Last updated 28.9.13


TUGAN/CAC L.J.W.7 GANNET PRODUCTION


The first Australian designed and built twin engine airliner


A listing compiled by Geoff Goodall and David Eyre



Tugan Gannet VH-UVU at Wilcannia NSW in 1936 in service with WASP Airlines.   State Library of NSW


Three Gannets at Mascot 1936, left to right VH-UYE, VH-UVY, VH-UVU.  Neil Follett collection



  Australian aviation designer pioneer Squadron Leader Lawrence J. Wackett's first twin-engined airliner design to be constructed was the L.J.W.7 six passenger highwing monoplane in 1934. At that time Wackett was Manager of the aviation secion of the workshops of the naval dockyards on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour, where aircraft to the size of Avro Ten had been rebuilt and DH.60 Moth components manufactured for the RAAF.  Australian record-breaking pilot Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith was a strong supporter of the project, named Cockatoo Dockyard L.J.W.7 Codock and ordered three Codocks to be used by his proposed New Zealand domestic company to be named Dominion Airways. Former RNZAF Sqn Ldr T. W. White was engaged as Chief Pilot and moved to Sydney for Codock flight trials. Kingsford-Smith took delivery of the first Codock VH-URP but the additional two aircraft were cancelled.


  The design was a fabric covered welded metal fuselage frame and tailplane unit with a one-piece wooden cantilever wing. Engines were two 165hp Napier Javelin Series III inverted six cylinder in-line engines, a choice which caused problems from the start: these engines were just going into production in England and late shipping the two engines to Sydney delayed the completion of the Codock. The exhausts discharged above the wing, reducing cabin noise level. In service the Javelins suffered induction system leaks and the overheating front thrust bearing passed heat to the heads of the propeller bolts causing them to break away in flight, which resulted in unbalanced propellers. These engine problems were frequent enough to cause the cancellation of any further Codocks.


  Meanwhile, negotiations resulted in commercial production of the design being assigned to Tugan Aircraft Company Ltd at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney to be powered by different engines. Tugan Aircraft took its name from two of the founding partners Leo Turl and Frank Gannon, who in 1933 took over the Mascot hangar of Genairco Aircraft Company which had built DH.60 Moths for the RAAF and a variety of Genairco biplanes before being wound up in protest at restrictions on local aircraft design from the Civil Aviation Branch (predecessor of Department fo Civil Aviation).  


  Tugan provided civil aircraft maintenance, had contracts to rebuild RAAF DH.60 Moths, and was negotiating with British and American aircraft manufacturers for licenced Australian production.

A new name Gannet was suggested by Smithy, derived from the names Gannon and Wackett, and they were marketed with a choice of more powerful British or American engines:

- 200 hp DH Gipsy Six

- 200 hp Menasco Buccaneer B6S

The company was refinanced and reorganised as Tugan Aircraft Ltd with Lawrence Wackett as Managing Director, and by September 1934 the first three Gannets had been laid down to commence construction. Design improvements from the Codock included the fuselage frame constructed with aircraft quality steel tubing of increased strength and less weight, window changes and more comfortable passenger seating.



    

    Cockpit of VH-UUZ.  Photo: Barrier Daily Truth via Dave Eyre



  The Air Board of the Department of Defence ordered several early Gannets for the Royal Australian Air Force, the first monoplanes introduced to Australian military service. They were used for transport and aerial photographic survey duties and in the early days of WWII two more Gannets were impressed for the RAAF Survey Flight.  When the Air Ambulance Units were formed, Gannets saw out the war as ambulances with No.2 AAU.


  External differences between Gannets were limited to wheels spats (VH-UUZ & UVU) and the kidney shaped auxiliary fins fitted on the horizontal tailplanes. The auxiliary fins were designed to improve directional stability in flight and were first installed on VH-UYE. After evaluation in test flights by the Civil Aviation Board's Superintendent of Flying Operations Dave Ross on 23 March 1937, the fins were reported as quite satisfactory. They were then retrofitted to most civil and RAAF Gannets.



  

  Gannet VH-UYE stands in front of the new CAC works at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne, late 1937.

  The Collection 114112c6800-121R


  On 17 October 1936, in response to calls for Australia to have its own independent military aircraft manufacturing industry, Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd was registered in Melbourne with Government authorised capital of £1 million. Wing Commander L. J. Wackett was appointed manager and a large plant built on vacant industrial land at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne. As a first step CAC purchased Tugan Aircraft Ltd on 7 November 1936 for £15,000 as the basis for its manufacturing licence. Laurence Wackett offered key Tugan tradesmen positions with CAC to form the technical nucleus of the new company.


  The last three Gannets were completed at Mascot with manufacturer quoted as CAC or its trade name Comair. Thus these Gannets were the first of the many hundreds of CAC built aircraft that followed over the next 25 years. The Tugan works at Mascot were closed in November 1937, and the hangar taken over by Airflite Pty Ltd, which was a sales, maintenance and flying school established by Alby Lewis.


  A total of eight Tugan Gannets were completed and flown. After CAC moved to its new Melbourne works, Tugan Aircraft Ltd was wound up in April 1937. At that time reports stated that a further three Gannets were under construction at Mascot. Components were taken to Fishermans Bend as spare parts, along with the fuselage assembly jig. However no further assembly work was carried out at Fishermans Bend.


  All reports indicate that Gannets were liked by their civil and military pilots. Eric Stephens wrote in

January 1942 to CAC: "You will perhaps be interested to hear that the Gannet you sold us has given three

years of practically perfect service. The only replacements have been two undercarriage bolts, a few control

cables, and a number of tail wheel covers."  

Experienced Gannet pilot and engineer Charlie Gatenby recalled in 1985: "it was an excellent aircraft, unconscious of what weight it was asked to lift,
but with some vibration in the tail, which you got used to."




THE PROTOTYPE: COCKATOO DOCKYARD L.J.W.6 CODOCK

  Planned construction of three aircraft to the order of Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith to be used by a new domestic airline he was planning to establish in New Zealand to be named Dominion Airways. Prototype VH-URP was built at the Cockatoo Dockyard Aviation Division under Lawrence Wackett's supervision. Problems with the Napier Javelin engines of the prototype Codock and Kingsford-Smith's loss of the anticipated Australia-Singapore Empire airmail contract (to QANTAS Ltd) resulted in his cancellation of the second two Codocks.

  Codock test pilot T. W. "Tiny" White later commented: "This was a great pity, as the Codock was a very sturdy aircraft without vices of any kind, and for this, Wackett must be given full marks for his designing capabilities. If the Codock had gone to the full production New Zealand would have had trunk services in 1934."



C/n 1    Cockatoo Dockyard LJW-6 Codock        VH-URP

34 Built by Cockatoo Dockyard Aviation Division on Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour. Construction supervised by the designer Wing Commander Lawrence J. Wackett.
Powered by two 165hp Napier Javelin Series III six cylinder in-line inverted air cooled engines
3.34 Construction completed.
3.3.34 Moved by harbour barge to Woolloomooloo wharf, then by road at night to Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by two trucks, fuselage on one, wing on the other.
6.3.34 First test flight at Mascot, pilot Charles Kingsford-Smith. Aircraft all silver, no registration

Adjustments to longitudinal trim and carburettor settings
30.3.34 Further test flights commenced at Mascot, flown by Kingsford-Smith, T.W."Tiny" White, O.B. "Pat" Hall. Total of 9 hours, to ensure the aircraft was ready for long distance flights
10.4.34 Flown from Sydney to Essendon Aerodrome, Melbourne for CAB testing. Pilot T. W. White with engineer Harry Purvis  
18.4.34 CAB performance trials commenced at Essendon, pilot CAB Superintendent of Flying David Ross. First day's tests ended with a forced landing at RAAF Laverton due to the tip of the starboard propeller breaking away.
30.4.34 CAB test flying concluded.
1.5.34 Returned to Mascot from Essendon, pilot T.W.White, flying time 4 hrs 20 mins,
15.5.34 Wackett wrote to CAB advising that the intended long-range fuel tanks were no longer to be installed. Kingsford-Smith had planned to have T. W. White fly the Codock from Australia to New Zealand for a NZ tour with the Fokker F.VII/3m Southern Cross. However the continuing problems with the Napier Javelin engines caused the trans Tasman flight to be abandoned.
9.6.34 Certificate of Registration issued VH-URP Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, Sydney NSW
Type quoted as "Cockatoo Docks and Engineering LJW.6 Codock"
9.6.34 CofA issued
6.34 Leased to Northern Airways Ltd, Sydney to commence a Sydney-Newcastle NSW service.
11.6.34 Flew inaugural Northern Airways service from Mascot to Newcastle, landing at the District Park landing ground. A daily return service was then maintained.
2.7.34 Starboard propeller fractured while climbing out of Mascot for Newcastle with 6 passengers. Pilot T. W. White returned to Mascot safely. Airframe hours 85 hrs 50 mins
7.34 Repairs by Tugan Aircraft to engine bearers which had fractured due engine vibration
1.8.34 Change of ownership: Northern Airways Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney
11.34 Change of company name: Northern Airliners Ltd, Mascot
25.11.34 Northern Airlines flew the Codock on shark patrols on beaches between Sydney and Newcastle, pilot for first patrol was T. W. White
6.5.35 Undercarriage torn away during landing in heavy rain at Wollongong NSW
7.5.35 The business of Northern Airliners Ltd was wound up
15.6.35 Testflown Mascot after repairs by Tugan Aircraft to the Wollongong accident.
Total airframe time now 642 hrs
29.7.35 Change of ownership: Western and Southern Provincial Airlines Ltd, Mascot,
operating as WASP Airlines Ltd
26.9.35 Pilot J. Small turned back to Mascot due poor weather over Blue Mountains on the scheduled service to Narromine. Telegram then received asking for aircraft to collect a seriously ill child at Leeton NSW, Small flew the Codock through bad weather to Leeton and returned to Mascot after dark with the child and parents.
29.9.35 While parked at Young NSW a horse ate fabric of the tailplane, causing enough damage to stop the aircraft continuing to Narromine to take part in an air pageant
20.11.35 Forced landings at Murrawi NSW and Leeton NSW
9.1.36 Departed Mascot for Coonamble to collect 6 passengers but returned twice due low cloud over mountains, pilot R. Nicholl
19.2.36 Delayed at Young NSW with engine problem. Gannett VH-UUZ was flown from Sydney late afternoon to collect the 4 passengers. WASP engineer W. Morley arrived on the Gannet and stayed to work on the Codock engine, while the 4 passengers departed for Sydney in VH-UUZ but were killed when it crashed enroute to Sydney.
22.3.36 Flew charter Sydney-Goodooga NSW return, pilot Phil G. Graham of W.A.S.P. Airlines Ltd. Minor damage on landing on a muddy airstrip was repaired and aircraft returned to Sydney
20.7.36 WASP Airlines suspended all air mail services due the company's poor financial situation
14.8.36 WASP Airlines placed in voluntary liquidation. Its aircraft reverted to mortgagor T. E. Perry, Narromine: VH-URP, Gannet VH-UVU and Monospar VH-UST
12.8.36 Certificate of Registration lapsed.
1.10.36 Purchased by T.E. Perry, Narromine NSW
25.3.37 Restored to Register VH-URP
15.7.37 Change of ownership: Intercity Airways Pty Ltd, Mascot
17.7.37 Forced landing at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney
23.7.37 Change of ownership: Southern Airlines and Freighters Ltd, Melbourne Vic
1.9.37 Tipped on nose landing at Broken Hill due gusty wind
14.9.37 CAB Aircraft Inspection report: total airframe time 1,404 hours
.38 Grounded at Mascot when repairs to u/s port engine discontinued due cost.
6.7.38 CofA expired
9.11.38 Sold to Louis M. Patmoy, Sydney

