The prototype Aero 45 OK-BCA first flew on 21 July 1947, one of the first civil designs of the post-war Czechoslovakian aircraft industry. The name was chosen to indicate it was a 4 or 5 seater. The type was developed as Super Aero 45 and then the improved more powerful Aero 145. A long production run at Kunovice, Czechoslovakia was terminated in 1961 after approximately 700 had been delivered, all but 80 of these being exported.
Cover photo: Petr Kolmann
Our Aero 145 was built in Kunovice in 1960 under construction number 20-001 subject to export to Australia. Australian Aero distributor of that era Dulmison Aircraft engaged a veteran Australian airline pilot Keith Virtue and his son Peter to deliver the aircraft registered as VH-DUH from Prague in early 1961. Detailed story of this truly genuine vintage survivor ce be seen in table below:
|Built at Kunovice by Orlikan (Czechoslovak Aircraft Works)
|Sold to Australian agents Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney.
Dulmison engaged Australian pioneer airline pilot Keith Virtue and his son Peter to deliver the aircraft from Prague.
|Keith & Peter Virtue arrived Prague. Dulmison had been assured the aircraft would be ready for collection, but there were several weeks of delays. The two pilots were endorsed on to type at an airstrip near Kunovice
|Added to Register VH-DUH: Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
|Delivered Kunoviuce to Prague, where the ferry pilots would commence the ferry flight. But the pre-flight checks revealed several flight instruments were u/s
|Attempted departure from Prague, but battery u/s
|Departed Prague for Zurich, but forced to return due to a snow storm
|Departed Prague for Nuremberg, overnighted
|Nuremberg-Zurich where VHF radio and ferry fuel tanks were installed
|Departed Zurich for Australia, via Berne, Geneva, Cannes, Nice, Monaco, Corsica, Elba, Capri, Naples, Brindisi, Athens, Beirut, Damascus, Bahrein, Karachi, Calcutta, Rangoon, Mergui, Penang, Singapore, Jakarta, Bali, Koepang to Darwin
|Overflew Nicosia Airport, Cyprus
|Arrived at Darwin
|Continued to Brisbane then Sydney. Total flying time for ferry flight: 99 hrs 25 mins
Keith & Peter Virtue were never paid for the delivery or their expenses, due to Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd going into liquidation. The operation reformed several months later as a new company Dulmison (Australia) Pty Ltd.
|Australian CofA issued
|VH-DUH flew demonstrations at Bankstown at a Dulmison Aircraft Sales Day, along with
Meta Sokol VH-DUP, Morava L-200 OK-OHC and Zlin Trener Master OK-OND. This group of Czech aircraft then flew a sales tour to Melbourne and Adelaide in June 1961 via country centres.
|VH-DUH noted at Bankstown, parked outside with the Zlin Trener and Morava
|Change of ownership: Australian Blue Metal Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW. Based in WA
|noted at Perth Airport. Also 4.3.63, 8.63, 12.9.63 all based in DCA hangar
|Change of ownership: National Contractors Pty Ltd, Perth WA
|noted at Perth Airport, in factory two-tone blue and white paint scheme
|retired at Jandakot Airport, Perth. Parked in the open, reportedly due both engines requiring overhaul. Later seen inside the Simpson Aviation hangar undergoing maintenance
|noted at Jandakot, parked outside, port engine cowlings removed and engine wrapped in plastic
|noted at Jandakot parked outside, engineless with control surfaces removed. Parts were stacked inside the cabin. Had been repainted into new red, white and black scheme
|Change of ownership: Simpson Aviation Pty Ltd t/a Samav Pty Ltd, Jandakot WA
Simpson Aviation was the WA Cessna dealer with a large maintenance operation. It would be safe to assume Simpson took over ownership as payment for work carried out on VH-DUH
|Leased to Commodore Aviation Pty Ltd, Port Lincoln SA
Joined Commodore's VH-WWC & VH-WWH. This third aircraft was acquired for a contract to operate fish spotting operations from Merimbula NSW
|noted at Cootamundra NSW, in a hangar
|noted at Merimbula NSW, parked with other spotting aircraft for the local fishing boat fleet
|Damaged landing at Green Cape, near Merimbula NSW.
