13 November 2018
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Established 2005
Vickers Viscount Network
A Virtual Museum dedicated to the Vickers-Armstrongs VC2 Viscount
   

Viscount c/n 45

Operational Record

Photo of Viscount c/n 45
Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA)


Australia flag Australia

This V.720 series Viscount was built for
Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) as VH-TVB

It first flew on Wednesday, 20 October 1954 at Hurn, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England powered by Rolls-Royce Dart 506 engines.


During its life this aircraft was also owned and/or operated by
Ansett-ANA


Photo of Viscount c/n 45
MacRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA)


Australia flag Australia

Its final owner/operator was
MacRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA) as VH-RMQ.

Its fate:-
Crashed 48 kms south of Port Hedland, Western Australia 31 December 1968.

MacRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA) flight 1750 departed from Perth Airport, Australia for a scheduled flight to Port Hedland Airport. All 26 on board were sadly killed.


Operational record
Photo of Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) Viscount VH-TVB

Country of Registration Australia

November 1954 to October 1962

Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA)

VH-TVB - c/n 45 - a V.720 series Viscount
Australia registered

May 1951
This was the second V.720 of six ordered by Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA).

The total value of the order was £1,934,000 including spare parts.

Production Aircraft No. 40 - the 40th production V.700 series Viscount built,
was the 8th Viscount fuselage assembled at Hurn, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England,
and the 15th Viscount assembled at Hurn, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

Production Order No. F02/720. Sales Order No. 02/88A. Stock Order No. 14/21B.

13 March 1954
Fuselage assembly commenced at Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

29 April 1954
Fuselage to Erecting Shop 'E' at Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

22 June 1954
Registered to Australian National Airlines Commission trading as Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA).

20 October 1954
First flight from Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.

David Carter illustration of Trans-Australia Airlines Viscount VH-TVB

Viscount illustrations by David Carter


25 November 1954
Departed from Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England on delivery to Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) named as 'Gregory Blaxland'.

Included in the delivery crew were Captain Manning, Navigator D Lawrence, and Radio Operator Hobbs.

It was fitted with Rolls-Royce Dart RDa3 Mark 505 engines, which were later upgraded to Mark 506 standard.

4 December 1954
Arrived at Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

12 December 1954
Entered TAA servce from Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria to Kingsford Smith Airport, Mascot, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and return.

13 December 1954
Departed from Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria on a demonstration flight to Eagle Farm Airport, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia which took 3 hours 13 minutes.

16 February 1955
Landed at the newly opened West Beach Airport, Adelaide, South Australia as the first turbine powered aircraft to do so.

The flight originated from Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria with Captain Manning and First Officer McDougall.

24 May 1955
Total airframe time recorded as 1,216 hours.

10 July 1955
Set a new 'type' record for a flight from Cairns Airport, Queensland to Townsville Airport, North Queensland which took 38 minutes. Later on the same day another 'type' record was set between Townsville Airport, North Queensland to Eagle Farm Airport, Brisbane, Queensland which took 2 hours 5 minutes. Both flights were flown with Captain H Gray in command.

23 December 1956
Set a new 'type' record for a flight from Launceston Airport, Tasmania to Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria which took 48 minutes with Captain R D Winch in command.

Converted to V.720C standard with a revised cockpit layout that included the direct vision windows.
Converted to a V.720C

circa 1957
Converted to V.720C standard with a revised cockpit layout that included replacing the slatted direct vision windows, paddle type propeller blades and propeller synchronisation equipment.

14 August 1957
Set a new 'type' record for a flight from Townsville Airport, North Queensland to Eagle Farm Airport, Brisbane, Queensland which took 1 hour 54 minutes with Captain C A Howard in command.


Painted in the Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) 'Orange Tail' livery.
Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA)
'Orange Tail' livery

circa 1959
Painted in the Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) 'Orange Tail' livery.

Painted in the Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) 'White Tail' livery.
Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA)
'White Tail' livery

circa 1961
Painted in the Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) 'White Tail' livery.

circa 1962
Weather radar was installed as a result of the accident to VH-TVC (C/N 46) and a subsequent Australian Airworthiness Directive.