Work commenced at Mascot on CofA renewal but Mr. Patmoy was declared bankrupt and work stopped
17.2.40 Advertisement in Sydney Morning Herald newspaper by bankruptcy receiver:
"Offers invited and will be received up to Noon 1st March 1940 for the purchase of a  Codock aeroplane. Twin Napier Javelin engines, capacity six passengers. Airframe newly conditioned throughout."
10.5.40 Sold for £75 to College of Civil Aviation, Mascot Aerodrome as a ground instructional airframe
20.5.40 Struck-off Civil Register

Acquired by Penfolds Wines, Minchinbury Estate NSW, on the Great Western Highway the west of Sydney.  Mounted on a framework at the main gate to the winery in a crash position with the slogan Don't Crash Drink Penfolds.

Later set on fire by vandals.  Remains were dumped in a nearby gully.

  

  LJW.6 Codock’s first flight at Mascot on 6 March 1934. Peter Ricketts collection


  

  Codock VH-URP at Mascot.  E.S.Reddall collection via AHSA NSW Branch


  

  Essendon Aerodrome during CAB trials April 1934.  Ed Coates Collection


  

  VH-URP over Melbourne April 1934.  The Collection


  

  Mascot. "NEWCASTLE" painted under wing           E.A.Crome Collection, National Library of Australia


  

  Newspaper advertisement for Northern Airliners Ltd in 1935





PRODUCTION MODEL:  TUGAN L.J.W.7 GANNET

Commercial production of a revised model of the LJW.7 with 200hp DH Gipsy Six engines, taken on by Tugan Aircraft Ltd at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney.  They were marketed under the name Tugan Gannet.  A total of eight Gannets were built between 1935-1937 at the Tugan Aircraft workshops at Mascot Aerodrome:

TA.52 to TA.56 by Tugan Aircraft Ltd

TA.57 to TA.59 completed after the company was taken over by Commonwealth Aircraft Corp


The designation L.J.W.7A was given to the sole civil Gannet powered by 200hp American Menasco Buccaneer B6S3 engines, VH-UVY.  The Royal Australian Air Force used the designation Gannet Mk.I for the first two delivered, A14-1 & 14-2, then Gannet Mk.II for A14-3 to A14-6 with various specified modifications. When the retired A14-1 was impressed under wartime regulations and returned to RAAF as A14-7 it retained the designation Gannet Mk.I


The listing that follows is believed to be correct.  The civil aircraft identities are confirmed by DCA files, inspected at National Archives of Australia. However the identities of the RAAF machines are not confirmed absolutely. The surviving records for RAAF Gannets do not quote constructor's numbers. This has resulted in differing versions for the identity sequences by researchers over the years. The situation is further clouded by a suggestion in a newspaper report that an uncompleted Gannet from the closed Mascot production could have been completed by CAC at Fishermans Bend for RAAF, but no documentary evidence has been sighted.





C/n TA.52  Tugan LJW-7 Gannet            VH-UUZ

35 Built at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by Tugan Aircraft Ltd.
Powered by two 200 hp De Havilland Gipsy VI Series 1 engines with wooden propellers
10.10.35 Civil Aviation Branch allocated registration VH-UUZ to the "LJW-7 being constructed at Mascot by Tugan Aircraft Ltd for W.A.S.P. Airlines Ltd"
11.10.35 Gipsy VI engines for this aircraft arrived Mascot after being shipped from England on SS Otranto.  Installed in the aircraft in time for first flight next day.
12.10.35 First test flight Mascot, pilot John "Jack" Chapman
14.10.35 Certificate of Manufacture by Tugan Aircraft Ltd, Cook Street, Mascot
14.10.35 Inspection report at Mascot: 8 passenger seats, Gipsy VI Nos 6249 & 6277.
Airframe total time: 30 minutes
14.10.35 Registration application: Tugan Aircraft Ltd, Cook Street, Mascot NSW
15.10.35 Change of ownership: W.A.S.P. Airlines Ltd, Sydney, signed by Manager Mr. Wilfred Kingsford-Smith
25.10.35 CAB performance flight trials conducted until 31.10.35, flown by CAB Superintendent of Flying Dave Ross
14.11.35 Certificate of Airworthiness issued
14.11.35 Certificate of Registration issued VH-UUZ Western and Southern Provincial Airlines Ltd t/a WASP Airlines Ltd, Sydney NSW
14.11.35 Certificate of Airworthiness issued. Fitted with spats over the main wheels
11.35 WASP Airlines postponed the commencement of their Sydney-Broken Hill service to allow VH-UUZ to be chartered by the Kingsford-Smith Search Committee to join the search for Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and Tommy Pethybridge who had failed to reach Singapore on 8.11.35 while making a speed record attempt England-Australia in Lockheed Altair G-ADUS Lady Southern Cross.
11.35 Passenger seats removed, 80-gallon fuel tank from P. G. Taylor's Percival Gull VH-UVA installed in cabin, together with extra tankage supplied by Wasp Airlines. Dual controls were transferred from the RAAF Gannet A14-1 and wireless transceiver installed.
15.11.35 Departed Sydney for Singapore, Captain P.G."Bill" Taylor, Harry Purvis as engineer and relief pilot, and John Stannage as radio operator. All three had flown with Kingsford-Smith and Taylor had been his navigator in the Altair for a record Pacific Ocean flight from America to Australia.

Harry Purvis later wrote in the book Outback Airman:
"I had previously test flown a Gannet and, although it was untested for a long flight, I knew the Gipsy VI engines were completely reliable and I worked day and night to install long range petrol tanks. We finally got away a week after the Altair's disappearance and flew straight into a howling westerly, only reaching Narromine that night. Dual controls had been installed for the flight and I sat tandem behind Bill with a huge splayed joystick instead of the conventional control wheel. We were all tense..... The fuel lines leaked and at Cloncurry Bill took her up alone to 6,000 feet and stayed there for an hour. It was obvious that he was unhappy with he aircraft but he had always been a high-strung and temperamental man and Smithy's disappearance had had a profound affect on him.
The following morning he was ill and a Cloncurry doctor grounded him."
17.11.35 Flight delayed at Cloncurry Qld when P.G.Taylor became ill. The Kingsford-Smith Search Committee decided to abandon the Gannet's flight.

Harry Purvis continues:
" Bill ordered us to fly the aircraft back to Sydney. This was a shocking anti-climax and John and I left, silent and depressed. We had been airborne barely an hour when I felt all lateral control go - if I moved the stick from side to side there was no response from the Gannet. Fortunately we were flying over open level country and I still had rudder and fore-and-aft control, so I closed the throttles and made a forced landing dead ahead."
The new rudder cables had stretched and run off the quadrant under the pilot seat. Purvis adjusted the cables and continued back to Sydney.
10.12.35 Departed Sydney on Wasp Airlines' inaugural Sydney-Narromine-Broken Hill service, flown by company pilot E. J. "Jack" Small. The airline's Manager Wilfred Kingsford-Smith was among the passengers, also a Sydney newspaper reporter. After departing Wilcannia flew into a severe dust storm, blown off course and made forced landing on a remote part of Calega Station. Passengers were taken to Broken Hill by car and fuel was brought to the aircraft from the station homestead.
11.12.35 Small departed Calega Station for Broken Hill but the added fuel was inadequate and he made a forced landing near Broken Hill. Petrol was brought to the aircraft by truck from, Broken Hill
13.12.35 Departed Broken Hill on inaugural Sydney service. Stops at Wilcannia, Nyngan, Narromine.
14.1.36 Flew Sydney-Coonamble, pilot J. Small
22.1.36 Flew scheduled service Broken Hill to Sydney, stopping at regular landing grounds as well as Haddon Rig Station at Warren
24.1.36 Flew Sydney-Broken Hill-Adelaide by Captain J. Small, replacing the Adelaide Airways aircraft which is temporarily unavailable on the service to Adelaide.
29.1.36 While flying the Broken Hill-Sydney service diverted to Newcastle after strong winds carried it out to sea north of Sydney, Captain J. Small
14.2.36 Arrived Broken Hill on scheduled service, returned to Sydney next day
19.2.36 Flew Broken Hill-Sydney service, arrived Mascot 1300 local, Captain J. Small
19.2.36 Crashed 2 miles west of Cordeaux Dam, 40 miles south west of Sydney.  
Flying in low cloud and rain at night, crashed at 8pm local time. Captain J.Small and all four passengers were killed, aircraft destroyed by fire.

