Last updated 27 October 2019
FORD TRIMOTORS IN AUSTRALIA
Four of these legendary pre-war transport aircraft were imported by Australian companies for freight use in New Guinea

Compiled by Geoff Goodall

Ford Trimotors VH-UTB and VH-USX about to depart Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea during the 1930s.
A crew member is closing a roof hatch on the rear Ford.              Photo: Civil Aviation Historical Society

          Four legendary Ford Trimotors were imported by Australian companies for freight operations in Australian-administered New Guinea.
These rugged all-metal transport aircraft gave stirling airline service to the mountainous goldfields until the outbreak of the Pacific Theatre of World War II. Only weeks after Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces invaded New Britain and New Guinea, ending civil aviation in January 1942 as the Allied military authorities took over. 
         The early desperate defence of New Guinea resulted in the swansong for the two remaining Fords, which had been evacuated to the Australian mainland. They were immediately impressed by the Australian Government for RAAF use back in New Guinea. However both were lost after short military careers.

         A total of 199 Ford Trimotors were built at Detroit between 1926-1933 in a variety of models. Two variants were used in New Guinea:
-Ford 4-AT-E Three 330hp Wright Whirwind J.6 radials. Up to 9 passengers
-Ford 5-AT-C Three 420hp P&W Wasp radials. Enlarged airframe to carry up to 17 passengers  
        
        Guinea Airways Ltd
, the largest pre-war New Guinea operator purchased two Ford 5-AT-Cs VH-UBI and VH-UTB to supplement their three big Junkers G.31 trimotor freighters. Their main competitor at the time, Holden's Air Transport Service Ltdimported two smaller model 4-AT-Es VH-USX and VH-UDY. All four Fords were second-hand machines purchased from England with current British Certificates of Airworthiness. This circumvented the Australian Civil Aviation Branch (predecessor of Department of Civil Aviation) policy to refuse certification for aircraft imported directly from countries which were not members of ICAN, the forerunner of ICAO.
         Nevertheless, the CAB made its point regarding non ICAN-compliant standards. Guinea Airways ordered its two Fords 5-AT-Cs at the same time in late 1934 but CAB delayed approval for the second Ford VH-UBI for a year while it reviewed the design and construction against ICAN airworthiness standards.  Approval included mandatory modifications including an emergency exit from the passenger cabin and a stainless-steel fireproof wall to be installed behind the nose engine.
         Holden's Air Transport Service Ltd amalgamated with Guinea Airways Ltd in April 1937 after Guinea Airways had earlier purchased a controlling shareholding but left HATS to continue as a separate company. Guinea Airways was now the clear owner of all four Ford Trimotors.
         In New Guinea service the Ford Trimotors were an immediate success. James Sinclair, a former New Guinea patrol officer wrote in his book "Wings of Gold - How the Aeroplane Developed New Guinea":
"The Guinea Airways Ford received an enthusiastic welcome from the public, who appreciated the 14 comfortable upholstered seats in the spacious cabin and also the company pilots. The Junkers fleet all had open cockpits and the blast from the radial engines was severe and unpleasant. The Junkers G.31 trimotors were particularly noisy. Their Hornet engines were fitted with stub exhausts and in flight the noise from the two wing engines was so tremendous that pilot and copilot found it impossible to converse. In the Ford Trimotor the pilots cabin was fully enclosed and comfortably fitted."
         
However the cabin seats were usually removed for the primary role of all four New Guinea Fords, which was heavy freight lifting. They played a big part part in the 1930s air cargo statistics that resulted in more air freight carried annually in New Guinea than the rest of the world combined.  Rarely mentioned is the use of a Ford as back-up aircraft in the early days of Guinea Airways' mainland Lockheed 10 Electra airline services Adelaide-Darwin and Adelaide-Sydney. VH-UTB with passenger seats installed was deployed from New Guinea to Adelaide several times during 1937. It also flew freight charters Adelaide-Darwin, Guinea Airways advertising reduced freight rates in the Territory newspapers and, as an indication of a very different airline era, offered to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables,wines and spirits if orders were placed with its agents.

