Type: L-18-40/56 Lodestar
MSN: 2102
Previous Identities: LT-907
VHCAA (callsign)
Subsequent Identities: ZK-ANA
N1716E (?)
N3998S (?)


15MAY41 Delivered to Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) as LT-907
17MAR42 Impressed by USAAF as a C-56B-LO. Operated by 21TCS. Operated by ADAT with callsign VHCAA.
APR42 Issued to 22TCS as 41-907. This was evidently an interim USAAF serial which was allocated "in the field" by adding the prefix 41- to the three digit Dutch serial. This practice was common with impressed foreign civil aircraft at the time. Subsequently the aircraft was retrospectively allocated a formal 42- serial.
17MAY42 Allocated USAAF serial 42-68347 as C-56B-LO
05NOV42 Issued to Qantas at Archerfield as VHCAA
01DEC42 Application for CofR and CofA by Qantas Empire Airways, 43 Creek St., Brisbane. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
02DEC42 Officially signed for by Qantas.
03DEC42 DCA approve civil operations of VHCAA by Qantas pending CofA. Flew Archerfield to Port Moresby same day.
03DEC42 Memo from DCA, Archerfield to DCA, HQ advising that the aircraft is airworthy and expected to be operating with Qantas from this date. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
03DEC42 Entered service with Qantas, Brisbane to Port Moresby, Capt Denny. (Source: Synopsis of Events: Q.E.A. Operations from Commencement of war with Germany 3/9/1939 compiled by I Isaacs, 31 August 1943, on file W2 War - Qantas WW2, file 3 of 3. Qantas Heritage Collection)
04DEC42 Commenced operations on the Port Moresby to Buna supply shuttle. (Source: Synopsis of Events: Q.E.A. Operations from Commencement of war with Germany 3/9/1939 compiled by I Isaacs, 31 August 1943, on file W2 War - Qantas WW2, file 3 of 3. Qantas Heritage Collection)
05DEC42 Part of nose cut off by USAAF C-47 at Port Moresby. Aircraft repaired and returned to service within two days.
JAN43 On completion of Buna shuttle VHCAA (and VHCAK) returned to the ADAT shuttle Brisbane/Townsville/Port Moresby. During their time on the Buna shuttle, VHCAA and VHCAK made 77 return trips to Buna carrying 339 passengers in, 96 sick and wounded out as well as 95 tons of freight. VHCAA operated 32 trips from Port Moresby to Buna and return.
22JAN43 Special CofA X-7 issued by DCA. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
28JAN43 Crashed on take-off from Townsville for Port Moresby when the First Officer prematurely retracted the undercarriage with damage to both props and the underside of the fuselage. The leading edge of one wing was damaged during removal of the aircraft from the runway. Date of accident shown as 28JAN but was previously thought to have been 29JAN. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
06FEB43 Ferried from Townsville to Archerfield for full repairs. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
01MAY43 CofA suspension lifted after repairs, having been suspended since 28JAN43. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
24JUN43 Flew Archerfield-Rockhampton-Townsville operated by Qantas as VHCAA. (Source: Harrison Air Log, John T. Harrison)
20MAY44 Returned to USAAF
OCT44 Qantas used VHCAA on civil operations. Troop benches were replaced by chairs from DH-86s VH-USF and VH-USC.
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. VHCAA was said to be in daily operation having accumulated an estimated 3170 hours. (Source: John Hopton)
09FEB45 Minor damage in crosswind landing at Winton, QLD.
APR46 Last flight with QEA
MAY46 Import Licence #264 issued in respect of this aircraft. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
29MAY46 CofA renewed to Aircrafts Pty Ltd, Archerfield.
08AUG46 Registration changed to VH-ARZ. By this time, the aircraft was being described as type L-18-56. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
09AUG46 Application for CofA by Aircrafts Proprietary Ltd., Archerfield, Brisbane. Seating configuration shown as 3 crew plus 14 passengers. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
19AUG46 Interim CofA #1157 issued but no CofR issued as Aircrafts Pty Ltd intended to sell the aircraft in New Zealand and not operate it themselves. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
25AUG46 At 0640 immediately after take-off from Bundaberg, the port engine failed and the aircraft returned for a safe landing. Captain W. McCallum, First Officer C. Storrey and no passengers. A DCA investigation revealed that the engine, which had been signed off as serviceable, had been purchased from the USAAF at Eagle Farm and not overhauled by APL. The engine had suffered a major failure with internal destruction. The failure was attributed to poor quality maintenance by the USAAF in the closing stages of the war. Later the same day, the relief aircraft, Lodestar VH-ARY returned to Bundaberg with a failed generator. (NAA MP1665/1 via G. Goodall)
16NOV46 Sold to Union Airways of N.Z. (renamed NZNAC from DEC46)
16DEC46 Added to N.Z. Register as ZK-ANA.
20DEC46 Departed Brisbane on delivery to N.Z. Struck off Australian Register same day. (Source: NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492])
20DEC46 Arrived in NZ, the second Lodestar for NAC. NAC had intended to use the first two Lodestars to operate additional services over the Christmas holiday period but the need to fit different radio equipment delayed their entry into service. (Source: "NAC The Illustrated History" by Waugh, Layne and McConnell)
24FEB47 Entered service with NZNAC named "Kawatere" (Red Crowned Parakeet)
  Sold to Costine and Co., Boston MA.
01JUN51 Departed NZ as ZK-ANA crewed by Commanders H.C. 'Johnny' Walker and L.J. Ransom and/or Donald Ayson and Radio Operator L.M. Sweetman. ZK-ANA was the first NAC Lodestar to be retired. (Source: "NAC The Illustrated History" by Waugh, Layne and McConnell)
05JUN51 Arrived Los Angeles after 27 hours 30 minutes flying time.
26JUL51 Registered N4632V to K. Babb Co.
  Howard W. "Kroger" Babb (30 December 1906 28 January 1980) was an American film and television producer and showman who used the name of "Mr. Pihsnamwohs" (showmanship spelled backwards). This name was painted on the aircraft which retained its basic NZNAC livery.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kroger_Babb
21APR54 To Mountain States Aviation.
22APR54 To F&S Construction Company.
31MAY56 To Combs Aircraft Inc.
15JUL56 To Industrial Leasing Corp.
29AUG56 Re-registered N89K. (Also quoted as N86K).
14MAY59 To S-G Aircraft
01FEB63 Registered to Lear Siegler, Santa Monica as N89K.
  Re-registered N1716E (?)
10AUG66 Re-registered to Lear Siegler, Santa Monica as N796G.
06SEP67 To Carolina Aircraft Corp.
09NOV67 To Omni Investment Corp, Washington DC as N796G
JAN77 To Lineas Aereos Mexicanas, Mexico as XA-TAP but soon returned to the U.S. (Possibly never even delivered).
JUL77 Reverted to N796G.
  Re-registered N3998S (?)
JAN99 Still on U.S. Register as N796G
27FEB13 N796G was cancelled from the U.S. Register due "expiration". (FAA website)


