The Pacific: General Aviation & Questions The place for students, instructors and charter guys in Oz, NZ and the rest of Oceania.

Where's VH-BPA??

Old 14th Mar 2009, 11:53
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Up The 116E, Stbd Turn at 32S...:-)
Age: 77
Posts: 2,711
Where's VH-BPA??

Was in Cairns a few years ago now, and was impressed with the DC-3 BPA mounted on the pole by the airport entrance. Used to live in Cairns as a kid, and got 'the bug' there.

Got a new computor over the weekend and dialled up Google Earth, and the said aircraft is nowhere to be seen....?

Do hope it has found a better home than sitting exposed to all on a pole.
Any info guys and gals??
Ex FSO GRIFFO is offline  
Old 14th Mar 2009, 12:21
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 60
Following extract from DC-3 historian Leeuw Ruud's website.

The aeroplane, originally used by Bush Pilot Airways during their 37-year existence, has been displayed there since 1984.
"We've had some concerns over the structural integrity of the aircraft for some time and a review earlier this year, recommended that we bring the plane off its location for a more detailed investigation as to the structure of the aircraft," says Cairns Ports CEO, Neil Quinn. "To do a proper investigation, we have to bring it down and make sure, the wings are properly fixed to the body of the aircraft and that nothing else would present any safety hazard to anyone moving underneath the aircraft."
A team of specialists will look at the aircraft and determine whether it can be displayed in some way, according to Mr Quinn, possibly on the ground within the airport precinct.
Mr Quinn says the airplane is important to the region's history.
"I think the aircraft has a unique bond with Cairns airport, with Bush Pilots Airways operating from the airport for a number of years. We recognise that significance and we've been in contact with the Bush Pilots Foundation which is a group of former pilots and other workers and had their views as to what the future of the aircraft may be," he says.
The DC-3, originally built in 1943, is currently located in the domestic airport carpark and will soon be moved to the General Aviation sector where further assessments will continue. No time frame has been placed on when the aircraft will be displayed again until it can be determined what's involved in repairing it.
"The next step is the detailed assessment," says Mr Quinn. "Once we have the final findings of that assessment then we will look at options as to what the future of the aircraft will be."
Bush Pilot Airways was founded by Sir Bob Norman in 1951. It ceased operating in 1988 after being bought by the then Trans Australia Airlines, now known as Qantas. In 2005, the ashes of Captain Ern Girault were scattered underneath where the DC-3 was originally perched, with a memorial plaque placed at the aircraft's base.
//end quote [IMG]****sake.jpg[/IMG] Bad, sad news! Michael Clayton forwarded this to me in Feb.2009:
"This DC-3 has been cut!
Its nose/cockpit section had been found at Mareeba Airport, on the Atherton Tablelands, not far from Syd Becks Museum. The fuselage is still at Cairns, the wings were removed..."
Quoting from the above: Mr Quinn says the airplane is important to the region's history. "I think the aircraft has a unique bond with Cairns airport.. is the usual crap from politicians. Assholes!
Fantome is offline  
Old 14th Mar 2009, 14:41
  #3 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Up The 116E, Stbd Turn at 32S...:-)
Age: 77
Posts: 2,711
Thankyou 'Fantome', for your speedy response and that very 'historic' link!

I had been hoping that BPA went to a better home due to its, 'cultural/historic' significence....

Best Regards..
Ex FSO GRIFFO is offline  
Old 14th Mar 2009, 17:14
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Atherton Tablelands..
Posts: 28
The Nose/Cockpit is sitting at NQ Warbirds at mareeba airport... Its in rather sad shape.. :-(
Me_3 is offline  
Old 15th Mar 2009, 00:09
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things
Age: 47
Posts: 184

Just for info. I helped in cutting the plane up so i know a little about it.

Some of the major parts are going to longreach for display. The cockpit is with the NQ warbirds. they are going to do it up and make a display for kids to play on.

They were orginally just going to scrap it but at least it has been saved a little.

