BURNETT AIRWAYS CHRONOLOGY
 
Trousdell-Air (Bundaberg) Pty Ltd
16APR68
  Official date of incorporation of Trousdell-Air (Bundaberg) Pty Ltd. See 13MAY70. (Source: 7)
07JUN68
  Queensland Dept of Transport wrote to Trousdell Air (Bundaberg) Pty Ltd in response to a telephone call on 03JUN68 requesting issue of Air Licences. (Source: 7)
17JUN68
  Ronald James Stephenson, Chartered Accountant of 53 Woongarra Street, Bundaberg wrote to DCA Brisbane attaching an application (dated 14JUN68) for a Charter and Aerial Work Licence in the name of "Trousdell-Air (Bundaberg) Pty Ltd" signing the letter as Secretary. The letter is on the letterhead of "Trousdell-Air (Bundaberg) Pty Ltd, Air Charter Service". The application declares an Authorised Share Capital of $50,000. Directors and shareholdings are R.J. Stephenson of Bundaberg ($180), R.J. Trousdell of Toowoomba ($50), D.G. Evans of Toowoomba ($180) and F.N. Evans of Bundaberg ($180), all Australian citizens. Operating headquarters is Bundaberg. Aircraft declared as "Piper Cherokee Six PA-32-300. Only one at present". Aircraft to be based in DCA hangar at Bundaberg. Operations Manual is being prepared by Mr M. Herman of Aeroservice Pty Ltd. (Source: 7)
24JUN68
  DCA advised Qld Dept of Transport that Trousdell Air (Bundaberg) has not yet lodged an application for a Charter Licence. (Source: 7)
07AUG68
  DGCA Melbourne wrote to Regional Director, DCA Qld approving application pending the issue of formal documents. (Source: 7)
19AUG68
  Regional Director, DCA Qld wrote to Trousdell-Air confirming issue of licences 1456, 1457 and 1458 valid from 28AUG68 to 27AUG69. Aircraft specified: PA-32. (Source: 7)
23AUG68
  Neil Robson, Operations Manager, Trousdell-Air wrote to DCA Brisbane requesting extension of licence to include a Piper PA-23-250 Aztec. (Source: 7)
29AUG68
  DCA Brisbane wrote to Trousdell-Air approving use of PA-23 aircraft. (Source: 7)
06SEP68
  Dept of Transport Queensland wrote to Trousdell-Air acknowledging application for an Air Licence and advising that application must be made to DCA. (Source: 7)
19SEP68
  DCA Brisbane wrote to Dept of Transport Queensland confirming that Trousdell-Air meet the requirements for the issue of a charter licence. (Source: 7)
18NOV68
  DCA Brisbane license Trousdell-Air to use PA-22-108 aircraft. (Source: 7)
24JUL69
  Neil Robson, Operations Manager, Trousdell-Air wrote to DCA Brisbane requesting amendment to aerial work licence to include dingo bait dropping. (Source: 7)
11AUG69
  DCA Brisbane wrote to Trousdell-Air approving use of PA-23 and PA-32 for aerial baiting. (Source: 7)
28AUG69
  Licences reissued to Trousdell-Air valid from 28AUG69 to 27AUG70. Aircraft specified: PA-22, PA-23 and PA-32. (Source: 7)
Burnett Airways Pty Ltd
05FEB70
  Official date of company change of name. See 13MAY70. (Source: 7)
05MAR70
  Letter from Ron J. Stephenson, Secretary to DCA Eagle Farm advising that "Trousdell-Air (Bundaberg) Pty Ltd has changed its name to Burnett Airways Pty Ltd. There has been no other change whatsoever in the structure of the Company or the staff." (Source: 7)
02APR70
  Licences reissued for Burnett Airways valid from 02APR70 to 01APR71. Aircraft types: PA-22, PA-23 and PA-32. (Source: 7)
23APR70
  DCA Brisbane wrote to Burnett Airways attaching licences in the name of Burnett Airways. (Source: 7)
13MAY70
  Office of Registrar of Companies and Commercial Acts (Qld) wrote to DCA Brisbane advising that Trousdell-Air (Bundaberg) Pty Ltd changed its name to Burnett Airways Pty Ltd on 05FEB70. Registered office is c/- Ron J. Stephenson, 1st Floor, "Sun Court", 53 Woongarra Street, Bundaberg. Directors are Francis Noel Evans of Sharon via Bundaberg, Douglas Gordon Evans of 356 Bridge Street, Toowoomba, Ronald James Stephenson (Secretary), 53 Woongarra Street, Bundaberg. The company was incorporated under its original name on 16APR68. (Source: 7)