My special thanks to the Civil Aviation Historical Society library at the Airways Museum, Essendon Airport, Melbourne for on-going generous access to their extensive CAHS photographic collection.

Australian Ford Trimotors listed in order of appearance on the Civil Aircraft Register:
 
             Ford 5-AT-C      c/n 5-AT-68                                                                                              VH-UTB
.29
Built at Dearborn, Michigan by Stout Metal Airplane Division of Ford Motor Company, Detroit.
Production model 5-AT-C, three 420hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp C radials
3.8.29
First flight Dearborn, test flights until 13.8.29
8.29
Registered NC409H  Ford Motor Company, Stout Metal Airplane Division, Detroit Michigan
Company demonstrator
14.10.30
Registered G-ABFF Harold S. Cooper, 88 Regent Street, London W1
Cooper was British sales agent for Ford Motor Company UK Ltd.
15.10.30
British CofA issued, 14 passenger seats
7.1.31
Reregistered at owner's request to G-ABHF to include Henry Ford's initials
10.34
Sold to Guinea Airways Ltd through aircraft dealers W.S.Shackleton Ltd, London
11.34
Arrived at Lae by ship from England packed in three large wooden crates

Assembled at Lae by Guinea Airways. Cabin roof was modified to install a large removeable roof hatch to allow loading of large items, similar to the Guinea Airways Junkers G.31 trimotors.
10.12.34
Registered VH-UTB Guinea Airways Ltd, Lae, New Guinea
10.12.34
Australian CofA issued. 14 upholstered seats.
10.12.34
First revenue flight, a charter from Lae to Port Moresby still painted as G-ABHF, pilot Bob Gurney.
23.2.37
VH-UTB arrived at Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide from New Guinea as back-up aircraft for the Guinea Airways Lockheed 10 scheduled airline service Adelaide-Darwin.
The Ford had been flown Wau-Brisbane-Sydney by A.A.Koch where he handed the aircraft over to an Adelaide-based Guinea Airways crew. Koch returned to New Guinea by coastal shipping
26.4.37
Departed Adelaide for Darwin carrying a replacement propeller for a Guinea Airways Lockheed 10 operating the Adelaide-Darwin airline service
21.5.37
Departed Adelaide for Darwin on a freight charter. On its return fight it carried a Territory Administration freight consignment Darwin-Tennant Creek
11.6.37
VH-UTB flew Townsville-Cairns on its ferry flight back to New Guinea, to Port Moresby next morning, pilot Turner
29.8.37
A Guinea Airways Ford flew a charter Port Moresby to Townsville carrying a geologist party,
pilot Les Ross. Next day returned Townsville-Cairns-Wau
9.37
VH-UTB at Parafield
15.7.41
Damaged when swung heavily on landing Bulolo wth a full load of timber, pilot Ian J.Hosie minor injuries
.41
Moved overland to Lae for repair
10.41
Rebuild completed at Lae, CofA renewed
23.10.41
Crashed on takeoff Wau, New Guinea. Loaded with 1,452 lbs (660 Kg) of sawn timber, pilot Ian Hosie commenced his takeoff roll down the steeply sloping runway. Starboard engine failed to develop full power and aircraft swung sharply to the right, rolled over the edge of the airfield down a deep gully into Little Wau Creek. Aircraft wrecked, pilot received minor injuries.


