VH-AGO


Type: L-414-56 Hudson Mk IIIA/A-29
MSN: 6429
Previous Identities: 41-23612
BW750
A16-215
VH-AYP (NTU)

History:

A16-215
 
17APR42 Received 1 AD Laverton ex USA.
03JUN42 Received by 32 SQN.
27JUL42 Received 3 AD Amberley ex 32 SQN.
14SEP42 Received (unserviceable) 6 SQN Horn Island ex 3 AD.
15OCT42 Received 5 AD ex 6 SQN.
12NOV42 Received 1 AD Laverton ex 5 AD.
21NOV42 Received 6 SQN ex 1 AD.
25NOV42 Starboard engine seized and aircraft crash landed at Jacksons, Port Moresby during air raid.
28NOV42 Received 15 RSU ex 6 SQN.
30DEC42 Received 3 AD Amberley ex 15 RSU.
22DEC43 Received 2 SQN ex 3 AD.
08AUG44 Received ANA Parafield ex 4 RSU for conversion to air ambulance. See Hudson Hatchback
19SEP44 Received 2 AAU ex ANA Parafield.
23AUG45 Received 2 AD Richmond ex 2 AAU.
08OCT45 Received 1 CU ex 2 AD
07MAY46 Received 2 AD ex 2 AAU for storage.
29NOV46 Sold to Mr Ellis, Skerman's Motors, Dubbo NSW for £1,000.
04SEP47 Above sale cancelled.
10SEP47 Re-sold to Mr Kennedy, Cronulla, NSW for £1,000.
12MAR48 Above sale cancelled.
18JUN48 Sold to Squadron Leader B.E. Hughes, 82 Wing HQ RAAF Amberley for £500.
30NOV48 Issued to purchaser.
VH-AGO
 
31JAN52 Registration application from Adastra Airways Pty. Ltd., Mascot. Registration was typed as VH-AYP but was hand-amended to VH-AGO. (Previously shown as 16DEC52). (NAA C3905/9 VH/AGO)
16DEC52 Application for CofA from Adastra Airways Pty. Ltd., Mascot. Registration was typed as VH-AYP but was hand-amended to VH-AGO. The aircraft is to be used for aerial survey and is fitted with 1 seat in the cockpit and 4 seats in the cabin. (NAA C3905/9 VH/AGO)
13MAY53 Added to Register as VH-AGO. CofR No. 1996 and CofA No. 1969 issued to Adastra Airways Pty. Ltd.
26MAR57 The aircraft departed Mascot on a survey contract in Northern Queensland. (Source: 1)
23JUN57 The aircraft was flown from its base at Weipa Mission to Horn Island where it overnighted. In addition to the crew, three passengers were carried. (Source: 1)
24JUN57 At 0735 hours, the aircraft departed Horn Island with only the normal crew on board to conduct aerial photography over the northern portion of the Cape York Peninsula. The aircraft returned to Horn Island at about midday and was refuelled to full tanks. The crew lunched with the crew of World Wide Aerial Surveys Hudson VH-SMM which was also conducting aerial photography in the area. After lunch the three passengers boarded VH-AGO which set course for Weipa Mission at 1516 hours. At 1523 hours, Captain Linfoot advised the communication station on Thursday Island that he was returning to Horn Island with engine trouble and requesting that VH-SMM be held on the ground at Horn Island to render assistance if required. Following a baulked approach at Horn Island, the aircraft crashed on a tidal mud shelf 1.25 miles north-west of Horn Island Aerodrome at approximately 1535 hours. It was subsequently established that the port engine had seized as a result of a master rod bearing failure. The inquiry determined that VH-AGO had a total time of 3083 hours with 260 hours since last overhaul. (Source: 1)
The following account of the accident is extracted from "Aviation Safety Digest":

