08JUL61 Record Melbourne/Sydney 54 mins (Capt G.J. White)
11JUN63 Commenced first major overhaul at Essendon 13,090 hours
24APR64 Grounded as a result of the discovery of a crack in the wing of VH-TLB.
27JUL64 Re-entered service.
02JUN66 Departed Melbourne for corrosion treatment in the USA (Capt D Wilson)
02JUL66 Returned to Melbourne from the USA. Known Crew: Captain D. Wilson and Captain G. Bracken (navigator)
03JUL66 Returned to service TN408 Melbourne to Sydney
30APR71 Operated its last flight revenue service for TAA, TN406 Canberra to Sydney. Ferried from Sydney to Brisbane as TN2890 (Capt Humphries) arrived at 1707. Stored at Brisbane. 34,063 hours 26,925 landings
15SEP71 Test flown from Brisbane (in-flight compass swing) crewed by Capt Stuart Arnold (command), Capt Ron Hickey and Flight Engineer Bob Verity. (Source: Stuart Arnold's log book)
21JAN72 Sold to Concare Aircraft Leasing, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
07FEB72 Test flown from Brisbane crewed by Capt Stuart Arnold (command), Capt Aart Hofman and Flight Engineer Bob Verity. After a successful test flight, the aircraft was flown Brisbane to Melbourne direct by the same crew. Flight time 2 hrs 35 mins. (Source: Stuart Arnold's log book)
12MAR72 Sold to Concare Aircraft Leasing as N188LA
26MAR72 Test flown at Melbourne marked VH-TLA and N188LA
05APR72 Struck off the Australian Register
12APR72 Departed Melbourne for Port Moresby, Wake Island, Hilo and Burbank
72 In the late spring of 1972, the aircraft was lease-purchased from Concare Aircraft Leasing Corp by Transair Corp of Nevada with offices in Anaheim, California. (Source: Bill Dettori)
18JUL72 Arrived in Vientiane from Miami, Florida. (Source: Bill Dettori)
Leased to Royal Air Lao as XW-PKA named "Tiao Anou".
10DEC73 Approximately on this date, XW-PKA was grounded as a source of parts to keep XW-PKB flying. (Source: Bill Dettori)
c.AUG74 Fearing seizure of the aircraft by the new Lao government, work began to make XW-PKA airworthy. With XW-PKB in Hong Kong for overhaul, parts were removed from PKB and brought back to Vientiane to get PKA airworthy. The work took approximately one month. (Source: Phil Dreith)
20SEP74 The aircraft departed Vientiane at 1100 for Seletar, Singapore as XW-PKA for overhaul by Lockheed. The crew comprised Captain Al Ogle, First Officer Al Adolph, Flight Engineer Bill Dettori and Flight Mechanic Phil Dreith. On take-off, the number three propeller pitch-locked due to overspeed. The engine was shut down and the aircraft diverted to Bangkok where it landed at 1225. (Source: Phil Dreith & Bill Dettori)
20SEP74 On take-off from Bangkok, number three propeller pitch-locked due to overspeed and the engine was shut down. During the second hour of the flight, the number one engine oil quantity indicated loss of oil so it was decided to divert to Kuala Lumpur. The continued loss of oil necessitated the shut down of number one engine. On approach to Kuala Lumpur, number one could not be restarted so the aircraft landed on two engines and one generator. Many external lights were inoperative. After landing, number three was restarted to restore electrical power. The aircraft touched down right on last light at 1855. Repairs were made during the ensuing night stop. (Source: Bill Dettori)
21SEP74 Departed Kuala Lumpur at 1040 for Seletar and again the number three propeller pitch-locked due to overspeed. On descent, while attempting to shut down number three engine, the propeller went to an overspeed condition with an estimated engine overspeed of approximately 18,500 RPM at which point the engine gearbox decoupled allowing the engine to be shut down. The aircraft touched-down at Seletar at 1135 and arrived on blocks at 1145. The planned overhaul by Lockheed at Seletar was abandoned and the aircraft was subsequently seized because of defaulted payments by Transair Corp. The aircraft never flew again and was parked at Seletar still marked as XW-PKA. Apparently, the registration N188LA had not been cancelled for the duration of the Royal Air Lao lease but the aeroplane definitely ended its days painted as XW-PKA. (Source: Phil Dreith & Bill Dettori)
late 75 Sold to American Jet Industries together with N188LB. While N188LB was flown back to the US for conversion to a freighter, XW-PKA was parted out at Seletar, Singapore.
DEC75 Scrapped at Seletar, Singapore. (Source: Phil Dreith)
  Cautionary Note:
The Air-Britain publication "Lockheed L-188 Electra and Orion" (1977) states that N188LA was converted to a freighter and later flown from Melbourne to Singapore on 14MAR76. These reports are demonstrably incorrect.


See TAA Electras in S.E. Asia

Issue Date Remarks
Added a colour aerial image of the aircraft prior to delivery thanks to Peter Gates.
Added a slideshow.
Added an image thanks to Eric Allen.
Added a reference to the DayGlo livery.
Added an image of the aircraft with a DayGlo tail thanks to Peter Gates.
Refreshed page layout with no change to data.
Added one image of VH-TLA with the dayglo tail. Thanks to Nigel Daw of SAAM.
Added three new images of VH-TLA thanks to Peter Gates.
Added further details of the period 1972-1974 thanks to Bill Dettori who was the Flight Engineer on the aircraft.
Added details of ownership while leased to RAL and also added date of scrapping. Thanks to Phil Dreith.
Added much detail of the aircraft's service with Royal Air Lao and of its final flight. Thanks to Phil Dreith.
Added details of test flying out of Brisbane around the time of the sale to Concare. Refer 15SEP71 and 07FEB72. Information contributed by Stuart Arnold who was in command of these flights.
Added several TAA crew names thanks to Gil White.
Corrected an earlier reference which suggested that the aeroplane had been converted to a freighter. Thanks to Gordon Reid.
Added LEAP details thanks to Pete Clukey.
Additional material thanks to John Wilson and Gordon Reid.
Additional images thanks to Peter Gates.
Deleted reference to ferry flight Melbourne to Singapore on 14MAR76

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