Australian & New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials & History

RAAF A91 RAN N5 Bristol 171 Sycamore

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Sycamore A91-1


Bristol Sycamore Image Gallery


RAAF Sycamores

RAAF Serial Type C/N. Aircraft History
A91-1 Mk 3 12894 Ex G-ALSZ and WV695.
Records indicate this airframe was initially allocated the serial A80-2 but unclear if this was ever applied.
Received by RAAF 09/09/51.
To ARDU 14/09/51.
To Bristol 14/04/54.
To 2 AD 15/02/56.
To ARDU 28/02/56.
Operated almost exclusively at the Woomera Rocket Range (1ATU) from 1951 to 1965 when replaced by Alouette III.
Dept of Supply approved for disposal 18/03/65.
Registered VH-GVR 10/06/66 to 25/01/67.
Damaged 25/01/67 at Falls Creek VIC.
Static Display Moorabbin Air Museum.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore A91-1  RAAF Form E/E.88 Aircraft Status Card

A91-2 Mk 14 13202 Received by the RAAF 04/01/55.
To 1 ATU 02/02/55.
To Bristol 13/12/56.
To ATU 05/07/57.
Accident 13/12/60 at Lake Heart.
Written Off 12/10/61,
Scrapped and used for spares for A91-1.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore A91-2  RAAF Form E/E.88 Aircraft Status Card

RAN Sycamores
RAN Serial Type C/N. Aircraft History
XA219 HR Mk 50 13063 Came to Australia aboard HMAS Vengeance.
First Flight 25/10/52. Delivered 31/10/52.
Served with 723 Sqn coded 906 and 724 Sqn coded 996.
Grounded after two cylinders cracked during VIP flight 11/56 (Pilot Lieut S O’Farrell) and returned to Nowra by road.
Crashed 10/09/58, flown by LEUT (P) D.J Orr, RAN, had a partial power loss, force landed and caught fire Nowra NSW.
Scrapped 15/12/58.
Remains reported to have been used as Instructional Airframe at Schofields NSW,
scrapped there before the training school closed.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XA219

XA220 HR Mk 50 13064 Came to Australia aboard HMAS Vengeance.
First Flight 05/12/52.
Delivered 31/12/52.
Served with 723 Sqn coded 907 and later 849.
Served with 724 Sqn.
Damaged 8/5/53 when tail rotor struck fuselage in strong wind (Pilot Lt D.V. Farquarson RN).
Damaged 8.7.53 when rotor blade struck cockpit roof.
Tail rotor damaged 01/02/56,
Sold to Business Aviation, Bankstown, but does not seem to have made it to the civil register.
(Possibly as spares for VH-BAW [XR592], VH-SYC [XN448] or one of the ex-British Sycamores on the Australian Register),
To Naval Aviation Museum as 907. Current.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XA220

XA221 HR Mk 50 13065 Came to Australia aboard HMAS Vengeance.
First Flight 12/52.
Delivered 12/01/53.
Served with 723 Sqn coded 908.
Crashed 25 February 1955 flown by LCDR(P) G. McPhee, RAN and LEUT(O) B.Hill RAN
Crashed during an attempted rescue of two men from a signal box during the Maitland floods in NSW.
They were lifting one man and a second grabbed onto the first as the helo moved to place the man on a bridge.
Both men dropped off and were drowned the aircraft then hit a high-tension cable and crashed into the Hunter River.
The crew escaped and were swept five miles downstream before being picked up by an Army "Duck" water vehicle.
LCDR McPhee awarded an OBE.
Aircraft written off.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XA221

XD653 HR Mk 51 13071 Ex G-AMWJ. First Flight 12/11/53.
Delivered 16/12/53.
Served with 723 Sqn coded 904 and 724 Sqn coded 850.
Forced landing 09/10/58.
Last Sycamore in RAN service,
Flown by LCDR Payne (P)RAN to HMAS Nirimba, Sydney for apprentice training on 15 July 1965.
To RAN Museum. 10/08/77
Static Display at Naval Aviation Museum as 850.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XD653

XD654 HR Mk 51 13146 First Flight 14/12/53.
Delivered 01/03/54.
Served with 723 Sqn RAN.
Damaged 02/55, Dubbo NSW while working on Flood Relief. Coded 991 then 909
Code changed to 851
Ditched 04/03/61.
Flown by LEUT(P) J. Dacosta RAN from HMAS Melbourne attempted to hover alongside HMS Hermes, a Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier,
Insufficient wind and ditched, off Cocos Islands, all crew rescued.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XD654