I love how the CPA say they removed it due to structural concerns. It wouldnt have anything to do with the 150 million dollar refurbishment of the airport would it and a nice new carpark where the plane used to be.
av8trflying is offline  
Old 15th Mar 2009, 04:44
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 344
I heard that she had a heap of corrosion and was falling apart.
Engineer_aus is offline  
Old 26th Oct 2014, 13:13
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Brisbane
Age: 75
Posts: 1
Re "VH-BPA" from pole at Cairns

"To quote from Ron Cuskelly’s website, Adastron (/ Australasian DC-2 and DC-3 Census): “This aircraft was displayed on a plinth at Cairns Airport. It carried Bush Pilots’ livery and the fictitious registration VH-BPA. The aircraft was taken down from its plinth on 5 September 2008 for an inspection of its structural integrity. This is the first time that the aeroplane has come down since it was placed on display in 1984. It was to be hoped that the Cairns Port Authority would do the right thing. They didn't. The aircraft was deemed to be beyond saving and the aircraft was broken up on 16JAN09. The nose section went to Warbird Adventures at Mareeba and several components (control surfaces and undercarriage parts) went to the Qantas Founders Museum at Longreach. The remainder of the airframe was scrapped. Moral of the story - don't put aeroplanes up poles. ”

However, it was never in service with BPA.

Its previous identities were : 42-92392, FZ631,VH-EAN, VH-EBF, VH-EBU, VH-SBD, P2-SBD, P2-ANO and N5590C.

I remember when it was put up. At the time I heard that Bushies bought it from Air Niugini for spare parts. Presumably the last registration number, N5590C, would have been applied just for the ferry to Cairns.
ChipBoeingL5 is offline  
Old 26th Oct 2014, 13:57
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: eastcoastoz
Age: 72
Posts: 1,703
Correct - "Don't put aeroplanes up on poles".

The same as Albury Council did with that DC-2 from Sid Marshall's collection.
They ignored everybody's concerns to the point where it had to be taken down - beyond any reasonable chance of repair.

Anyway, hopefully a replacement can be found to commemorate 'Bushies'. (but not on a pole).
Stanwell is offline  
Old 26th Oct 2014, 16:22
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cairns FNQ
Age: 67
Posts: 165
The Small Story

Small Story Regarding VH-BPL
By Robert McKinnon

Some background. I was a Pilot with Bush Pilots Airways / Air Queensland from about 1971 – 1980
when I joined Air Niugini, where I remained until I retired in 2000.

A large part of my time with Bushies was as a DC3 Captain and one of the youngest people of the era to
fly the old bird which was the first and only aircraft I have ever flown that was older than me!

Anyway the story regarding VH-BPL!

I was approached by an Air Niugini Engineer Mark Shanley to test fly the ex Air Niugini DC3’s that had been mothballed about 1977. He introduced me to a client from San Francisco who authorised me to fly the aircraft for them after inspecting my licences and log books.

We test flew three of them, one was flown to the USA and subsequently to South America, the other two remained in Port Moresby.

At one time I called Ron Entsch up on a turn around in Cairns one night regarding another matter, he told
me that he was purchasing the ex Air Niugini DC3’s at Port Moresby and would be breaking them up and shipping them to Cairns. I told him I had recently test flown two of them and I would be happy to fly them down rather than see them scrapped.

He later contacted me to establish that this could be done.

The whole deal was arranged and three Captains from Bushies arrived in Port Moresby to assist me
in flying these aircraft back to Cairns. Ken White, Jim McGowan and Ian Best.
Ian and I being the only pilots holding a US licence.

They stayed with me for several days and copious quantities of Brown SP were consumed while we waited
for the Engineer Mark Shanley to finish the preparations to both aircraft for the flight to Cairns.

The Day finally arrived and I went to the Control Tower at Jackson’s Airport Port Moresby and requested some special departure procedures, based on the fact that this was probably the last time the DC3’s would
ever fly from there and the last of Air Niugini. The local newspapers and TV Crews were invited as well.
The Post Courier arrived with no film and the TV crews had flat batteries in their Cameras!
Such was life in Port Moresby at the time.

I requested that both Aircraft take off simultaneously on the two separate runways form up on downwind
if there were no problems and fly a formation flypast up the southern taxiway at a low altitude prior to
setting course for Cairns. This was approved and we took off, no apparent problems occurring so we
formed up and flew up the Taxiway as planned in a tight formation.

