Note: Although known by various names, this aeroplane is correctly an Aermacchi AL60-B2 Santa Maria. The following explanation of the various designations is courtesy of John Davis:
|OCT61||Arrived at Melbourne by sea from Italy.|
|02NOV61||Assembled by Executive Air Services at Essendon. Colour scheme was yellow with blue trim. Marketed by agents E.L. Heymanson as a "Lockheed 60 Bush Transport". It was later reported that the agents intended to import further aircraft from Mexico.|
|18NOV61||Made its debut at the Australian Agricultural Aviation Association air display at Ballarat.|
|JAN62||It was announced that Ansett-MAL intended to replace its Cessna fleet with LASA-60s.|
|12JAN62||Registered VH-ELI (as an Aermacchi AL60-B2) to E.L. Heymanson, Melbourne, VIC. (the Australian agents for the type).|
in PNG in Ansett-MAL livery. The following account comes from "Balus"
(Volume II p.39) by James Sinclair:|
"Unfortunately the Lockheed 60 was not the answer. The chief training pilot for light aircraft, Captain Gerry Flude, and Frank Newell, engineer in charge of Ansett-MAL light aircraft, were sent to Australia to become familiarised on the Lockheed, and in February they returned to PNG in a Lasa 60, piloted by Lockheed pilot, Keith Busby. Demonstration and test flights were made in a number of territory centres, but the aeroplane ultimately proved unsuitable for local conditions. In May 1962, Stedman announced that two Cessna 185s had been purchased."
Air Courier Pty Ltd opened an office in the main street of Hillston,
NSW. Managing Director was Charles Ring with Jim Reid as a director.
John Conley of Australian Aircraft Sales (AAS) was an aviation adviser
as was Warren Penny who was also the pilot. Aircraft at the time was
Bonanza VH-BBQ which belonged to AAS. The company intended to operate
between Wilcannia, Ivanhoe, Hillston and Griffith to connect with
airline services to Sydney. Local graziers were encouraged to build
air strips on their properties and to invest in the company. With
revenue coming in, John Conley purchased VH-ELI and sold it to Western
Air Courier. Warren Penny found the aeroplane to be down on performance
and during later maintenance it was discovered that the wing was incorrectly
rigged with insufficient incidence. Also one of the diaphragms in
the engine boost system was found to have a hole which adversely affected
engine performance. After rectification of these defects the aeroplane
performed well. Western Air Courier ceased trading when one of the
investors instigated legal action over perceived financial irregularities.
Penny was hopeful of acquiring VH-ELI in lieu of unpaid wages at the
ensuing Sheriff's auction but a court order from the shareholders
intervened and ownership of VH-ELI passed to the liquidator (see FEB64).
(Sourced from an unpublished manuscript by Warren Penny referenced by Geoff Goodall.)
Note: Although some sources show the company name as Western Air Couriers, court documents relating to the liquidation state "Western Air Courier Pty Limited".
|14MAR63||Change of ownership to Consolidated Aviation Finance Pty Ltd, Sydney, NSW.|
|25MAR63||Change of ownership via Australian Aircraft Sales to Western Air Courier Pty Ltd, Hillston, NSW.|
|27OCT63||The aircraft was photographed at Bankstown, NSW in the colour scheme it wore previously during its brief service with Ansett-MAL but with no company titles. At this time the aircraft was being operated by Western Air Courier.|
|FEB64||Change of ownership to W.J. Hamilton of Sydney (official liquidator of Western Air Courier Pty Ltd).|
|14JUL64||Change of ownership to Mount Foster Pty Ltd, Mount Foster, Warren, NSW.|
|JUL73||Photographed at Port Macquarie wearing titles Woodside Merino Stud, Warren NSW.|
|08AUG73||Registered to E.P.J. Aubort, Lismore, NSW.|
|JUL75||Advertised for sale by Eric Aubort and Dave Adams of Lismore for $15,000.00. Total time 1,300 hours.|
|22MAR76||Registered to P.D. Johnstone, Cronulla, NSW.|
|02DEC77||Change of designation to AL60-B2/A1.|
|15APR78||Noted at Moorabbin having been traded-in/sold to Civil Flying Services. Aircraft carried the name Airmove Air Taxi.|
|14AUG78||Registered to E.H. Mills, Gladstone, TAS.|
|31JUL93||Noted at Moorabbin for sale by Ian Baillie Aircraft Sales. Aircraft carried the name SIMMENT on the fin.|
|MAY94||To E. Simkin, Merino, VIC. Airworthy and for sale. Reported asking price AU$30,000.00|
|09MAR98||Noted at Moorabbin, VIC.|
|07JUL98||Registered to Middlebrook Air Services, Gunnedah, NSW.|
|06SEP01||Change of ownership to Aero Enterprise Pty Ltd, Lismore, NSW. Subsequently registered to Aero Enterprise, Cairns, QLD.|
|11FEB04||Aero Enterprise in Cairns advise that VH-ELI is still stored in Lismore.|
|APR05||Aircraft noted in Cairns, evidently overhauled and repainted.|
|24NOV05||Change of ownership to Jeli Jump Bus, Oyster Cove, Tasmania.|
in a heavy landing at Cambridge Aerodrome, Hobart, Tasmania:|
"The pilot reported that at about 100 ft AGL on final approach to runway 09, the aircraft encountered undershoot windshear resulting in a rapid increase in the rate of descent. The pilot applied full power but was unable to fully arrest the descent. The aircraft clipped the boundary fence which pulled the aircraft into a nose-down attitude and separated the nose wheel leg from the aircraft. The aircraft landed heavily and came to rest on the runway."
(Source: ATSB Aviation Safety Database. Extracted 24OCT06)
|Sold to Paul Eddowes.|
|Official change of ownership to Paul Eddowes, Blanchetown, SA.|
|Ferried from Devonport to Portee. Paul Eddowes advises: "The aircraft has been fitted with a 300hp Continental IO520 with a turbo and a three blade constant speed prop. The conversion was done by Peter Young of Sureflight, Devonport, Tasmania. The aircraft now resides at the Portee Station Homestead on the Murray in South Australia. The family loves her and we will be refurbishing the interior lining in the near future. Externally and mechanically she’s in excellent condition. Peter Young has done a top job of the maintenance and mods."|
|Noted at the Barossa Airshow. (Source: South Australian Air Journal Nol 40 No 3 p.9)|
Added a slideshow.
Added five images. Thanks to Ken Watson and David C. Eyre.
Added an image of the aircraft wearing Woodside Merino Stud titles. Thanks to David C. Eyre.
Added information on Western Air Courier at FEB63. Thanks to Geoff Goodall and Roger McDonald.
Refreshed page layout with no change to data.
Added a recent sighting.
Recorded a change of ownership to Paul Eddowes who has kindly supplied details of his acquisition of the aircraft.
Added details of an incident on 30SEP06.
Added a change of ownership on 24NOV05.
Added a recent photo from Paul Howard in Cairns.
Added a report from Paul Howard in Cairns that the aircraft is still stored in Lismore.
Added three new images thanks to Hew Mills, a former owner of the aeroplane.
Added change of ownership to Aero Enterprise of Lismore.