18MAR71
  DCA Brisbane wrote to Burnett Airways authorising the use of Cessna 182 and Piper PA-28. There is no evidence in the file of Burnett Airways having requested the addition of the Cessna 182. (Source: 7)
30MAR71
  Licences reissued to Burnett Airways valid from 02APR71 to 01APR72. Aircraft types: Cessna 182, PA-22, PA-23, PA-28 and PA-32. (Source: 7)
20AUG71
  DCA Brisbane authorised the addition of PA-31 to Burnett Airways licences. The letter was handed to Mr Robson at Brisbane on this date. (Source: 7)
23AUG71
  Burnett Airways Pty Limited commenced operations with the Piper Navajo VH-PNK on services between Monto, Thangool (also serving Biloela) and Bundaberg after Ansett withdrew from the route. On the first day of operations, 19 passengers were uplifted to Bundaberg on three flights. Initially the company operated under the Ansett licence but it was announced that the company expected to have its own licence within one week. The company intends to operate three flights on Mondays, two on Wednesdays and Fridays with one flight every other day except Sunday. Burnett Airways first pilot was Neil Robson. (Source: 1)
13MAR72
  Burnett Airways applied to DCA for renewal of their licences. Submitted by Neil Robson who shows as Chief Pilot. Aircraft type PA-22 is no longer required on the licences and may be deleted. No baiting operations are taking place pending a survey of graziers. (Source: 7)
30MAR72
  Burnett Airways licences reissued valid from 02APR72 to 01APR73. Aircraft types: Cessna 182, Piper PA-23, PA-28, PA-31 and PA-32. (Source: 7)
15NOV72
  DCA Brisbane authorised addition of Cessna 402 to licences. There is no evidence in the file of Burnett Airways having requested the addition of the Cessna 402. (Source: 7)
05JAN73
  DCA Brisbane authorised the use of Cessna 402 on commuter services from 15NOV72 to 04JAN73. (Source: 7)
08JAN73
  The undercarriage of Navajo VH-PNK collapsed while the aircraft was parked unoccupied outside the Ansett terminal at Eagle Farm. While VH-PNK was being repaired the company chartered Navajo VH-CFE from Jack Brabham Aviation. (Source: JAHSA Vol 14 No 1)
15FEB73
  Burnett Airways applied for renewal of their licences. Neil Robson shows as Chief Pilot and Managing Director. Address shown as Hangar 161, Bundaberg Airport and P.O. Box 906. Aircraft specified are PA-31-310 VH-PNK and PA-32-300 VH-RJV. Non-specific are C182, PA-23 and PA-28. Nominated maintenance organisation is Burnett Airways in all categories except Radio which is shared with Skycom Electronics. (Source: 7)
19FEB73
  N. Robson, Managing Director, Burnett Airways Pty Ltd wrote to DCA, Brisbane submitting a draft of the proposed Maintenance Inspection Schedule for PA-31 VH-PNK. (Source: 8)
20MAR73
  Burnett Airways licences reissued valid from 02APR73 to 31MAR74. Aircraft types: Cessna 182, PA-23, PA-28, PA-31 and PA-32. DCA draws attention to the fact that Burnett Airways does not have insurance coverage for aerial baiting operations. (Source: 7)
12APR73
  After discussion and amendment, DCA approved the Maintenance Inspection Schedule. (Source: 8)
17MAY73
  N. Robson acknowledged the approved Maintenance Inspection Schedule and advised "We intended by now to have two PA-31 aircraft in operation, but due to some degree of procrastination this has not transpired as yet, but we anticipate a finalisation shortly." (Source: 8)
03SEP73
 