Captain Small had departed Mascot at 5pm for Young NSW on an unscheduled flight to replace the Codock VH-URP, which was delayed at Young with an engine problem. WASP engineer W. Morley accompanied him to Young then stayed with work on URP while the 4 passengers departed for Sydney. The accident investigation found that Captain Small had flown 13 consecutive days, which did not breach any existing regulations.
24.2.36 Letter to Civil Aviation Branch from WASP Airlines: VH-UUZ was fully insured and the company is anxious that the accident report be finalised as soon as possible to enable their claim be paid. Their Broken Hill service is discontinued pending a replacement aircraft and they intend to purchase the next Gannet to be constructed at the Tugan works, which should be ready the following week. (VH-UVU: compiler)

  

  Mascot 26 October 1936. Photo: E. A. Crome collection/National Library of Australia


  

  VH-UUZ fitted with wheel spats. Photo: E. A. Crome collection/National Library of Australia

  

  VH-UUZ at Broken Hill NSW on a WASP scheduled service.  Photo: Barrier Daily Truth via Dave Eyre




C/n TA.53  Tugan LJW-7 Gannet      A4-1, A14-1, (VH-ACD), A14-7

35 Built at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by Tugan Aircraft Ltd.
Powered by two 200 hp De Havilland Gipsy VI series 1 engines, with wooden propellers

Built to an anticipated RAAF order, based on discussions between Wackett and the Chief of the Air Staff. Originally intended to have Menasco engines. When shipping of the engines from America was delayed, it was decided to the complete the aircraft with Gipsy VI engines already held.
.35 Ordered by the Air Board for use by RAAF.

Serial A4-1 allocated. Painted at factory as "A4-1".
14.11.35 First flight Mascot.
25.11.35 Brought on RAAF charge A4-1.
25.11.35 Delivered from Mascot to RAAF Richmond NSW.
12.35 Based at RAAF Richmond
8.12.35 Arrived at No.1 Aircraft Depot Laverton from Richmond, via a stop at Cootamundra NSW, pilot Flt Lt J. R. Fleming of 3 Squadron.
.35 Air Board changed the Gannet's serial prefix to A14- when it was realised that the A4- series had already been allocated to new Avro Ansons on order from Great Britain due for delivery the following year.  
Gannet A4-1 was re-serialled A14-1
3.2.36 Arrived Launceston Tasmania to commence a 600 square mile photographic survey
20.3.36 1AD flight trials concluded
4.36 Allotted No.1 Squadron for use on North Australia Survey Flight
13.4.36 A14-1 flown by Flt Lt A. G. Carr was diverted from survey work at Charleville Qld to commence search for missing DH.89 Rapide A3-2, which had made a forced landing in desert country in Newcastle Waters/Wave Hill NT area.  Search continued for several days, and two RAAF Hawker Demons were sent from Richmond. DH.89 located, crew safe.
17.4.36 Gannet grounded at Wave Hill NT due engine u/s.
5.36 to 8.36 Based at Cloncurry Qld, pilot Flt Lt A. G. Carr.
7.36 Returned to Tugan Aircraft, Mascot for overhaul and modifications
.36 Continued on North Australia Survey Flight
36 Late in 1936 used to test the newly installed Lorenz beam approach equipment at Essendon Airport
20.6.37 Tipped on nose at end of landing run at Cairns Qld, due soft sand, pilot Flying Officer
D. McLean.  Lower half of nose crushed to the bulkhead.
7.37 Fin and rudder were replaced and extra fuel tanks installed
9.37 A14-1 & A14-2 issued to Survey and Communications Flight on its formation
10.37 Air Board requested CAC quote a price to recondition and modify Gannets A14-1 and
A14-2. CAC responded with a proposal that they supply two new Mk.II Gannets at £6,900 each and accept A14-1 & -2 as part payment to the value of £7,700.
CAC's proposal was accepted by the Air Board
22.10.37 Air Board valuation of A14-1 was £3,085, compared with original purchase cost £4,708. It is Gannet Mk.1 in unmodified state without tailplane modifications, balloon tyres or Sperry navigation equipment.
12.37 A14-1 was traded in to Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, Fishermans Bend Vic on a new Gannet Mk.II fitted with controllable pitch airscrews, Gipsy Six Mk.II engines and Sperry gyroscopic equipment.  A14-1 had airframe time of 689 hours.

Rebuilt by CAC at Fishermans Bend.
Gipsy VI engines replaced by Menasco Buccaneer B6S3 engines and Hamilton Standard propellers
20.4.38 CAC wrote to Civil Aviation Board asking for the Board's requirements in connection with the issue of Certificates of Airworthiness for L.J.W.7 aeroplanes, which CAC has recently taken over from the Air Board.
29.4.38 CAC in correspondence with CAB stated it had recently taken over A14-1 and -2 from RAAF
7.11.38 L. J. Wackett, Manager of CAC, wrote to DCA: "The L.J.W.7 aircraft, A14-1, which was taken over from the Air Board, has now been rebuilt, and it is proposed to apply for Certificate of Airworthiness and Certificate of Registration"
12.38 DCA file documents in December 1938 and January 1939 refer to this Gannet as
VH-ACD.
(compilers' note: the early VH-AC block was allocated in December 1938, but -ACD was not used until July 1943, for Short Empire A18-14 when released by RAAF to Qantas)

Civil registration not proceeded with
21.9.39 CAC wrote to Air Board offering two Gannets for immediate use.
Assumed to be A14-1 & VH-UVY stored at Fishermans Bend
11.39 By now dismantled by CAC and stored.
3.40 DH Gipsy VI engines Nos 6308 and 6259 were installed in the two prototype CAC CA-6 Wackett Trainers A3-1001 and A3-1002 respectively by CAC at Fishermans Bend. After flight trials, the Gipsy VIs were replaced by Warner Scarab radials prior to June 1940.
.40 Inspection Report by DCA aircraft inspector Ellis as part of a listing of aircraft being considered for impressment for RAAF use. "Airframe total time 689 hours. The aircraft is at present in a very good condition generally, but having regard to its age and its flying characteristics which render it very unpopular with airline operators, its present value cannot be considered to be any more than approximately half its original, that is £2,500"
6.40 Impressment Requisition issued by Australian Government for use by RAAF

Re-assembled and made airworthy by CAC at Fishermans Bend
c6.40 During reassembly for RAAF, CAC installed Menasco Buccaneer B6S3 engines Nos.6048 and 6049 previously in VH-UVY, with Hamilton Standard propellers.

Compiler's note: no official documentation has been found covering RAAF acceptance of this Gannet fitted with Menasco engines, making it different from all other RAAF Gannets. It is assumed the reason was the urgent need for additional photographic survey aircraft to assist wartime construction of airfields and other military facilities, and non-availability of Gipsy VIs from the manufacturer due to wartime restrictions on shipping from England.
25.6.40 Brought on RAAF charge as A14-7.
RAAF Status Card: "Gannet Mk.1 late A14-1". Menasco engines Nos.6048 and 6049
25.6.40 Received 1AD Laverton ex CAC
8.7.40 Serviceable at Survey Flight, Canberra
18.11.40 Forced landing on Canberra Aerodrome due engine failure, no airframe damage.
Flt Lt F. L. Law and 2 crew. Seized supercharger in port engine. Engine requires complete overhaul.
1.3.41 Status Card: Engine Nos 6045 and 6454 to be installed. (engine type not stated)
13.7.41 Pilot log: test flown Canberra after engines replaced. Pilot Flg Off R.R.Winter.
7.41 Compiler's note: researchers have assumed this refers to the non-standard Menasco engines being replaced by Gipsy VIs. However both engines had similar ranges of serial numbers, so the replacements could be Gipsy VI or Menascos.
Keith Meggs in Australian-Built Aircraft and the Industry states the test flight 13.7.41 was with Gipsy VIs with fixed propellers, but this needs confirmation.
16.7.41 Pilot log: departed Canberra for survey ops in NT, pilot Flg Off R.R.Winter
18.7.41 Pilot log: forced landing Aldinga SA after an undercarriage leg fairing broke away and damaged the auxiliary fin on tailplane. Pilot Flg Off R. R.Winter.  Repaired then flown to Alice Springs.
8.8.41 Pilot log: local flying Darwin, and next day, pilot Flg Off R.R.Winter
25.8.41 Pilot log: departed Darwin for Pearce
31.8.41 Stationed at RAAF Pearce, with Survey Flight
26.11.41 Pilot log: joined air search for HMAS Sydney, flying from Carnarvon WA for two days, pilot Flg Off R.R.Winter, crew LAC Munro. They sighted two life boats with 80 German sailors from the raider Kormoran, sunk during the attack on Sydney
28.11.41 Pilot log: search for missing RAAF Avro Anson W2114. Located on a mud flat south of Onslow WA and landed alongside but unable to takeoff.
4.12.41 Pilot log: flown from mud flat to Onslow by pilot Flg Off R.R.Winter, who also flew the Anson out the following day
1.42 Pilot log: survey flying from Pearce, pilot Flg Off R.R.Winter
27.1.42 Pilot log: departed Pearce on 3 day ferry flight to Canberra, pilot Flg Off R.R.Winter
2.2.42 Status Card: Proceeded to Canberra for replacement
23.3.42 Received No.2 Air Ambulance Unit, Canberra ex Survey Flight
.42 Modified as ambulance aircraft
3.10.42 Issued to De Havilland Aircraft, Mascot for engine change
16.11.42 Received No.2 Aircraft Park, Bankstown ex DH
23.11.42 Issued to 2AAU ex 2AP.  2AAU moved from Canberra to Kingaroy 2.43
13.4.43 Received at Marshall Airways, Mascot ex 2AAU for repairs
29.9.43 Received 2AD Richmond ex Marshall Airways
3.10.43 Issued 2AAU ex 2AD
11.10.43 Received 3AD Amberley ex 2AP for repairs then to proceed to 2AAU
9.11.43 Received 2AAU ex 3AD
5.5.44 Allotted MacRobertson Miller Airways, Maylands WA ex 2AAU for 180 hourly inspection
7.5.44 Received 2AAU ex MMA.  
2AAU moved base from Kingaroy to Archerfield 9.44 with Detachments at Port Moresby, Noemfoor and Corunna Downs WA
2.12.44 Received No.17 Repair and Salvage Unit, Cunderdin WA. Aircraft to be held at 17RSU pending advice from HQ
21.2.46 Approval given for conversion to components
5.3.46 Received No.14 Aircraft Repair Depot, Pearce WA ex 17RSU