Does this aircraft still exist? Please report any recent sightings.

Issue Date Remarks
14 02APR16
Refreshed page layout with no change to data.
13 19SEP15
Added arrival date in NZ 20DEC46 and names of the crew who ferried the aircraft back to the U.S. on 01JUN51.
12 12SEP15
Added entry at 14NOV44 thanks to John Hopton and Geoff Goodall.
11 06SEP15
Added entry at 24JUN43 thanks to Geoff Goodall.
10 23APR15
The aircraft was cancelled from the U.S. Register on 27FEB13.
9 06AUG12
Added an image of the aircraft as N4632V thanks to Paul Sheehan.
Also added details of the owner Kroger Babb.
8 21JUN12
Added details of Qantas acceptance of the aircraft. Sourced from the Qantas Heritage Collection by Phil Vabre.
7 07MAY12
Added the interim USAAF serial 42-68347.
6 04MAY12
Added two wartime images thanks to Geoff Goodall.
5 05MAR06
Added a reference to an engine failure on 25AUG46. Thanks to Geoff Goodall.
4 04NOV04
Added further details of Australian service extracted from NAA, MP113/1 VH/ARZ Part 1 [337492] by Chris O'Neill.
3 13FEB04
Added an image of the aircraft in Qantas wartime service as VHCAA thanks to Gary Killion.
2 16APR99 -

Return to the Lodestar Menu

Return to the Lockheed File