VH-ACV (2)  Piaggio P.166                    (c/n  354)


                                       The second aircraft to bear to rego VH-ACV was this Piaggio which had come in from the
                                       U.K. in March 1964.   Bob Neate's shot (above, via the Geoff Goodall collection) was taken
                                       at Essendon in 1965.   It was formerly G-APSJ, first registered in early 1959 to the Sir Robert
                                       McAlpine construction company.     The flight from the U.K. (undertaken by Captain Jack Ellis)
                                       had many delays, including an undercarriage collapse at Athens on 16 July 1963 when the airport
                                       fire service doused the mildly damaged aircraft in foam.   The flight eventually was to take five
                                       months to complete!    Geoff's own shot below shows it at Adelaide Airport in December 1963
                                       when the aircraft was on the last leg of its delivery flight.     The registration VH-SMF had been
                                       reserved for it, but because of the delivery delay Snowy Mountains took delivery of c/n 355
                                       instead.   Meanwhile, the contracts Air Charter had secured for the P166 were lost (due to the
                                       delivery delay) resulting in the company going into receivership and the aircraft ownership was
                                       assumed by the ferry captain, Jack Ellis.   However, the machine was apparently badly corroded
                                       and was withdrawn from service in 1966.    Ellis eventually sued McAlpine over it in a long drawn
                                       out legal battle.  In 1968, VH-ACV along with most of the other Piaggios in Australia (airworthy
                                       or not) were sold to Forrester Stephen Pty Ltd of Essendon.      An optimistic October 1979
                                       advertisement placed in "Flight International" by Forrester Stephen offered for sale a fleet of nine
                                       P166s which were then stored at Bankstown.   Most remained unsold and went derelict.