We did some feathering checks and other engine and control checks over Daugo Island prior to
departing for Cairns. This put us a little behind for our tandem ferry to Cairns from the other
aircraft flown by Ian Best and Jim McGowan.

Satisfied that the aircraft was in flying condition, we set off for Cairns on a three and a half hour flight.

Ken White and I had taken a little more time checking our aircraft and the other had got ahead a little. We were extremely short on Navigation equipment, One ADF between the two of us and our radios were
portable with the aerials out the side windows so we needed to be in visual contact.

We were supposed to be the lead aircraft and were trying to catch up which at about 150 Kts took a while. About halfway to Cairns we encountered a slow roll to the right close to 90 degrees. Full opposite controls failed to make any effect but the aircraft slowly returned to normal attitude, we were probably about
one mile behind the other aircraft at this stage and decided we got our problem from the slipstream
of the preceding aircraft.

No further problems with the flight occurred.

About 80 miles out of Cairns the Air Niugini F28 was cruising on its way to Port Moresby, the Captain Dick Glassey, the original Chief Pilot for Air Niugini, excitedly called us up to say that he could see us below and that we looked great. I quickly asked him for his DME distance, he replied that it was 80 miles I think,
and at last we had a distance to run. These were days long before GPS.

As we approached the Cairns coastline we closed up in formation for our arrival in Cairns,
that had been arranged with Cairns Tower.

We flew along the runway at a low level clean and broke off into and initial
that separated us on downwind for landing.

Cairns Airport was lined with many people taking photos and observing but I have never seen any.

We parked the Aircraft. Customs arrived and the officer said “I thought there were three?” I told him the other one was in the back of the other two! He called to his mate and said “Fred, three of them came in two!” and slapped a quarantine sticker on the door.

Of those two aircraft one is on the Pole at Cairns as a memorial to Bushies and the other was VH-BPL.

I figured that would be the final time that I would ever fly a DC3 and so far that has proved to be the case.

Great to see it has its place in fame at Longreach.
cowl flaps is offline  
Old 26th Oct 2014, 16:54
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cairns FNQ
Age: 67
Posts: 165
The Team

These gents I believe are Ken White.- Robert McKinnon,- Jim McGowan,- Ian Best & Mark Shanley.
Who is who, - I do not know except for Besty.

cowl flaps is offline  
Old 27th Oct 2014, 01:03
  #11 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Up The 116E, Stbd Turn at 32S...:-)
Age: 77
Posts: 2,711
Thankyou Gents, one and all......

Ex FSO GRIFFO is offline  
Old 27th Oct 2014, 01:07
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 1,253
Definitely Jim McGowan second from left and I'm almost certain that's Mark Shanley in the middle.
Fris B. Fairing is offline  
Old 27th Oct 2014, 01:40
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: tasman
Posts: 102
Bushie's Pilots

From the left, McKinnon, McGowan, Shanley{A.N.G.), White & Best. Incidentally, I think the real VH-BPA (C310) was sold to Pivot Pty Ltd of Port Moresby mid 80,s and became P2-PVT (????) Nowadays who knows?
sundaun is offline  
Old 27th Oct 2014, 06:27
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 4
Botswana O'Hooligan

sundaun has em in the right order
Botswana O'Hooligan is offline  
Old 27th Oct 2014, 22:45
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 158
P2-PVT is now VH-DWS, still on the register.
AussieO2 is offline  
Old 28th Oct 2014, 10:09
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: On my way to 37*55'27.29"S, 144*45'12.28"E... Again.
Age: 46
Posts: 26

In September 2008 The Boss and I were on our way through Cairns and saw that she was down off the plinth. We'd only been there a week or so before and she was still up, so it'd been a recent event. (The time stamp tells me 08/09/08, does that sound right?)
Of course I love me a bit of old aeroplane, so I bravely ignored several layers of security barrier and took a couple of snaps.
Didn't get inside, sadly - seen off by freaking-out-security folk before I got the chance.
I know she wasn't exactly 'preserved' where she was, but I feel a bit melancholy about her being brought down. Especially given she's essentially scrapped.
Oh well; that's progress, etc.

Spinner73 is offline  
Old 29th Oct 2014, 12:07
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cairns FNQ
Age: 67
Posts: 165
cowl flaps is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.