Converted to components

  

  A14-1 soon after delivery to RAAF. Neil Follett collection




C/n TA.54  Tugan LJW-7 Gannet  Western Wasp      VH-UVU

35 Built at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by Tugan Aircraft Ltd.
Powered by two 200 hp De Havilland Gipsy VI Series 1 engines, wooden propellers
17.2.36 Civil Aviation Board allocated registration VH-UVU to new Gannet to be completed within two weeks
18.2.36 Construction completed. Changes included a lengthened cabin, luggage locker moved, cabin doors and steps on starboards side, nose locker door, additional passenger seat, enlarged fin and rudder area.
5.3.36 First test flight Mascot, pilot Harry Purvis
6.3.36 Registration application: Tugan Aircraft Ltd, Cook Street, Mascot NSW.
Seating for pilot and 7 passengers
11.3.36 Tugan wrote to CAB: they have sold VH-UVU this date to WASP Airlines Ltd, who have an airmail contract with the Government to fulfil and urged CAB to finalise the CofA as soon as possible
17.3.36 Certificate of Registration VH-UVU Tugan Aircraft Ltd, Cook Street, Mascot
17.3.36 CofA issued
19.3.36 Handover date to WASP Airlines
23.3.36 Change of ownership: Thomas E. Perry, "Narromine" Station, Narromine NSW
To be operated by: Western and Southern Provincial Airlines Ltd, Sydney

Blue fuselage, silver wings, name on nose Western Wasp
1.4.36 Landed at Mascot from Dubbo NSW with port engine shut down but propeller windmilling, 5 passengers
17.4.36 Returned to Mascot after departure for Dubbo due power loss of starboard engine
3.6.36 Nose damaged at Wilcannia NSW when tipped on nose at end of landing run on soft surface of landing ground. Pilot P. G. Graham, scheduled air service, no passengers.
18.7.36 One engine failed en route Narromine-Nyngan. Pilot Cyril Brett and 5 passengers.
20.7.36 WASP Airlines suspended all air mail services due the company's poor financial situation
10.8.36 CAB inspectors in conjunction with Tugan Aircraft Ltd conducted tests with VH-UVU's Gipsy VI engines checking for overheating problems and comparing with Gannet VH-UVY's Menasco engines
14.8.36 WASP Airlines placed in voluntary liquidation. Its aircraft reverted to mortgagor T. E. Perry, Narromine: VH-UVU, Codock VH-URP and Monospar VH-UST.
20.10.36 VH-UVU taken over by Tugan Aircraft Ltd, Mascot. However remained owned by T. E. Perry
16.11.36 UVU flew the first Sydney-Broken Hill service for Motor Development Ltd, Mascot.
16.12.36 Departed Archerfield in the three day Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race in conjunction with South Australian Centenary celebrations. Sponsored by Sydney radio station 2UW and Royal Furnishing Co, Sydney. Painted with "Royal Mail Broken Hill-Sydney",
"Royal Art 2UW" on nose, and "ROYAL ART" under wings, entrant number 42.

Owned by T. E. Perry, Narromine who donated a prize for the race. Pilot E. V. Collibee, navigator Charles Gatenby and radio operator J. Hadley
18.12.36 Arrived Parafield Aerodrome, Adelaide. Placed 14th, flying time 8 hr 31 mins
3.3.37 Forced landing with no damage, on the Sydney road 20 miles east of Broken Hill NSW, due power failure caused by blocked fuel line. Pilot Charles Gatenby with two passengers. CAB Forced Landing report quotes owner T. E. Perry, Regular Mail Service.  Assumed that the operator was Motor Developments Ltd.
7.4.37 Testflown Mascot by Charles Gatenby after annual CofA renewal. Total time 874 hours
4.6.37 CAB inspection report at Mascot. Aircraft is maintained in good condition.
Total time now 1,057 hours. Owner T. E. Perry, operated by Intercity Airways Ltd.
Report comments that the company's workshop facilities at Mascot are "meagre" but that a new hangar is planned shortly.
15.7.37 Change of ownership: Intercity Airways Ltd, Sydney
23.7.37 Change of ownership: Southern Airlines and Freighters Ltd, Melbourne Vic
9.37 CAB report on modifications to reduce tail vibration quoted flying hours of all Gannets:
VH-UVU had 1,223 hrs
6.11.37 Forced landing at Nyngan NSW due engine trouble, no airframe damage. SAL pilot Neville Jackson, no passengers.  Engine work carried out by Sid Marshall of Marshall Airways, Sydney. Then Gannet ferried to Narromine where it was hangared while the engines were sent to Sydney by railway for repair.
21.4.38 CofA suspended following CAB inspection at Mascot, reported to be in "appalling condition"
25.7.38 Change of ownership: W. R. Carpenter & Co Ltd, Sydney. To be based Mascot.
Sold to Carpenters by the Liquidator of Southern Airlines and Freighters Ltd
28.7.38 CAB memo: has commenced overhaul at Mascot by De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd
22.9.38 Testflown Mascot after CofA renewal by DHA. CAB Inspection report: excellent condition

Reason for purchase by Carpenters not clear. Appears to have been based at Mascot and not delivered to New Guinea for use by Carpenter's associated company Mandated Airlines on internal services
29.11.38 Change of ownership: Airlines of Australia Ltd, Sydney. To be based Archerfield Qld.
Flown in silver scheme with "AOA" flag emblem on rudder
4.39 Chartered by South Queensland Airways Pty Ltd, Toowoomba Qld to replace their DH.84 Dragon VH-ABK while being repaired from damage sustained while taxying at Archerfield 5.4.39 when its wing struck a petrol wagon
12.5.39 Dragon VH-ABK returned to service
16.10.39 Testflown Archerfield after CofA renewal, pilot K. Shersby
14.11.39 Letter to DCA from Airlines of Australia requesting approval under civil aviation wartime restrictions to sell VH-UVU to Guinea Airways Ltd. Signed by Director Ivan N. Holyman
12.1.40 Airlines of Australia advise DCA that sale to Guinea Airways was not proceeded with
2.40 By now chartered to North Western Airlines Ltd, Moree NSW.
To replace North Western Airlines' DH.90 Dragonfly, which was damaged, on their scheduled service Sydney-Tamworth-Moree
26.2.40 Propellers damaged on ground at Moree NSW. Temporarily flown with DH.89 propellers
21.3.40 Letter to DCA from Airlines of Australia requesting approval under civil aviation wartime restrictions to sell VH-UVU to North Western Airlines Ltd.
17.3.40 Change of ownership (back-dated) North Western Airlines Ltd, Moree NSW.
19.7.40 North Western Airlines wrote to DCA advising that VH-UVU was no longer required for the air service and was up for sale
7.10.40 North Western Airlines wrote to DCA advising that they have now sold the DH.90 so will keep VH-UVU on the airline service. Requested VH-UVU CofA extension for two weeks to maintain their service. At end of this period will be sold to BAT. Approved.
22.10.40 North Western Airlines wrote to DCA requesting approval under civil aviation wartime restrictions to sell VH-UVU to Butler Air Transport
28.10.40 Change of ownership: Butler Air Transport Co, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney
28.10.40 Test flown at Moree by W.A. Hancock (Northwest Airline’s pilot)

Operated by BAT on their scheduled Sydney-Bega NSW service
20.10.41 Forced landing Moruya NSW due oil pressure in starboard engine, pilot P. B. Lusk
21.10.41 Forced landing Mascot due oil pressure in starboard engine, pilot P. B. Lusk
11.11.40 Butler Air Transport Co works manager, T. Williams wrote to CAB:
"We are now operating an L.J.W.7 aircraft between Bega and Sydney and as you know there is very little possibility of obtaining spares for this machine, but there is a complete undercarriage belonging to Codock aircraft available. Would you please inform us if this undercarriage could be used if necessary."
3.1.41 CAB replied re use of Codock undercarriage: investigation has been made into the differences between the units installed on Codock and Gannets. The Codock unit has much lower shock absorbing capacity, and approval can not be given for its use.
11.2.42 Crashed during forced landing near Moorefield Racecourse, Sydney on approach to Mascot due to fuel expiry. Aircraft seriously damaged, pilot P. B. Lusk and 4 passengers were unhurt.
2.42 BAT transferred GAL Monospar VH-UTH from its base at Tooraweenah NSW to operate Sydney-Bega route
4.3.42 VH-UVU CofA renewed after repair at Mascot
14.3.42 Forced landing Mascot due engine problem, pilot P. B. Lusk, 5 passengers
13.11.42 Forced landing Bega due engine problem, pilot H. Gibson-Lee, 7 passengers
28.12.42 Forced landing Mascot due engine problem, pilot H. Gibson-Lee, 6 passengers
22.1.43 Damaged when taxied into hole on tarmac Mascot, pilot H. Gibson-Lee, no passengers
31.3.43 Forced landing Moruya NSW due engine failure, pilot V. Lyne, 7 passengers
20.4.43 Forced landing Huskisson NSW due jammed ailerons, pilot H. Jacobson, 3 passengers,
operating Sydney-Bega service
12.7.43 Forced landing Mascot due vibrations in airframe, pilot H. Jacobson, 3 passengers
17.7.43 Test flight at Mascot to investigate vibrations, traced to tailplane
17.7.43 Withdrawn from service by BAT due vibration in airframe
22.7.43 DCA suspended the CofA due to concern about the airframe. Numerous modifications had been incorporated in the tailplane construction since it was built.
7.43 DCA negotiated the release of a RAAF DH.84 Dragon to BAT to replace the Gannet to allow the company to maintain minimum wartime civil services. A freshly overhauled Dragon A34-5 was handed over to C.A.Butler at Parafield on 24.7.43 and received civil CofA at Mascot entered BAT service 30.7.43 as VH-AAO
1.8.43 C. Arthur Butler wrote to DCA stating "We will scrap VH-UVU when the Dragon A34-5 is in service. It is not intended to ever fly the Gannet again."
21.8.45 Struck-off Register

Note: Arthur Butler wrote of the end of VH-UVU in his book Flight – Memoirs 1912-1958. His description does not seem to match the events of July 1943 above:
“On one occasion during a flight from Bega to Sydney, the passengers and I had a narrow escape from disaster. Near Kiama an exceptionally violent downdraught caused several of the six passengers to be flung to the roof although they were wearing seat belts. The turbulence continued as the aircraft staggered on its way north; although the bumps were more moderate, the machine appeared to have become difficult to control. Botany Bay was beneath as I turned the LJW7 gently on to what was to be its final and ultimate approach to Mascot Aerodrome. By now I knew that the peculiar behaviour of the machine was no figment of my imagination. To avoid the tail-buffeting common to this machine just prior to touchdown, I made the final approach in a flat and fast glide so there would be little alteration in the attitude of the machine during the process of landing. The LJW7 touched down in one piece.
When the aircraft was examined, the tail was found to be fractured in four different places. Only a miracle had prevented the collapse of the structure whilst the machine was airborne. The damage was so extensive that the aircraft was never flown again.”

