CRASH OF A WACKETT, A3-29
MOUTH OF BURNETT RIVER
IN MARYBOROUGH AREA, QLD
ON 17 MARCH 1944
NOT TO BE SHOT AT OR EXPORTED
An airman's Letters Home 1942-1945
By Leslie Harold Sullivan
Winner of the 1994 Heritage Award
20 March 1944
Today I am back in "flying gang" on the tarmac doing running repairs, which is better than the dead-end job I have been doing of seeing kites out and in. Gosh, you have to keep your eyes on some of the chaps. This morning no one appeared to be doing pre-flight inspections so I had a wander around and found a loose aileron hinge on one and a flap which would not fully close on another and this was on planes they had signed as serviceable. Neither in itself would have caused a crash but it indicated either carelessness or laziness in doing their "dailies".
As an example of how careful you have to be, last Friday (17 March 44) when about 30 miles out, a pilot noticed that the bolt which acts as a fulcrum on the bottom of the control column was loose and he was having great difficulty in controlling the kite (Wackett A3-29). He was at 4,000 feet so he told the WAG trainee (LAC Hesse) to bale out, which he promptly did. The pilot thought of following him but could not keep the kite straight and level while he jumped, although normally a Wackett will fly "hands off" for a short time. So he stayed with it and put it down in a swampy clearing, causing only slight damage. The trainee landed safely not too far away.
He is lucky as after such a feat he gets five shillings from everyone on his course, which will amount to 22 Pounds, on one condition, and this is that he must have retained the rip cord handle and cable from the parachute. In addition, if he transmits a "May Day" message and it is picked up on the ground, he gets another two shillings from everyone on his course. I don't think he qualified for that bonus. Also, the WAAAF who packed the 'chute is paid on shilling.
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 23 April 1999
This page last updated 13 January 2017