Incident de Havilland DH.83 Fox Moth VH-AAZ, 06 Nov 1939
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 154260
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Type:Silhouette image of generic DH83 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
de Havilland DH.83 Fox Moth
Owner/operator:Ray J.P. Parer and Dick Glasson
Registration: VH-AAZ
MSN: 4089
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Bitoi Valley, Black Cat Ridge, Morobe Province -   Papua New Guinea
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Salamaua, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
Destination airport:Wau, Papua New Guinea
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Built by De Havilland at Stag Lane, Edgware as a Float plane; registered as G-ACRU [C of R 5021] 28.5.34 to The British Graham Land Expedition, Falkland Islands. (Officially, according to Air Ministry records, the regsitered owner was the Royal Georgraphic Society, South Kensington, London SW.7, with the aircraft nominally based at Hatfield Aerodrome, Hatfield, Hertfordshire).

C of A 4381 issued 11.7.34. C of A lapsed 10.7.35. From 1934-1937, G-ACRU was flying in Antarctica and the Falkland Islands and operated on floats and wheels, depending on the season. Returned to Heston 7.37; C of A renewed 20.8.37. Registration cancelled 2.1.38 as sold [via W S Shackleton Ltd].

Registered in Australia as VH-AAZ [C of R 681] 20.11.37 to Ray J P Parer and Dick Glasson, Wewak, New Guinea. Crashed on landing at Wau, New Guinea 12.6.38; repaired.

Written off when crashed at Bitoi Valley, Black Cat Ridge, New Guinea 6.11.39, pilot W. Forgan Smith injured.(The Black Cat Track or Trail is a rough overland track in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. It runs from the village of Salamaua on the coast of the Huon Gulf, south into the mountains to the township of Wau. Approximate co-ordinates: 7.0609°S 147.0438°E). While flying from Salamaua to Wau, carrying 5 bags of rice and two drums of petrol, weather in the gap of the Bitoi Valley forced the aircraft into trees. The Fox Moth was wrecked and pilot William Forgan-Smith was injured. He was located by searching aircraft two days later.

Pilot's accident report to DCA: "I tried to regain height after a downdraft by zig-zagging up the valley because there was not enough room to turn. I had full throttle, the trees were getting closer and closer and the nose higher and higher until the machine stalled. I throttled back and hoped for the best. I hit the trees and got out. I walked to the river but there was a big waterfall which I could not get up, so I walked down the river in the other direction."

Forgan-Smith had been recently employed by Parer & Glasson, and had only arrived in New Guinea 4 days prior to the crash. Pilot W Forgan Smith was injured but trekked through thick forest for days until rescued, later going on to a long airline career with Qantas. Registration VH-AAZ cancelled 30.11.39.



Revision history:

19-Mar-2013 15:15 Dr. John Smith Added
19-Mar-2013 15:19 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Narrative]
24-Dec-2017 23:12 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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