  

  VH-UVU outside the Tugan Aircraft hangar at Mascot soon after its was built, still wearing the main wheel   spats which were discarded in airline service.  Neil Follett collection


  

  WASP Airlines' Western Wasp at Mascot, blue and silver.  E.S.Reddall collection via AHSA NSW Branch


  

  A crowd welcomes VH-UVU on an early airline service. Neil Follett collection



  

  Archerfield December 1936, No.42 in the Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race.  Neil Follett collection


  

1938 fitted with auxiliary tailplane fins and test markings on the engine nacelles.  Dave Eyre collection


Archerfield c1940.  Gus Grulke collection


  

  Archerfield c1940, now fitted with auxiliary fins and landing lights in the nose. Gus Grulke collection






C/n TA.55  Tugan LJW-7A Gannet  (Menasco engines)    VH-UVY, A14-6

36 Built at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by Tugan Aircraft Ltd.
Model LJW-7A with two 200hp Menasco Buccaneer B6S3 supercharged engines, shipped from USA. Hamilton Standard adjustable propellers
7 passenger cabin reduced to 6 passengers to allow the additional weight of a 23 gallon auxiliary fuel tank in the wing
36 Ordered by W. R. Carpenter & Co Ltd, Sydney for planned Australia-New Guinea airline. Order later cancelled when CAB refused to approve the air service, expressing concern over the long over-water crossings.  
(Carpenter finally gained approval in May 1938 with DH.86s Sydney-Salamaua-Rabaul)
5.6.36 Civil Aviation Board allocated registation VH-UVY to "Gannet No.4" being built by Tugan Aircraft Ltd.
15.6.36 Sir Walter Carpenter announced his intention to use a Tugan Gannet on an unsubsidised fortnightly service to New Guinea, which would commence the following month.

James Sinclair in Wings of Gold, How the Aeroplane Developed New Guinea:
"As the W.R.Carpenter interests - in shipping, trading stores and plantations - multiplied, so did the plans of the management for the development of the air service mature. A great deal of work was quietly done on the plan of Sir Walter Carpenter to inaugurate a New Guinea-Australia service. Sir Walter failed to gain the permission of the Civil Aviation Board to operate his ambitious new service. But with the stubborn persistance characteristic of this dynamic man, he kept at the Board, in the meantime testing the new Australian designed Tugan Gannet, fitted with twin American Menasco engines, as a possible machine for service with his airline to New Guinea.
25.6.36 Registration application: Tugan Aircraft Ltd, Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney
25.6.36 Completed aircraft had compass swing at Mascot
25.6.36 First test flight Mascot, pilot P. G. Graham, Chief Pilot of WASP Airlines.
Engine failure at 50 feet on first takeoff was stated at the time to have been caused by the pilot's sleeve catching and closing the throttle.
6.36 Menasco engines numbers 6043 & 6044 seized during ground running at Mascot due oil pump problems. Both engines packed and shipped back to the manufacturers in USA, two new Mensaco B6S engines arrived by sea late July. Menasco Company's chief engineer H.G.Townsend sailed from USA to investigate the problems, arriving in Sydney 25.7.36. He would also instruct engineers on adjustments to these first supercharged engines used in Australia.
1.8.36 The replacement Menasco engines (numbers 6048 & 6049) released from shipping company and installed in VH-UVY over the weekend 1st-2nd August
3.8.36 Test flight Mascot with replacement Menasco engines, pilot P.G.Graham. Both engines cut out in the circuit area, landed safely.
6.8.36 Test flights at Mascot, high engine temperatures recorded by CAB inspectors
7.8.36 Test flights at Mascot, pilot P.G.Graham.
9.9.36 Minor damage when tipped on nose due harsh braking while taxying for test flight at Mascot. Flew again the following day.
11.9.36 Certificate of Manufacture as "Monoplane No.4" by Tugan Aircraft Ltd, Cook Street, Mascot
12.9.36 Performance test flights conducted at Mascot for CAB inspector T.E.Johnson
9.37 CAB report on modifications to reduce tail vibration quoted flying hours of all Gannets:
VH-UVY had 80 hrs
29.10.36 L. J. Wackett requests CAB approval to fly VH-UVY from Sydney to Melbourne within the next few days before CofA has been issued.  Trials are being conducted with Hamilton Standard Propeller Co propellers of different pitch. Tests continued to December 1936
29.10.36 Certificate of Registration VH-UVY
29.10.36 Certificate of Airworthiness issued, Menasco B-6S engines
11.12.36 Further test flights at Mascot for CAB Inspector T.E.Johnson, pilot O.F.Y. "Frank" Thomas
23.2.37 Ownership change to Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, Fishermans Bend Vic
6.37 Leased to Intercity Airways, Sydney
3.6.37 Forced landing on "Heydon Downs" Station near Narromine NSW while en route Broken Hill to Narromine on Intercity Airways scheduled airmail service. Low fuel due to strong headwinds. No damage, Pilot H. Boston, 5 passengers.
Forced landing report to CAB quotes owner CAC
4.6.37 Departed Heydon Downs for Sydney but diverted to Newcastle due bad weather. Departed Newcastle at 3.30pm for Sydney with two passengers. Approaching Sydney, pilot Boston was unable to get around severe weather just north of the city, returned north to Gosford where fading light forced him to make a forced landing on the Gosford golf course.
Damaged when undercarriage collapsed when the aircraft ran into a ditch during the landing roll on golf course at Gosford NSW
6.37 Taken by road to Mascot where repairs commenced immediately. The port wing front spar was damaged by the collapse of the undercarriage.
17.6.37 CAB memo: rebuild of VH-UVY is under way at Mascot by CAC. Airframe time 50 hours
10.11.37 Testflown Mascot after rebuild, pilot R.O.Mant of W.R. Carpenter Co.
Menasco engines 6048 & 6049 still installed
25.11.37 CofA renewed
38 Based Fishermans Bend where CAC established a new aircraft manufacturing factory
38 The Menascos suffered overheating problems. CAC redesigned the cowlings to improve air flow and the cowlings were modified at Fishermans Bend by CAC metal workers several times over an extended period of flight evaluations.
20.10.38 CAC letter to CAB signed by L.J. Wackett re VH-UVY's CofA, which is due to expire. "It is not desired to renew the Certificate of Airworthiness at this juncture."
24.11.38 CofA expired. CAC advise it will not be renewed. Stored Fishermans Bend
21.9.39 CAC wrote to Air Board offering two Gannets for immediate use.
Assumed to be A14-1 and VH-UVY stored at Fishermans Bend
.40 VH-UVY Inspection Report by DCA aircraft inspector Ellis as part of a listing of aircraft being considered for impressment for RAAF use. Airframe is in very good condition, total time only 83 hours, Menasco B6S engines with fixed pitch metal propellers. Value assessed as £2,500 taking into consideration the lack of spare parts available for the Menasco engines.
.40 Impressment Requisition issued by Australian Government for use by RAAF
c6.40 CAC replaced the Menasco engines with the DH Gipsy VI engines Nos 6308 & 6259 from A14-1 stored at CAC which had been removed for use in the two prototype CA-6 Wackett Trainers in 3.40.
25.6.40 Brought on RAAF charge as A14-6. Status Card quotes type as Gannet Mk.II,
Gipsy VI engines
25.6.40 A14-6 received 1AD Laverton ex CAC. Fitted with Gipsy VI engines Nos 6308 and 6259
8.7.40 A14-6 serviceable with Survey Flight, Canberra
13.7.40 Pilot log: A14-6 Canberra-Mascot-Richmond, Pilot Officer Richard Winter
30.7.40 A14-6 forced landing Canberra, no damage. A loose cowling during a photographic sortie in Canberra area caused Pilot Officer Richard Winter to order his photographer LAC Martin to bail out.
22.8.40 A14-6 forced landing Canberra due port engine failure, no airframe damage.
Pilot Officer R. H. H. Winter, one crew
10.10.40 Letter to CAC from DCA: "Advice has been received from Department of Air that your LJW7 VH-UVY has been impressed for the RAAF. Accordingly, it will be struck off the Civil Aircraft Register."
3.8.41 Stationed at RAAF Pearce with Survey Flight. Code "Z" on nose
30.8.41 Returned to Survey Flight, Canberra
8.3.42 Allotted No.2 Air Ambulance Unit, Canberra ex Survey Flight
.42 modified as ambulance aircraft
6.4.42 Undergoing maintenance at 2AAU
25.3.42 Arrived at Daly Waters NT to join 2AAU Daly Waters Detachment
4.42 Based at Batchelor NT with 2AAU Detachment
19.5.42
Overturned during forced landing Cato River, Arnhem Land NT.
Pilot Flt Sgt Frank Smallorn, W/T Operator AC1 George Booth and nursing orderly Phil Bronk departed Batchelor NT for Groote Eylandt to collect an ill airman. Became lost over Arnhem Land and attempted a forced landing on what appeared to be a grassed area. However it was a swamp, the wheels sank and the aircraft turned on to its back. The crew were not injured but their radio calls had not been heard and their location was unknown.
The three crew commenced 33 days of survival in hostile terrain and appalling conditions.  After 10 days they set off a raft they had constructed, drifting on the Cato River until found by aborigines who eventually rowed them in canoes to Elcho Island mission, then on to RAAF Millingimbi.
20.6.42 A message from the Advanced Operational Base at Millingimbi, Northern Territory, advised that the missing three members of No 2 Air Ambulance Unit had been found ‘alive and well’ a month after their Gannet crashed.
They were flown to Batchelor by RAAF Anson, then after medical checks, sent on a month's Leave. Flown to Sydney in a USAAC B-17, stopping at Daly Waters, Cloncurry, Charleville, to Bankstown.

