October 1954 to October 1954
Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA)
VH-TVA - c/n 44 - a V.720 series Viscount
This was the first V.720 of six ordered by Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA). The total value of the order was 1.5 million pounds.
Production Aircraft No. 37 - the 37th production V.700 series Viscount built,
was the 6th Viscount fuselage assembled at Hurn, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England,
and the 13th Viscount assembled at Hurn, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
Production Order No. F01/720. Sales Order No. 01/88A. Stock Order No. 13/21B.
1 February 1954
Fuselage assembly commenced at Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
22 March 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) on the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-TVA.
22 July 1954
Named as 'John Batman' by Sir Thomas White, the High Commissioner for Australia outside at Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
The ceremony was also attended by Mr G P N Watt, the Chairman of TAA and George Edwards, Managing Director of Vickers Aircraft Division. The aircraft was christened with a bottle of Australian Champagne.
29 August 1954
First flight from Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England.
Exhibited at the SBAC (Society of British Aircraft Constructors) airsow at Farnborough Airfield, Hampshire, England including participation in the daily flying display.
6 October 1954
Departed from Hurn Airport, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England on delivery to Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) crewed by Captain F Fischer, Captain J A P Boyd, Captain D Winch, Navigator Locke and Radio Operator Roberts.
13 October 1954
Arrived at Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. At this time, the engines fitted were Dart RDa3 Mark 505. These would have been upgraded to Mark 506 standard, if the aircraft had not been destroyed.
Flight Magazine report - 31 December 1954
21 October 1954
Operated a route familiarisation flight from Melbourne, Victoria to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
31 October 1954
The aircraft was destroyed on take-off during a routine conversion training flight at Mangalore Airport, Victoria, 65 miles north of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Killed in the accident were 3 crew members - Captain in command Douglas K MacDonald and Captains R D Fisher and J W Nickells. Three other occupants including supernumerary Captain McDougall received serious injuries and the remaining two occupants in the cabin escaped unharmed.
Total time 100 hours and 120 total landings.
Vickers Test Pilot G R 'Jock' Bryce flew out to Australia to assist in the crash investigation.
Briefly, the DCA (Department of Civil Aviation) conclusions into the accident are shown below in this extract from the official investigation report.
'At 15:07 hours local time the Viscount, owned by Commonwealth of Australia, Australian National Airlines Commission, and operated by TAA - Trans Australia Airlines, crashed and burnt approximately one-third of a mile west of the Airport. The accident occurred when the aircraft veered off the runway and became airborne during a practice three-engine takeoff. The cause of the accident was an error of judgement on the part of the pilot-in-command in that he took the aircraft into the air at a speed below the minimum control speed, following loss of directional control during the ground run.'
This type of accident was to happen many times during simulated engine failure training flights around the world as operators learnt to fly their newly acquired Viscounts.
31 October 1954
Registration cancelled as aircraft destroyed.