Last updated 26.6.17
B. A. EAGLE IN AUSTRALIA

Compiled by Geoff Goodall


British Klemm Eagle 2 VH-UTI at Drage's Historical Aircraft Museum, Wodonga Vic in September 1984.
Photo by Geoff Goodall


           The British Klemm Aeroplane Co Ltd was formed in 1929 at Hanworth Air Park, Feltham, then on the outskirts of London. The company produced a modified British version of the German Klemm L-25 monoplane which it marketed as the B.K.Swallow.
           In early 1935 the company was renamed British Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd and stepped up production of the further refined
B.A. Swallow 2
. Over a hundred BA Swallow 2s were built and a number came to Australia.
         
           Meanwhile the British Klemm company's chief designer, the experienced George H. Handasyde had been designing a cabin touring monoplane designated B.K.1 Eagle.  It had a superficial similarity to the Klemm L.32, but was an entirely new design. The prototype first flew at Hanworth in early 1934 and its clean lines and exceptional performance attracted much attention. The pilot had a central seat with a comfortable bench behind  for two passengers plus room for baggage. The wings could be folded to save hangar space.
           A new deluxe model named Eagle 2. was announced at the time of the name change to British Aircraft Manufacturing Co. Design changes included a deepened rear fuselage more rounded tailplane. The majority of Eagle IIs were built as B.A. Eagle 2s.
           Total Eagle 2 production was 35 aircraft.

           Eagle 1s and 2s were all wood construction, with manually operated outward-retracting undercarriage. They were powered by a 130hp DH Gipsy Major engine. Their high performance on a Gipsy Major made Eagles popular choices for British air races and pre-war long distance record flights. One Eagle 2 G-AFAX was ordered with fixed undercarriage, this aircraft later reaching Australia.

           The Australian agency for the British Klemm and British Aircraft range was Adastra Airways at Sydney Airport. This vibrant company had operated a flying school and air taxi business at Mascot since 1930 and operated two of the Eagles itself on aerial photographic survey contracts. A highly-recommended account of the eventful times of Adastra Airways and Adastra Aerial Surveys will be found at www.adastra.adastron.com

A total of six Eagles were imported to Australia.   They are listed in order of appearance on the Civil Register:

                    BK.1 Eagle 1          c/n  25                                                                                                                      VH-USI
.34
Built by British Klemm Aeroplane Co Ltd at Hanworth Air Park, Feltham.
Production B.K.1 Eagle Series 1
14.6.34
Registered G-ACTR  British Klemm Aeroplane Co Ltd at Hanworth
21.10.34
CofA issued
10.34
Ordered by Australian agents Adastra Airways Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney

Shipped to Australia
12.34
Assembled at Mascot by Adastra Airways
14.12.34
Registered VH-USI  J. N. Laurie, Gloucester NSW
14.9.36
Change of ownership: Miss May Bradford, Mascot NSW (Married name: Mrs F. Shepherd)

May Bradford was the first female to gain an Australian "A"commercial pilot licence and was employed by New England Airways as a ground maintenance engineer
16.12.36
Departed Brisbane as an entrant in the 3 day South Australian Centenary Air Race from Brisbane to Adelaide, pilot May Bradford. Race number 34, type listed as Klemm Eagle. Name The Golden Eagle
24.1.37
Takeoff collision, destroyed by fire at Sydney Airport, Mascot NSW
May Bradford with two passengers had just lifted off the ground on takeoff when the Eagle's undercarriage struck the left wing of Desoutter VH-UEE which was taxying for departure. Both aircraft were conducting joy rides.  The Desoutter pilot George Hoskins had stopped when he saw the Eagle approaching.
After impact the Eagle struck the ground, overturned and burst into a fierce fire. All 3 on board died.
The Desoutter was badly damaged but the occupants escaped injury


Aviatrix Miss May Bradford waves from VH-USI named "The Golden Eagle".           Neil Follett collection


Archerfield Qld December 1936 at the start of the Brisbane-Adelaide race, white disk on tail for the race number
Reddall Collection via AHSA NSW Branch


Archerfield December 1936 now with race number.                                        Frank Walters collection


                  BK.1 Eagle 2          c/n  106                Zeelandia                                                                                             VH-USP
.34
Built by British Klemm Aeroplane Co Ltd at Hanworth Air Park, Feltham.
Production B.K.1 Eagle Series 2

Although a B.K.2 model, this aircraft was completed with the deeper rear fuselage of the replacement design B.A. Eagle

Ordered by Australian agents Adastra Airways Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney

