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Friday, December 25, 2009

First Flight in Australia

This entry to my "Australia @ War" Blog has been provided by Gordon Clarke of ADF Serials:-

On the 5 December 2009 it was the centenary anniversary of what I believe was the first flight in Australia of an Australian designed heavier than air aircraft.

On Sunday 5th December 1909 George Taylor assembled his original designed glider on the sand dunes of Narrabeen, NSW and took off into the wind from the sea watched by some friends, helpers, locals and his wife which according to Taylor numbered over 100 people. An event reminiscent of the Wright brothers some seven years before.

George was a pupil of Lawrence Hargraves and it showed in his design of the biplane glider which sported a box tailplane directly inspired by Hargraves. Others have said the glider was inspired by a Voisin design. The reports indicate that there were made around 20 flights that day, varying in length from 100 yards (approximately 93 metres) to 250 yards (234 metres). But the firsts didn't end there. Apparently his wife Florence, also flew the glider either that day or the next and so she becomes the first Australian women aviatrix!

It makes an interesting comparison that six years ago there was a big fuss and write up about the centenary anniversary of the Wright brother first powered flight in nearly all the Australian aviation magazines/journals. However, there has been precious little in the Australian aviation press about this event. The only article that I'm aware of is one by Ian Debenham in Flightpath volume 21.1 earlier this year. Perhaps I'm too quick to criticise, as it has only been a little over a week since the anniversary, or is it that we know other countries' aviation history better than our own? I would have thought that we would be writing about the anniversary prior to (like Ian did), or around the event at least. But then again trying to determine who actually flew first is a murky area, as pointed out by Debenham in his article "Who Flew First?" Maybe we only have ourselves to blame.

So despite Taylor's historical bias in his writings, well done George and Florence on the records you both set. Some Australians recognise your achievements and perhaps others will now too.

Gordon Clarke

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Airlines & Aircraft of the Ansett Group 1921 - 2002 by David Niven

Airlines & Aircraft of the
Ansett Group 1921 - 2002
by Fred Niven
Edition 7 (December 2009)

This data DVD covers the history and aircraft of:-

Ansett Airways, ANSETT-ANA, Ansett Airlines of Australia, Ansett. & Ansett Australia, including Victorian Air Coach Services, Ansett International & Cook Islands International, Engineering & computer systems; A.N.A./Tasmanian Aerial Services/Holyman's Airways & Airlines of Australia & all their many predecessors, including Adelaide Airways, Air Beef, New England Airways, North Queensland Airways, Rockhampton Aerial Services & Western/West Australian Airways; Adastra Airways (airline services); Aeropelican; Aircrafts Pty. Ltd. & Queensland Airlines; Airlines of Northern Australia & Ansett N.T.; Ansett Air Freight & Ansett Australia Cargo; Ansett Flying Boat Services, Barrier Reef Airways & Trans Oceanic Airways; Butler Air Transport, Airlines of N.S.W., Ansett Airlines of N.S.W., Air New South Wales, Air N.S.W., Ansett N.S.W. & Ansett Express; Connellan Airways/Survey & Inland Transport, Connair & Northern Airlines; East-West Airlines & Eastwest, including Wollongong & South Coast Aviation Service & South Coast Airways; Guinea Airways & Airlines of South Australia, including Air Gold & Holdens Air Transport Service & a major coverage of GAL’s New Guinea operations; Hazelton; Kendell; Lloyd Aviation (airline services); MacRobertson-Miller Aviation/MMA/Commercial Aviation Co./Air Beef, Airlines (W.A.), Airlines of Western Australia; & Ansett W.A.; Mandated Airlines Ltd. (M.A.L.)/W.R. Carpenter Air Service, ANSETT-M.A.L., Ansett Airlines of Papua New; Guinea, including Gibbes Sepik Airways, Island Airways, Madang Air Charter/Services & Papuan Airways; Pacific Aviation (airline services); Patair (Papuan Air Transport/Papuan Airlines) & Stol Commuter; Skywest & Trans West & their many predecessors (including Civil Flying Services (WA)/Stillwell; Jet Charter (WA), Murchison, Noeska, Nor’West Air Taxi, Pilbara, Southern & Wittenoom Air Charter; South Pacific Airlines of N.Z. (SPANZ) & Ansett New Zealand (including Newmans Air, Ansett Newmans, Tranzair; Ansett New Zealand Regional); Southern Airlines/Goulburn Valley Air Services; and Transcorp Airways

The DVD contains 160 files (approximately 5,700 pages - 1,700 more than in Edition 6), not including the 27 video presentations.