XD655 HR Mk 51 13147 First Flight 22/12/53.
Delivered 05/08/54.
Came to Australia by HMAS Melbourne on Maiden Voyage.
Served with 723 Sqn. Coded (908) Damaged 07/10/55, Point Cook VIC.
Crashed 12/10/55 LEUT (P) J.T Ferguson, RAN and LEUT (P) A. Sanders RN
Ditched in five feet of water in St Georges Basin, where they were carrying out wet winching...practising rescue of aircrew.
Suspected power loss.
No further records so presumably scrapped.
XD656 HR Mk 51 13148 First Flight 04/01/54.
Delivered 05/08/54.
Served with 723 Sqn RAN Coded 905 then 902
Ditched 21/11/57 LT(P) H.P. Hunt RAN while flying from HMAS Melbourne,
engine trouble and was forced to ditch aircraft into the sea near submarine HMS Telemachus.
The crew of two were rescued but the aircraft was lost.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XD656

XK902 HR Mk 51 13401 First Flight 23/02/56.
Delivered 01/03/56.
Came to Australia by HMAS Melbourne on Maiden Voyage.
Served with 723 Sqn RAN. Coded 902 and 992.
Crashed 10/01/58
Flown by Leut(P) A. Ignatief RAN in woodlands near Coffs Harbour NSW when working with HMAS Warrego charting the NSW Coast.
5 crew injured.
Aircraft written off 26/6/58.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XK902

XL507 HR Mk 51 13407 Original Serial XL903.
First Flight 01/03/56.
Delivered 06/03/56.
Served with 723 Sqn coded 903.
24/05/57 while embarked in HMAS Melbourne had an engine failure during auto rotation practice and ditched near carrier.
Crew rescued. Pilot LEUT(P) A. Ignatief RAN.
XN448 HR Mk 51 13270 Ex G-AOBM,
Went to Mexico in 1955 as CF-HVX, as a company demonstrator, G-18-5.
First Flight 16/04/58.
Delivered 26/04/58.
Was initially marked as 13270 in RAN Service.
Served with 723 Sqn code 852.
Damaged 27/06/60 while landing.
Sold 14/09/65. Registered VH-SYC 14/02/67 to 14/08/72.
Damaged near Wyndham WA 02/12/69.
Initially preserved by the RAAFA Museum, Bull Creek, Perth WA but later transferred to the eastern states.
Fate not known.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XN448

XN449 HR Mk 51 13504 Ex G-18-177. First Flight 10/02/59.
Delivered 14/06/59.
Served with 723 Sqn coded 853.
Damaged 10/60 on landing and overturned. C
rashed near RANAS Nowra 03/09/62 after a suspected tail rotor failure - spun in and burnt out.
The pilot LEUT(P) M Astbury RAN escaped from the burning aircraft.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XN449

XN450 HR Mk 51 13505 Ex G-18-178.
Last Sycamore Built.
First Flight 12/58.
Delivered 19/6/59.
Served with 723 Sqn coded 848.
Sold 14/09/65 to Business Aviation Bankstown.
Preserved in the Beck Collection, Mareeba QLD. Current.

Highlight for Album: Sycamore XN450

XR592 HR Mk 51 13070 Ex G-AMWI, XN635.
Delivered 06/61.
Served with 723 Sqn coded 851.
Damaged 17/07/63 when rolled over on takeoff at HMAS Albatross, Nowra whilst being flown by LEUT(P) Spratt RAN.
Repaired and put back into service.
Sold 14/09/65.
Registered VH-BAW 14/11/67 to 14/08/72.
Currently located at the Camden Museum of Aviation
This is a privately owned collection and is not open to the public.

.Highlight for Album: Sycamore XR592


The Authors of this page are Bob Geale, Dave Masterson & Joe Barr.

Navy Sycamores were allocated the code N5, but because they were retiring they were never applied.

Navy Sycamores served in 723 Squadron other than from the period 26 October 1956 to 18 February 1957. During that short period it was with 724 Squadron as a flight.

A numbering change was made in July 1958 when all 900 series numbers were replaced. I.E 904 became 854.

In October of 1962 the first Oxford Blue Sycamore appeared.

Source: Australian Aviation Magazine, CASA Aircraft Records, RAAF Status Cards, Wings across the sea by Ross Gillett.

Emails: Bob Geale Allan Green, Dave Masteron, Tjalling Boelman, Trevor Scantlebury, Dave Taskis,  Rex Ramsey, Brendan Cowan, Tom Crabtree

Updated 27th March 2017


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