Shipped to Australia

Assembled by Adastra Airways at Sydney Airport, Mascot
29.1.35
Registered VH-USP Adastra Airways Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney
29.1.35
Australian CofA issued
11.2.35
Change of ownership: Walter M. "Pat" O'Hara, Malang, Java, Netherlands East Indies. Named Zeelandia.
Walter O'Hara, a New Zealand citizen who had served in WWI as a army machine gunner, now lived at Dampit, Java where he managed a tea plantation. He had learnt to fly with the Aero Club of WA in Perth.
9.35
O'Hara was in Sydney where he had VH-USP modified with an extra fuel tank in the cabin. He had an automatic pump fitted to replace the need to pump fuel with a hand pump. The design and engineering drawings for the installation were submitted to the Civil Aviation Branch
10.35
Sydney newspapers reported that a pilot would depart Sydney on 17 October on a solo flight to NZ. Because he did not want to worry his aged mother, he did not release his name to the press, which referred to him as a mysterious Pilot X.
17.10.35
Civil Aviation Branch advised O'Hara that the Eagle's CofA was suspended, based on an inspection of the cabin fuel tank installation ruling they did not comply with regulations
18.10.35
O'Hara departed Richmond RAAF Station near Sydney at 5.05am bound for NZ. He reached the NZ coast near Auckland in rain and low cloud and approached Mangere Aerodrome in the dark.
18.10.35
Landing at Mangere in the dark, he ran through a fence, damaging the undercarriage and coming to rest on the aircraft's belly

The flying time from Australia was 12 hours 47 minutes

Pat O'Hara was the first New Zealander to fly the Tasman Sea solo in either direction. He was a guest of the Auckland Aero Club and treated as a hero.
10.35
Meanwhile the Australian Civil Aviation Branch suspended his Australian Pilot Licence for flying VH-USP while its CofA was suspended

O'Hara announced that he would make a goodwill tour of NZ when the aircraft was repaired.
A campaign by Sydney businessmen commenced raising funds for him to make a special flight in 1936 from Australia to Netherlands East Indies and on to Japan to promote a trade fair with Japan, but O'Hara declined the offer
7.12.35
Test flown Mangere, Auckland after repair
26.12.35
Pat O'Hara departed Auckland in VH-USP on a NZ tour visiting many towns on both islands, giving passenger flights and donating the funds to the NZ Returned Soldiers Association. Aero Clubs made all the arrangements and promoted his itinerary with civic receptions
10.1.36
Propeller tip damaged landing at Stoke, near Nelson. Repaired the same day by Cook Strait Airways.
2.2.36
O'Hara returned to Auckland in VH-USP
19.2.36
Struck-off Australian register
14.3.36
Registered ZK-AEA Walter M. O'Hara, Auckland NZ 

ZK-AEA visited a flying event at Rongotai Aerodrome, Wellington. A picture shows the Eagle in a line of aircraft including a Waco, Moth Major, five Gipsy Moths and a Rapide
4.36
Dismantled at Auckland and crated for shipping to Sydney.
Shipped from NZ to Sydney as cargo on MV Monowa
5.5.36
MV Monowa docked at Sydney carerying the Eagle and its owner.
5.36
Assembled at Mascot. Press artciles reported that O'Hara said he would fly his NZ registered aircraft from Sydney on a leisurely return trip to Java. He intended to travel via Perth and then up the West Australian coastline
18.5.36
ZK-AEA departed Mascot
24.5.36
Crashed, destroyed by fire, Cardogan Station, Eumungerie via Dubbo NSW. O'Hara was killed.

O'Hara had been staying at Cardogan Station as a guest of Mr. R. E. Boyce. That morning he took off to fly to Dubbo to collect a hat before continuing to Cootamundra to have lunch with Mr. Arthur Butler of the Butler Air Transport Co at Cootamundra Aerodrome. After becoming airborne, O'Hara circled the Cardogan homestead at a low altitude waving to his hosts, when the aircraft stalled and dived into the ground
23.7.36
Struck-off NZ Civil Aircraft Register


Benalla Vic 1935                                                                                          Neil Follett collection


Milson NZ                                                                                                          Neil Follett collection


                  Back in Sydney in May 1936, after being shipped from NZ.   It was wrecked in a takeoff crash a week later.                 
Crome Collection, National Library of Australia




                 BK.1 Eagle 2          c/n  109                                                                                                                      VH-UTI
34
Built by British Klemm Aeroplane Co Ltd at Hanworth Air Park, Feltham.
Production B.K.1 Eagle Series II.  Completed with Gipsy Major No.5838 installed

Note: A.J. Jackson's authorative book series British Civil Aircraft Since 1919 states that VH-UTI & VH-UTG were completed as B.A. Eagle 2s during the reorganisation of British Klemm Aeroplane Co into British Aircraft Manufacturing Co and launch of the deluxe BA Eagle 2.
However all British and Australian official documentation at the time both were imported into Australia identifies them as B.K.1 Eagle 2s built by British Klemm Aeroplane Co Ltd.