G-ABHF at Heston Aerodrome, London 18 May 1934 in what appears to be a posed sales promotion


Guinea Airways VH-UTB parked behind two W.R.Carpenter Co DH.84 Dragons


Building materials being unloaded from the roof hatch


Another view of the roof hatch while loading a damaged DH.60 Moth at a highlands airstrip.
Ed Coates Collection


At Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane in February 1937 on its way from New Guinea to Adelaide.
Frank Walters Collection via AHSA


Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide September 1937.                                                          Nigel Daw collection


             Ford 4-AT-E      c/n 4-AT-68                                                                                              VH-USX
8.29
Built at Dearborn, Michigan by Stout Metal Airplane Division of Ford Motor Company, Detroit.
Production model 4-AT-E, three 330hp Wright Whirlwind J.6 radials
.29
Registered NC8406  Ford Motor Company, Detroit, Michigan.  Demonstrator
7.11.29
US Export CofA issued

Shipped to British agents Ford UK Motor Co
.30
Registered M-CKAA Compania de Lineas Aereas Subvencionades S.A. - CLASSA, Madrid
20.5.30
Flew inaugural CLASSA service Madrid-Casablanca-Tenerife (Canary Islands)
.31
CLASSA was reorganised under new name Lineas Aereas Postales Espanolas. Continued operating services from Spanish mainland to the Canary islands
21.4.31
Reregistered EC-KKA  Lineas Aereas Postales Espanolas - LAPE, Madrid
.32
Damaged in Spain, shipped to England for repair
7.11.32
Registered G-ACAK Harold S. Cooper, 88 Regent Street, London W1
Cooper was British sales agent for Ford UK Motor Company.
8.4.33
British CofA issued, 12 passenger seats. Airframe time 726 hours
3.34
Australian press report: Holden's Air Transport have ordered a Ford Trimotor from the British Ford agent Mr. H.S.Cooper
12.34
Sold to Holden's Air Transport Services Ltd, Australia

Dismantled and packed in three large wooden shipping boxes. Departed England on board S.S. Glenap to Hong Kong, where the boxes were  transferred to SS Friderun for New Guinea
16.4.35
SS Friderun arrived Lae harbour, New Guinea: boxes unloaded on to a barge and moved ashore by lighter.  G-ACAK unpacked at Lae airfield and assembled.

Holden's Air Transport commenced using their two Fords G-ABEF and G-ACAK in their British markings pending Australian registration. Mail from New Guinea to the Civil Aviation Branch, Melbourne was by monthly coastal steamer in each direction.
24.5.35
Registered VH-USX Holden's Air Transport Services Ltd, Lae New Guinea
24.5.35
Australian CofA issued
19.4.37
Change of ownership due amalgamation: Guinea Airways Ltd, Lae, New Guinea
24.11.39
Landed Salamaua after port engine failure in flight, cylinder blown off. Parked outside at Salamaua for some months pending engine change and overhaul.
21.1.42
Destroyed by enemy attack on Salamaua aerodrome, New Guinea

The location is also reported as Lae Aerodrome.
Wartime reports describe a wrecked Ford Trimotor on Lae airfield during its Japanese occupation.
Lae was retaken by Allied forces in September 1943.
Photographs taken by a US serviceman in February-March 1944 on Lae airfield show it to be by now reduced to a fuselage section with portion of one wing.

- The Civil Aviation Historical Society library holds a Department of Civil Aviation report which assessed the commercial value of each civil aircraft destroyed by enemy action in New Guinea January 1942. It is assumed to be in relation to Government war damage compensation.  
For VH-USX the report implies that it was destroyed at Salamaua 21.1.42 while unservicable at the Guinea Airways hangar. It quotes an engine failure in flight on 24.11.39 and subsequent reports of VH-USX standing outside with two engines removed at Salamaua. The valuation was written down because of its unserviceable status at the time it was destroyed.

- Wings of Gold, James Sinclair (p294) includes VH-USX among the 12 aircraft destroyed at Salamaua in the air raid of 21 January 1941. The same Japanese aircraft attacked Lae aerodrome that day.
"At least four aircraft on the Lae aerodrome were destroyed. The Guinea Airways hangar and workshop area was gutted.
It will never be possible to state with certainty exactly how many aircraft were lost that January day, because the following weeks saw the evacuation of the towns, the loss and destruction of records, further Japanese air raids and loss of further aircraft. It was a bitter time of confusion, chaos and tragedy."

