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Darwin in the 80's

Old 23rd Jan 2008, 08:34
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Darwin in the 80's

The thread about about Skywest and Amman, bought back some memories of working in Darwin in the 88/89.

Back then the GA scene was pretty busy out of Darwin lots of operators and some good jobs.

Darwin Airport
Nothing on the northern side, just scrub and then in 1989 the CAA office was built on that side.
Everything happened on the south side, the International/Domestic terminal on the western side of 36 and the GA was on the eastern side of 36 and the RAAF had hardstands and parking bays near the main terminal and also about halfway along rwy11/29. Always good fun to park next to the RAAF FA-18's while offloading passengers at the terminal.

The might Darwin Flight Service Unit and Met office was located over in the GA area, the hub of activity in those days, always very good service from the guys and gals!

The good old Darwin Aero Club bar was the place to be after a hard days flying!

The Operators

Air North the flagship of the fleet was the two DC-3's MMA/CAN, a couple of Conquests, Titans, C421C, C402C's, C310R's, Islander and Cessna C210's.
Don Mitchell always seemed to be fly the C421C or DC-3, Ian Britten-Jones was in the C441 or C402, Dave Cooper was the ops manager, George Washington likewise flew most of the fleet. The Chief Pilot was Ian Drennan in those days, John Hardy was in the MD seat.

Skywest had the coastwatch contract using Aerocommander AC500, Nomads for Customs and the NT Aeromed contract using B200 Kingairs and Nomads.

Lloyd Aviation had the Troughton Island runs using the EMB110 Bandeirante and the CASA 212, and later in the pilots dispute they were running the Fokker F28 on the centre run.

Arnhem Air and Flying School, the good old Ossie Ossgood (RIP) and the RPT operation to Oenpelli, Maningrida Croker Island and Goulbourn Island.
The fleet included Piper PA-31 VH-SAO Sally Anne Ossgood, Chieftains VH-IXP and the mighty Partenavia VH-ECO. Ossie also run the other flying school on the airport when he could obtain or retain instructors,which had a couple of C172's and a very nice C182RG.

Amman Aviation was up and running but the Coastwatch contract was back at Skywest. Ammans operated a couple of the AC-681's on charter, a wicked looking MU-2G, a baron and a Bonanza.

Wimray was getting bigger the Baron and Navajo VH-CYY were joined by the Chieftain FDQ, and they had a flock of PA-32's. Ivan Duncan(RIP)was the chief pilot.

Executive Airlines was starting out with black Chieftain and a Baron TWO.

Paspaley Pearl had the Grumman Mallards.


Darwin Aero club was a hive of activity under Ed Plenty and Billy Hodge was the president. Flying training at Darwin, Gove and Jabiru.
They must have had a dozen aircraft from the Warriors thru to the Baron RNL.

Brolga Air had the daily freight runs out to Jabiru, Gove and Groote in Cessna C210 WMP/TET, for Wards and the mob did for TNT in the C210 MDZ.

Tillair had a few aircraft based in Darwin.

Anyone care to add?
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 08:40
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The terminal had bullet holes all through it.
There was a max exodus of the area at around 12.00 and returning around 1300, just a bit of darwin entertainment.
ATC hasn't changed, we complained then ............................
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 08:52
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I was in Darwin in the mid to late nineties, many of the companies and identities you refer to were long gone!

Fast forward to now and even more changes, not many left from the 80's but the Mallards seem to just keep going...
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 09:07
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In the 80s - just a one hour lunch !!! ........I think the place went backwards after 74
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 10:06
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It was one good lunch, a fair percentage of the partakers were government workers, briefing/met officers Civil ATCers as well as the RAAF in Darwin back then.
Start at the Berimah at 12.15 then into town for the 12.45
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 10:29
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1988 it was well and truly over my friend.
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 10:40
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Was VH-SKY, the world's highest time gutless cutlass, plying the paper run to the Alice in the late 80's?

Dr

Last edited by ForkTailedDrKiller; 23rd Jan 2008 at 11:00.
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 10:48
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Interesting stuff chaps. Do tell more.
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 11:48
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WoW Stationair8, a right blast from the old days.

(Now lets keep it clean here boys, I only mention names with fond memories. Don't start a slanging match)

Yes Doc the mighty SKY was around for a while doing that run, and they had an IFR PA32r for the bad nights.

Here are a few more names for your list S8,

Ron (the wog) Malavisi, Kester Van......, Birdie, the lovely mandy.
Bob bell and his name sake Greg, Bob (Mother) Miller, John Sherro, Mr Lawford and the LOOOOONGEze, Guido (RIP), Mal, Roy and Nobby (the Steelcon crew)

Don't forget that den of dasserdly deads down at Batchelor.
Dick and Myora Skinner, TC from the para club, clarkie and Gavin from the Norther Aus, gliding club, oh and who could forget Bex J.

And from MKT, Ray bud and the Gulf air crew.