The current Australian civil register is of no help because the mandarins at CASA have taken it upon themselves to journalise VH-UTI's manufacturer as "Klemm Flugzeuge GmbH"ie. the German company, rather than the actual British manufacturer and designer.
7.12.34
First test flight Feltham
19.12.34
British CofA issued VH-UTI Hannan Brothers, Adelaide, South Australia
12.34
Shipped to Australia
1.35
Assembled at Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide by H.C.Miller of MacRobertson Miller Aviation Co
3.2.35
Test flown Parafield after assembly, pilot H.C.Miller
2.35
Change of ownership: Percy Knapman, Adelaide SA
18.4.35
Australian CofA issued
18.4.35
Registered VH-UTI Percy Knapman, Adelaide SA
29.1.36
Damaged landing, pilot Knapman
22.10.36
Damaged during forced landing near Two Wells SA due engine trouble, pilot Knapman
16.12.36
Departed Brisbane as an entrant in the 3 day South Australian Centenary Air Race from Brisbane to Adelaide, pilot Knapman. Race number 29, type listed as Klemm Eagle. Name Spirit of Fun
18.12.36
Completed the Air Race at Parafield, total flying time 7 hrs 52 mins
1.9.41
CofA expired. Retired in a hangar at Parafield due to the war situation
9.42
DCA Parafield memo: overhaul has been completed but Knapman will not test fly or use the aircraft because of the current wartime requirement that he paint it in camouflage
2.44
DCA Parafield memo: UTI is dismantled for inspection, Knapman wishes to sell the aircraft to Mr. Dunn,
Dunlite Electrical Co Ltd, Adelaide
3.3.44
CofA renewed at Parafield
3.3.44
Change of ownership: Lloyd B. Dunn, Adelaide SA
3.44
Based at Port Pirie SA. Mr. Dunn flies the aircraft to towns and station properties on Eyre Peninsular in western SA for his electrical business

Serviced by Spencers Gulf Aero Club, Whyalla SA
45-46
Leased to John P. Kellow & Dick Edwards, Whyalla SA trading as Gulf Aviation Services
Flown by Kellow on charter work from Whyalla.
Jack Kellow later wrote of this Eagle: "
I flew 80 hours in this very efficient machine"
7.45
Kellow, then a pilot instructor with Spencers Gulf Aero Club wrote to DCA with a proposal to install a stretcher in VH-UTI in order to use it on Flying Doctor Service contract work.
No indication if the modification was carried out
2.46
VH-UTI flown by Kellow with Edwards as passenger from Whyalla to Geelong Vic to inspect two Fairchild 24s VH-ABZ & VH-ACV being reconditioned ex RAAF by Brown & Dureau Ltd at Belmont Common airfield. The partners purchased both Fairchilds for Gulf Aviation Services. 
7.48
DCA Parafield memo: Dunn bases VH-UTI at Parafield, uses it mostly for flights to Eyre Peninsular where he does electrical work at agricultural properties
1.4.49
Change of ownership: Glen M. McWilliam, Hanwood Winery, Griffith NSW
3.1.51
CofA expired. Not renewed
6.8.51
Struck-off Civil Register during DCA's 1951 Census of unairworthy aircraft
21.11.51
Restored to Register: Griffith Aero Club, Griffith NSW
21.11.51
CofA renewed
16.3.52
Change of ownership: Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area Aeronautical & Scientific Association, Griffith NSW
Continued to be operated by Griffith Aero Club with the aero club's name painted on the tail
2.1.53
Undercarriage damaged while taxying at Temora NSW, pilot R.Morrison

Retired for maintenance at Jack Hodder's hangar at Parkes NSW
20.7.61
Struck-off Register as Withdrawn from Service
61-70
VH-UTI stored dismantled in Jack Hodder's hangar at Parkes, "Griffith Aero Club" painted on tail

Acquired by Jack D. Hodder, Parkes NSW. He operated an aircraft maintenance business in the Parkes hangar and owned airworthy BA Eagle 2 VH-ACN
10.69
Included in Jack Hodder's sale of his airworthy BA Eagle 2 VH-ACN to  Colin Monk, Sydney NSW
c72
Acquired by Nick and Greg Challinor, Burleigh Heads Qld
The brothers were vintage aircraft enthusiasts who had seen VH-UTI while refuelling their Tiger Moth at Parkes cira 1969 and decided they could restore it to airworthy

Moved by road to Burleigh Heads where restoration of the wooden airframe commenced.

This was the first rebuilding project of the Challinor brothers, later joined by their father, to become the maintenance business MothCair, respected for high quality restorations of vintage aircraft at Murwillumbah Airfield.  Graham Orphan later wrote of the brothers' first project in Classic Wings Down Under magazine:

"The first problem with the Eagle was encountered as soon as the brothers got the big monoplane home. In order to put it into their workshop they first had to take it into a neighbour's back yard, remove the fence, demolish one of the walls of their flat and then install the aircraft. Nick still praises their tolerant landlady who lived in the flat above in close range of the ever present sounds of power tools and dope fumes.

