The plane that flies on a pole
05 May 2020
| Michie.net | Spotted by Rob Parer | Edited
PORT MORESBY - This DC3, P2-ANQ, with the name of ‘Larry Blackman’, is mounted on display outside the Air Niugini head office at Jackson’s international airport in Port Moresby.
It is there as a monument to all the airmen who gave their lives flying in Papua New Guinea.
On the poles supporting the aircraft, there are four plaques.
One of the plaques reads:
“This DC3 Skyliner entered service with Trans Australian Airlines on the 27th September 1965 on regular passenger operations in Papua New Guinea.
“For the annals of aviation history and the general interest of the travelling public it is recorded that this is the original aircraft presented by General Dwight D Eisenhower to General Bernard Montgomery in 1945 for his personal use throughout Europe.
“Prior to entering TAA service, it was the personal executive VIP aircraft of the Greek shipping Magnate, Stampos Niarchos, and had only logged 4,543 hours - probably the lowest total number of flying hours of any DC3 flying in the world today.”
P2-ANQ was built as a 26 seat VIP transport in 1943 by the Douglas Aircraft Company at its Oklahoma City plant. The serial number of the aircraft is 27110 and the model is C47B-20-DK. It became 43-49849 for the United States Army Air Corps.
Along with many other C47s (as the military version of the DC3 is called) it was transferred to the Royal Air Force becoming known as KN241 and presented to the General ‘Monty’ Montgomery by the American supreme commander, and later US president, Dwight Eisenhower
Monty used the aircraft extensively throughout the European campaign during the last year of the World War II.
The aircraft was retired from military service in July 1953, registered as G-AMZH and put into service as the personal transport of Stavos Niachos, registered in his wife’s name, Mrs E L Niarchos.
During this time it was operated by Transair on behalf of the Niarchos Shipping line.
When Transair became part of British United Airways in July 1960, the DC3 was transferred to the company’s Channel Islands Airway Division and later sold to Handley Page in May 1965.
Mike Keegan of Keegan Aviation delivered the aircraft to Essendon Airport in Melbourne on 16 May 1965 for Trans Australia Airways, which had purchased the plane to use on their Sunbird Services in Papua New Guinea.
It was registered on 22 September 1965 as VH-SBW. The 4,500 hours it had flown was considered to be the lowest number of hours logged on any DC3 in service at that time.
On entering PNG service the plane was named ‘Jim Taylor’ after the patrol officer who was one of the first white men to explore the Highlands in the 1930s.
The plane became one of the Air Niugini fleet in 1973 after the formation of the airline and in 1976 was registered P2-SBW and later re-registered as P2-ANQ on 7 November 1976.
It then flew many thousands of hours in PNG providing safe and reliable transport for the many passengers who flew in her.
DC3’s were operated by Air Niugini from 1973 until 1977 when they were withdrawn from service as part of a modernisation policy.
The last revenue service for P2-ANQ was a charter from Losuia to Port Moresby on the 13 June 1977 under the command of Captain W Fuller and First Officer N Kile.
Several training flights were carried out after this final revenue flight and the plane’s last flight was on 27 July 1977 when Captains Fuller and J Holmes made a local flight.
In 1979 Air Niugini mounted P2-ANQ and named her after the well-known and respected pilot, Larry Blackman, who had commanded the aircraft for many of the 17,000 hours he flew in DC3s.
The plane was towed to its current position on 11 February 1979 and hoisted into place on the 21 February.
On 23 February, then transport and civil aviation minister Paias Wingti unveiled a plaque attached to the base of the rear support, which reads:
“The aircraft in Air Niugini livery, is mounted as a living memory to all those civil airmen who have given their lives in Papua New Guinea
“P2-ANQ with five other Trans Australian Airlines and six Ansett Airlines of Papua New Guinea Douglas DC3’s entered service with Air Niugini on November 1973
“The aircraft that developed Papua New Guinea has earned this resting place.”
My father flew this plane and has it in his RAF log book, then KN241, as a Pilot Officer in Libya between 1 and 14 August 1945.
He flew it between RAF El Adem, Lydda and Elmas whilst with 525 Squadron.
Presumably Monty had no further use for it and it reverted to being used for transport.
Posted by: Anthony Holt | 20 March 2021 at 10:59 PM
Thanks for sharing this piece of history. Now I know and appreciate the plane that hangs near Jackson's airport.
Posted by: Simon Davidson | 06 May 2020 at 06:21 AM
Yes, it's the same plane, Phil, located just uphill and on the other side of what is, these days, the back road to the airport. Great article on a real piece of our history.
Posted by: Ian Poole | 06 May 2020 at 01:08 AM
Not dreamin' Phil. I also remember that one.
My late father-in-law, Gerry Heyen, flew DC3s for Air Niugini and most certainly would've flown this one. I remember being in Tari on village courts business when a DC3 landed. I went down to the strip and sure enough, Gerry stepped out of the plane.
I also met him again at Mount Hagen on another occasion whilst I was awaiting a flight back to Moresby. A DC3 landed and, you've guessed, he was the pilot.
Posted by: Ross Wilkinson | 06 May 2020 at 12:01 AM
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 05 May 2020 at 01:49 PM
I'm sure there was a DC3 mounted on a pole across the road from the old Gateway Hotel many years before this one.
Maybe I'm dreaming?
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 05 May 2020 at 08:36 AM