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by Rick Geary

Photos by Alex Whitworth


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VH-AGX 23rd December 1968


The location was Daly Waters. The bird species was a "kite hawk". It happened on take-off early in the afternoon and on the downwind leg of the circuit I was amazed to see the shadow, cast on the port engine nacelle, of the bird impaled on the HF mast with the airflow forcing the wings into the full-span flying position. We got approval to fly to Darwin for repairs, remained overnight, returned to Daly Waters and the very next take-off the next day the exact same thing occurred, resulting in our having to return to Darwin again. I remember getting blamed for the whole episode but there were birds on the runway all day. I can still see this poor little bird trying to outrun us just as we were about to rotate at 100 knots. I recall that around this time, the glass from the R/H cockpit window was missing and that it was temporarily replaced with a bit of masonite. (Nothing to do with my birds, John Hampshire was flying it before I took over!).

I can recall being en route Darwin - Daly Waters after the repair when Katherine Flight Service called up and read a telegram from Adastra (I guess Mike Wood): "You are hereby authorised to spend $20 on Christmas good cheer." So the incident was certainly just before Christmas Day 1968.

Rick Geary
31st March 2003



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