DCA Airworthiness Inspector submitted a report on engine malfunctions on PA-32-300 VH-RJV. (Source: 8)

21MAR73
Aircraft issued with new CofA and CofR after it had been in the hangar for approximately 2 years after a landing accident.
21JUN73
Aircraft suffered a partial engine failure into Brisbane. Over the next few days the aircraft made two attempts to return to Bundaberg but returned to Brisbane with abnormal engine indications.
27JUN73
Aircraft departed for Bundaberg but experienced an engine malfunction on taxi at Monto.
19JUL73
Aircraft suffered another engine malfunction.
09AUG73
Aircraft suffered an engine malfunction 8 miles SE of Bundaberg.
31AUG73
Aircraft is grounded at Bundaberg awaiting parts.

12SEP73
  DCA conducted a two-day survey of Burnett Airways at Bundaberg. Company operates and maintains PA 31 VH-PNK and PA-32 VH-RJV. Some irregularities noted. (Source: 8)
28DEC73
  DCA minute paper mentions "Carriers Liability Insurance on MBX". (Source: 7)
24JAN74
  Navajo VH-PNK experienced difficulty with lowering the undercarriage on approach to Gayndah. The pilot, Michael Poletto, decided to return to Bundaberg because the undercarriage could not be lowered manually. En route to Bundaberg the pilot managed to lower the undercarriage and the aircraft landed uneventfully at Bundaberg. The incident featured on the front page of the Bundaberg News-Mail the following day.
18FEB74
  Burnett Airways wrote to DCA with application for renewal of licences. The letter is signed by Ross Birdsall Argent, General Manager. Types specified are PA-31 VH-PNK and PA-23 VH MBX. Registered owner of VH-MBX is shown as Burnett Airways Pty Ltd. Non-specific types are PA-28, PA-32, Cessna 182 and Cessna 402. Chief Pilot is shown as D.A. Davies. (Source: 7)
25MAR74
  Department of Transport Air Transport Group (new Departmental title) wrote to Burnett Airways confirming the renewal of their licences from 01APR74 to 31MAR75. Aircraft types: Cessna 182, Cessna 402, PA-23, PA-28, PA-31 and PA-32. A note on the file queries whether the operator meets requirements to operate Cessna 402. Flying Operations note: "Pilots all checked in PA-31 - a very similar type." (Source: 7)
19APR74
  The Sydney Morning Herald announced that Burnett Airways had changed hands but the new owners were not named.
28JUN74
  Letter to DCA from Curley Air Maintenance Pty Ltd, Archerfield requesting that maintenance of Burnett Airways PA-31 VH-PNK be returned to the check system. (Source: 8)
08JUL74
Trislander VH-BSG photographed at Archerfield being stripped of paint.
29JUL74
Trislander VH-BSG photographed at Archerfield being stripped of paint.
Burnett Airways Base Moved to Brisbane
19AUG74
Burnett Airways licences were reissued to incorporate a change in operating headquarters from Bundaberg to Brisbane. (Source: 7)
The company had an office on a mezzanine in Ansett's Hangar 10 at Eagle Farm. Aircraft were ferried to Archerfield for maintenance.
18SEP74
Burnett Airways Manager, D.A. Davies wrote to DOT requesting an amendment to licences to permit the operation of the Britten Norman Trislander. (Source: 7)
20SEP74
DOT approved the use of BN-2A Mk III Trislander. (Source: 7)
17OCT74
Burnett Airways applied to DOT for approval to import three Avco Lycoming O-540-E4C5 engines (serial numbers L16425-40, L16363-40 & L16364-40) from the USA. (Source: 10)
28OCT74
DOT approved the importation of three Lycoming engines. (Source: 10)
29OCT74
Trislander VH-BSG photographed at Eagle Farm in service and fully repainted in Burnett Airways' new livery.
08JAN75
Burnett Airways Manager, D.A. Davies wrote to DOT requesting an amendment to licences to permit the operation of the Beechcraft Baron. (Source: 7)
10FEB75
DOT approved the use of the Beechcraft 55. (Source: 7)
21FEB75
Trislander VH-BSP was delivered. (Source: 7)
27FEB75
Burnett Airways wrote to DOT with application for renewal of licences. The letter is signed by Donald Andrew Davies, Manager and Chief Pilot. The application specifies Trislanders VH BSG & VH-BSP and PA-31-310 VH-PNK. Non-specific types are Cessna 402, PA-23-250 and Beech Baron. Maintenance organisations are Curley Air Maintenance Pty Ltd and Skycom Electronics. (Source: 7)
11MAR75
Letter from Stewart Wrightson (Qld) Pty Limited (Incorporated Insurance Brokers) to DOT confirming that "B.H. Buckley/Burnett Airways Pty Ltd have arranged Passenger Liability cover in respect of Piper Aztec VH-MBX and Piper Navajo VH-PNK." A hand-written note states that "Cessna 401 VH-BMV & two Trislanders" are covered. (Source: 7)
(Note: The registration of the C401 was written as BMB with the last letter over-written V. However, neither BMB or BMV were Cessna 401s. VH-BMN is suspected.)
12MAR75
Burnett Airways Manager, D.A. Davies wrote to DOT requesting an amendment to licences to permit the operation of the Cessna 401A. (Source: 7)
27MAR75
DOT wrote to Burnett Airways confirming the renewal of their licences from 01APR75 to 31MAR76. Aircraft types: Beech 55, Trislander, Cessna 182, Cessna 401, Cessna 402, PA 23, PA-28, PA-31 and PA-32. (Source: 7)
15APR75
The company announced that they were awaiting Department of Transport approval to commence a regular service from Brisbane to Warwick and Stanthorpe from 02MAY75 using Trislander aircraft. (Source: JAHSA Vol 16 No 2)
06MAY75
The service from Brisbane to Warwick and Stanthorpe commenced. (Source: Andy Anderson who was on the aircraft)
26SEP75
D.A. Davies, General Manager, Burnett Airways, Eagle Farm wrote to Dept of Transport requesting changes to maintenance system of PA-31 VH-PNK to bring it into line with the Trislanders. File includes weekly utilisation figures for Trislanders VH-BSG and VH-BSP and Navajo VH-PNK. (Source: 8)
OCT75
The company commenced operating several Ansett routes previously operated by Nationwide Air Services. Routes flown were Rockhampton to Longreach via Blackwater, Clermont, Emerald & Alpha and Brisbane to Cunnamulla via Goondiwindi, St George & Dirranbandi. (Source: JAHSA Vol 16 No 5)
31OCT75
D.A. Davies, General Manager, Burnett Airways, Eagle Farm wrote to Dept of Transport submitting Maintenance Manual for approval. Accompanying hand-written notes refer to "Navajo & Aztec aircraft" in addition to Trislander. (Source: 8)
23FEB76