The B.K.Eagle is anything but the ideal choice for a first-time restoration project. It is rare and drawings are unavailable. Of all wooden construction, it is considderably more complicated than its De Havilland or Miles contemporaries. It also boasts a manually retractable undercarriage and folding wings. With all this in mind, Nick and Greg set about effecting the rebuild of VH-UTI with great enthusiasm.
Progrress was slow but steady whilst the brithgers gained the necessary skills if splicing, ply skinning, engine plumbing and fabric work.
18.4.78
VH-UTI noted at Murwillumbah, restoration completed, painted yellow and silver.
It had made fast taxying trials on the airfield
8.11.79
Official first test flight at Murwillumbah, pilot Nick Challimoir
10.11.79
Ferried from Murwillumbah to Griffith NSW for inspection by a licenced aircraft maintenance engineer experienced in vintage aircraft construction, for issue of CofA
16.11.79
Restored to Register VH-UTI  Nick P. Challinor, Murwillumbah NSW
11.79
CofA renewed at Griffith
11.12.79
Flew home Griffith-Murwillumbah
.84
Sold to Joseph G. Drage/ Drage's Historical Aircraft Museum, Wodonga Vic
9.84
Among the aircraft collection at Joe Drage's property near Wodonga Vic
4.10.84
Register change of ownership from Nick Challinor to City of Wangaratta, Wangaratta Vic
1.85
Drage collection was displayed in a new purpose-built large hangar at Wangaratta Airport Vic under new name Drage Airworld. Interstate bus terminal and restaurant included in the museum buildings. Ownership of the Drage aircraft collection was taken over by the City of Wangaratta.
27.1.85
One of 8 airworthy aircraft of the Drage collection flown from Wodonga to Wangaratta
8.96
Auction announced for disposal of 10 selected aircraft of the Airworld Collection, which has been forced to rationalise to continue. Among the ten aircraft was Eagle VH-UTI offered in airworthy condition.
19.11.96
Sold at auction of selected Airworld aircraft to Roy Fox, Sydney NSW
(Fox owned a number of vintage aircraft, including Klemm L-25D VH-UUR)
29.8.99
Damaged in accident at Sydney-Bankstown Airport
4.01
visited fly-in at Parkes NSW, yellow and silver
4.13
visited fly-in at Echuca Vic, same yellow and silver scheme

Based at Roy Fox's private airfield at his property The Missions 1937, near Wisemans Ferry NSW

Current


Parafield in the 1930s.                              Civil Aviation Historical Society of SA via SA Aviation Museum


Archerfield December 1936 just prior to the start of the Brisbane-Adelaide air race, with name "Spirit of Fun"
Neil Follett collection


Air Race contestants at Essendon preparing for the final leg Melbourne-Nhill-Adelaide.    Neil Follett collection


Bankstown 1952, cream with red trim and lettering, "Griffith Aero Club" on tail.         Photo by Eddie Coates


VH-UTI stored in Jack Hodder's hangar at Parkes NSW in 1966, next to the abandoned Desoutter VH-UPR
Geoff Goodall collection


The partially-restored fuselage at Murwillumbah NSW in June 1975 with the Challinor brothers
Photo by Mike Vincent


Restored and airworthy at Drage Airworld, Wangaratta Vic in April 1988.                        Photo by Nigel Daw



              BK.1 Eagle II          c/n  113                                                                                                                    VH-UTG
.34
Built by British Klemm Aeroplane Co Ltd at Hanworth Air Park, Feltham, Middlesex
Production B.K.1 Eagle Series 2

Note: A.J. Jackson's authorative book series British Civil Aircraft Since 1919 states that VH-UTI & VH-UTG were completed as B.A. Eagle IIs during the reorganisation of British Klemm Aeroplane Co into British Aircraft Manufacturing Co and launch of the deluxe BA Eagle 2.
However all British and Australian official documentation at the time both were imported identifies them as B.K.1 Eagle IIs built by British Klemm Aeroplane Co Ltd
28.2.35
British CofA issued VH-UTG: Adastra Airways Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney

Shipped to Australia
20.4.35
Test flight Mascot after assembly by Adastra Airways, pilot Adastra Managing Director Frank Follett
24.4.35
Registered VH-UTG Adastra Airways Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney

Fitted at Mascot with an Eagle camera and equipment for vertical photography for aerial survey contracts
7.35
Conducting a large scale aerial mapping contract of northern and western South Australia for the SA State Government
13.7.35
Damaged when undercarriage collapsed landing at Oodnadatta SA. Pilot R. T. Cropley and the camera operator were unhurt
7.10.35
Damaged when rolled into a drain during landing Beltana SA. Pilot Norman A Adam and two passengers were unhurt
36
Adastra were negotiating the sale of VH-UTG and had ordered a replcement Eagle VH-UUY assembled at Mascot in April 1936. The camera gear and fittings from VH-UTG were installed in VH-UUY
16.5.36
Change of ownership: Robert T. Vincent, Geelong Vic, later Broadford Vic

Vincent also owned Klemm L-25 VH-USH, which he had used for his business, but had been retired the previous year
19.5.36
Flown Mascot-Geelong on delivery by R.T. Vincent

Based Belmont Common airfield Geelong. Often flown by Charlie Pratt of Pratt Flying School, Geelong and the flying school staff pilot Perce Colman.
16.12.36
Departed Brisbane as an entrant in the 3 day South Australian Centenary Air Race from Brisbane to Adelaide. Entered by R.T.Vincent with nominated pilot Charles D. Pratt.  Race number 35
18.12.36
Vincent and Pratt completed the Air Race at Parafield, total flying time 6 hrs 35 mins
7.38
CofA renewal overhaul at Essendon by Victorian & Interstate Airways

By 1939 Vincent had enlisted in RAAF and was a flying instructor at RAAF Point Cook Vic.
On 29.11.39 Flying Officer Robert Trevor Vincent and his pupil were killed when DH.60 Moth A7-62 crashed after takeoff Point Cook.
Vincent's funeral with full air force honours was held on 22.12.39 at Highton Cemetry, Geelong.
Klemm Eagle VH-UTG circled above, flown by Perce Coleman
6.40
Estate of the late R.T.Vincent wish to sell the aircraft. VIA at Essendon are acting as sale agents
25.7.40
Change of ownership: Aircrafts Pty Ltd, Archerfield Airport, Brisbane Qld

