Aeronca Model K VH-ACK

Powered by an Aeronca E113CBD engine, Aeronca Model K NC18888 (c/n K162) was used by the American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth for his fourth and last Antarctic expedition in 1938/39. The expedition left New York on 16 August 1938 on board the their ship Wyatt Earp. In Antarctica the Aeronca operated on floats alongside a ski-equipped Northrop D.1 Delta (NR14267, later VH-ADR).
When the Wyatt Earp docked in Australia at the end of the expedition, the Australian Government purchased the ship and the two aircraft on board.

Both aircraft became the property of DCA. The Northrop was used for the calibration of radio navigation aids whilst the Aeronca was refurbished for issue on loan to an Aero Club as part of DCA's programme of supporting flying training.

The further history of this aircraft is uncertain at present, however it is thought that it was added to the Australian Civil Register as VH-ACK in about 1940, on loan to the Canberra Aero Club. The aircraft was re-registered to the Canberra Aero Club by 1 May 1943.

The aircraft subsequently passed through a number of private owners. The photo above shows it at Camden, NSW, in October 1965. The photo below shows VH-ACK in a dark blue with silver trim colour scheme at an unknown time and place.

The aircraft is thought to still exist (c.2004), however the registration VH-ACK has been re-issued to another aircraft, indicating that it may not be airworthy.


(Photos: 1-Geoff Goodall collection; 2-CAHS collection)

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