Burnett Airways ceased operations with their routes and Trislander VH-BSP being taken over by Bush Pilots Airways. Trislander VH-BSG was leased for two weeks while VH-BSP was flown to Cairns for repainting in BPA colours. The former Burnett Airways routes were flown by Trislander VH-BSG and BPA's newly delivered Trislander VH-BPH. The routes Rockhampton-Blackwater-Clermont-Emerald-Alpha-Barcaldine-Longreach and Brisbane-Goondiwindi-St George-Dirranbandi-Cunnamulla are operated under contract to Ansett. The route Brisbane-Gayndah-Thangool-Rockhampton was operated under Burnett Airways' own licence. (Source: JAHSA Vol 17 No 2)

The Bush Pilots Airways perspective:

"Two years later, in February 1976, Ansett negotiated a contract with BPA to service, from Rockhampton, the western towns of Alpha, Barcaldine, and Longreach, and also the coal-mining towns of Blackwater, Emerald, and Clermont; and from Brisbane, the towns of Gayndah, Monto and Biloela in the Central Highlands, and Goondiwindi, St. George, Dirranbandi and Cunnamulla in the south west. Ansett-ANA had held the licence for these routes from its earlier takeover of Queensland Airlines Limited. With the demise of QAL, Ansett chartered Nationwide Air Services, then Burnett Airways, to conduct the flights in accordance with Ansett's timetable. Ansett set the rules and the amount it would pay for the charters. First Nationwide and then Burnett went out of business, so Ansett brokered a deal whereby BPA would inherit Burnett's fleet of Britten-Norman Trislanders (BN3) to continue the service. However, only twenty months later Ansett-ANA pulled out of the deal. They relinquished the licence to BPA and told them they were on their own. So Bushies were stuck with the BN3s, which, though economical, were totally unsuited to long-haul passenger travel. They were much too noisy and ventilation was poor."

(Source: Bushies - A History of Bush Pilots - Air Queensland by Ron Entsch 2001, page 129).
01JUL76
A DOT administrative message states: "Licence Nos 1458, 1457, 1456 for Burnett Airways Pty Ltd lapsed 31/3/76 company then in the hands of receiver." (Source: 7)

 

 

BURNETT AIRWAYS AIRCRAFT
 
CHEROKEE SIX VH-RJV


Piper Cherokee Six VH-RJV awaiting sale at Moorabbin in January 1974. Note that the aeroplane wears a similar colour scheme to that carried by Navajo VH-PNK when it entered service with Burnett Airways. In the absence of photographic evidence, it is most likely that VH-RJV carried Burnett Airways titles. Picture: Mike Madden

 

NAVAJO VH-PNK


Navajo VH-PNK, began its flying career with Patair in Papua New Guinea. It is seen here at Tapini, a sloping one way strip, on 22 August 1968. In Patair service the aeroplane was named Mount Giluwe. The photographer, who travelled on the aircraft, recalls that the airline went to great lengths to preserve the pristine interior of the aircraft and that the seat covers were white. Freight and awkward passenger baggage such as toolboxes were relegated to the accompanying Piaggio P166 in the background. Nevertheless, when the aeroplane came to Burnett Airways in 1971 it was well worn. Picture: Roger McDonald

 


Navajo VH-PNK photographed at Brisbane Eagle Farm on 24 May 1974.
Picture: Ron Cuskelly (F166)

 


By late 1974 the aeroplane was long overdue for a repaint which was being performed progressively at Archerfield when the Australian Labor Party were looking for a charter aircraft for their campaign for the forthcoming state election which was announced on 23 October 1974 to be held on 7 December 1974. VH-PNK was pressed into service emblazoned with the ALP's slogan Let's Go! in bright red paint. This photograph was taken at Brisbane Eagle Farm on 22 November 1974. The aircraft is parked on the Ansett apron as they were Burnett Airways' handling agents.
Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H121)

 


VH-PNK was photographed at Eagle Farm just three days later on 25 November 1974 with the ALP slogan removed. It is rumoured that the sitting National-Liberal coalition government headed by Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen had pulled strings to invoke legislation prohibiting advertising on aircraft!
Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H183)

 


VH-PNK was photographed on the western apron at Eagle Farm on 7 December 1974 (coincidentally the date of the election) resplendent in the new Burnett Airways livery as worn by the Trislander.
Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H199)

 


VH-PNK was photographed on the western apron at Eagle Farm on 9 January 1975.
Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H212)

 

