Aircraft History

De Havilland Canada (DHC) has designed and built a range of useful and enduring aircraft since the 1940s including the Chipmunk trainer, the Beaver, Otter, Twin Otter and Dash 8 passenger aircraft. The DHC-4 Caribou transport aircraft first flew in 1958 with test pilot George Neal at the controls as a private venture design with some Canadian government funding. It combined a payload of around 4 tonnes (8,000 lbs) with Short Take-off & Landing (STOL) performance powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2000 fourteen cylinder radial engines. This combination made the aircraft attractive to military users and the DHC soon received US orders for 159 which were operated by the US Army. These were later transferred to the USAF. Production in Canada ended in 1973 after 307 Caribous had been built. DHC also made a turbine engine version known as the DHC-5 Buffalo which continued to be built up to 1986.

Australia was an early customer for the Caribou which replaced the Douglas Dakota in RAAF transport service. The first aircraft were delivered in 1964 after a flight from Toronto. They were immediately used in Vietnam by the RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam (RTFV) based in Saigon. The unit was later redesignated 35 Squadron and the radio call-sign 'Wallaby' soon earned the unit the nickname 'Wallaby Airlines'. The Squadron operated their aircraft under very difficult conditions. Two were destroyed in Vietnam and others were hit by ground fire. Operated by 38 Squadron, the Caribou has participated in many UN operations as well as the INTERFET mission in East Timor and Operation Anode in the Solomon Islands. Ansett-MAL also operated a Caribou (VH-BFC) in New Guinea between 1965 and 1969. The Caribou will be replaced in RAAF service with the MRH-90 transport aircraft. Examples of the Caribou have been delivered to the RAAF Museum and the Australian War Memorial.

Model History

This model represents A4-140, one of the first group of Caribou aircraft delivered to the RAAF in 1964. It served in Vietnam with 35 Squadron between 1968 and 1971. In 1975 it was sent to East Timor where it was hijacked and the pilots forced to fly refugees to Darwin. It also served in Bougainville and again in East Timor with INTERFET. It is the longest serving RAAF aircraft, flying with 38 Squadron. A4-140 was delivered to the Australian War Memorial in late 2009. This model is painted in all-over dark green used until the 1980s. It is believed to be a factory model produced by DHC for display or promotional use and is mounted on a perspex display stand.

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