|Type:||L-18-56 Lodestar C-60-LO|
|Subsequent Identities:||VH-BYG (NTU)|
|Ordered by the Royal Air Force as FK254 but order subsequently cancelled|
|30JUN42||To USAAF as C-60-LO serial 42-32174|
|SEP42||Assigned to 21TCS as VHCEE (callsign)|
|08JUL43||Delivered to 36 Sqn RAAF as VHCEE named "Tiki"|
|10FEB44||Flown from Townsville to Eagle Farm (Brisbane) on return to USAAF|
|29FEB44||To Guinea Airways Ltd as VHCEE|
|01MAR44||Special CofA X15 issued|
|14NOV44||This aircraft was one of 12 listed in a memorandum from the U.S. Government offering an assortment of Douglas and Lockheed types to the highest bidder for cash. VHCEE was said to require only a preflight inspection to place in fly-away condition. The aircraft was located with Guinea Airways in Adelaide with total time unknown. (Source: John Hopton)|
|02JUN45||WFS and parked at Parafield. Subsequently returned to USAAF|
|FEB46||Sold to Aircrafts Pty Ltd, Archerfield, QLD and converted at Parafield|
|28NOV46||Registered VH-BAG to Aircrafts Pty Ltd (CofR 1215)|
|16DEC46||Sold to Truth and Sportsman Ltd (a newspaper which had acquired a half share in APL) and leased back to Aircrafts Pty Ltd|
|18MAY47||Operated Brisbane-Maryborough-Bundaberg-Rockhampton-Bundaberg-Maryborough-Archerfield-Maryborough-Archerfield by Bronte Pannell. (Source: Log Book of Bronte Pannell via Nigel Daw)|
|48||Re-registered to Aircrafts Pty Ltd|
|JUL48||Leased to Guinea Air Traders, Lae for one month during the overhaul of DC-3 VH-GAT. The Lodestar was to be re-registered VH-BYG as BAG had become a prohibited registration. In the event this did not proceed.|
|18OCT48||APL changed their operating name to Queensland Airlines|
|NOV48||Livery changed with addition of Queensland Airlines titles in red above the cabin windows|
aircraft departed Coolangatta (now Gold Coast Airport) at approximately
1115 hours bound for Brisbane. As the undercarriage was retracting,
the aircraft assumed an abnormally nose high attitude until, at a
height of approximately 200-300 feet, the starboard wing dropped and
the aircraft began to lose altitude. The aircraft was recovered briefly
until the port wing dropped and it entered a curving descent to the
left. Although a level attitude was regained, the aircraft was seen
to drop almost vertically into a swampy area at Bilinga, between the
airstrip and the beach. The Lodestar struck the ground heavily and
immediately exploded in flames. The aircraft was fully booked with
18 passengers (including 2 nursed children) plus 3 crew, all of whom
were killed instantly. The crew comprised Captain R.C. Cook, First
Officer J.D. Murtha and Hostess Nerida Ferguson, all of Brisbane.
APL's Chief Pilot, Captain H.E. Keegan, his wife and two infant children
were amongst the passengers. A subsequent investigation determined
that the aeroplane had been loaded outside the aft trim limit and
thus was tail heavy to the point of being uncontrollable.|
[This account is drawn from "Air Crash" Vol 2, pp.99-105 by Macarthur Job published in 1992 by Aerospace Publications (ISBN 1 875671 01 3). This book, and others in the series, are highly recommended.]
Map of crash site.
|01MAY67||The burned and corroded remains of one of the engines from VH-BAG was noted next to a flying school building at Coolangatta Airport. The engine had been uncovered earlier during earthworks at the airport. Although there was a suggestion that the engine might be incorporated into a memorial, nothing eventuated and the ultimate fate of the engine is unknown. (See photo above).|
Refreshed page layout with no change to data.
Added a map of the approximate crash location thanks to Peter Cokley.
Added an image by Gus Grulke. Thanks to Graham Martin.
Added a reference at 14NOV44 thanks to John Hopton and Geoff Goodall.
Added two photos of the aircraft at Casino in 1948 thanks to Alan Sheppard.
Added details of a flight on 18MAY47 thanks to Nigel Daw.
Added more details of the crash drawn from Mac Job's excellent book "Air Crash" Vol. 2.
It is now believed that the inaugural Brisbane to Melbourne service on 09SEP46 was operated by VH-ARY and not VH-ARZ as stated in Issue #4.
Deleted reference to the commencement of Brisbane to Melbourne service on 09SEP48 as the commencement date is now known to have been 09SEP46. This means that the service could not have been inaugurated with VH-BAG as this aeroplane was still undergoing overhaul at this time. Therefore the Melbourne service must have been inaugurated with VH-ARZ (which see). Thanks to Roger McDonald for this correction.
Corrected Guinea Air Transport to Guinea Air Traders.