AZTEC VH-MBX

Although it never carried Burnett Airways titles or livery, Piper Aztec VH-MBX was used as a standby aircraft and crew taxi. It was photographed on the western apron at Eagle Farm on 3 August 1974. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (G035)


Aztec VH-MBX operating a Burnett Airways service from Gayndah on 7 August 1974.
Picture: Geoff Goodall

 


Aztec VH-MBX operating a Burnett Airways service from Biloela in April 1975.
Picture: Geoff Goodall

 

CESSNA 182J VH-RHO

Cessna 182J VH-RHO at Bankstown in March 1976. The type was added to Burnett Airways' licence in March 1971. Picture: David Carter

 

TRISLANDER VH-BSG


Britten-Norman BN-2A Mk.III Trislander N85CA at Archerfield in July 1974. The aircraft still carries the markings of its previous operator Cavico of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The aircraft subsequently entered service with Burnett Airways as VH-BSG. Picture: Ron Cuskelly Collection (F343)

 


Britten-Norman BN-2A Mk.III Trislander N85CA being stripped of paint at Archerfield on 8 July 1974. The aircraft subsequently entered service with Burnett Airways as VH-BSG. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (F323)

 


Britten-Norman BN-2A Mk.III Trislander N85CA being stripped of paint at Archerfield on 29 July 1974. The aircraft subsequently entered service with Burnett Airways as VH-BSG. Picture: Roger McDonald

 


Resplendent in its new livery, VH-BSG shares the Ansett apron at Eagle Farm with another distinguished trimotor on 29 October 1974. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H081)

 


Resplendent in its new livery, VH-BSG was photographed on the western apron at Eagle Farm on 29 October 1974. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H084)

 


VH-BSG on the western apron at Eagle Farm on 22 March 1975 after returning from an AHSA charter to Oakey in company with her sistership VH-BSP. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H287)

 

TRISLANDER VH-BSP


VH-BSP was photographed on the western apron at Eagle Farm on 22 February 1975, the day after it was delivered brand new from the U.K. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H232)

 


VH-BSP was photographed on the western apron at Eagle Farm on 22 February 1975, the day after it was delivered brand new from the U.K. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H233)

 


VH-BSP photographed from sistership VH-BSG en route from Brisbane to Oakey on 22 March 1975. Both Trislanders were chartered by the Aviation Historical Society of Australia for a visit to the Army Aviation base at Oakey. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (H262)

 


Just one week after the AHSA charter, VH-BSP was photographed at Sydney Kingsford Smith on 29 March 1975 having flown a group of marching girls from Brisbane. Picture: Eric Favelle

 

THE BURNETT AIRWAYS FLEET


The entire Burnett Airways fleet was photographed together on the western apron at Eagle Farm on 19 July 1975. The aircraft are left to right, Trislanders VH-BSG, VH-BSP and Navajo Chieftain VH-PNK Picture: Ron Cuskelly (I070)

 

