Earlier this month we received the sad news “GAFLIKS”, Paul Howard had passed away. Paul was a key provider to this blog and provided the monthly “Yestayear” reports for FNQ. Being a keen aviation historian Paul had the ability to record events in his famous diaries from years gone by, many of which was to the benefit of the FNQSKIES Yestayear posts. Viewers to the blog were able to see events in Aviation history that was relative to Cairns and FNQ.
He enjoyed travelling following his aviation passion to many places around the world.
Paul loved his prop aircraft and provided regular articles and pictures to the Magazine “Propliner” and many other magazines.
Therefore it is fitting that this months “Yestayear” report for April 1996 that Paul provided is of a Propliner Electra L-188CF.
Thanks for the friendship and all the memories mate!
A new operator appeared on the scene during the month, mainly by default. Charrak (Kestral) Air a
freight operator specialising in seafood uplift flying a veteran L-188CF Electra (N360Q), the type a familiar sight and sound in these parts. The relocation from southern shores to Cairns arose from the wiping out of the tuna and lobster farms in Tasmania and S.A by storms, sources which had been earmarked by Charrak. After some negotiation with the Solomon Islands a new source was found. Using Pacific Air Express’s (PAE) AOC, the freighter commenced a four day a week nocturnal schedule from CNS to HIR return, uplifting up to 14 ton of chilled blue fin tuna per trip. On arrival at CNS the seafood was transhipped to a Tokyo flight which would place the tuna on the Japan fish markets all within a 24hr period from loading at Honiara.
Following three months of operation the Electra had flown 257 hrs, all but one on the Honiara route, being a charter it completed for Freeport McMoran to West Irian. Sadly after a short period of time PAE decided to introduce their own B727-200F and relocate the CNS-HIR-CNS service to BNE-HIR-BNE, thus leaving Charrak with whatever ad-hoc work that materialised. There was some initial interest from Vanair in PNG, but the aircraft proved to be too large for their requirements.
Apart from a Coca-Cola charter to Manila, there was little business on the horizon and the Electra was returned to the lessor in Miami.
|the huge paddle blades driven by the Allison turbine|
over Yorkeys the PAE3518 is cleared to rw15 at CNS |
on its early morn arrival from Honiara
|pulling up for taxiway|
|taxiing in, note billboard titles|
|ready for an evening departure on the ITB ramp.|
|outside the office at the GA apron awaiting its next rotation|
Thanks to the Late GAFLIKS for providing this Yestayear report.