Incident de Havilland DH.50J VH-UMC,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 27174
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Date:Thursday 1 March 1934
Type:de Havilland DH.50J
Owner/operator:West Australia Airways
Registration: VH-UMC
MSN: 74
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Mia Mia Station, between Carnarvon and Onslow, WA -   Australia
Phase: Landing
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Maylands, Perth, Western Australia
Destination airport:Broome, Western Australia
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Built by DeHavillands at Stag Lane, Edgware, and first registered in the UK as G-EBFO 14 August 1924 (C of R 1109) to Imperial Airways at Croydon Airport, London. On 30 June 1926, Alan Cobham and mechanic A.B. Elliot departed the River Medway, England, on a survey flight to Australia in De Havilland DH50J G-EBFO. The aircraft was powered by a 385hp Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar and was equipped with floats.

Cobham later wrote "The reason for taking a seaplane on this flight was chiefly one of protection... From Calcutta to Australia it is simply impossible to land anywhere but on a specially prepared aerodrome. I did not like to contemplate being caught out in a severe monsoon storm over... tropical jungle, with no prospects of landing - and so decided that although a seaplane has many disadvantages as compared with an aeroplane, it would certainly be a far more practical and safe proposition."

Over Iraq Bedouin tribesmen fired at the aircraft breaking a fuel line and fatally wounding Elliot: he later died in hospital. Cobham took on Sgt. R W Ward of 84 Squadron, RAF, as a replacement and they arrived at Port Darwin on 5 August 1926.

At Darwin the floats were changed for wheels, more practical in Australia's dry interior, and Cobham and Ward set off for Melbourne, arriving on 15 August.Accompanied by Ward and Armstrong-Siddeley representative C. Capel, Cobham departed Melbourne/Point Cook on 29 August for Adelaide and Darwin, where the floats were re-fitted, and thence England, arriving on 1 October.

Cobham thus became the first pilot to make a return flight from England to Australia in the same aircraft. On arrival, Cobham was knighted, Ward received the AFC and Capel an MBE.

In 1928 Norman Brearley of West Australian Airways saw G-EBJO languishing in bits and pieces in a hangar at Stag Lane and had it shipped to Perth where he completed its rebuild as VH-UMC, As such it was first registered on 18 September 1929

VH-UMC was written off when it crashed on 1 March 1934 at Mia Mia Station, between Carnarvon and Onslow, Western Australia. Enroute, weather conditions worsened and crew decided to divert to Mia Mia Station. On landing, aircraft hit violently the runway and all propellers were sheared off and went through the cabin. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair, all three passengers were injured and both pilots were unhurt.

The C of A lapsed on 1 September 1934, and the aircraft was stricken from the register



Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
07-Apr-2014 19:34 Dr. John Smith Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
04-Sep-2020 13:10 Sergey L. Updated [Source]
07-Jun-2022 19:59 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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