George Booth's book 33 Days gives a detailed account of their survival.
28.6.42 Approved for write-off
14.1.43 Approval for conversion to components

Aircraft wreckage never located

  

  VH-UVY at Mascot 1936 with an unidentified Gannet in RAAF markings.  Neil Follett collection


  

  Menasco Buccaneers being run up at Mascot 1936.  Note the air intakes on the right side of the engine

  nacelle compared with the Gipsy VIs intake on the left side. Neil Follett collection



  

  Forced landing on a Gosford golf course in June 1937. Photo: State Library of NSW


  

  RAAF Pearce WA in 1941: A14-6 code "Z", with Miles Falcon A37-2.  Geoff Goodall collection


  

  A14-6 code "Z" with the Survey Flight 1942. Gipsy VI engines. Neville Parnell collection




C/n TA.56  Tugan LJW-7 Gannet        VH-UXE, A14-2, VH-UXE

36 Built at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by Tugan Aircraft Ltd.
Powered by two 200 hp De Havilland Gipsy VI engines, with wooden propellers
20.8.36 Construction date
7.9.36 Test flight Mascot, pilot P. G. Graham
7.9.36 Inspection report at Mascot. DH Gipsy VI engines Nos. 6524 & 6528
Total airframe time 20 minutes
14.10.36 Registration application: Tugan Aircraft Ltd, Mascot
Seating for pilot and 7 passengers
10.36 CAB allocated registration VH-UXE

Stored pending sale
10.11.36 Air Board Order No.22185 issued for purchase of Gannet Mk.II A14-2
18.11.36 Telegram from Tugan Aircraft Ltd to CAB requesting urgent issue of CofA for TA56, by end of this week. CAB responded requiring drawings of the changes carried out to cabin seating and engine mountings.
25.11.36 Revised Certificate of Manufacture due changes incorporated: Tugan Aircraft Ltd
27.11.36 A14-2 delivered from Mascot to RAAF No.2 Aircraft Depot, Richmond
2.12.36 Delivered to No.1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton
11.1.37 Registered VH-UXE Tugan Aircraft Ltd, Mascot.  Had already been delivered to RAAF
11.1.37 CofA issued
2.37 Sold to RAAF
30.3.37 Taken on RAAF charge as A14-2
7.4.37 Pilot log: departed Laverton for Darwin, pilot Flt Lt. J. H. Lerew and crew
37 Operated with North Australia Survey Flight, alongside A14-1 and DH.89 Rapide A3-2
23.5.37 Took part in search for missing Rapide A3-2 in central Australia. Located by the Gannet crew, pilot W. L. Hely with Wireless Operator/Mechanic LAC W.T. Taylor. Position was the North Eastern corner of Lake Mackay, 500 miles west of Alice Springs, on the WA/NT border.
4.8.37 Pilot log: arrived Alice Springs. Airframe time: 191 hrs.  Crew then took over Rapide A3-2 to continue survey tasks
9.37 A14-1 & A14-2 issued to Survey and Communications Flight on its formation
10.37 Air Board requested CAC quote a price to recondition and modify Gannets A14-1 and
A14-2. CAC responded with a proposal that they supply two new Mk.II Gannets at £6,900 each and accept A14-1 & -2 as part payment to the value of £7,700.
CAC's proposal was accepted by the Air Board
.38 Sold to Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, Fishermans Bend Vic
20.4.38 CAC wrote to Civil Aviation Board asking for the Board's requirements in connection with the issue of Certificates of Airworthiness for L.J.W.7 aeroplanes which CAC has recently taken over from the Air Board.
29.4.38 Letter to CAB from CAC Fsihermans Bend: "Gannets A14-1 and A14-2 have recently been taken over by this company"

Overhaul for resale by CAC at Fishermans Bend Vic
7.38 CAB allocated registration VH-UXE to Gannet for CAC
4.7.38 Inspection report at Fishermans Bend after overhaul. Total airframe time 301 hours
7.7.38 Testflown Fishermans Bend by a RAAF officer
12.7.38 Registration application: Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, Fishermans Bend Vic
25.7.38 Restored to Register VH-UXE
25.7.38 CofA renewed
8.38 Possibly the Gannet ordered by North Queensland Airways, Cairns: company founder Tom McDonald and pilot Charles Gatenby departed Cairns for Sydney on 29.8.38 to collect a Gannet. On the same day North Queensland Airways DH.84 Dragon VH-UXK crashed at Innisfail with loss of 5 lives. On receipt of the news they returned to Cairns and cancelled the Gannet order.
6.2.39 Leased to Stephens Aviation Ltd, Wau, New Guinea
Hire-purchase financial agreement, will remain in CAC ownership until concluded
6.2.39 Departed Melbourne on delivery flight to New Guinea, flown by Charles Gatenby

Eric Noble, engineer with Stephens Aviation: "Another of our aircraft was the Gannet VH-UXE which was flown up from Australia for us by Charlie Gatenby in February 1939. It was fitted with long-range tanks for the sea crossing but as the pump was at the rear of the cabin, Gatenby needed a second crew member to handle the fuel transfer. At Cairns he met a young fellow very interested in planes, Keith Le Bas, who agreed to go to New Guinea with him. After obtaining permission from his parents, Le Bas pumped fuel for Gatenby all the way to New Guinea. There was trouble when they reached Wau because young Le Bas had no permit to enter, no bond and no money and not even a suitcase!
The Gannet was an unusual aircraft with two Gipsy VI engines on top of the wing. The pilots said it had some tricky flying characteristics such as the nose coming up when you closed the throttles. Now and then there were charter trips from Salamaua when the ships arrived and we would remove the chairs so that we could carry bags of rice, but it was really not a suitable aircaft for New Guinea."
20.5.39 Inspection report at Wau: excellent condition. Same Gipsy VI engine numbers installed.
Airframe total time: 358 hours
10.8.39 Testflown Wau by E. J. Stephens after CofA renewal inspection. Airframe time 402 hrs
10.8.40 Testflown Wau by F. E. Buchanan after CofA renewal inspection. Airframe time 729 hrs
5.2.41 Change of ownership: Stephens Aviation Ltd, Wau, New Guinea
6.2.41 Minor damage when wind storm wrecked the Mandated Airlines hangar at Wau.
18.7.41 Annual CofA renewal at Salamaua
2.42 UXE took part in evacuation of civilians from New Guinea highlands to Port Moresby, ahead of Japanese advance. Wings of Gold by James Sinclair:
"Most of the 300 civilians who were flown out of Wau to safety travelled in the two Carpenter Lockheed 14s and in the racketty old Avro Ten "Faith in Australia", the Tugan Gannet VH-UXE of Stephens Aviation and a Mandated Airlines Fox Moth. The pilots flew hard and with total disregard for their own safety. Day after day the aeroplanes flew from Wau to Port Moresby."
2.2.42 DCA inspector Victor Burgess at Port Moresby cabled DCA Head Office:
“Two Fox Moth, Avro Ten, Gannet serviceable here.”
15.2.42 Burgess cabled DCA Head Office: VH-UXE at Port Moresby but unserviceable
20.2.42 DCA telegram to Stephens Aviation: "RAAF require Gannet removed immediately Port Moresby to Australia. What are your intentions. Reply urgently. AVIAT"

No response in DCA file
24.2.42 Destroyed by enemy action, on ground Port Moresby. This was the first Japanese daylight raid on Port Moresby resulted in destruction of Gannet VH-UXE, RAAF Hudson A16-167 and the No.32 Squadron camp area
2.42 No reports of UXE among New Guinea evacuation aircraft reaching Cairns or Townsville in north Queensland.
23.3.42 Letter to DCA from Townsville Railway Station Master: he has been handed for safe keeping the log books and Certificates of Airworthiness and Registration for two aircraft, Avro Ten VH-UXX and Gannet VH-UXE and asks what he should do with them.
(Avro VH-UXX did reach Townsville from New Guinea in February 1942 and was abandoned on Townsville aerodrome where it went derelict)

  

  RAAF Laverton.  The Collection p7424-0011


  

  A14-2 at Lake Mackay, 500 miles west of Alice Springs in May 1937, after locating the missing RAAF

  Rapide A3-2, which had made a forced landing. Fred Harris collection


  

  A14-2 refuelling at Lake Mackay NT in May 1937.  Fred Harris collection


  

  RAAF survey crew with A14-2  in outback Australia.  RAAF via Neil Follett Collection


  

  Fishermans Bend July 1938, fitted with auxiliary fins.  CofA certificate photograph/ CAHS


  

  Refuelling at Rockhampton Qld, on delivery flight to New Guinea February 1939, with auxiliary fins.       Rockhampton Newspaper Co


  

  At Wau, New Guinea with Stephens Aviation, auxiliary fins now removed. Photo by Eric Noble




C/n TA.57  CAC LJW-7 Gannet        VH-UYE, A14-3

37 Built at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by Tugan Aircraft Ltd.
During its construction, the Tugan company had been purchased by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd.
Powered by two 200 hp De Havilland Gipsy IV Series 1 engines Nos 6580 & 6581, Schwarz wooden propellers.
Auxiliary fins installed on tailplane to improve directional stability
30.3.37 Certificate of Manufacture No.CM6 for TA.57 by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd. Cook Street, Mascot
2.4.37 First flight Mascot, pilot O. B. "Pat" Hall
8.4.37 Registration application: Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, Mascot
Seating for pilot and 6 passengers
8.4.37 CAB Inspection report at Mascot, airframe flying time 20 mins.
4.37 CAB allocated registration VH-UYE
23.4.37 Test flown by CAB Superintendent of Flying Operations Flt Lt. Dave Ross to evaluate the auxiliary kidney-shaped fins on the tailplane. His report stated:
"Flight trials of Gannet VH-UYE which is fitted with auxiliary fins on the tailplane, were carried out by me today. I found the general control of the aircraft to be normal in all planes. The aircraft was flown with full tanks and a passenger load, not including myself, of 900 pounds."
5.37 CAB approved VH-UYE to be flown on an urgent charter to New Guinea prior to issue of CofA and CofR  (Assumed: no mention of this in CAB file for VH-UYE)
1.6.37 VH-UYE departed Mascot at 2.45am for Rabaul, New Britain, chartered by the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper, to cover volcanic eruptions at Rabaul. Pilot was Charles Gatenby, copilot and engineer Sid Marshall, and four passengers: three Daily Telegraph reporters and an ABC reporter. Routed via Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville, Port Douglas (beach landing), Port Moresby (beach landing), Lae, Rabaul. They reached Rabaul on 3 June.
5.6.37 Departed Rabaul before dawn for the return flight to Sydney with two of the reporters and also carried an airmail delivery of 200 letters. Reached Mascot 7 June after flying through cyclonic weather down the NSW coast.