APL used the Eagle to maintain scheduled air services after the loss of APL aircraft which were impressed by the Government for RAAF earlier that year. The Eagle was sold in 1944 after DCA arranged for RAAF to release two DH.84 Dragons to APL
6.5.44
Change of ownership: Queensland Flying Training School, Archerfield Qld
(a partnership between H.J.Hughes and H.F.Bremerman)
16.3.46
Change of name: Queensland Flying Services, Archerfield Qld  (same partners)
4.7.47
Change of ownership: Allan C. Cameron & Derek Scott, trading as Camsco, Tenterfield NSW
The partners operated a charter business with Tiger Moth VH-BCI and Butler BAT VH-ARG
17.10.47
Minor damage due undercarriage collapse at Toowoomba Qld
29.11.47
Damaged, port undercarriage collapsed while taxying at Tamworth NSW

Not repaired, stored damaged in hangar at Tamworth aerodrome
.48
Directors of East-West Airlines had decided to diversify the company's airline activities by commencing crop dusting operations with Tiger Moths during 1947. In late 1948 the Board accepted an offer from Camsco to sell EWA their three aircraft:
- Tiger Moth VH-BCI airworthy
- Butler BAT VH-ARG dismantled for overhaul
- Klemm Eagle damaged, stored at Tamworth.
The Tiger joined the EWA agricultural fleet and it was envisaged that the Eagle would be used for charter work in the Tamworth region, particularly carrying stock buyers and rural agents
30.11.48
Change of ownership: East-West Airlines Ltd, Tamworth NSW

The Eagle was repaired by EWA Chief Engineer Ted Walsh and his staff on a spare-time basis, priority given to maintaining the airline's Avro Anson and Lockheed Hudson fleet
9.6.50
CofA renewed at Tamworth
14.7.50
local test flight Tamworth, pilot Arch Smith, EWA Chief Pilot
15.7.50
local flying Tamworth by Arch Smith, endorsing First Officer Jim Packer on the Eagle
17.7.50
first EWA charter flown by Arch Smith, Maules Creek-Tamworth with two passengers
28.7.50
Crashed during forced landing in trees near Moree NSW
Propeller broke away in flight due to the propeller shaft fracturing at the forward end of the crankcase.
The aircraft's wings were torn away during forced landing in trees surrounded by flood waters

EWA Chief Pilot Arch Smith was flying the Eagle on flood relief at Moree. He was operating from a road near the town carrying supplies and food to drop to properties isolated by flood waters. Captain Smith later wrote in his book East West Eagles:

"I had just levelled off when there was a wrenching snap and the propeller flew off and curved away to my left like a huge boomerang. I immediately cut the switches to stop the racing engine, turned off the fuel, pushed the nose down to maintain airspeed and turned north to what I hoped was shallower water.
I called out to Kyrle Grace (a local farmer who was observer/dropper) to throw out the remaining food parcels - they were stacked behind us and likely to crush us with the impact of a forced landing. I flew the Eagle with my right hand while holding the cockpit door open with my left and Kyrle got rid of the parcels mighty fast...............I was holding an airspeed of 75 miles per hour as I held off a few feet above the floodwaters and aimed between two trees. We smacked into the two trees simultaneously with both wings"

Both men sustained minor injuries when their seat harnesses were torn away from their anchors. The trees sheared off the outer wings on each side but the cabin was intact. They stayed in the cabin overnight with water just below seat level and next morning built a signal fire. They were located by a searching EWA Anson and were eventually rescued by Army Ducks from Moree.
11.50
East West Airlines advise DCA that VH-UTG will not be rebuilt
27.11.50
Struck-off Register


VH-UTG at Mascot 1935.                                                                 Photo: Civil Aviation Historical Society


Oodnadatta SA in July 1935, undercarriage collapse while carrying out aerial photographic survey
Photo: Robert Millburn collection


                         Archerfield December 1936 with white disk on the tail for the Brisbane-Adelaide air race number to be added.
                               Behind is May Bradford's Eagle VH-USI which was also in the race.
       Frank Walters collection


Robert Vincent (left) and Charles Pratt with VH-UTG during the Brisbane to Adelaide race.  
Hugell collection via Kevin O'Reilly         


                        Belmont Common airfield Geelong Vic c1937 with "Don't Touch Machine" sign hung from the cabin door.                       
Photo by C.D.Pratt via Kevin O'Reilly collection



Casino NSW airshow 27 July 1946. "Queensland Flying Services Archerfield" was painted on the cowling
Photo: Geoff Goodall collection

Looking very smart after rebuild by East-West Airlines, with the airline name painted above the cabin.
Tamworth NSW 14 July 1950.                                                   Photo by Arch Smith


Two weeks later on 28 July 1950 VH-UTG was wrecked in a forced landing during floods at Moree NSW.
This picture was taken when the wreck was collected by EWA after the floods . Pilot Arch Smith centre