Compiler's note:
All indications are that VH-USX had returned to service, to be destroyed by enemy action at Lae.
It is improbable that Guinea Airways would have left such a valuable aircraft unserviceable from November 1939 to January 1942. Unfortunately the DCA file for VH-USX is not available.


Arrival at Lae, New Guinea in April 1935: the boxed Ford is brought ashore from the SS Friderun.
This and following 3 photographs: Civil Aviation Historical Society John Kingsford Smith collection


Assembly begins at Lae, April 1935




G-ACAK being refuelled at Lae in preparation for its first test flight in New Guinea


Now VH-USX with Guinea Airways Ltd, unloading freight in New Guinea      Geoff Goodall collection


                        This view from the window of the Guinea Airways freight shed at Wau accentuates the downhill airfield.                                  In January 1942 Guinea Airways DH.60 VH-ULJ remakably made the ocean crossing to Australia with other
evacuating New Guinea civil aircraft ahead of the Japanese advance.           Civil Aviation Historical Society



Newspaper picture of VH-USX after it was destroyed by a Japanese air raid on 20 Janury 1942.
But was the airfield Salamaua or Lae?


             Ford 4-AT-E      c/n 4-AT-61                                                                                              VH-UDY. A45-2
.29 Built at Dearborn, Michigan by Stout Metal Airplane Division of Ford Motor Company, Detroit.
Production model 4-AT-E, three 330hp Wright Whirlwind J.6 radials

Registered NC9678  Ford Motor Company, Detroit Michigan.  Demonstrator
10.30 Registered G-ABEF Harold S. Cooper, 88 Regent Street, London W1
Cooper was British sales agent for Ford Motor Company.
15.10.30
British CofA issued, 11 passenger seats
31.7.34 Change of ownership: British Air Navigation Co Ltd, Heston Aerodrome.  Named Vagabond

Operated on BANCo's airline services from Heston-Paris-Le Touquet-Deuville, and Heston-Berck-Dieppe
6.35 Sold to Holden's Air Transport Service, Australia by aircraft dealers W.S.Shackleton Ltd, London

Shipped to New Guinea

Holden's Air Transport commenced using their two Fords G-ABEF and G-ACAK in their British markings pending Australian registration. Mail from New Guinea to theCivil Aviation Branch in Melbourne was by monthly coastal steamer in each direction.
7.10.35
Registered VH-UDY Holden's Air Tranport Service Ltd, Salamaua New Guinea
7.10.35
Australian CofA issued
15.7.37
Change of ownership due amalgamation: Guinea Airways Ltd, Lae, New Guinea
21.1.42
Japanese air raids on Lae, Bulolo and Salamaua destroyed a number of civil and military aircraft on the ground.
22.1.42
Guinea Airways pilots Tommy O'Dea, Les Ross and Bertie Heath flew the surviving trimotors to Lae and Salamaua to assist civilian evacuation, Fords VH-UDY & UBI and Junkers G.31 VH-UOW.
1.42
Authorities ordered Guinea Airways to evacuate these three remaining trimotors from Port Moresby to Australia carrying just Guinea Airways staff.  That instruction attracted severe criticism that civilians were not offered evacuation on these aircraft.
VH-UDY, UBI, UOW were left at RAAF Garbutt, Townsville in anticipation that they would be impressed by the Australian Government for military use.
6.2.42
Struck-off Civil Register, transferred to RAAF as A45-2
6.2.42
Taken on RAAF strength as A45-2.  Impressment Requisition No.9024 previously VH-UDY
16.2.42
Held by 24 Squadron, Townsville
3.3.42
Allotted 33 Squadron, Townsville ex 24 Sqn
13.3.42
Destroyed on ground Seven Mile Airfield, Port Moresby by strafing Japanese fighters
16.3.42
RAAF report: Repair impracticable. Probably salvage propellers, engine parts, tailplane, balance write-off
16.4.42
Struck-off RAAF charge, write-off


