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-   -   TAA Cessna 180's in PNG (https://www.pprune.org/pacific-general-aviation-questions/337283-taa-cessna-180s-png.html)

Critical Reynolds No 31st Jul 2008 05:50

TAA Cessna 180's in PNG
Hi All,

I recently spent a few hours at the TAA Museum at Airport West in VIC. If you haven't been there, you must. Not only does it have TAA but also Australian, Ansett and a bit of QF (well it is the QF building!).

I saw a little model of a Cessna 180 that was used by the Sunbird services in PNG. Does anyone have any further information regarding this? How many did they use, reasons, when etc? Would anyone have any pictures?

The chaps there really didn't know much about them.

Thanks in advance

185skywagon 31st Jul 2008 06:32

like this? Actually a C185 not 180.

Courtesy John Hopton collection.

VH SBU Cessna 185A -429 TAA Airlines of NG PIAS 71 10-Aug-62 N1629Z - Sold to STOL 17 Dec 1965 -
VH SBU Cessna 185A -429 STOL Commuters CAA Reg 70 - - - - -
VH SBU Cessna 185A -277 Leahy J & R PIAS 71 27-Nov-70 VH-BPB - No Information Available -
VH SBU Cessna 185A -429 Ansett Airlines of P-NG PIAS 71 - N1629Z - Sold 27 Nov 1970 R Leahy -

Critical Reynolds No 31st Jul 2008 07:49

Thanks 185SW,

The display model had Cessna 180 and 182 as labels. Thanks for clearing it up and thanks for the pictures and info!!

185skywagon 31st Jul 2008 08:05

I should imagine that there would be some wonderful characters from the PNG thread, who could name some of the people in these photos.


18-Wheeler 31st Jul 2008 08:28

My father used to fly those in PNG, he'll be along later to try to answer your questions.

Critical Reynolds No 31st Jul 2008 09:25

Thanks all,
Look forward to all the responses.

Apart from a bigger donk, what is the difference between a 180 and 185? I thought they were pretty much the same machine with more power in the 185.

ForkTailedDrKiller 31st Jul 2008 10:24

what is the difference between a 180 and 185
I wouldn't bet my left nut on it (or the right one for that matter) but my recollection is that you are correct - the C180 and the C185 share the same airframe. The 180 I used to fly had the same engine as the C182 (230 hp ?) while the C185s had 285 and 300 hp IO520s.

Dr :8

Torres 31st Jul 2008 10:34

I seriously doubt TAA ever had C180s in PNG but 18 Wheeler's dad will remember.

In the late '50's when C170s and C180s were operated in PNG, TAA were not operating in PNG, only Qantas and Ansett. When TAA arrived, the C170s/C180s had all but gone, to be replaced with C185s and later C206 and C336.

"VH SBU Cessna 185A -429 Ansett Airlines of P-NG PIAS 71 - N1629Z - Sold 27 Nov 1970 R Leahy"
I'm guessing here but I suspect this may be the C185 that Richard dropped into the lake in the island volcano (name alludes me), recovered and rebuilt the aircraft and I think still has it?

The Sunbird Services .... my introduction to PNG was traveling on the Sunbird Catalina from Port Morbid to Samarai. I heard that Catalina is flying again in New Zealand?

yerex 31st Jul 2008 18:03

Torres, FLZ A C185F was Richard's effort at Long Island (which he subsequently recovered but never flew again) Originally FLZ was Catholic Mission at Wewak. Carl Wagels tore a leg out of it departing Pumacos (near Wapenamunda) and gutsed it onto Goroka for TAL to repair.Richard now flies MJL which be bought new in the 80's. SBU was "Fatty" Hawkin's steed in the 60's and it was in this aircraft he was labelled Capt Jetstream due to short flight times doing Daru fish-runs!, I recall seeing parts from SBU in Denis' Goroka hangar in early 70's after an accident, so it probably contributed to SE?.If I remember correctlly, Fatty flew the King Ranch 185 KRD in Aust. prior to joining TAA. This aircraft also contributed to a SE?

TAU MATAMATA 31st Jul 2008 20:52

Your left nut is safe.However,on the C180 the fairing in front of the fin was much lower.

tinpis 31st Jul 2008 22:29

Will have a gander in th old log book rings a bit of a bell
Was in Lae when Richard took the 185 for a swim in Long Island lake
Bloody lucky man.
Fattys mount in those days was the SeaBee resplendent in TAA(generously donated?) paint job :}

Fris B. Fairing 31st Jul 2008 23:29


The Sunbird Catalina is in NZ under restoration by the RNZAF Museum at Wigram. It will be static display only however (but I don't have a problem with that).

Didn't the C185 have an extra window as well?


Feather #3 31st Jul 2008 23:42

Um, with all due respect to the good old FTDK's wot'nots, I think you'll find that the C185 is slightly stretched compared to the C180.

Chuck will sort it when he appears.

G'day ;)

Bedder believeit 31st Jul 2008 23:44

I worked for a GA charter company in Lae in 1967 - '68 and I remember well the TAA Sunbird C185 operating out of there. I was also standing near the side of old Runway 14 at Lae in '68 when the last ANSETT-ANA electra departed and did a high speed run down the runway and (what appeared to be) an almost vertical climb at about 300KTS off the end of the runway.

tinpis 31st Jul 2008 23:46

The 180 progressed through various models, with engine upgrades, until the 180G, with a third cabin window and seating for six.
Will leave it to Chuckles

185skywagon 1st Aug 2008 00:21

The 180/185 airframes are essentially the same from the introduction of the 185 (1961) and the 180G (3rd window).

180 airfarmes from 1953 till the introduction of the 180G, were pretty much where the early 182 (1956) through 182B (1959) came from.

The fuselage length in the 3 window models 180/185, are the same.

The 185 is constructed with larger and closer pitched rivets in the front doorpost area and wingspar compared to the 180. It also has thicker wingstruts(same size as the C206).

The 185's vertical fin dorsal area is larger than the 180's except later C180's with the Seaplane kit(which share the 185's vert fin).

185's had 260hp IO-470-F till the 185E model about 1966, after which the IO-520-D (285/300hp) was standard.
I use to own SIA which was sn 427, 2 numbers earlier than SBU.

yerex 1st Aug 2008 01:01

TAA Cessna's
If I remember correctly, TAA only had the one C185 in TPNG as a "company hack" They had previously operated single Otters (Earl Partridge & Co) commercially, but I don't know if the C185 did much? Ansett MAL however got into lighties in a big way much to Denis' pleasure 7 years on.

tinpis 1st Aug 2008 01:10

C180 v 185 the former being a much sweeter hairyplane IMHO :rolleyes:

Im SURE the Sunbird 185 was on the mural painted on the stairwell wall of the Bird of Paralyse GKA ..um ...Dennis Faithful?

185skywagon 1st Aug 2008 02:21

Haven't flown any early 180's, but the early 185 is certainly nicer to fly than the one I have now (1979 model).


tinpis 1st Aug 2008 02:31

Woulda been great if they put sticks in em ala Birdog ...and overhead trim

*yeah dream on tin*

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