This flight was given much publicity by the newspaper and radio, covering 5,500 miles in 48 hours 20 minutes flying time at an average ground speed of 113 mph with complete reliability.
3.9.37 CAB Mascot office memo to CAB Head Office advising that CAC are anxious for the issue of CofA and CofR for VH-UYE. Head Office responds that certificates have been withheld pending weighing on approved scales. There have been variations in weights between Gannets despite standard type certification.
9.37 CAB report on modifications to reduce tail vibration quoted flying hours of all Gannets:
VH-UYE had 53 hrs. Various modifications trialled in the tailplane.
7.10.37 Registered VH-UYE Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, Mascot
7.10.37 CofA issued
13.10.37 Delivered from Mascot to Essendon to be weighed on CAB scales
10.37 Air Board requested CAC quote a price to recondition and modify Gannets A14-1 and
A14-2. CAC responded with a proposal that they supply two new Mk.II Gannets at £6,900 each and accept A14-1 & -2 as part payment to the value of £7,700.
CAC's proposal was accepted by the Air Board
38 Prepared by CAC at Fishermans Bend to RAAF requirements: control wheel replaced stick, new wheels with balloon tyres, larger cabin door with stretcher access, vertical camera mounts and fittings in the floor at the rear of the cabin.
3.2.38 Brought on RAAF charge as A14-3. Type: "Gannet Mk.II". Gipsy VI Series II engines.
RAAF Status Card gives no identity, only Air Board Order No.A30974
3.2.38 Received 1AD Laverton ex CAC
2.38 Allotted to No.1 Training Depot Communication and Survey Flight
6.2.38 Departed Laverton for Singapore, flown by RAAF crew, carrying Chief of the Air Staff Air Vice Marshall Richard Williams to a defence conference and the opening of Singapore Naval Dockyard. Pilot Sqn Ldr Allen Walters.
23.2.38 Returned to Australia from Singapore. Flying time return 91 hours
3.38 Operated by Northern Australia Survey Flight in conjunction with the Australian Army Survey Corps
10.38 Carried Sir Herbert Gepp to Central Australia to inspect the aerial survey operation
25.10.38 Gipsy Six engine replaced at Alice Springs NT by engine flown from Laverton by RAAF Anson
1.8.39 Broken engine exhaust pipe.
11.9.39 Became bogged and tipped on nose, slight damage
4.10.39 Allotted Survey Flight, Laverton. Flew survey work in Northern Australia and NSW in conjunction with Army Survey Corps
18.12.39 Tailplane u/s
7.2.40 Port undercarriage leg collapsed, port wingtip damaged
1.7.40 Survey Flight moved base from Laverton to Canberra
12.7.40 Pilot log: local training flights Canberra, Pilot Officer Richard Winter
7.40 Attached to Southern Queensland Survey Detachment, carrying out aerial survey for aerodrome sites in the Wide Bay, Bundaberg and Maryborough areas
30.3.41 Pilot log: returned to Canberra from survey work in eastern Victoria, pilot Flg Off R. R. Winter, who exchanged A14-3 for A14-5 to return to the survey.
20.5.41 Hit fence at end of landing run, port undercarriage torn off, damaged port wingtip and nose. May be repaired at Benalla aerodrome
21.6.41 Issued to Butler Air Transport, Mascot for repair and overhaul ex Survey Flight
7.1.42 Butler Air Transport Co Works Manager T. Williams wrote to DCA:
"The RAAF has requested us to approach you to obtain a set of L.J.W.7 Gannet drawings on loan, to enable us to proceed with the overhaul of aircraft A14-3 of Survey Flight, Canberra."
14.1.42 52% completed at BAT, awaiting undercarriage fittings
6.4.42 Received No.2 Air Ambulance Unit, Canberra ex BAT
.42 Modified as ambulance unit
25.4.42 Allotted to 2AAU Detachment Daly Waters WA
23.6.42 Serviceable at 2AAU
6.8.42 Port undercarriage collapsed on landing Millingimbi NT, wingtip damaged, mainplane damaged above undercarriage, stringers and fabric damaged under fuselage. Pilot Officer John Ingham.
16.10.42 Received No.1 Repair and Salvage Unit, Manbulloo NT for repair
14.11.42 Collection of aircraft to be arranged by Flt Lt Loxton now at Alice Springs northbound in DH.86 A31-4
19.11.42 Completed ready for delivery at 1RSU
27.11.42 Received 2AAU Batchelor detachment ex 1RSU
3.2.43 photo A14-3 at Canberra, olive drab, red cross roundels
43/44 Operated from Townsville and Kingaroy with detachments to WA
15.5.43 Received 3AD Amberley ex 2AAU for inspection
17.7.43 Received 2AAU ex 3AD
1.10.43 Port engine failure at Mascot. Request allocation to contractor owing airframe condition
7.10.43 Received Marshall Airways, Mascot for repairs
7.4.44 Received No.2 Aircraft Park, Bankstown ex Marshall Airways
13.4.44 Received 2AAU ex 2AP
16.12.44 Received No.17 Repair and Salvage Unit, Pearce for 60 hourly and repairs
2.1.45 Allotted 2AAU ex 17RSU
5.1.45 Above allotment cancelled. Allotted 2AD Care and Maintenance, Evans Head ex 17RSU
18.1.45 Received 2AD C&M Evans Head for storage, ex 17RSU
9.2.45 Received 1AOBSS ex 2AD C&M for storage
7.9.45 Care & Maintenance Unit, Evans Head: Survey report received.
Approved for conversion to components
24.7.46 Destroyed by burning at Evans Head by Evans Head CMU, in accordance with instructions

  

  VH-UYE at Mascot, auxiliary tailplanes installed.  Neil Follett collection



  

  A14-3 and another Gannet in the new CAC building at Fishermans Bend.  Neil Follett collection


  

  A14-3 at RAAF Laverton, electrical generator propeller fitted to nose. The Collection p7424-0013


  

  A14-3 at Canberra, 3 February 1943, wIth No.2 Air Ambulance Unit.  David Daw collection




C/n TA.58  CAC LJW-7 Gannet MK.II        VH-UYF, A14-4

            More likely VH-UYF actually became A14-3

37 Built at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd. Powered by 200hp DH Gipsy VI Series II engines Nos 4035 & 4036, DH controllable pitch propellers
CAC referred to it as "Gannet No.7" in correspondence
5.37 Ordered by Broken Hill Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic.  Planned to provide air travel for mining company executives between Melbourne and Broken Hill, Newcastle and Port Kembla. Charles Gatenby had flown another Gannet to Broken Hill 11.5.37 on a demonstration flight carrying a BHP Director.
6.7.37 Certificate of Manufacture No.CM7 for TA.58 by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, Cook Street, Mascot
8.7.37 First test flight Mascot
6.8.37 Final test flight Mascot, pilot O. B. "Pat" Hall
6.8.37 Registration application: Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, Mascot NSW
Seating for pilot and 5 passengers
6.8.37 CAB Inspection report Mascot: total flying time 7hrs 45 mins.

Delay in issue of Certificate of Airworthiness due variations in weights between Gannets despite standard type certification.
2.9.37 CofA issued
2.9.37 Registered VH-UYF
9.37 CAB report on modifications to reduce tail vibration quoted flying hours of all Gannets:
VH-UYF had 8 hrs
10.37 Air Board requested CAC quote a price to recondition and modify Gannets A14-1 and
A14-2. CAC responded with a proposal that they supply two new Mk.II Gannets at £6,900 each and accept A14-1 & -2 as part payment to the value of £7,700.
CAC's proposal was accepted by the Air Board
10.37 Delivered from Mascot to CAC Fishermans Bend factory, Melbourne
24.3.38 Brought on RAAF charge as A14-4. Gannett Mark II. Gipsy Six engines
24.3.38 Received No.1 Aircraft Depot, Laverton ex CAC
24.3.38 Allotted No.1 Training Depot Communications and Survey Flight ex 1AD
12.4.38 Pilot log: departed Laverton for Darwin to join Northern Australia Survey Flight, pilot Flt Lt Donald McLean
12.7.38 Pilot log: returned to Laverton from NT, pilot Flt Lt Donald McLean
10.38 Operated on survey work in NSW and Victoria to July 1939 when returned to NT
4.10.39 Allotted Survey Flight, Laverton ex 1TD.  
Survey Flight moved from Laverton to Canberra 1.7.40
40/41 Survey flying in NT, coastal Queensland, NSW, Victoria and WA
22.12.41 Returned to Canberra
16.1.42 Issued 1AD Laverton for overhaul, ex Survey Flight, Canberra
13.4.42 Received No.2 Air Ambulance Unit, Canberra ex 1AD
8.5.42 Received 1AD ex 2AAU
10.5.42 Forced landing in paddock outside Laverton aerodrome, nose damaged, longerons twisted
22.6.42 Issued 2AAU Canberra ex 1AD
23.6.42 Departed Canberra for Charters Towers and Townsville on ambulance duties
18.7.42 Returned to Canberra.  Then operated mostly Canberra-Sydney-Brisbane
26.9.42 Proceed Canberra for 30 hourly inspection. Proceed Narromine Sunday. Returning Mascot then proceed Archerfield transport patients to Sydney
13.10.42 Serviceable 2AAU Archerfield
20.11.42 Safely forced landed on beach Terrigal NSW due petrol blockage. No damage. Later flown off beach.
9.1.43 Forced landing Coffs Harbour NSW due port engine failure after takeoff. No damage.
13.4.43 Received Ansett Airways, Mascot for overhaul
10.10.43 Damaged by hail en route to Maryborough Qld. Repaired then retired to 2AAU Kingaroy
28.2.44 Received No.2 Aircraft Park, Bankstown ex Ansett Airways Mascot
7.3.44 Received 2AAU Kingaroy ex 2AP
9.4.44 Arrived at 2AAU Detachment at Corunna Downs WA
24.8.44 Proceed as urgent flight to Argyle Downs Station at request of Dr. Roberts, Derby to transport a critically ill female to hospital in Derby
25.8.44 Crashed in sea after takeoff Exmouth Gulf WA. Main wreckage located 50 metres offshore, one mile from airfield. Many pieces of wreckage scattered on seabed in vicinity of the crash.  US Navy from Potshot assisted with salvaging recoverable parts with a barge
21.9.44 Approval to convert to components. Engines were Gipsy Six Mk.II, DH controllable pitch propellers

