AUSTRALIAN AERIAL AGRICULTURAL AIRCRAFT - 1960s
|The De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver
was one of the most successful agricultural aircraft used in Australia.
at Bankstown Airport, Sydney imported over 70 Beavers, which it distributed between its associated companies Super Spread and
Robbys Aerial Services. VH-IDK was at Bankstown in September 1965. The Australian designed hopper can be seen through the
cabin window and the belly hopper outlet was also locally made. The propeller spinners were usually removed in ag service.
|Aerial Agriculture's Beaver VH-AAJ is refuelled
at Goulburn NSW in September 1965. The many Beavers imported by this
company used the VH-AA registration series, then VH-ID, followed by VH-IM series. All were white with blue trim.
|When Aerial Agriculture Pty Ltd took over
Robbys Aircraft at Adelaide in 1963, their Beavers joined the Robbys fleet.
VH-AAW is seen at Parafield wearing the Robbys name.
|VH-AAW was reregistered VH-RAS in Robbys
service. Parafield SA in December 1963.
|Robbys Aircraft Co was renamed Robbys Aerial
Services after Aerial Agriculture took over. The Robbys name was retained
because of SA farmer loyalty to their local operator. VH-IDS was dusting from an ag strip at Auburn SA in May 1966.
|Super Spread Aviation, Melbourne also operated
many Beavers after the company was taken over by Aerial Agriculture in 1963.
Super Spread's work area covered Victoria and southern NSW. VH-IDB was at Hamilton, Victoria in February 1967.
|VH-IDB was at Portland Victoria in
Janaury 1968 repainted with a short-lived script-style company name.
|Airland Improvements Pty Ltd 's Beaver VH-WOG
was at their Cootamundra NSW base in September 1965. The company's
fleet paint scheme was all over cream with yellow and black chequerboard on wingtips and rudder.
|VH-MLB on a foggy morning at Moorabbin in
May 1966. Farm Air Pty Ltd was based at Sale in eastern Victoria.
|Australian built Yeoman YA-1 Cropmaster 250
was based on the metal fuselage frame and wooden wings and empennage of
the CAC CA-6 Wackett Trainer. 20 were built at Bankstown between 1960-1966. This YA-1 Cropmaster 250R VH-TSD of
Trojan Aerial Spraying was photographed at Parafield in March 1963. White and red.
|First light on a winter's morning at Coonabarabran
NSW in July 1967. The pilots of Westair Aviation Service's two Yeoman YA-1
Cropmaster 250Rs have started the Continental engines and left them idling to warm up, while they have a cup of tea in the hangar.
|Little remembered is the Sasin-Aerostructures
SA-29 Spraymaster, built at Bankstown from DHC-1 Chipmunk airframes, with
the same DH Gipsy Major engine. It was designed by ag operator Mike Sasin as a low cost Tiger Moth replacement. VH-GEB
was the third and last Spraymaster completed, seen at Tintinara SA in December 1967 where it was based with Tonair Pty Ltd.
|SA-29 Spraymaster VH-BCA in service as a
crop duster with Bob Couper Pty Ltd, at Cunderdin WA in December 1969. This
was the second SA-29, delivered to Cunderdin from Bankstown in 1965. It was brown and white with dayglo orange patches.
|The Transavia PL-12 Airtruk and later Skyfarmer
was the most successful Australian-built agricultural aircraft. It was designed
Luigi Pellarini, whose earlier PL-7 Tanker, with the same unusual twin boom configuration, had been developed in NZ and Sydney.
The all metal PL-12 went into production in Sydney in 1965 by Transavia Corporation and enjoyed immediate sales success.
VH-TRB owned by Hazair Albury is seen departing Albury NSW in May 1967 for a day's dusting. Orange and white.
|A number of the small Hughes 269 helicopters
were used in the 1960s for spraying. Despite high operating costs, the advantages
of the rotor downwash concentrating the insecticide into the crop was promoted. VH-IHL with spray bars and pannier liquid tanks
was at Parafield in March 1966, operated by newly formed Helicopter (SA) Ltd of Adelaide.
|Pay & Williamson at Scone NSW purchased
three former New Guinea airliner Noorduyn Norsemans in 1963-64 and had them
tanked up as heavy crop dusters. They proved to be economical phosphate top dressers, often operating in pairs. VH-GSG was
at Scone in July 1967. Previously VH-RHG, VH-GSB, VH-BHG, A71-12, it was later sold to Canada as floatplane CF-ISM.
|Piper PA-25 Pawnees have been the mainstay
of the Australian aerial ag industry and are still in regular use. The first
150s arrived in 1960, powered by a 150 hp Lycoming, followed by the Parnee 235s in 1962. VH-SFG was a "small engine"
Pawnee 150 owned by Skyfarmers of Morwell Victoria. Seen at Ballarat Vic in December 1965. Blue and white.
|Pawnee 150 VH-FAP of Field Air (Ballarat)
Pty Ltd. Photographed at Hamilton Vic in February 1967. Red and white.
|Pawnee 150 VH-SCJ of Agricultural Aviation
Pty Ltd, Brisbane was a long way from home in June 1962 when seen in a crowded
hangar at Parafield. Ag-Av operated a large fleet of Pawnees and Ag Cats in Queensland. White with yellow and black.
|In 1962 the improved Pawnee 235 with a 235
hp Lycoming gained widespread pilot approval, and sales were good, many
replacing the grounded agricultural Tiger Moths. Here two Pawnee 235s VH-FAL & VH-FAN taxy from the Field Air
hangar at Ballarat, Victoria in January 1964. The old RAAF Tower structure from WWII days is in the background.
|Covered in a layer of frost, Cropair's Pawnee
235 VH-ALA seen early morning at Swan Hill, Victoria in December 1966.
|Pawnee 235 VH-AZO owned by Western Aerial
Crop Spraying, Derinallum Vic, was at Warracknabeal Vic in April 1967.
|Pawnee 235 VH-PIT was was the first Australian
Pawnee modified to a two seater with a widened cockpit area. This allowed
pilot training and the loader-driver to be carried to the ag strip. VH-PIT was at Stawell, Victoria in October 1966, with Barry
Cosson's Stawell Airwork, renamed AG Airwork Pty Ltd.
|Barry Cosson of Stawell Airwork registered
this new Pawnee 235 VH-CSN in March 1966, using the phonetics of his name.
Later sold to Doggett Aviation at Jandakot Airport, Perth, I found it at Bunbury WA in October 1969 with "Doggett Aviation"
and "Elders GM" titles. Elders were Doggett's partner agricultural chemical suppliers.
|Hazair (Albury) Pty Ltd had its Pawnee 235
VH-TOI modifed to a two-seater. Bankstown July 1967.
|Doggett Aviation's Pawnee 235 VH-DAZ at work
near Northam WA in December 1969.