BURNETT AIRWAYS AIRCRAFT
Registration
Type
MSN
VH-RJV
Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six
32-40068
History
05APR68
Registered to Trousdell Air Pty Ltd, Toowoomba.
05APR68
(Same day) Registered to Burnett Airways Pty Ltd, 53 Woongarra Street, Bundaberg, Qld.
27MAR71
Damaged at Beranjando, Qld and cancelled from register same day.
21MAR73
Restored to register Burnett Airways Pty Ltd, Bundaberg, Qld.
21MAR73
Aircraft issued with new CofA and CofR after it had been in the hangar for approximately 2 years after a landing accident. (Source: 8)
21JUN73
DCA Airworthiness Inspector's report on engine malfunctions on PA-32-300 VH-RJV. Aircraft suffered a partial engine failure into Brisbane. Over the next few days the aircraft made two attempts to return to Bundaberg but returned to Brisbane with abnormal engine indications. (Source: 8)
27JUN73
Aircraft departed for Bundaberg but experienced an engine malfunction on taxi at Monto. (Source: 8)
19JUL73
Aircraft suffered another engine malfunction. (Source: 8)
09AUG73
Aircraft suffered an engine malfunction 8 miles SE of Bundaberg. (Source: 8)
31AUG73
Aircraft is grounded at Bundaberg awaiting parts. (Source: 8)
23JAN74
Registered to BS Stillwell CFS Pty Ltd, Cheltenham, Vic.
06MAY74
Registered to GA Baulch, Robe, SA.
03AUG74
Damaged 33nm N Kingston, SA.
31JAN79
Registered to Alexander Lloyd, Ballarat, Vic.
21FEB86
Registered to Civil Flying Services Pty Ltd, Cheltenham, Vic.
27MAR86
Registered to Ronald Bartley, Glen Waverly, Vic.
03NOV87
Registered to Wholesale Insurance Agencies Pty Ltd, Kent Town, SA.
12SEP88
Registered to Island Air Pty Ltd, Frewville, SA.
17SEP90
Registered to Civil Aircraft Sales, Division of Civil Flying Services, Bankstown Airport, NSW.
17SEP90
Registered to Barry Frederickson, Mackay, Qld.
01AUG91
Registered to Gammadell Pty Ltd, Trading as Osprey Aircraft Hire, Mackay, Qld.
22AUG01
Registered to Aero-Professional Services Pty Ltd, Emerald, Qld.
19NOV01
Registered to Aero-Professional Services, Emerald Pty Ltd, Emerald, Qld. Current.
Registration
Type
MSN
VH-PNK
Piper PA-31 Navajo
31-72
History
01DEC67
Reg to Papuan Airlines Pty Ltd, Port Moresby, PNG.
08APR71
Registered to Ansett General Aviation Pty Ltd, Bankstown, NSW.
10APR71
Cancelled. Withdrawn from use for overhaul.
13AUG71
Registered to ATI (Operations) Pty Ltd, Trading as Ansett General Aviation, Bankstown, NSW.
20AUG71
DCA Brisbane authorised the addition of PA-31 to Burnett Airways licences. The letter was handed to Mr Robson at Brisbane on this date. (Source: 7)
23AUG71
Burnett Airways Pty Limited commenced operations with the Piper Navajo VH-PNK on services between Monto, Thangool (also serving Biloela) and Bundaberg after Ansett withdrew from the route. On the first day of operations, 19 passengers were uplifted to Bundaberg on three flights. Initially the company operated under the Ansett licence but it was announced that the company expected to have its own licence within one week. The company intends to operate three flights on Mondays, two on Wednesdays and Fridays with one flight every other day except Sunday. Burnett Airways first pilot was Neil Robson. (Source: 1)
03SEP71
Registered to Burnett Airways Pty Ltd, Bundaberg, Qld.
17NOV76
Registered to ATI (Operations) Pty Ltd, Trading as Ansett General Aviation, Bankstown, NSW.
18JUL77
Registered to CG Smith Properties Pty Ltd, Coffs Harbour, NSW.
01MAY81
Registered to Smith Air Pty Ltd, Coffs Harbour, NSW.
03DEC82
Damaged by arsonist at Coffs Harbour, NSW. Cancelled from Register same date.
Registration
Type
MSN
VH-MBX
Piper PA-23-250 Aztec B
27-2007
History
09JUL65
Reg N5007Y to Capitol Aviation Inc, Springfield, IL.
12DEC67
Cancelled from the U.S. Register as exported to Australia.
14DEC67
Registered VH-MBX to Australian Air Charterers Pty Ltd, First Avenue, Moorabbin, Vic.
23AUG68
Neil Robson, Operations Manager, Trousdell-Air (Bundaberg) Pty Ltd wrote to DCA Brisbane requesting extension of their licence to include a Piper PA-23-250 Aztec. (Source: 7)
29AUG68
DCA Brisbane wrote to Trousdell-Air approving use of PA-23 aircraft. (Source: 7)
17MAY72
Registered to B.S. Stillwell/Civil Flying Services Pty Ltd, 142 Cotham Road, Kew, Vic.
30MAY73
Registered to B.H. Buckley, P O Box 115, Coffs Harbour, NSW. Bruce Buckley had an interest in Burnett Airways and VH-MBX was used as a backup aircraft for Navajo VH-PNK but the Aztec never carried Burnett Airways titles.
28DEC73
DCA minute paper in Burnett Airways' file mentions "Carriers Liability Insurance on MBX". (Source: 7)
18FEB74
Burnett Airways wrote to DCA with an application for renewal of their licences. The letter is signed by Ross Birdsall Argent, General Manager. Types specified are PA-31 VH-PNK and PA-23 VH MBX. Registered owner of VH-MBX is shown as Burnett Airways Pty Ltd. Non-specific types are PA-28, PA-32, Cessna 182 and Cessna 402. (Source: 7)