RAAF Court of Enquiry found that the aircraft took off from Exmouth (No.76 Operational Base Unit) before dawn on urgent medical flight to Argyle Downs. Airborne at 0519 hours in darkness using a correctly laid flarepath. A heavy mist would have reduced pilot's visibility to zero after airborne, aircraft crashed straight ahead into sea. Wreck found by a searching 7CU Anson W1544 from Potshot. All three on board Gannet were killed:
Pilot Flying Officer Gordon E. Dix,
Wireles Operator Sgt Norman Catton,
Passenger S/Ldr J.G.Sangster
Enquiry found cause of accident was the pilot's lack of experience in night flying.

  VH-UYF, with auxiliary tailplanes installed.  David Anderson collection


  

  A14-4 at Daly Waters NT circa 1940.  National Library of Australia





C/n TA.59  CAC LJW-7 Gannet        VH-UZW, A14-5

            More likely VH-UZW actually became A14-4

37 Built at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney by Tugan Aircraft Ltd.
The Tugan company had been purchased by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd in November 1936.
Powered by 205hp DH Gipsy VI Series II engines Nos 4045 & 4042, DH controllable pitch propellers.
This was the final Gannet completed.
8.9.37 Sydney Morning Herald report:
"The manufacturers of the Gannet type are now building their eighth machine. A new Gannet aeroplane has been completed for the Broken Hill Pty Co Ltd, and is awaiting the customary departmental certificate of airworthiness."
16.10.37 Certificate of Manufacture No.CM8 for TA.58 by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, Cook Street, Mascot
10.37 First flight Mascot
3.11.37 CAB Inspection Report at Mascot, total time flown 1 hr 40 mins
4.11.37 Final testflight Mascot, pilot R.O.Mant of W.R.Carpenter Co
4.11.37 Registration application: Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, Mascot NSW
Seating for pilot and 6 passengers
8.11.37 Delivered from Mascot to CAC Fishermans Bend factory, Melbourne
9.11.37 CofA issued
9.11.37 Registered VH-UZW Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd, Mascot NSW
37 Several sources have quoted VH-UZW as based Essendon on loan to Broken Hill Pty Ltd as a company transport.  
Use by BHP as company executive transport is doubtful:
- its subsequent sale to RAAF was as a "new" aircraft, ie. very low hours
- its role would have been eclipsed by BHP's high performance Lockheed 12A VH-ABH "Silver City" which entered service at Essendon 7.11.37 after shipping from USA,
- Len Diprose, engaged to fly VH-ABH, was unaware of the Gannet being used by BHP
3.38 CAC offered the Air Board a new Tugan LJW.7 Wackett completed for photography and fitted with wireless for £6,000 to replace the crashed RAAF DH.89 Rapide A3-2, which had crashed Laverton 3.2.38.  Purchase was approved by the Minister for Defence 19.3.38
38 Additional modifications undertaken by CAC to bring it to RAAF requirements for survey duties, at additional cost £113.
24.3.38 CAC letter to CAB "We confirm disposal of VH-UZW (as A14-4) to RAAF. The machine was handed over on 24 March 1938."
(A14-4 was BOC 24.3.38)
22.8.38 Brought on RAAF charge as A14-5. Gannett Mk II. Gipsy VI Mk.II engines.
22.8.38 Received 1AD Laverton ex CAC
23.9.38 Issued to No.1 Training Depot Communications and Survey Flight ex 1AD

Operated on survey with North Australian Survey Flight
4.10.39 Allotted Survey Flight, Laverton ex 1TD.
Survey Flight moved from Laverton to Canberra 1.7.40
22.5.40 Pilot log: local flight Laverton
21.4.41 Received 1AD Laverton ex Survey Flight for overhaul
30.3.41 Pilot log: departed Canberra for Bairnsdale for survey work in eastern Victoria, pilot Flg Off R. R. Winter, who had exchanged A14-3 for A14-5
28.4.41 Issued to Ansett Airways, Essendon for engine overhaul and repaint in earth brown and foliage green camouflage with aluminium undersides
7.41 Prototype permanent ambulance installation completed by Ansett.
9.8.41 Received Survey Flight ex Ansett Airways
13.1.42 Pilot log: arrived Laverton for overhaul by 1AD and installation of air ambulance mods
10.3.42 Pilot log: arrived Canberra on delivery to 2AAU
12.3.42 Pilot log: departed Canberra for Daly Waters NT
23.3.42 Status Card: Issued No.2 Air Ambulance Unit, Canberra ex Survey Flight
28.3.42 Minor damage, tipped on nose taxying over soft ground Daly Waters aerodrome
18.4.42 Pilot log: arrived at Canberra for overhaul
8.6.42 Pilot log: departed Canberra for Charters Towers Qld to collect emergency patient
15.6.42
Crashed after takeoff, Canberra ACT.
Forced landing due port engine failure near aerodrome. Struck trees in open land two miles from aeodrome and wrecked.  Location incorrectly stated as Mount Russell.
2AAU pilot F/Lt Bruce W. Graham leg injury, 3 crew minor injuries. Aircraft wrecked.
29.6.42 Approved for conversion to components
15.8.13 Canberra Times newspaper published photographs of the crash and the DH manufacturers plate from one of the Gipsy VI engines which was removed and souvenired at the time if the crash was also illustrated.


  

  A14-5 outside the CAC factory Fishermans Bend, Melbourne. Neil Follett collection


  

  A14-5 at RAAF Laverton, with an additional wind-driven electrical generator propeller in the nose.

  This was required to power the wireless equipment carried. Dave Eyre collection




The wreck of A14-5 at Mount Ainslie, Canberra on 15 June 1942.




Sources:

- Australian Civil Aircraft Register ledgers, Department of Civil Aviation and its successors

- DCA Aircraft files, National Archives of Australia, Melbourne

- Historic Civil Aircraft Register G-AUAA to VH-UZZ, Bert Cookson, Austairdata 1996

- Codock, Dave Eyre, AHSA Journal March/April 1975 Vol X no X (1975)

- Tugan Gannet, Parts 1 & 2, Dave Eyre, AHSA Journals Vol 17 Nos.4 & 5 (1976)

- L.J.W.7 and -7A Type File, CAB/DCA file, NAA Melbourne, Series MP115/1

- RAAF Gannet A14- Accidents, NAA Canberra, Series A9845

- The Historic Civil Aircraft Register of Australia G-AUAA to VH-UZZ, Bert Cookson, AustAirData 1996

- RAAF Status Cards: A14-3, 4, 5, 6, 7, RAAF Historical, Canberra  (A14-1 & -2 not held)

- Trove, on-line Australian newspaper search archive, National Library of Australia

- Flypast A record of Aviation in Australia, Neville Parnell & Trevor Boughton, CAA 1988

- Wings of Gold, How the Aeroplane Developed New Guinea, James Sinclair, Pacific Publications 1978

- Flight – Memoirs 1912-1958, C. Arthur Butler, published by Anna Yates (his daughter), 2008

- Outback Airman, Harry Purvis with Joan Priest, Rigby 1979

- 33 Days, George Booth,Greenhouse Publications, Melbourne 1988

- Early Aviation Operations in New Guinea, Eric Noble, AHSA Journal, Vol XIV No 5 (Nov-Dec 1973)

- 1936 Brisbane-Adelaide Air Race, Ian D.McArthur, AHSA Journal, March 1964

- The Gannet Flight to Rabaul, V.G.Hooper, AHSA Journal, March 1963

- Allotment of Civil Registration markings, CAB/DCA file, National Archives of Australia,

Series A705 No.8/103/996 transcribed by Dion Makoswski, published in Man and Aerial Machines, quarterly, compiled by T.W.Boughton, April 1990

- Tugan Gannet Questions, Colin Owers, Man and Aerial Machines, quarterly, compiled by T.W.Boughton, January-February 1995

- Australian-built Aircraft and The Industry, Vol 1, Keith R.Meggs, Finger Four Publishing, Victoria 2009

- Australian Air Force since 1911, N.M.Parnell & C.A.Lynch, A.H. & A.W.Reed 1976

- Aircraft in Australia, research series, early incomplete draft, compiled by John Hopton

- Airlines & Aircraft of the Ansett Group, Fred Niven, self-pubished CD, Edition 8, 2011

- Civil Aircraft in New Guinea war theatre 1942-1943, Trevor Boughton: research project 2012

- Impressment of Civil Aircraft During WWII, compiled by John Hopton

 

 

Back to the Australian Aviation Menu