Arthur Butler archive
(Cecil) Arthur Butler (1902-1980), pilot and airline company director, was born at Shirley, Warwickshire and migrated to Australia with his family in 1910. The family first lived on a poultry farm at Bankstown and then moved to Lithgow where his father gained employment at the Small Arms Factory. Arthur Butler became an apprentice in the Factory, making tools, jigs and gauges.

Butler became interested in flying and joined the Australian Aircraft and Engineering Company Ltd at Mascot in 1922. When that company ceased operations, Butler joined Australian Aerial Services Ltd in Melbourne, gaining his ground engineer's licence in 1923. He was flight engineer on AAS's inaugural Adelaide-Sydney air-mail service (1924) - the first regular interstate air-mail service in Australia.

In 1925 he purchased an old Avro 504 which he rebuilt, and learned to fly. In 1928 he went barnstorming around New South Wales and Queensland using a newly acquired Avro Avian.

In 1930 Butler produced the first all-metal framed aircraft designed and constructed in Australia (ABA VH-UPE) - a single seat, high-wing monoplane, powered with a Cirrus Hermes II engine of 115 h.p.

Butler travelled to England in 1931 to study aeronautical design and production. He was invited by the Comper Company to fly their Comper Swift monoplane to Australia, making at the same time an attempt on the England-Australia solo air record. With a flight of 9 days, 1 hour and 43 minutes, Butler beat the previous record set by C.W.A. Scott.

In 1937 Butler designed and constructed the BAT Monoplane (ABA-2), which was the first aircraft designed and built in Australia to be issued with a Certificate of Airworthiness by the Department of Aviation.

In 1934 Butler formed Butler Air Transport and secured the contract to operate the Cootamundra-Charleville section of the Australia-United Kingdom air-mail service. The company provided freight and passenger services to country New South Wales and to south-east Queensland where it was a major shareholder in Queensland Airlines Pty Ltd.

During World War II BAT became sub-contractors for the De Havilland Aircraft Company, making complete tail-units and ailerons for DH Tiger Moths.

The company was incorporated under the name Butler Air Transport Pty Ltd on 21 March 1946 and converted to a public company (Butler Air Transport Ltd) on 10 November 1952. In 1948 it took over New England Airways . Wings, 1 March 1948 described BAT as being "the biggest and most progressive intrastate airline operator in Australia". BAT was flying 9 services to 15 country centres, mostly using DC3s.

Australian National Airlines held a financial interest in BAT. In the late 1950s Ansett Transport Industries took over ANA and absorbed BAT, creating Airlines of New South Wales.
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