7 July 1962
Leased to Ansett-ANA in full livery.


Photo of Ansett-ANA Viscount VH-TVB

Country of Registration Australia

July 1962 to August 1962

Ansett-ANA

VH-TVB - c/n 45 - a V.720 series Viscount
Australia registered

7 July 1962
Leased from Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) in basic TAA livery with ANSETT-ANA titles in a 48 seat first class configuration.

August 1962
Returned to Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA).


Photo of Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) Viscount VH-TVB

Country of Registration Australia

August 1962 to October 1962

Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA)

VH-TVB - c/n 45 - a V.720 series Viscount
Australia registered

August 1962
Returned from Ansett-ANA lease and stored at Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia outside the Ansett-ANA maintenance facility.

6 October 1962
Leased back to Ansett-ANA again in the same basic Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) livery with Ansett-ANA titles in a 48 seat first class configuration.


Photo of Ansett-ANA Viscount VH-TVB

Country of Registration Australia

October 1962 to November 1962

Ansett-ANA

VH-TVB - c/n 45 - a V.720 series Viscount
Australia registered

6 October 1962
Leased from Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) in basic TAA livery with Ansett-ANA titles in a 48 seat first class configuration.

31 October 1962
Purchased from Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) by Ansett Transport Industries Ltd (ATI), the parent company of Ansett-ANA to replace Ansett-ANA Viscount VH-TVC (C/N 46) that had crashed into Botany Bay after take off from Sydney, Australia 30 November 1961.

Total time of 18,753 hours and 13,871 total landings.

1 November 1962
Re-registered VH-RMQ.


Photo of Ansett-ANA Viscount VH-RMQ

Country of Registration Australia

November 1962 to September 1968

Ansett-ANA

VH-RMQ - c/n 45 - a V.720 series Viscount
Australia registered

1 November 1962
Re-registered from VH-TVB.

19 April 1963
Ansett Transport Industries Ltd (ATI), the parent company of Ansett-ANA became the major shareholder of MacRobertson-Miller Airlines (MMA) but continued to use the name and logo. At the time they held 70.49% of the MMA shares.

23 February 1968
Became the first Australian Viscount to reach 30,000 flying hours.

13 September 1968
Leased to MacRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA) as a replacement for VH-RMO (C/N 97).


Photo of MacRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA) Viscount VH-RMQ

Country of Registration Australia

September 1968 to December 1968

MacRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA)

VH-RMQ - c/n 45 - a V.720 series Viscount
Australia registered

13 September 1968
Leased from Ansett-ANA and ferried from Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria to Perth Airport, Western Australia.

This was a replacement for VH-RMO (C/N 97) which had been returned to Ansett for scheduled maintenance.

Repainted in full MMA 'Jetstream Service' livery named as 'R.M.A. Quininup' (a small timber logging community approximately 340 km south of Perth)

Novemer 1963
Ansett Transport Industries Ltd (ATI), the parent company of Ansett-ANA) purchased the remaining 29.51% of MMA shares having already purchased 70.49% in April 1963.

30 December 1968
The cockpit voice recorder was replaced by Airlines of Western Australia (AWA) engineer John Orr because the existing recorder was not monitoring correctly.

31 December 1968
Crashed 28 miles / 48 kilometeres south of Port Hedland, Western Australia.

MMA flight 1750 took off from Perth Airport, Australia at 08:36 Western Standard Time for the 724 mile, 189 minute scheduled flight to Port Hedland Airport, Western Australia, Australia. It was a hot day and the flight encountered light to moderate turbulence, which was not unusual for that time of the year. At 09:25 it reached flight level 190 (19,000 feet) then continued at this level on automatic pilot until 11:23 when it commenced its decent for the landing at Port Hedland Airport.

At 11:34 the first officer informed the Port Hedland Flight Service Centre that the aircraft was 30 miles south of Port Headland Airport and had reached 7,000 feet in its descent. At 11:34 and 33 seconds VH-RMQ failed to acknowledge landing information passed by the Port Hedland Flight Service Centre and it is apparent from the flight data and cockpit voice records that control of the aircraft was suddenly and unexpectedly lost 21 seconds prior to that time.

