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Long Live The Heron

Old 4th Nov 2019, 09:16
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Long Live The Heron

Today’s date marks twenty five years since the last RPT flight, of the DH Heron VH-KAM.

A few photos doing the rounds on social media.

Just remember the Guid of the Heron First Officer motto, never ever touch the emergency brake lever!







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Old 4th Nov 2019, 10:13
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Good memories of them operating around bass strait in the 80’s .
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Old 4th Nov 2019, 11:05
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Originally Posted by CharlieLimaX-Ray View Post
Today’s date marks twenty five years since the last RPT flight, of the DH Heron VH-KAM.

A few photos doing the rounds on social media.

Just remember the Guid of the Heron First Officer motto, never ever touch the emergency brake lever!








ahh the good 'ole days, Swiggsy was at the helm on that last KD day
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Old 5th Nov 2019, 02:02
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Aaahhh, the Heron, my ride as a teenager when she was brand new.

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Old 5th Nov 2019, 02:47
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Hey Charlie Lima Xray, I can remember you flying me to YFLI way back then and also once almost meeting Dallas by chance early one morning.
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 02:04
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Very fond memories of VH CJS out of Jandakot in the mid 70's, wonderful aircraft.
Was in fact the first Heron built, with gypsy queen 30 engines and a fixed undercarriage.

Last edited by desertduck; 6th Nov 2019 at 02:27.
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 08:03
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Here is a recent photo of VH-KAM at the Queensland Air Museum Caloundra.



Picture: Angelo Calleja
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 10:29
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I can remember seeing a Lycoming powered Heron at Port Lincoln back around 1999. KAM perhaps?

Sounded somewhat impressive at T/O power, but still not as good a sound as a Titan! Or a certain Queenair that used to call in there on occasion, eh SMS777?
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Old 7th Nov 2019, 01:35
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Was in Alice Springs when Connair was doing the Lycoming changes to their Herons.
On the radio we could hear Bill Whitney? was it, making callouts as they sped off down the runway with a shouted NOW ! for the pilot to reef it into the air. Must have been a lot of fun playing with it to get the numbers !

Later, sadly one fell to earth nr Cairns airport in sh*t wx, killing all on board.
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Old 7th Nov 2019, 02:28
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'CJS' fuselage used to lay in the sun at JT, out in the open, sad.

Last time I saw it, a few years ago, was at the Bull Creek RAAFA Museum, fuselage only, awaiting some form of restoration / display.

Must go and have another look...one day.

Cheers
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Old 26th Dec 2020, 20:47
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Hi, I am looking for information on De Havilland Herons that were converted to Saunders Aircraft ST-27's.
They are Heron serials numbers 14019, 14050, 14051, 14054,14058 (XG603),14059 (XH375),14070,14087,14095,14097, 14112, 14129 (XM295), 14137,14141 (XR391).
I know that RAF Heron XG603 #14058 became the first Saunders Aircraft ST-27 001 conversion.

Perhaps you worked for Aviation Traders, De Havilland or Welltrade.

cheers - ken kalynuk
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Old 27th Dec 2020, 14:14
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Connair Pty Ltd Heron DH114 2E/A1 Aircraft VH-CLS crashed a few hundred metres from my house here at Holloways Beach.

