VH-BFZ


Type: L-18-56 Lodestar C-60A-5-LO
MSN: 18-2611
Previous Identities: 43-16451
A67-7
VHRAG (callsign)
Subsequent Identities: 2501 (Israeli Air Force)


History:

43
Delivered to the United States Army Air Force as C-60A-5-LO serial 43-16451
08NOV43
Delivered ex Lockheed. (Source: 2)
08NOV43
Arrived Long Beach. (Source: 2)
14NOV43
Departed Long Beach. (Source: 2)
28NOV43
Received 3AD, Amberley ex USA. (Source: 1)
29NOV43
On receipt at 37SQN aircraft to be renumbered. (Source: 1)
02DEC43
Received 37SQN ex 3AD. (Source: 1)
Allocated callsign VHRAG. (Source: 1)
23MAR45
Allotted 1 Communication Unit ex 37SQN. To be fitted with 4 seats ex Hudson A16-114. (Source: 1)
04APR45
Issued 1CU, Laverton ex 37SQN. (Source: 1)
06APR45
Received 1CU ex 37SQN. (Source: 1)
11JUN45
Grounded at 1CU. (Source: 1)
07JUL45
Allotted 7AD, Tocumwal for inspection and possible repair (probably to fuel tanks). (Source: 1)
22JUL45
Received 7AD ex 1CU. (Source: 1)
16JAN46
Work to cease. Aircraft to be stored. (Source: 1)
08FEB46
Received 7AD Storage ex 7AD. (Source: 1)
01OCT46
To be stored Cat D. (Source: 1)
03FEB47
Sold through Commonwealth Disposals Commission to Mr. H. Ellis of Sherman's Motors, Dubbo, NSW for £1,000. (Source: 1)
10SEP47
Resold by CDC to Mr. S Godden, Potts Point, Sydney for £1,000. (Source: 1)
26SEP47
Issued to purchaser ex 7AD Tocumwal. (Source: 5. Does not appear Source: 1)
OCT47
Civil conversion underway at Intercontinental Air Maintenance, Bankstown. (Source: 5)
Doug Fawcett later claimed in his book that he overhauled the aircraft at Bankstown for his friend Stanley Godden and that Godden had paid cash for the overhaul. (Source: 4)
30DEC47
CofA issued and aircraft registered VH-BFZ to Stanley V. Godden. (Source: 5)
31DEC47
Departed Sydney at 1420 hours for Rome under the command of Capt. B. Starkey. (Source: 5)
21JAN48
Arrived Sydney from Rome with Capt Bert Starkey, Co-pilot Hugh Hamilton, Radio Operator Geoff Taylor, Engineer Bill Brown and 14 catholic nuns as passengers. Operated by Intercontinental Air Tours as Godden Air Transport did not have a charter licence. (Source: 5)
20FEB48
Departed Darwin for India and Europe operated by Godden Air Transport. (Source: 5)
MAR48
Bankstown-Charleville-Cloncurry-Darwin. Crew: Warren Penny, S.V. Godden & P. Thurlow. (Source: 3)
  This return flight to Darwin was to collect passengers from Hudson VH-ASV which suffered a partial undercarriage collapse arriving in Darwin from Europe on 04MAR48. (Source: 5)
MAR48
Darwin-Cloncurry-Charleville-Mascot. Crew: Warren Penny, J. Hurst & P. Thurlow. (Source: 3)
NOTE: These flights in March 1948 do not show specific dates although flight times are recorded for each sector. The lack of detail suggests that these flights might have been added retrospectively. The flights were soon after 04MAR48 when VH-ASV went u/s.
24JUN48
Arrived Sydney from Darwin with Capt Horlock, 4 crew and nil passengers. Operated by New Holland Airways. (Source: 5)
14AUG48
Arrived Sydney from Athens with Capt Horlock, 4 crew and 15 passengers. Operated by New Holland Airways. Agent shown as European Air Travel Headquarters. (Source: 5)
AUG48
Chartered to Service Airways Inc, Rome (agents for the Israeli Government) for 8,000. (Source: 5)
05SEP48
Passed through Bahrein operated by Godden Air Transport under the command of Capt Horlock with Stanley Godden as a passenger. (Source: 5)
The aeroplane was subsequently handed over to the Israeli Air Force who gave it the serial number 2501.
31OCT48
Severely damaged in a crash landing at Herzliya. Apparently the aircraft was written off as the serial 2501 was subsequently reallocated briefly to Hudson ex VH-BIH which later became 2601. (This change possibly reflects a late realisation that the Lodestar and the Hudson are two different types).
11OCT49
Struck off the Australian Register as "improper sale overseas". (Source: 5)
SEP50
Struck off IAF charge and presented to the IDFAF Ground School.

 

SOURCES
1
RAAF Form E/E.88.
2
MAC Air Case 200. NAA via Gordon Birkett
3
Log Book of Warren Penny photographed by Greg Weir in 2021.
4
Fawcett, Doug, Pilots & Propellers - a lifetime in aviation, Crawford House, 1998.
5
Geoff Goodall, The Migrant Caper.

 

Several Australian Lodestars were used on migrant flights from Europe in the immediate post-war years. Several entrepreneurs began operating charter flights, mainly from Rome and Athens, in what became known amongst the main players as The Migrant Caper. These operations are covered in exquisite detail in Geoff Goodall's seminal work. The following link will take you to Geoff Goodall's Aviation History Site:

The Migrant Caper



Issue Date Remarks
8 25DEC22
Added information from Source: 5.
7 29JUN22
Added complete references from Source: 1.
6 11APR21
Added references from Source: 1.
5 03APR16
Refreshed page layout with no change to data.
4 24JUN06
Added delivery details thanks to Gordon Birkett.
3 16FEB00 -





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