G-ABEF and G-ACAK in freight service at Salamaua 1935 prior to receiving Australian registrations.
Civil Aviation Historical Society John Kingsford Smith collection


Now VH-UDY, seen landing at Bulolo.                                                        Alan Bovelt collection


Three Guinea Airways trimotors at Wau.  Ford VH-UDY with Junkers G.31s VH-UOW and VH-URQ
Civil Aviation Historical Society


VH-UDY's roof hatch open for loading.   Civil Aviation Historical Society


Remains of A45-2 at Port Moresby after it was caught on the ground by a Japanese air raid 20 March 1942
David Vincent collection


             Ford 5-AT-C      c/n 5-AT-60                                                                                             VH-UBI,  A45-1
.29
Built at Dearborn, Michigan by Stout Metal Airplane Division of Ford Motor Company, Detroit.
Production model 5-AT-C, three 420hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp C radials

Registered NC401H Ford Motor Company, Detroit Michigan.
5.7.29
First flight Dearborn
19.11.30
US Export CofA issued
11.30
Registered G-ABHO  Lord Lovelace, Heston Aerodrome, London.  Named Tanganyika Star
20.12.30
British CofA issued, 9 passenger seats
28.12.30
Departed Paris carrying a hunting party on a safari trip to Lord Lovelace's estate in Tanganyika, pilot Captain C.D.Barnard
1.1.31
Crashed during landing at Tripoli, Libya. Badly damaged, passengers were injured
.31
Shipped to England, repaired by Ford Motor Co at Ford Aerodrome, West Sussex
27.11.33
Change of ownership: British Air Navigation Co Ltd, Heston Aerodrome.  Named Voyager

Operated on BANCo's airline services from Heston-Paris-Le Touquet-Deuville, and Heston-Berck-Dieppe

Hired at peak times to Jersey Airways for their Channel Islands services
18.9.34
Retired by BANCo, placed up for sale
10.34
Sold to Guinea Airways Ltd through aircraft dealers W.S.Shackleton Ltd, London.
Delivery to New Guinea was delayed due Australian Civil Aviation Board which was to review the Ford construction and performance data against Australian ICAN-compliant strandards.
5.35
Change of ownership to W.S.Shackleton Ltd, London
6.35
Sold to Guinea Airways Ltd, New Guinea 
9.35
Arrived Lae by ship
7.10.35
G-ABHO test flight Lae after assembly, pilot Eric H.Chater, who was Guinea Airways Manager at Lae. Airframe time 555 hr 20 min
26.10.35
Registered VH-UBI  Guinea Airways Ltd, Lae, New Guinea
26.10.35
Australian CofA issued, 9 passenger seats or freight

Cabin roof was modified to install a removeable large roof hatch to allow loading if large items, similar to the Guinea Airways Junkers G.31 trimotors.
10.36
Annual CofA renewed at Lae
12.37
Annual CofA renewed at Lae. Airframe time 1085 hrs 40 min
21.7.38
Crashed during takeoff Eilogo, Papua carrying a load of rubber. Port engine failed during takeoff roll, aircraft swung off strip and ran into tree stumps. Undercarriage and starboard engine torn away,
3 propellers bent, wing damaged, fuselage compressed by impact. Airframe time 1861 hrs
Guinea Airways pilot Ken G. Garden unhurt. 