             B.A. Eagle II       c/n 128                                                                                                                      VH-UUY
.35
Built by British Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd at Hanworth Air Park, Feltham, Middlesex
Production B.A.Eagle Series II
28.9.35
British CofA issued: VH-UUY Adastra Airways Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney NSW
30.10.35
Log book: First flight Hanworth

Shipped to Australia
4.36
Assembled at Mascot by Adastra Airways, airframe time 4 hrs 15 mins
16.4.36
Registered VH-UUY Adastra Airways Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney NSW
16.4.36
Australian CofA issued at Mascot

Adastra Airways were expanding their aerial vertical photographic survey business. VH-UUY was fitted with the Eagle camera and equipment previously installed in their Eagle VH-UTG
8-11.36
Based at Cairns Qld on a photographic survey contract.
Maintenance problems with the undercarriage retraction mechanism due to salt water corrosion. Cairns airfield was situated on tidal mud flats which flooded at high tides
11.5.37
Inspection report at Mascot. Airframe time 505 hrs
8.37
UUY returned to Cairns, to be based there several months on survey flown by Norm Rodoni
9.8.37
Forced landing on a beach 8 miles north of Cairns due engine failure, pilot Rodoni.
Aircraft undamaged and at low tide it was towed behind a vehicle to Cairns.  Engine replaced
4.38
Based Coffs Harbour NSW on survey flying
6.38
Shipped from Sydney to New Guinea to conduct a photographic survey for Papuan Apinaipi Petroleum Co Ltd. Accompanied by pilot Norm Rodoni and camera operator Lavender
7.38
Arrived at Port Moresby as cargo on board coastal steamer Montoro

Flew aerial mapping sorties over Papuan Apinaipi Petroleum's oil search permit areas 

Shipped back to Sydney
24.3.39
Inspection report at Mascot. Airframe time 1042 hrs
9.39
Adastra advise DCA that VH-UUY has not flown survey for the past 12 months as is being held as reserve aircraft for the company's Sydney-Bega airline service currently operated by DH.90 Dragonfly VH-AAD
28.7.40
Government subsidy for the Sydney-Bega service was withdrawn due wartime restrictions. Adastra replaced VH-AAD on the scheduled service with the smaller BA Eagle VH-UUY
22.8.40
Forced landing on a beach at Shell Harbour NSW due engine failure. No airframe damage.
UUY was being used on Adastra Airways' Sydney-Bega scheduled airline service
9.40
Retired, parked in Adastra hangar at Mascot being advertised for sale
21.11.41
Adastra Airways wrote to DCA requesting approval under wartime civil aviation regulations to sell VH-UUY to Mr. E. E. McIllree, Sydney. : "……the machine has been surplus to our requirements for more than 12 months, during which time it has not flown. It was offered to the Air Board who refused it on the grounds that it was not suitable for their work. This Co. requires the funds from the sale to re-invest in workshop plant and equipment to carry out contracts for the Ministry of Munitions - we have on hand at present work for the Vickers M.G. Project - and plant is becoming available but must be accepted by us immediately".  DCA cabled approval of the sale
25.11.41
Change of ownership: Eric Edward Mcillree, Sydney NSW
1.42
Sqn Ldr E. H. Loneragan requests DCA approval for a fuel ration to fly VH-UUY from Camden to Mudgee while he is on military leave, to check his business interests. He is Managing Director of Jas Loneragan (Mudgee) Ltd. Loneragan advises he is teaching Mr. McIllree to fly to enable him to gain his pilot licence
11.43
CofA renewal overhaul at Mascot
24.11.43
Damaged landing Mascot after test flight by Peter J. Loneragan following the CofA inspection.
Undercarriage and propeller damaged. Quickly repaired
24.2.44
Undercarriage collapsed landing at Mudgee, pilot P. J. Loneragan.
21.4.44
Change of ownership: Jas Loneragan (Mudgee) Co Pty Ltd, Mudgee NSW.
14.11.44
Annual CofA renewal at Mascot

Used for Loneragan family private and company flying for the next 20 years.
During this period E. H. "Tim" Loneragan owned Ansons VH-BLG & BLD, Percival Gull VH-BQA,
Ryan STM VH-AHC and Beech 17 VH-BBL, followed later by Pipers Apaches and Aztecs.
Other members the Loneragan family in the Mudgee district also owned a number of private aircraft

The Loneragan family businesses included a large Mudgee department store, farming, agricultural investments, bakeries, flour mills, agents for White Heather whiskey, a rural finance company, and building the first motels west of Sydney. He dealt in war surplus equipment in New Guinea.
In 1946 he founded Aircraft Disposals Co, Mudgee in partnership with E. E. McIllree to convert RAAF disposals Avro Ansons to 7 seat airliners for resale on the civil market. Over 40 Ansons were acquired.
51-59
VH-UUY was based at Gulgong NSW flown by Tim's brother Bryan Loneragan
1.12.64
Change of ownership: Ian G. Hope, Oberon NSW, later Bathurst NSW.. Based at Bathurst aerodrome

noted parked outside at Bathurst NSW, all silver finish.
12.7.65
Damaged when landed at Bathurst with undercarriage only partly extended. Pilot I. G. Hope


28.11.68
Struck-off Register as withdrawn from service

Became derelict in the weather at Bathurst aerodrome. Owner declined offers to sell, saying he planned to restore it himself

Finally acquired in dilapidated condition by Nick and Greg Challinor, Murwillumbah NSW.
The fuselage back was broken, pieces of wood had fallen from the derelict airframe and were scattered on the ground and metal fittings were dug out of the ground where they had settled.
A collection of parts was salvaged to assist the Challinors' on-going restoration of Eagle VH-UTI.