"The aircraft was temporarily based at the Weipa Mission aerodrome, northern Queensland, with the normal crew consisting of a pilot, a navigator and a photographic assistant. On the day before the accident the aircraft was flown on a private flight from Weipa Mission to the Horn Island aerodrome with three non-paying passengers aboard in addition to the crew. The aircraft remained overnight at Horn Island, and early on the following morning took off with the normal crew, and carried out survey work over a period of some four hours. The aircraft returned to Horn lsland at about midday and was refuelled. During the same morning another Hudson aircraft (VH-SMM of WWAS. Ed.) engaged on photographic survey work had arrived at the aerodrome and the two crews lunched together. Both aircraft were prepared for departure and the three passengers again boarded the Weipa Mission aircraft, which took-off first and set course at 1518 hours E.S.T. intending to climb to 7,000 feet en route for Weipa, 45 minutes flying time to the south. Five minutes after departure the pilot of this aircraft advised the communication station at Thursday Island that trouble had developed in the port engine and that he was returning, to land at Horn Island. He also asked that the other Hudson aircraft be held on the ground in case some assistance was needed. At the stage that this message was relayed to the captain of the second Hudson the aircraft was lined up for take-oft but immediately vacated the strip. The captain watched the circuit and approach of the other aircraft from a position clear of, but adjacent to, the threshold of Runway 08. The returning aircraft was seen to cross Runway 08 and then turn downwind at a height of 1,500-1,700 feet and proceed with a left-hand circuit towards the threshold of that runway. As the aircraft turned on to final approach at about the normal distance from the threshold but still unusually high, the ground observers noticed that the undercarriage had not been extended. The aircraft continued to descend in this configuration and it seemed likely at this stage that a wheels-up landing would be made well down the strip. When the aircraft had reached a point approximately 600 feet from the threshold and 150 feet above ground level the undercarriage was observed to extend and it was also noticed that the port propeller was feathered. At this point there appeared to be no wing flap extended and the aircraft crossed the strip threshold at a height of more than 100 feet and at a speed estimated to be well in excess of the normal approach speed. Soon after the aircraft had passed the threshold it was seen to roll and turn to port and this motion continued until the aircraft disappeared from view at such a height and angle of bank that an accident seemed imminent. The pilot of the Hudson on the ground immediately took-off and located the wrecked aircraft on a coral mud shelf just beyond the northern shore of the island. Ground parties discovered that the aircraft had been virtually destroyed by very high impact forces and the six occupants had lost their lives."


Those on board at the time of the crash were:
Joseph (Joe) Linfoot (Captain)
Hermione Ivy (Josie) Linfoot (Wife of the Captain)
Graham Holstock (Navigator)
Harold Corrigan (Camera Operator)
William Frank Mitchell (Director of Mitchell Aerial Services Pty Ltd, Cairns)
Lionel Kenneth George Jeffery (a pilot intending to join Adastra)
Tom Carpenter's biography states: "A motor failed on take off, Joe did a circuit and came in to land, but a local council truck baulked his approach, he tried to go round again, but lost the aircraft on the climb."

The official report (Source: 1) found that a baulked approach was initiated at or near the threshold of Runway 08. It was concluded that given the speed and height of the approach, a baulked approach was essential to avoid over-running the airstrip. The reference to a council truck may be related to the fact that the DCA groundsman was directed to drive his vehicle on to the runway to prevent Hudson VH-SMM from taking-off at the request of the captain of VH-AGO.
29OCT57 In connection with the inquiry into the crash of VH-AGO, a test flight (1hr 25min) was conducted in VH-AGX on this date. (Source: 1)

 

SOURCES
1
NAA: Report on investigation into aircraft accident to Lockheed Hudson Mk III VH-AGO at Horn Island, Qld on 24 June 1957 Series number A8325 Control symbol 24/6/1957 PART 1

 


See also "Hudson Hatchback"


Issue Date Remarks
15 31JAN17
Added more information about the crash from Source 1.
14 30MAR16
Added an image of the aircraft at Bankstown.
13 31JAN16
Refreshed the page and images.
12 13FEB15
Added 6 images of the wreckage of VH-AGO at Horn Island. Thanks to Greg Wilson whose father Scotty Wilson was an engineer with Adastra.
11 21DEC08
Robyn Ellen (nee Mitchell) advises: "My uncle, Frank Mitchell died when VH-AGO crashed off Horn Island in 1957. My father Douglas Neville Mitchell was Frank's brother, and Joe and Josie Linfoot and Lionel Jeffrey were his close friends. My husband Tony Ellen was then flying for Mitchell Aerial Services and we have just checked his log books for verification of dates. He was the unfortunate young man (and friend of the deceased) who had to fly up to Horn Island to bring the bodies back to Cairns. Tony was in Normanton on the 24th, and flew back to Cairns to fly to Horn Island on the 25th." (Frank Mitchell was previously listed above as William Mitchell but this has now been corrected.)
10 25FEB08
Added two 1957 images thanks to John Hopton (The Collection).
9 17OCT07
Added two images of the door recovered by Tony Dewey.
8 03SEP05
Added a reference to Tom Carpenter's account of the crash.
7 11AUG04
A photo previously thought to show VH-AGO fitted with a target towing winch has been removed because closer examination revealed that it could not be VH-AGO.
6 22SEP03
Added additional detail of applications for CofR and CofA from NAA C3905/9 VH/AGO thanks to Chris O'Neill.
5 20JUL03
Corrected the date of the crash at Horn Island from 01JUL57 to 24JUN57. Thanks to Noel Slarks for pointing this out.
4 09JUN03
Added 6 new images.