The aircraft had suffered a catastrophic failure of the starboard inner main spar that caused the whole of the starboard wing outboard of no.3 engine, including the no.4 engine, to separate from the remainder of the airframe. Immediately following this failure some components of the starboard wing struck the starboard tail plane and elevator causing the outboard portions of these two components to fail and the tail section and rear fuselage to separate from the aircraft. At the same time fuel released into the air from the ruptured fuel tanks burned momentarily and affected, superficially, some external surfaces of the aircraft.

The gyrations of the aircraft subsequent to the wing failure were violent enough to cause the other three engines to separate in flight. The remainder of the aircraft, comprising of the cabin, cockpit, port wing and the inboard portion of the starboard wing, struck the ground at 11:34 and 38 seconds in open spinifex-grassed country and was destroyed by the severe impact forces and by an intense post-impact fire.

The wreckage was found 28 miles / 43 kilometers south of Port Hedland at Indee Station by owner Colin Brierly and Captain Wilson, an aboriginal worker. Captain Brian Bayley, First Officer Michael Nelson, Senior Hostess Georgette Frances Bradshaw (24), Hostess Gail Sweetman (23), Trainee Hostess Kay Aubery (23), and 21 passengers on board sadly died in the accident. The passengers were:- Gordon Bricknell, Mr K Dyke, Mr J Colombera, Frank Arthur Burley, Mr H Price, William Charles Weir (33), Mrs Velma Dawn North, Gordon Collins (34), John Evans, Allan Marshall, Miss Juliana Penelope Diamond (nurse), Mr G Harman (19), Mr K Grace of Port Hedland, Mr J Baume, Mr M Bellew, Mr K Mountain, Mr P Burman, Mr V Degen (an engineer from Germany), Miss E Drayton (from New Zealand), Mr D Sweetman (from South Australia), and Mr R Cantwell (from New Zealand).

This accident resulted in all of the Australian V.700 series Viscounts being immediately grounded pending the results of the investigation.

31 December 1968
Registration cancelled as aircraft destroyed.

Total time 31,746 hours and 25,336 landings.

CAUSE: The accident was caused because the fatigue endurance of the starboard inner main spar lower boom had been substantially reduced by the incorrect insertion of a flared bush at the Station 143 position. The margin of safety associated with the retirement life of the inner main spar lower boom was compromised by the presence of such a defect.

A subsequent investigation into the crash revealed that the failure of the wing spar was caused by a crack originating at a bolt hole in the spar itself. The investigating officers made some considerable, although unsuccessful, efforts to discover when, why and by whom the Station 143 bush was flared and inserted into this spar boom. These efforts were hampered first of all by the fact that the boom was manufactured in 1963 in the United Kingdom and installed in VH-RMQ by ANSETT-ANA in 1964. Neither the records of the organisations involved nor the recollections of their personnel were of assistance in defining the detail of work that was done on these occasions or by whom the work was carried out. The second difficulty was to imagine a situation, arising either in manufacture or in the installation of the boom, which would induce any responsible tradesman to use the type of tools or to follow the practices that the physical evidence reflects. Although some important facts about the flaring of this bush have been established, after an elapse of four to five years there does not seem to be any strong prospect of establishing responsibility for this action.

As a result of this investigation the retirement life of the inner wing lower boom was reduced to 7,000 flights from the original 11,400 flights on all V.700 series Viscounts. This new limit did not affect V.800 series Viscounts. The Australian V.756 Viscounts were later cleared to continue operating but not the V.720 or V.747 series aircraft.

There is a memorial plaque at the crash site on Indee Station bearing the names of the flight crew. It is hoped that the names of the 21 passengers will eventually be added to the opposite side of the plaque sometime in the future. Since being erected the plaque has been moved to another location to make way for De Grey's gold mining activities, however it is expected that the plaque will be returned to its original site after the mining company moves out.

Memorial at Indee Station.
Memorial at Indee Station


Photo of BEA - British European Airways Viscount G-AOJC

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Information@VickersViscount.net.


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This website has been designed, built and is maintained by Geoff Blampied, Norwich, Norfolk, England.