When VH-UTI was restored and sold to Joe Drage, and later Roy Fox, the remaining parts collection from VH-UUY was included in each sale


Mascot circa 1936, in service with Adastra Airways.                 Reddall Collection via AHSA NSW Branch


Australian civil aircraft were required to be painted in camouflage from 1942-1945.   Geoff Goodall collection



Bankstown circa 1960, tied down outside the Marshall Airways hangar.              Geoff Goodall collection


Bathurst NSW September 1965, all silver with black registration letters, airworthy.    Photo by Geoff Goodall


Two years later at Bathurst in July 1967, the Eagle is now retired and left in high grass at the airfield fence.
Photo by Geoff Goodall

The distressing sight at Bathurst in the early 1970s, showing the effects of weather and parts removal.
Both photos: Greg Thom collection






                B. A. Eagle 2      c/n 138                                                                                                           VH-ACN
.37
Built by British Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd at Hanworth Air Park, Feltham, Middlesex
Production B.A.Eagle Series II

Ordered by H.O. Hamilton specifying fixed undercarriage, the only Eagle so modified
7.37
Registered G-AFAX British Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd at Hanworth Aerodrome, Feltham.
5.7.37
First flight Hanworth
6.8.37
CofA issued
8.37
Change of ownership: Hector Oliver Hamilton, Shoreham
28.8.37
G-AFAX competed in Folkestone Trophy Air Race, race number 14.
6.39
Change of ownership: John D. Hodder, Kanbauk, Burma

Jack Hodder was an Australian diesel engineer and commercial pilot from Kings Cross, Sydney. He had been based in Burma since 1937 as a Chief Pilot and senior engineer for the Tavoy Tin Dredging Corporation's mine at Kanbauk, 300 miles south of Rangoon


G-AFAX was dhipped to Burma in wooden crates, assembled by Hodder as his personal aircraft

In July 1937 Hodder had written from Burma to relatives of missing airman Sir Charles Kingsford Smith to report he had located an aircraft wheel at Aye Island, Burma which he was certain is from the missing Lockheed Vega VH-USB. He had been investigating local plane crash reports because the Vega's copilot Tommy Pethybridge had been a friend when Hodder had earlier been doing his pilot training at the Kingsford Smith Flying School at Mascot.
Hodder's personal attempts over the following year to find more wreckage were unsuccessful
30.10.39
Hodder departed Burma on a holiday flight home to Sydney
11.11.39
G-AFAX arrived at Darwin from Koepang, Timor
12.11.39
Hodder departed Darwin for Broome WA. He will fly down the WA coast to visit Perth on his way to Sydney because he wanted to see the west.
13.11.39
Minor damage to undercarriage during landing at Roebourne WA. Repaired by Hodder
17.11.39
Arrived Maylands Aerodrome Perth WA.
"I am just going home from work. Some men use bicycles to go home. I am using my plane."
Mr. John Hodder, aged 42, told reporters on arrival at Perth
18.12.39
Hodder arrived at Brisbane in G-AFAX on the last leg of his flight to Sydney
16.2.40
Australian Registration application: John D. Hodder, Sydney NSW
16.2.40
Aircraft inspection report at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney. Airframe time 286 hrs
1.3.40
Registered VH-ACN John D. Hodder, Sydney NSW
1.3.40
Australian CofA issued

Jack Hodder was a commercial pilot with aircraft engineering endorsements. He took a variety of flying and maintenance jobs. He purchased DH.60G Moth VH-ULE in August 1940, followed by other aircraft, but retained ownership of this BA Eagle for almost 30 years
29.12.40
Undercarriage damaged landing Mascot on an area of sandy surface. Pilot Hodder, charter flight with two passengers, no injuries
14.2.41
Aircraft inspection report at Mascot. Airframe time 445 hrs
4.42
DCA memo: VH-ACN has been painted in camouflage in accordance with DCA wartime regulations
12.4.42
Hodder flew the Eagle from Sydney to Melbourne. He was commencing employment with Ansett Airways at Essendon Aerodrome. Because RAAF had taken over Essendon hangarage, he based VH-ACN at Coode Island Aerodrome near Port Melbourne

CofA maintained during war years and Hodder was issued petrol ration vouchers by DCA No doubt due to his essential work as a licenced ground engineer maintaining the Ansett Airways Lockheed 10 Electras used on theSydney-Townsville US courier service
27.8.45
Undercarriage damaged at Mascot, pilot Hodder. Local flight with one passenger
1.2.46
Change of ownership: Sydney Austin, "Wambianna" via Trangie NSW
20.10.49
Change of ownership: John D. Hodder, Royal Hotel, Casino NSW, later Sydney NSW, Parkes NSW
51
Jack Hodder established an aircraft maintenance business at Parkes Aerodrome NSW. He leased one of the RAAF wartime Bellman hangars and was widely used by country aircraft owners and aerial agricultural operators.
By the 1960s Hodder was in demand for maintenance on vintage aircraft types and his Parkes hangar was always packed with interesting aircraft, including another Eagle, the retired VH-UTI.
16.6.55
Struck-off Register, withdrawn from service
12.8.55
Restored to Register: John D. Hodder, P.O.Box 166, Parkes NSW

