VH-ARD (1)    Douglas DC-5                                          (c/n 426)


                                Only 12 Douglas DC-5s were built.  The design of it was undertaken in 1939 along with the DC-4E.
                                Its production and development was thwarted by the outbreak of WW II.   In retrospect, however, it
                                actually cost more to operate than the DC-3 it was tapped to supercede, so whether it would have found
                                universal appeal among the airlines of the day is subject to speculation.  The prototype, NX21701 was
                                sold to William E. Boeing (interesting that, over sixty years later the Boeing Co would buy Douglas),
                                although he graciously relinquished it to the U.S. Navy.  The only airline to receive delivery of the DC-5
                                was KLM who ordered four.  Two went to their West Indies Division in Curaçao and two went to the
                                East Indies.  In the event, in the face of the imminent Japanese invasion, the West Indies machines were
                                flown to Batavia (Jakarta).   They were registered PK-ADA/B/C/and D.  PK-ADA was damaged and
                                was captured by the Japanese who tested it extensively at the Tatchikawa Aircraft Co plant.  The other
                                three escaped, flying refugees to Australia.   VH-ARD above was one of these (PK-ADC), and a rare
                                photo of it in that rego (albeit camouflaged) appears below in this image from the John Hopton collection
                                taken at Wagga in 1942.   It was originally put into service with the Allied Directorate of Air Transport
                                (ADAT) and given the call sign VHCXC.  In 1945 it was assigned the civil registration VH-ARD although
                                inexplicably ANA operated it on their Tasmanian services using the military call sign with a dash in it,
                                making it to appear, to all intents and purposes, to be the civil registration VH-CXC,  (see this link to the
                                VH-C series). Following its short tenure with ANA it had a somewhat chequered career. It was grounded
                                in 1946 when the Australian DCA refused to renew its C of A.   Nevertheless it was purchased by New
                                Holland Airways in 1948 and used initially on charter work transporting Italian migrants to Australia but
                                latterly (and illegally, at least as far as the Australian government was concerned) on 'Exodus' like smuggling
                                into Israel .   The above shot, in fact, was taken by Fl.Lt D.A.S. MacKay at Tel Aviv in 1948 shortly before
                                the aircraft was impressed into service with the fledgling Israeli Defence Force.  
                                For a more detailed history of the ex-KLM DC-5s, and VH-ARD/CXC in particular, go to Fred Niven's
                                Spirits of Ansett history page at: