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Antarctic aeroplane: a sensational accident
Title : Antarctic aeroplane: a sensational accident Antarctic aeroplane: a sensational accident View More Images
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Source : Advertiser, 6 October 1911, p. 9, col. f-h
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : Frederick Britten Burden and John Langdon Bonython
Date of creation : 1911
Format : Newspaper
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

The aeroplane purchased by Douglas Mawson for his Australasian Antarctic Expedition was making a trial flight when it crashed sensationally and was badly damaged, with a broken fuselage, torn wings, smashed propeller and five of the engine's cylinders smashed. The pilot Lieutenant H E Watkins and the passenger, expedition member Frank Wild were only slightly injured. There are several eyewitness reports from spectators. The crashed aircraft is shown with an inset photograph of the pilot.

The preceding day The Advertiser reported a slight accident to the aeroplane. There was a mis-firing of the engine and oil sprayed into the pilot's face. This he said was 'due to too great air pressure being applied to the bottom petrol tank'. This and some small damage to a wing stay were repaired later that day.

The accident on Thursday that resulted in irreparable damage to the aeroplane was, said Pilot Watkins because 'the wind came in little gusts and did not give the machine a chance to recover itself.' An eyewitness agreed saying the plane was 'tipping from one side to the other slightly, as if the wind was getting under the wings ...'. Another said the accident would not have occurred if the plane had been 10 feet higher.

The plane's fuselage was taken to the Antarctic by Mawson for use as an air sledge. This was not particularly successful despite the engineering skills of Frank Bickerton. Lieutenant Watkins did not accompany the expedition south.

Related names :

Mawson, Douglas, Sir, 1882-1958

Wild, Frank, 1873-1939

Coverage year : 1911
Region : Adelaide metropolitan area
Further reading :

Mawson, Douglas, Sir, The home of the blizzard: the story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914 Kent Town, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press, 1996

Ayres, Philip J Mawson: a life Carlton South, Vic.: Miegunyah Press: Melbourne University Press, 1999

Burke, David, Moments of terror: the story of Antarctic aviation Kensington, N.S.W.: NSW University Press, [1993]

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