DCA accident report: "As a consequence of an earlier in-flight engine malfunction and failure
of the port propeller to completely feather, the pilot was unable to extend the undercarriage electrically. A malfunction of the manual system then occurred which caused the starboard undercarriage only to extend and prevented its retraction. A forced landing was made in this configuration."
Pilot and a passenger were unhurt. Pilot CPL TT 780, on type 280.
|VH-DUH noted dismantled on a semi-trailer at Murray Bridge SA, while being transported
from NSW to Port Lincoln SA for repair
|noted at Port Lincoln, under rebuild in Commodore Aviation hangar
|air test at Port Lincoln by Commodore Aviation founder John Doudy. Again 26.2.67
|returned to service, based Port Lincoln
|noted at Port Lincoln
|Struck-off Register at owner's request.
|Restored to Civil Register VH-DUH Commodore Aviation Pty Ltd, Port Lincoln SA
|noted visiting Adelaide Airport, now repainted back to the original two-tone blue and white scheme. Also 9.3.74, 16.3.74
|noted at Port Lincoln, departed
|Change of ownership: Ronald K. Fuller, Port Lincoln SA
Fuller was Managing Director of Commodore Aviation, having taken over the company after founder John Doudy's death.
|Change of ownership: Commodore Aviation Pty Ltd, Port Lincoln SA
|Change of ownership: John Ellis, Adelaide SA t/a Aero Enterprises Pty Ltd
The deal included Commodore's Aero 45/145 spares stock including the dismantled airframes of VH-WWC & VH-WWH.
|noted at Port Lincoln SA bare metal, paint stripped. All cabin fittings removed for restoration
|noted at Parafield SA flying. Repainted in new scheme white and grey with blue trim.
Based Parafield 1987-2007
|visited RAAF Richmond NSW airshow, white with grey and blue trim
|noted at Parafield
|minor damage in accident at Parafield
|noted at Parafield, white and grey with blue trim.
|Change of owner's name: Aero Enterprises Pty Ltd, Adelaide
|Change of ownership: James Lewis, Mittagong NSW
|Minor damage when port undercarriage leg retracted after landing in NSW
|Repair and complete overhaul carried out at Wangaratta Vic by Precision Aerospace Products. Wings, engines and cabin floor removed for inspection and refurbishment.
The extensive restoration was completed in 2012
|noted at Wangaratta Vic in Precision Aerospace hangar
|Change of owner's name: The Old Aero Club Pty Ltd, Mittagong NSW c/- James Lewis
|visited Echuca Vic fly-in
|Acquired by RAF Station Czechoslovakia pending ferry flight back to Czech Republic
Ferry flight back to Czech Republic. Routing Dec 3 to Dec 20 (paused due Christmas): Camden-Narromine-Cobar-Birdsville-Tennant Creek-Darwin-Kupang-Surabaya-Semarang-Pangkal Pinang-Singapore-Hat Yai-Bangkok-Yangon-Chittagong-Bhubaneshwar-Nagpur-Surat-Ahmedabad-Karachi-Dubai.
Ferry flight phase II, January 25-29, 2024: Dubai-Dammam-Thumamah-Medina-Hurghada-Borg El Arab-Mersa Matruh-Iraklion-Skopje-Kunovice-Podhořany.
Commodore Aviation's Ron Fuller prepares VH-DUH outside the Port Lincoln Airport terminal building, New Years Eve 1974. Photo by Nigel Daw
Arrived Podhořany Airfield on January 29, 2024 after 57 days almost 20000 kilometres and 90 hours spent on the way. Happy to be home. Photo by Petr Kolmann.