Oh how we could go on. All the best to any who where there in those days.

richo
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 13:12
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Is it true there was once a story about SKY, with it's absolutely ridiculous amount of hours it had on it from doing those runs all the time, where the owners thought it'd be a good advert for Cessna to basically say "This is how good our aircraft still go after X amount of hours"??

The reply from Cessna was basically "Please retire this aircraft, we never intended it to do that many hours!!".

Can someone confirm or deny that?

morno
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 13:28
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"Please retire this aircraft, we never intended it to do that many hours!!".

Haven't heard that one before Morno.

Unfortunately the SKY fell in - in a fatal collison with Fiji a couple of years ago.

Dr
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 15:16
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Landing at Troffton Island to collect clam shells, before it had been reopened....
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 21:23
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I forgot about Dick and Myra Skinner and the crew at Batchelor .
A few more names and companies:
1. Gulf Air from out at Groote
2. Mannigrida Progress Association had a C210 then C310 MPZ. Brett "Brol" Lewis was based out there for a few years.
3 . The God botherers at MAF bases at Gove and Oenpelli.
4. Helimuster operating AC680 VH-EXP/Z on incendiary dropping for the controlled burn-offs for National Sparks and Wildfire
5. Air Frontier with the Aztecs and Bonanza
6. Kakadu Air
7. Armunda Airways
During the pilots dispute Air North operated a couple of x-hired F27 Friendships on the Darwin-Gove -Groote-Cairns run.
The Raaf had just opened Tindal and the FA-18 were now based there.
The first of the big Kangaroo exercises was conducted in the late 1980's, nothing like watching FA-18 beat up the airport at low level and break off and land.
The old control tower on the southern side.
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 21:37
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Watching Guido from the Aero Club Beer Garden on a friday afternoon, playing in his Sabre doing fly-bys
...as did some of the Pel-Air/Jetcraft Westwinds on departure south.

(Don't have much good to say about VH-SKY, which flew in 92/93, as that shonk QLD company undercut my quote (using Govt unemployment subsidies to pay pilots) for the Centre paper run, when I knew the Tender price NT News wanted, )

...racing off the get to the 3;45pm "Strip and Prawn" at the Sportsman bar... Lims Sunday sessions...

Do the KFC runs still go out east from Katherine each week?

Last edited by Chocks Away; 29th Dec 2013 at 08:45.
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 21:58
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Dix 'til six
The old sailing club before public service nobs
The old Stella Maris
Jesses at Parap (god ID KILL for a feed like that again)
The Latin Tavern
Wrestling the croc on the carpet at 3am in Sweethearts
Mini Mokes
Being able to walk around day or night without being humbugged,raped,stabbed or bashed

Oh....um...aviation?...er... being able to park yer car any bloody where you wanted
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 22:11
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Mini Mokes now they bring back some memories.
The guy who had the rental car business near the airport, who had the wall of photos of Darwin airport after Cyclone Tracey visit.
Pelair Westwinds and don't forget the Pelair House and the quiet pool parties!
Probably banned due to OH&S reasons now!
Airnorth had the prawn and strippers on a Friday night in the hangar.
Arnhem's Christmas party using the confiscated grog.
Arnhem's hangar complete with the bullet holes from Feb 1942.
Don't forget Ossie's ability to employ ****** chief pilots who later took up driving taxis as a career change!
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 22:25
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Probably be few ex Arnhem pilots would like driving over Ossie on the way into the new Bunnings

Is old George Washington still with us?
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 23:01
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During the pilots dispute Air North operated a couple of x-hired F27 Friendships on the Darwin-Gove -Groote-Cairns run.
Only had TQS, I have a pic of it somewhere with Airnorth painted on it.

IBJ used to fly WGS, the 421.

*sigh*

K
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 23:12
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Derek Z

I agre Ron is a great bloke, you obviously saw that old ASIC card.

TinnP, can you give more info about the Bunnings and Ozzie thing, its been a while since I was in town and I have to agree about Jessies, yum

And from the tower
Batsey, maddo, dubbo, clare and off 36 "Clear for Take-off, make early left turn, remain south of 11/29!"

Rick and Ron in the CASA office/demountable very stratigicaly placed between the the aero club and Wimray.
Lother Shierbert at Oenpelli and the "Black ......." from the Jabiru aero club.

Kim kosh the gun toting airnorth pilot/chief.

Jerry luck and the old 310 on the disused

and who could forget the monthly B52 visits. it was around this time that the B1s also came to Darwin for the first time. Anybody remember the day the Air France Concord left Darwin with a Mirage on each wing tip, well for a little while anyway.
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Old 23rd Jan 2008, 23:21
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Jessies, yum
Chef Jaffa!

A QF 767 taxiing for the old terminal, when the new terminal had opened...

Canadian registered Mallard doing a wheels up on 36...

Fitting the executive interior in and out of HWD..

"Taxi via the disused"...

8DN...Col Krohn talkback...no Bagot road flyover...

K
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