Closely watched planes 4 — “Faithful Annie”

Jim Belshaw having mentioned the Avro Anson here and here, I decided to do my own post on this amazing wooden aircraft of the 1930s onwards. On the Anson a few facts from “Digger History” (linked to the aircraft name):

The Anson was the RAAF’s first retractable undercarriage, low wing monoplane, and served in great numbers (1,028 aircraft) following 1935 orders, when the RAAF set out to modernise its equipment. 

It stayed in service until 1955, when the few remaining examples of this faithful machine were terribly outmoded…

A number of Ansons continued to fly in civil roles with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, various regional operators, police, scientific research bodies, and private owners, including former Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who used one for agricultural work. In the 1960s a series of accidents involving aircraft of similar construction to the Anson led to restrictions, and ultimately to withdrawal of Certificates of Airworthiness. The last pure-bred Anson to fly, VH-BEL / W2121, had its certification extended until September 1962 to complete a survey contract in Western Australia.

First pic comes from Jim’s second mention:


Jim comments: “Growing up, I felt safe with EWA because people always seemed to survive any crashes!”

Here is an artist giving the old Anson the best romantic gloss:


That one is linked to its very interesting source.

Dad worked on them, employing his carpentry skills: his official RAAF job description was “carpenter/rigger”. The Anson was mostly wood. But it served well in peace and war.  As I mentioned in a comment on Jim’s site, Dad told me that it was disconcerting flying in one as their wings tended to flap; he  also mentioned finding borers or termites in one which, in that condition, had been serving as an airliner…

And yes, they were part of my skies as a child…