The month produced perhaps the most significant arrival here for many years when the DC-4 Skymaster N9013V touched down on rw33 at Cairns on the 15th, the first time in 15 years that an active Skymaster had graced the skies of this country. It was 1980 when the last Australian Skymaster (an Air Express example) left our shores after sale to Zantop in the USA. The headline read “Skymaster conquers the Pacific”, the usual ill- informed media hype ignoring the fact that Skymasters had been crossing the Pacific since WW11. The DC-4 is to be operated by a Queensland Freight Company named Pacific Air Freighters based at Archerfield, Queensland.
The trans-Pacific ferry departed the west coast of the USA for Hilo on its first leg and was completed in 14hrs 5mins. It was then down the well worn ferry track to Majuro where on arrival some trouble shooting was performed on the no.2 engine. Following rectification it departed for Honiara, but during this leg the no.2 began rough running again and the offending powerplant was shut down. The problem could not be fixed after arrival so it was decided to continue the on to Cairns on three engines.
This leg was completed in 6hr 21mins. Coming in off the ocean the DC-4 turned over the inlet for a long final to rw33, where it became the first four engined piston airliner to grace the new International terminal’s apron. The next day the DC-4 departed for Archerfield, again on three engines. Following post delivery maintenance, the aircraft was registered VH-PAF, and entered revenue service on Sep 30th with a freight run to Noumea.
After some 12 years service around the region, the DC-4 was donated to the HARS organisation in Aug 2007 and delivered to Albion Park from Archerfield prior to Xmas 2009 where it now resides.
Thanks to GAFLIKS for providing this Yestayear report.