Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority
English Title:
Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority was established in 1949 to manage the Snowy Mountains scheme. The scheme a huge civil engineering task in the Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, involving the construction of sixteen major dams; seven power stations; a pumping station; and several kilometres of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts between 1949 and 1974.

The remote location meant that air transport became a useful supplement to the new roads that were being built under the scheme. Accordingly, a dedicated Flying Unit was established in 1958. This Unit grew to include eight aircraft by 1967. In the same year, a fleet rationalisation saw several aircraft sold, and the fleet was reduced to three aircraft. A fatal accident in 1976 saw the Unit almost disbanded, but a BN-2 Islander was quickly obtained and flying continued until this aircraft was lost in 1984.

Key Dates

August 1949 Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority first established.
1958 Flying Unit established.
20 May 1976 First fatal accident by SMHEA aircraft.
1984 Flying Unit disbanded.
28 June 2002 SMHEA renamed Snowy Hydro.

Current Status

The SMHEA Flying Unit was disbanded in 1984.

Future Plans

Not applicable.


Special Markings

SMHEA aircraft flew in a variety of colour schemes, presumably based on the standard factory paint finish of the manufacturer. The SMHEA logo normally appeared on the fuselage, along with the titles SNOWY MOUNTAINS AUTHORITY.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

The SMHEA aircraft carried Australian civil aircraft registrations, in the VH-SMx sequence, e.g. DHC-2 Beaver VH-SMA.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aero Commander 680 1 1961 1967 USA
Aero Commander 680FL Grand Commander 1 1964 1072 USA
Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander 1 1976 1984 UK
De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver 4 1958 1967 Canada
Piaggio P.166 1 1963 1967 UK
Pilatus PC-6 Porter 2 1967 1976 Switzerland
Piper PA-24 Comanche 250 1 1963 1967 USA

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

The Pilatus PC-6 was lost in a crash near Cooma–Polo Flat Airport on 20 May 1976.


Main Headquarters

Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority, Monaro Highway, Cooma NSW 2630

Organisational Structure

No subordinate units.

Current Unit Assignments

No subordinate units.

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The SMHEA aircraft were based at Cooma-Snowy Mountains Airport and Cooma-Polo Flat Airfield.

More Information


None known.


None known.


wikipedia: Snowy Mountains Scheme
Snowy Mountains Airline
Snowy Hydro – The History

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.


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