11MAR75
Letter from Stewart Wrightson (Qld) Pty Limited (Incorporated Insurance Brokers) to DOT confirming that "B.H. Buckley/Burnett Airways Pty Ltd have arranged Passenger Liability cover in respect of Piper Aztec VH-MBX and Piper Navajo VH-PNK." (Source: 7)
01NOV76
Registered to Hard-Facing Alloys (Sales) Pty Ltd, P O Box 16, Woodridge, Qld.
17JAN83
Registered to P. Kelly, 6 Bugden Street, Brighton, Qld.
08JUN84
Registered to Ronald S. Kuch trading as Kuch Aviation, Hangar 56, Cairns Airport.
06DEC92
Report in The Sunday-Mail that the aircraft has been seized by Cairns Port Authority in lieu of unpaid parking fees due Kuch Aviation in receivership.
21JAN93
Cairns Port Authority accepted a bid from the Queensland Air Museum.
15APR93
Struck off Register.
16APR93
Ownership passed to QAM.
24APR93
Aircraft arrived at QAM, Caloundra by road. Source: QAM website
Registration
Type
MSN
VH-RHO
Cessna 182J Skylane
18256694
History
14OCT65
Registered N8594S.
04NOV65
Cancelled as exported to Australia.
06JUN66
Registered VH-RHO to Rex Aviation, Archerfield Qld.
JUL67
Registered owner Lease & Industrial Finance Pty Ltd, 30 Herschell Street, Brisbane.
18MAR71
DCA approved the addition of Cessna 182 to Burnett Airways licences.
12NOV74
Flown Bundaberg-Monto-Bundaberg by Don Davies and Andy Anderson.
04FEB75
Flown Bundaberg-Monto-Bundaberg by Don Davies and Andy Anderson.
MAR76
Photographed at Bankstown wearing titles Lease Industrial Finance Limited Brisbane.
17MAY94
Registered P2-RHO.
-
Withdrawn from use.
Registration
Type
MSN
VH-BSG
Britten Norman BN-2A MkIII-1 Trislander
279
History
-
Issued with Class B markings G-51-279. (Source: 4)
03JUN71
Registered G-AYZR. (Source: 5)
24JUN71
First flown. (Source: 4)
30JUN71
Delivered to ISC/Cavico, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1-7JUL71
Competed in the London-Victoria Air Race flown by Hon. H. W. Astor, Sir William Dugdale and Captain Joe Blyth. Race #61. Placed 22nd overall. This was the first Atlantic crossing by a Trislander. (Source: 4)
27AUG71
Cancelled from UK Register on sale to USA. (Source: 5)
27AUG71
Registered N85CA to Cavico/Alamo, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Source: 4 & 6)
08JUL74
Photographed at Archerfield being stripped of paint.
29JUL74
Photographed at Archerfield being stripped of paint.
23AUG74
Registered to Burnett Airways Pty Ltd, Hamilton, Qld.
18SEP74
Burnett Airways Manager, D.A. Davies wrote to DOT requesting an amendment to licences to permit the operation of the Britten Norman Trislander. (Source: 7)
20SEP74
DOT approve the addition of the Trislander to Burnett Airways licences. (Source: 7)
17OCT74
Burnett Airways applied to DOT for approval to import three Avco Lycoming O-540-E4C5 engines (serial numbers L16425-40, L16363-40 & L16364-40) from the USA. (Source: 10)
28OCT74
DOT approved the importation of three Lycoming engines. (Source: 10)
29OCT74
Photographed at Eagle Farm fully repainted and in service with Burnett Airways.
10NOV76
Registered to Island Air Pty Ltd, Toowoomba North, Qld.
09NOV79
Registered to Falcon and Sopac Transport Pty Ltd, Sydney, NSW.
17NOV80
Crashed at Annanberg, PNG Take-off was rejected, overran the strip and ended up in the river. The pilot survived but four local passengers perished. The engines and some instruments were salvaged and sold to Douglas Airways. The airframe was abandoned in the river.
17JUN81
Cancelled from the Australian Register.
Registration
Type
MSN
VH-BSP
Britten Norman BN-2A MkIII-1 Trislander
372
History
-
Issued with Class B markings G-51-372. (Source: 4)
06MAY74
Registered G-BCEG. (Source: 5)
23JUL74
First flown. (Source: 4)
06DEC74
Delivered to Islander Aircraft Sales Pty Ltd, Lakemba, NSW. (Source: 4)
10FEB75
Cancelled from UK Register. (Source: 5)
12FEB75
Registered to Burnett Airway Pty Ltd, Hamilton, Qld.
21FEB75
Arrived at Brisbane, Eagle Farm on delivery to Burnett Airways.
08JUL76
Registered to Bush Pilots Airways Ltd, Cairns, Qld.
08JAN82
Registered to Air Queensland Ltd, Cairns, Qld.
06APR83
Cancelled on sale to US. N38535 was not taken up.
06SEP83
Registered P2-DNP to Douglas Airways.
14OCT91
Cancelled from PNG Register on return to VH-BSP.
01NOV91
Registered to Janlin Pty Ltd, Trading as Cape York Air Services, North Sydney, NSW.
16JAN96
Registered to Steven Cooper, Cheltenham, Vic.
04OCT96
Registered to Yengrain Pty Ltd, Trading as Bumblebee Air, Belgian Gardens, Qld.
22DEC97
Registered to Marine Air Services Pty Ltd, Fairfield, Vic.
25MAR99
Registered to Gee Bee Air Pty Ltd, Double Bay, NSW.
20DEC02
Cancelled on sale to New Zealand as ZK-LGR.
23DEC02
Registered to Great Barrier Airlines Flight Operations Ltd, Auckland.
05AUG13
Registration cancelled. Withdrawn from use and stored at North Shore, NZ.

