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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 28328
Last updated: 26 June 2019
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Date:20-OCT-1953
Time:
Type:de Havilland DH.84 Dragon
Owner/operator:TAA (for Royal Flying Doctor Service)
Registration: VH-URY
C/n / msn: 6082
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Cheviot Hills Station, Queensland -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Ambulance
Departure airport:Cheviot Hills, Queensland
Destination airport:Charters Towers, Queensland
Narrative:
VH-URY was one of three D.H.84s ordered by MacRobertson Miller Aviation for their new North-West Western Australia service (with VH-URW and VH-URX). Registered as VH-URY to MacRobertson Miller Aviation Co. 11/9/34 (C of R 489) and fitted out to carry 8 passengers. Named 'The Murchison'. Its color-scheme was dark, royal-blue, with silver wings, tail and stripes etc.

It crashed, after an engine failed on take-off at Halls Creek 7/11/34; causing extensive damage to a wing, its nose, undercarriage, engine-mounts and propellers. There were no major injuries to the pilot, George McCausland, or any of his 4 passengers, including the local Department Inspector.

Horrie Miller repaired the aircraft on-site; suffering considerable hardship for some 2 months, in often 40°c-plus heat, to do so. Miller then flew it back to Maylands, for further repairs. It hit a boundary fence, whilst taxying downwind, at Port Hedland 5/4/35, damaging the lower starboard extension wing. Parts of VH-URW were used to allow it to fly again quickly.

On 21/11/36, it was forced-landed in rocky ground, at Ord River Station, Western Australia, due to fuel starvation, after a vapor-lock (pilot Cecil Ralph Clarke). This resulted in damage to the port wing and engine bearers.

It was bought by Airlines (W.A.) Pty Ltd on 13/8/38. Registered to Airlines (W.A.) Ltd. 27/8/38. It was used on Airlines (W.A.)’s eastern Goldfields services. Impressed to the RAAF 15/7/40. Struck-Off-Register 22/7/40. It was ferried by Charles Snook to the Guinea Airways workshops at Parafield, SA.

It was converted by Guinea Airways & delivered to 1 EFTS, Parafield, SA 18/7/40, becoming A34-6 for an Air Observers’ School. On 20/8/41, it collided with a truck at Mount Gambier and suffered damage to both wings and engines; after flying for only some 155 hours with the RAAF. As A34-6, the aircraft lay at Mount Gambier for 19 months and repairs were protracted.

A34-6 was sold to Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. on 31/5/43 for use by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, based at Cloncurry. Registered VH-URY to Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. 22/6/43 and named ‘John Flynn’. To T.A.A. 24/7/49, still named 'John Flynn'.

VH-URY crashed on take off from Cheviot Hills Station, Queensland, 20/10/53. According to a contemporary press report. (The Canberra Times Friday 23/10/53):

"Brisbane, Thursday: The pilot of a Flying Doctor aircraft, and the wife of the flying doctor were both killed in a plane crash at Cheviot Hills Station this afternoon. Dead were the pilot, Captain Martin Garrett, 26, and Mrs. Kathleen O'Leary, 22. Doctor O'Leary, the flying doctor also aboard the plane, suffered head injuries. Two other passengers, Mrs King Lethbridge and her child were uninjured.

The plane had landed at Cheviot Hills to pick up Mrs. Lethbridge and her child. When it took off again, an engine cut out, and the plane nose-dived into the ground from about 50 feet. Dr. and Mrs. O'Leary had only been married 5 weeks. Both came from Dublin. The flying doctor was stationed at Charters Towers."

Registration VH-URY was Struck-Off-Register by the DCA on 22/10/53

Sources:

1. http://afleetingpeace.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=84&Itemid=20
2. http://www.adf-gallery.com.au//2a34.shtml
3. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/dh/p060.html
4. http://www.airhistory.org.uk/gy/reg_VH-U1.html
5. http://www.edcoatescollection.com/ac1/austu/VH-URY.html
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charters_Towers
7. http://www.goodall.com.au/australian-aviation/dh84-pt1/dh84-dragon-pt1.htm


Images:

Photo of VH-URY courtesy AirHistory.net


Townsville (YBTL / TSV)
; (c) Ben Dannecker (via David Carter)

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
29-Dec-2011 16:47 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Source, Narrative]
24-Mar-2014 01:34 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
24-Mar-2014 01:45 Dr. John Smith Updated [Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
24-Mar-2014 01:48 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
08-May-2014 20:32 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]

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