Jack Hodder based VH-ACN at his Parkes hangar, also later acquiring PA-22 TriPacer VH-PHJ
29.5.64
Change of ownership: R. K. Larkins, "Inverleith", Tottenham NSW
13.10.64
Change of ownership: John D. Hodder, Parkes NSW
20.10.69
Change of ownership: Colin Monk, Sydney NSW

The dismantled Klemm Eagle VH-UTI was included in the purchase. It had been stored in Jack Hodder's hangar at Parkes for the previous ten years
18.6.72
VH-ACN noted at Camden in the Air Gold Coast hangar with Cliff Douglas' other aircraft
9.72
Sold to Cliff Douglas, Coolanagatta Qld
18.5.73
Civil Register Change of ownership: Cliff C. Douglas, Tallebudgera Qld
16.5.74
Struck-off Register
15.8.74
noted at Coolangatta Airport, in hangar

Cliff Douglas established Chewing Gum Field Air Museum at Tallebudgera Qld, where VH-ACN was among aircraft displayed inside a hangar transported from Eagle Farm Airport, Brisbane
18.4.78
noted inside the display hangar at CGFAM
c86
Acquired from Cliff Douglas by British vintage aviation ethusiast Geoff Green, whose day job was a Boeing 747 Captain with Cathay Pacific Airways based at Hong Kong

Shipped to UK
27.10.87
Restored to British Register G-AFAX J. Geoffrey Green, Bath, later Chertsey 
1.89
VH-ACN stored dismanted in a workshop at Denford Manor, Hungerford, England, red & cream
29.3.06
Change of ownership: Fundacion Infante De Orleans, Cuatro Vientos Airport, Madrid, Spain
3.9.06
G-AFAX flying at a Fundacion Infante De Orleans event at Cuatro Vientos, Madrid, also 1.10.06
10.6.08
Struck-off British Register

Displayed at Fundacion Infante De Orleans hangars, Cuatro Vientos.

The FIO aviation historical association acquired the Eagle because of the type's significance: in 1935 famous Spanish aviator Senor Juan Pombo flew a BA Eagle 2 from England to South Africa where he crashed in Natal. The Spanish Government presented him with a replacement Eagle 2 in which he flew the South Atlantic Ocean to Mexico City.


     Mascot 1940 after Australian certification. Note the fixed undercarriage                      Geoff Goodall collection    


                            A 1950s picture, location not given.                                                                                Brian Hay collection


                          Parkes NSW circa 1961                                                                                                  The Collection


                          Another view at Parkes NSW in the 1960s.                                                            Neil Follett collection


Canberra February 1970 with a new owner and new cream and red paint scheme.      Photo by Mike Vincent


Back in England as G-AFAX after a superb restoration by Geoff Green.  Wellesbourne Mountford June 1993
Photo by Dave Welch


Postscript: 
British Klemm BK.1 Eagle G-ACVU was entered in the 1934 Centenary Air Race from London to Melbourne by former RAF pilot Flight Lieutenant Donald Campbell.Shaw. He and Australian James Melrose were the only solo entries.  
G-ACVU c/n 30 was completed by British Klemm for Shaw as a special racing version which included an extra fuel tank in the cabin.

As race No.47, with name The Spirit of Wm. Shaw and Co Ltd painted on the cowlings, Shaw was third last to be flagged off at Mildenhall at 6.43am on 20 October 1934. Later that first day he made an unplanned brief stop near a village in Spain. Shaw was making good time as he reached Bushire, Iraq where the undercarriage was badly damaged on landing, forcing him to retire from the race.
The aircraft was returned to England and repaired.


References:
- Australian Civil Aircraft Register,  Department of Civil Aviation and its successors
- DCA Aircraft Files, National Archives of Australia
- British Civil Aircraft Register site: g-info
- British Civil Aircraft Since 1919, A. J. Jackson, Putnam
- British Klemm Eagle: Aviation Historical Society of NZ Journal, May 1969 & July 1969
- Wings of Gold - How the Aeroplane Developed New Guinea, James Sinclair, Pacific Publications, Sydney 1978
- East West Eagles, The Story of East West Airlines, Archie J. Smith, Robert Brown & Assoc, Brisbane, 1989
- Wing Tips - The Royal Aero Club of SA, Book 1 1919-1941, Mike Milln, Avonmore Books, 2011
- The Centenary Air Race, Aviation Heritage Vol 24 Nos. 1 & 2, Aviation Historical Society of Australia
- Rag & Tube magazine, Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia, quarterly from 1975: Eagle reports
- Adastra Airways history site: http://www.adastron.com/adastra/default.htm
- Roy Fox site:  http://www.themissions1937.com.au

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