 

With the exception of the Cherokee Six and the Cessna 182, these aircraft were in service when Burnett Airways ceased operations on 23FEB76.

Registration details kindly supplied by Tony Arbon, AustAirData

 

AIRCRAFT TYPES ON BURNETT AIRWAYS LICENCES
(Listed in order of licensing)
Type
Licensed
Remarks
Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six
19AUG68
VH-RJV
Piper PA-23-250 Aztec
29AUG68
VH-MBX
Piper PA-22-108 Colt
18NOV68
No specific aircraft identified. (Note: 1)
Type removed from licence 30MAR72.
Cessna 182J Skylane
18MAR71
VH-RHO
Piper PA-28 Cherokee
18MAR71
No specific aircraft identified.
It is known that the Bundaberg Aero Club did at least one charter flight to Thangool and Monto on behalf of Burnett Airways in Piper PA-28-180D VH-CVM on 21DEC71 but it is not known if this was the aircraft covered by Burnett Airways' licence. (Source: 2)
Piper PA-31-310 Navajo
20AUG71
VH-PNK
Cessna 402
15NOV72
No specific aircraft identified. (Note: 1)
Nationwide Air Services Cessna 402A VH-ELT was photographed in Bundaberg around this time but it is not known if its presence was related to Burnett Airways. (Source: 2)
Britten Norman BN-2A Mk III Trislander
20SEP74
VH-BSG, VH-BSP
Beech 55 Baron
10FEB75
No specific aircraft identified. (Note: 1)
Cessna 401A
27MAR75
A hand-written notation on a letter regarding insurance mentions VH-BMB with the last letter overwritten V. However VH-BMB and VH-BMV were not Cessna 401s. One possibility is VH-BMN which was active in the Brisbane area at the time.

 

Note 1: It is not known if this type was actually operated.

 

BURNETT AIRWAYS STAFF
Anderson, Andy Co-Pilot/Radio Operator (Trislander). Started as General Hand September 1974. Left June 1975.
Argent, Ross Birdsall General Manager 1974.
Buckley, Bruce H. Owner of Aztec VH-MBX. Connected with Burnett but details unknown.
Clothier, Kev Pilot, Brisbane. Started early 1975.
Crittenden, Don Pilot, Bundaberg and Brisbane. Left circa late 1975.
Davies, Donald Andrew General Manager and Chief Pilot, Brisbane.
DeVries, John Pilot, Brisbane. Started circa September 1974.
Enklemann, Barry Pilot, Brisbane. Started early 1975.
Evans, Douglas Gordon Director and Shareholder, Toowoomba 1968.
Evans, Francis Noel Director and Shareholder, Bundaberg 1968.
Poletto, Mike Pilot, Bundaberg and Brisbane. Left December 1974.
Rhaman, N. (?) Pilot, Bundaberg 1973.
Robson, Neil Managing Director and Chief Pilot, Bundaberg 1968.
Stephenson, Ronald James Chartered Accountant, Secretary and Shareholder, Bundaberg 1968.
Trousdell, R.J. Director and Shareholder, Toowoomba 1968.
(?) Maria Office staff
(?) Pam Office staff

Please contact the Webmaster with any additions or corrections.

 

 

TIMETABLES & PUBLICITY


Click on the image to read more

 

 

SOURCES
1
Roger McDonald
2
Andy Anderson
3
Tony Arbon - AustAirData
4
BN Historians, The First 500, 1974
5
G-INFO
6
Freebird Aviation Database
7
NAA: J23, 1970/5223 PART 1 Air Transport - Burnett Airways Pty Ltd - charter and aerial work licence
8
NAA: J23, 1973/13 PART 1 Airworthiness - approved organisation - Burnett Airways Pty Ltd - maintenance systems
9
JAHSA = Journal of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia
10
NAA: J23, 1974/1625 PART 1 Burnett Airways - Applications for Import of Aircraft and Spares
 

 

Issue
Date
Remarks
10
04JUL21
Added a reference to the importation of three Lycoming engines in OCT74 from Source 10.
9
03JUL21
Expanded aircraft histories from Sources 7 and 8.
8
02JUL21
Chronology and staff list greatly expanded from sources 7 & 8 (NAA) thanks to Roger McDonald. Added a table of licensed aircraft types.
Added an image of Cessna 182 VH-RHO thanks to David Carter.
7
18JUN21
Layout of aircraft history table completely revised.
6
12JUN21
Added another image of Trislander VH-BSG thanks to Roger McDonald.
5
11JUN21
Added Cherokee Six VH-RJV to the fleet. Thanks to Tony Arbon for its full history.
4
08JUN21
Added the Bush Pilots Airways perspective at FEB76.
3
04JUN21
Added detailed histories of each aircraft. Thanks to Tony Arbon, AustAirData.
Added an account of operating the Trislander thanks to Andy Anderson.
2
02JUN21
Added an image of VH-PNK in Patair livery. Thanks to Roger McDonald.
1
01JUN21
Original issue.

 

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