joined Adastra after a drunken encounter with a Hudson crew at
Broken Hill (Glassey, Wood et al). Initially I converted to the
Prince from Bob Keeling at Port Lincoln in April 55. The crew
took the aircraft back and I moved to Sydney by road getting my
licence endorsed for the UK registered aircraft (G-AMLW)
as I went through Melbourne.
Flew the Prince exclusively on surveys until 13 November 1956.
Mag. surveys included Kiriwina – Woodlark, Gulf of Carpentaria,
Cloncurry, Winton, Broken Hill, Mt. Gambier, Adelaide, Whyalla.
Leigh Creek. and Smithton. Crews J. Tierney, Al Palmer, Maurie
Miller, Derek Middleton and Ken Stredwick. My log book shows a
camera test in Jan. 56 and about 8 hours photo survey the same
month. (memory is a bit short on this lot but it would have been
low to medium altitude).
Memory says that a hole was cut in the aircraft floor near the
toilet and control runs re-routed, design work by Newton Hotchkiss.
I did a conversion to the Cat. in November and the Prince next
flew in February 1957. In March I checked out Gordon Taylor, however
he left the company shortly afterwards (some question about this)
and in April I checked out Kenny Rowlands and started a survey
I flew a test flight in the Prince registered VH AGF in Jan. 58
and in August survey in Tasmania with Mike, Kellaway, and Jim
Hilferty. Ken Rowlands and I did an altitude flight to 20000 in
Jan. 59 and shortly after that Ken Rowlands and Joe Tidey flew
the aircraft back to the UK.
The Prince was a nice comfortable little aircraft, a bit short
on load capacity. It had pneumatically operated flaps and landing
gear that were very fast in operation. It is probably not much
remembered that it was also fitted with reverse pitch, a bit ludicrous
in such a small aircraft. Trouble was the pitch stops were hydraulically
operated and not linked, so on occasion only one side worked.
This had to be experienced only once to make the facility unpopular
with whoever was flying the aircraft. The Prince was also a bit
short on oil cooling, having been certified in Europe. We had
an engine failure about 30 miles south of Cloncurry at 500 feet.
After feathering and heading back towards Cloncurry it was necessary
to unfeather and get a little power to climb to cooler air before
the oil in the live one boiled.
7th February 2003.