Lockheed 10A Electra VH-AAU
antenna tower for Lorenz 33 m/c Radio Range - click here for more

This all metal Lockheed 10A Electra airliner, VH-AAU Salamaua (c/n 1108), was owned by Guinea Airways, Adelaide, and operated their scheduled passenger service from Adelaide to Alice Springs and Darwin from 1937 until 1946 when sold to Union Airways in New Zealand.

Two days after the Douglas DC2 Kyeema crashed into Mount Dandenong, Victoria, on 25 October 1938, the Civil Aviation Branch finalised a charter of this Lockheed from Guinea Airways for urgent use to calibrate Australia’s first radio navigation aids to allow aircraft to home on aerodromes in poor weather. The first Lorenz ultra short wave radio beacons had been installed in 1937 but they had not been available to airliners because they had not been calibrated. Ironically, the antenna of a Lorenz radio range beacon stands in the background of this photo takenb at Adelaide/Parafield. Click here to read more about the Lorenz range system.

Negotiations had opened in December 1937 with Guinea asking £11 per hour, but the CAB only offering £6 10 shillings per hour. Negotiations lapsed until the Kyeema crash when the CAB agreed to a minimum payment of £100 per month and the rate of £10 per hour for 60 hours or £9 10 shillings per hour for more than 60 hours. VH-AAU was flown from Adelaide to Essendon by CAB pilot J. Kerr on 2 November 1938 to have calibration equipment installed to commence the task. The aircraft was later replaced by the Department's new Percival Q.6 VH-ABY.

Guinea Airways had earlier commenced flying in Papua New Guinea, and used New Guinea names on its mainland-based fleet.


(Photo: CAHS/Len Dobbin collection)

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