The paddock is still under sugar cane,- as it was then. October 1975,- all 11 POB killed.
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Old 27th Dec 2020, 20:06
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Did Jeff Trappett ever have one of these? I recall something similar many years ago in his hangar at Latrobe Valley...
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Old 28th Dec 2020, 05:26
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Flew the Heron in Fiji decades ago. We flew it IFR single pilot with no autopilot. On long range trips to Funafuti we added a copilot and mtow of 13,500 lb. Used Loran C to navigate there. The radio guy there asked us to call ten miles out. They would then sound a siren and the locals would pull all the football goal posts out of the ground and everyone would scatter off the strip. Loved it. They were Riley Herons. Years later got checked on the Gypsy Queen engines but never flew it in service.
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Old 28th Dec 2020, 06:02
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Originally Posted by Maisk Rotum View Post
Flew the Heron in Fiji decades ago. We flew it IFR single pilot with no autopilot. On long range trips to Funafuti we added a copilot and mtow of 13,500 lb. Used Loran C to navigate there. The radio guy there asked us to call ten miles out. They would then sound a siren and the locals would pull all the football goal posts out of the ground and everyone would scatter off the strip. Loved it. They were Riley Herons. Years later got checked on the Gypsy Queen engines but never flew it in service.
At the risk of contradicting you, the Fiji Airways Herons were the Gypsy Queen originals. A couple of them had come from Indian Airlines, so were well worn by the time they ended up in Fiji, but for all that the fleet was well-maintained. There were three Mark 2s with retractable gear and a Mark 1 with fixed gear. The fixed gear machine had been badly bent in a heavy landing at Taveuni but got rebuilt to inaugurate domestic services out of Tarawa. I know they were Gypsy Queens because I still have an Engineering endorsement somewhere that allowed me to change magnetos, spark plugs and starter motors. This was so that I could operate without support out of Tarawa and get it back to the engineer based there if something broke. It was possible to hand swing a Gypsy Queen, but I doubt that would have been possible on a Riley Heron (though never flew these so don't know).
From Fiji we flew as far afield as Tarawa and Majuro, occasionally to Honiara. Navigation by sextant if above cloud, drift sight below cloud and a loop ADF if able to get a signal. When HF radio was too hard to read at least one old skipper I flew with would resort to the Morse key, though I confess my Morse was never quick enough to receive.
My logbook shows 1662 hours command on those old aircraft before upgrading to the HS 748 which we thought was the space shuttle at the time.
If Riley Herons and Loran C ever made it to Fiji it was later, perhaps with one of the smaller operators there?
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Old 28th Dec 2020, 06:43
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Sunflower Airlines had Riley Herons.

I don't think Fiji Airways was mentioned?
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Old 28th Dec 2020, 07:50
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OK, after my time then. Apologies for jumping to a conclusion. But Loran C, was that the go-to navaid later, as well?
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 18:56
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"Sunflower Airlines had Riley Herons."
They had one which Don Collingwood proudly showed me many years ago.

I think I still have the dent in my shim bone from the main spar as a souvenir of my visit.
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 22:45
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Originally Posted by tail wheel View Post
They had one which Don Collingwood proudly showed me many years ago.
That would have been DQ-FDY and Don was indeed very proud of it. One wing was crushed during a cyclone when the hangar doors blew in. Rather than write it off and buy a new one, Don imported a wing from the USA and used it to rebuild DQ-FDY. The aircraft is now in the possession of the Central Australian Aviation Museum at Alice Springs.

Fiji Air also operated Riley Herons.



Last edited by Fris B. Fairing; 29th Dec 2020 at 23:25. Reason: Fiji Air
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Old 29th Dec 2020, 22:47
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Flew Herons with Connair in 1979 based in Darwin. Very Pommy aeroplane, beautiful handling with well balanced flight controls but the usual British cockpit design. "Now where could we hide the cross-feed selector so the pilots can't see or reach it"? The cockpit door looked like a coffin lid, curved wide at the top and narrow squared off at the bottom. Pneumatic brakes and four spring-loaded switches to keep the props in sync via four blue lights. Every speed or pitch change and you had to start again. Memory fading, and my pilot notes went to the local tip years ago, but I think landing flap was 60 degrees. Steep nose down approach as if you were going to attack the earth. All flight controls, rag of course. The radios and navigational equipment were all kept in the nose. This compartment leaked like a sieve and had to be heavily masked with speed tape. Some funny stories in my memory linked to the Heron. One crew with a load of unruly 'locals' tied a tape around a teddy bear and released it out of the storm window. The slipstream took it along the window line which had the desired effect of turning the rabble into mice, facing straight ahead with wide eyes. Another crew accepted an invitation to visit town, parked the brakes but didn't secure the rudder. Waving slowly in the breeze, bled off the air and the aeroplane rolled off the apron. There were some odd performance issues as well, if you wanted more range and endurance you could achieve this by shutting down an engine. Nice to fly but a cockpit designed by a madman.
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