This Edition 7 version of the DVD includes:

  • Full details of each aircraft operated by any Ansett-related airline 1921-2002; including their previous & subsequent histories, updated to 23 November, 2009; indexed by both registration & airline.
  • Around 10,000 photos/charts/maps of Ansett-related aircraft & personalities, since 1921 (up from around 8,000 in Edition 6).
  • A detailed history for each airline, including its fleet, history, points served & logos.
  • 'Milestones' of Ansett Group airline-related aviation events; by airline & for the group.
  • Route-maps, timetable covers & lots of other memorabilia & some 'What might have beens'. The amount of memorabilia has increased very significantly in this edition.
  • Updated Flight Crew lists for all Ansett Group airlines 1921-2002.
  • Separate sections on A320s, BAe 146s, 727s, 737s, 747s, 767s, Convair CV-340/CV-440s, Fokker F.27s, F28s & 50s, DC-2s, DC-3s, DC-4s, DC-5s, DC-6 & DC-6Bs, DC-9s, Lockheed 188 Electras, Short S.25 Flying Boats & Vickers Viscounts.
  • Details of all known Ansett Group-related aircraft accidents/incidents.
  • Flight Attendant & other uniforms from the 1940s onwards.
  • A major increase in the contents of the In-Flight Service section.
  • A brand new section on model aircraft kits/decals available.
  • 27 great video & TV commercial presentations (compared with just 8 in Edition 6).

Click here for details to order your copy of this amazing DVD

Monday, December 21, 2009

Book - "Never a Dull Moment" by Philip Dulhunty

Philip Dulhunty, OAM, has lived a life packed with adventure, narrow escapes from death and truly remarkable achievements in the realms of business, aviation and sailing. A self-taught engineer, his technical innovations and entrepreneurial drive have helped transform the face of the global electricity supply industry.

This autobiography traces Philip's story from his idyllic childhood at Port Macquarie through to his current role as a doyen of the power industry. Not only does it chart his highly successful career as a businessman, it also covers his Army service during World War II and the unforgettable period that he spent in atom bomb devastated Japan with the Allied Occupation Forces.

During World War II while bases in Sydney, Philip witnessed the Japanese flying boat flying across Sydney Harbour the night before the Japanese Midget submarines attacked the harbour. Many years later Philip helped to locate this Japanese flying boat which had been scuttled after it was damaged when landing beside the Japanese mother submarine off Sydney.

Philip was attached to the 16th Heavy Anti-aircraft Battery in Townsville at Mount St John. He later moved to Magnetic Island with this unit. After this he retrained at Bathurst camp for entry into Australian Infantry Intelligence.

In recent years, Philip was also involved in a project to purchase and refurbish a Catalina in Portugal and fly it back to Australia. For more information on this book.

For more information and details on how to order your copy of this book click here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

AHS Centaur found

The Australian Hospital Ship Centaur has been found.

-- Post From My Ipod Touch

Friday, December 18, 2009

Search for the hospital ship "Centaur"

At approximately 4.10am on Friday 14 May 1943, the hospital ship A.H.S. Centaur, ablaze with lights, was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-177 south east of Cape Moreton. The Centaur was struck in an oil fuel tank on the port side behind No. 2 Hatch. Centaur caught fire, and sank within two or three minutes .

Of the 332 persons on board, only 64 survived. Of the 12 Army Nurses on board, Sister Ellen Savage was the only survivor.

Late on the evening of Saturday 12 December 2009, the search for the hospital "Centaur" started in earnest when renowned shipwreck hunter David Mearns and his team left Brisbane, Queensland on board the 72 metre search vessel "Seahorse Spirit".

After months of research, David Mearns and his team were finally on their way to solve the mystery of the resting place of "Centaur". $4 million have been provided by the Australian and Queensland governments to fund the search for the "Centaur".

For full details of the search visit this link.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On this Day 10 December

This entry to my "Australia @ War" Blog has been provided by Gordon Clarke of ADF Serials:-

On this day 10th December 2009, it is the 90th anniversary of the arrival in Darwin of one Vickers Vimy G-EAOU, crewed by Ross and Keith Smith, Jim Bennett and Wally Shiers, after their epic flight from England. The Vimy of course was a twin engined bomber from World War 1 and was purchased as surplus in 1919 and then fitted out for the flight. They were met by hundreds of people at Darwin eager to get a glimpse of these intrepid or foolish airmen.

Another significant event on this date, but this time the location was Brisbane, was the departure in 1934 of the first Qantas air mail service from Brisbane to London. There was not the fanfare or turn out for this event as there was for the arrival of the Vickers Vimy, but a very significant event all the same.