Moved to Lae for rebuild
6.40
Rebuild completed by Guinea Airways at Lae.
DCA report on the rebuild method included US Export CofA issued 30.11.38 for airframe components of Ford 5-AT-B NC9686 c/n 5-AT-41 shipped from USA: fuselage sections, tailplane, tailwheel, undercarriage, starboard wing, ailerons.
5.6.40
CofA renewed at Lae
28.12.41
Tipped on nose landing on a wet grass strip at Yodda, New Guinea. Fuselage buckled, port and centre propellers bent. Pilot W.J. Robins unhurt, no passengers.
1.42
Flown out to Lae after temporary repairs
21.1.42
Japanese air raids on Lae, Bulolo and Salamaua destroyed a number of civil and military aircraft on the ground.
22.1.42
Guinea Airways pilots Tommy O'Dea, Les Ross and Bertie Heath flew the surviving trimotors to Lae to assist civilian evacuation, Fords VH-UBI & UDY and Junkers G.31 VH-UOW
1.42
Evacuation flight from Port Moresby to Australia carrying Guinea Airways staff.
Aircraft was left with RAAF at RAAF Garbutt, Townsville in anticipation that the two surviving Fords would be impressed by the Australian Government for military use.
6.2.42
Struck off Civil Register, transferred to RAAF
6.2.42
Taken on RAAF strength as A45-1.  Impressment Requisition No.9024 previously VH-UBI
16.2.42
Held by 24 Squadron, Townsville
3.3.42
Allotted 34 Sqn ex 24 Sqn
12.3.42
Allotted Guinea Airways, Parafield for overhaul
27.7.42
Overhaul progressing, being converted to air ambulance
11.10.42
Received No.1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton ex Guinea Airways for modifications
30.10.42
Issued to 33 Sqn, Townsville ex 1AD
31.10.42
Received 36 Sqn Essendon en route to 33 Sqn
11.42
Urgent need to evacuate wounded Allied troops from the Kokoda campaign in New Guinea using a temporary airstrip on dry Lake Myola, 6,000 feet above sea level. The strip was inadequate for RAAF DH.84 Dragons,  only USAAC Vultee O-49 Vigilants could land there. An USAAC Lockheed Lodestar without load tested the strip but struck trees on takeoff, although the aircraft was able to climb out.

Larger aircraft were needed but Directorate of Air Transport which controlled all allied transport aircraft ruled that Lake Myola was unsuitable. An ANA Stinson A VH-UKK with volunteer crew was sent to Port Moresby but after aerial inspection of the Myola strip the crew considere it was too restricted for the aircraft's takeoff performance.

As a wartime compromise, senior Department of Civil Aviation officers (whose offices were in Victoria Barracks, Melbourne alongside RAAF and DAT headquarters ) proposed that experienced civil airline pilots could operate prewar New Guinea aircraft from Lake Myola.  Three ex civil aircraft were chosen to be flown by volunteer civilian pilots with New Guinea experience:
- Ford Trimotor VH-UBI       Impressed as RAAF A45-1
- Junkers G.31   VH-UOW    Impressed as RAAF A44-1
- DH.50A biplane VH-UAB  allocated RAAF A10-1
  • Junkers A44-1 was test flown at Essendon 30.10.42 by a RAAF pilot but lost power on starboard engine on takeoff roll, ran off runway, undercarriage torn away and skidded though an airfield boundary fence on its belly. Written off.
  • Ford A45-1 departed 11.42 for New Guinea flown by Guinea Airways pilot F.T. "Tommy" O'Dea, with Guines Airways ground engineer Max Minahan. Reached Port Moresby

