VH-DHF  de Havilland D.H.104 Dove 6     (c/n    04457)


                                 A less than spectacular shot (above) of an ex-UK (G-AOAG) Dove at Bankstown in 1955.    Rod
                                 Adams' image (immediately below) is much better and shows the aircraft at Adelaide Airport in 1962
                                 when it was being used as a courier aircraft between Adelaide and the Maralinga atomic test site in the
                                 South Australian outback.   When these duties were done it was exported in 1963 and became the
                                 first aircraft registered in the Solomon Islands as VP-PAA   It was owned by Laurie Crowley who
                                 launched charter flights to the Solomons from his base in Papua/New Guinea.   When regularly sched-
                                 uled flights commenced he named the company Megapode Airways (after the dark, pigeon like bird
                                 which inhabits the region - one of whose features is that it will only fly if absolutely necessary, preferring
                                 to remain on the ground!).   Anyway, I am indebted to Bob Smith of Kiama, NSW for the rare shot
                                 (# 3 photo) of the Dove in Melanesian markings (Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Solomons all used VP-Pxx -
                                 which became T3 upon the islands achieving independence {if it was, in fact, an achievement}
                                 Accompanying it for this photo shoot was VH-RUN which later became VP-PAL.  In February 2012
                                 I received the photo at the foot of the page taken by Robert Milburn during his days in the Solomons
                                 of VP-PAA in company with a US Navy R6D-1/C-118B (BuNo 131606).    This DC-6 was civilian-
                                 ized in 1981 as N4206L for North Air Cargo, incidentally,.
                                 Regarding the T3 bit:   Just why ICAO decided to issue part letter and part number registration prefixes
                                 after the war I will never know.  It's not as if they had run out of double letter combinations.  Memory
                                 tells me the first two such oddities were Israel (4X-) and Sri Lanka (4R-).  Could they not have been,
                                 say IL- and SL- respectively?  (Saarland, which was previously SL- had become D- registered before
                                 Ceylon was given independence).   Anybody in ICAO care to respond to this?    Somebody had to have
                                 made the decision.