  • DH.50 VH-UAB: engineer Harry Moss hurriedly completed an engine change to a much more powerful 450hp Wasp C with V-P propeller in the Essendon DCA hangar. Departed Essendon 23.11.42 for New Guinea, flown by senior DCA pilot Arthur Affleck with Moss as engineer.
    By the time they reached Port Moresby, Lake Myola was not being used. The DH.50 was taken over by ex civil pilot Jerry Pentland, now CO of RAAF No.1 Rescue and Communications Unit at Moresby. It was fitted with a Kittyhawk belly drop tank and flown by Pentland.
5.11.42
RAAF record card: issued on temporary loan to Department of Civil Aviation for evacuation of wounded troops from Lake Myola strip. Under the control of No.9 Operations Group, Port Moresby.
11.42
Flown Essendon-Port Moresby by Guinea Airways pilot F.T.O'Dea and engineer M.Minahan.
23.11.42
Tommy O'Dea's first sortie into Lake Myola, brought out 7 personnel to Port Moresby
24.11.42
Crashed Lake Myola, near Kokoda, Papua.  Wheels dug into soft surface, aircraft overturned.
Pilot F.T.O'Dea and engineer M.Minahan were both injured.
28.11.42
Issued to 15 Repair & Salvage Unit. Due to the active war situation a few parts were removed and the wrecked aircraft left in situ.
25.6.43
RAAF HQ approved its conversion to components."Subject to any parts that can be brought out of Myola landing ground being salvaged. Desire stress necessity of salvaging serviceable or slightly damaged engine parts as spares for Dolphin aircraft."
Refer:  http://www.goodall.com.au/australian-aviation/dolphin/douglas-dolphin.htm

Stripped and abandoned at Lake Myola. The damaged overturned aircraft had been righted on to its undercarriage and wings outer of the engines detached.
3.73
William G. Chapman, Port Moresby claimed to have acquired salvage rights to the Ford at Lake Myola.
Bill Chapman was a wartime historian who had formed several groups to save wartime aircraft wrecks in Papua New Guinea.
In an article in the 30 March 1973 issue of Post Courier newspaper Port Moresby he said the Ford had to be lifted out by helicopter but none operating in New Guinea so far were capable of that load. He had contacted Ford in USA who indicated an interest in assisting to rebuild the aircraft.
1.10.79
Salvaged by RAAF team, airlifted from Lake Myola to Port Moresby as a slung load under a RAAF Chinook helicopter. Delivered to National Museum and Art Gallery, Port Moresby.
7.80
The outer wings were airlifted from Lake Myola to Port Moresby by RAAF Chinook.

Displayed "as received" standing on its damaged undercarriage without outer wings in the open weather outside the museum.

Current


Rare colour photograph from 1941 taken by Charles Gray. VH-UBI at Mount Hagen, New Guinea


VH-UBI became RAAF A45-1, seen at Parafield 1942 during overhaul and conversion to air ambulance
by Guinea Airways.               Photo by Alan Betteridge via Civil Aviation Historical Society collection


Lake Myola 22 October 1942: a damaged USAAC Stinson O-49 with the inverted Ford A45-1 at rear.
Australian War Memorial


A45-1 photographed during the 1960s abandoned at Lake Myola. The wartime RAAF salvage team had
pulled it back on to its undercarriage and removed the outer wings.                Alan Bovelt collection


After recovery by RAAF Chinook helicopter for the National Museum and Art Gallery at Port Moresby,
the Ford was left in the weather in a museum storage yard.

*                             *                             *                           *                           *                        *
Endpiece: 
A few lovingly restored Ford Trimotors are still flying in the United States.  This 4-AT-B N7584 owned by historic aircraft collector Kermit Weeks was seen by the compiler at Chino, California in October 1991.


Sources
- Australian Civil Aircraft Register, Department of Civil Aviation
- RAAF Airframe Record Cards A45-1 & A45-2
- Trove newspaper search - National Library of Australia
- Pacific Islands Aviation Society, Alan Bovelt, New Guinea history research 1968-1975
- Bruce Hoy, correspondence on New Guinea aviation history
- John Kingsford Smith collection, Aviation Historical Society of Australia NSW, courtesy Civil Aviation Historical Society
- British Civil Aircraft Since 1919, Volume 2, A.J.Jackson, Putnam London 1973
- Flypast - A record of Aviation in Australia, AGPS 1988, Neville Parnell and Trevor Boughton
- Wings of Gold - How the Aeroplane Developed New Guinea, James Sinclair, Pacific Publications 1978
- Pacific Wrecks website

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