VH-AXL de Havilland D.H.84A Dragon                      (c/n  2093)


                                        This Qantas photo, from the Geoff Goodall collection, shows a Dragon in service in New Guinea,
                                        circa 1950.  This particular machine, along with the other allocations oif the VH-AX - series would
                                        have been re-registered VH-BXL had it not crashed at Koranka, New Guinea on 21 September
                                        1951, since the VH-AX sequence were later deemed to be prohibited registrations at that time.
                                        Australian-built, this Dragon went to the RAAF as A34-82 before being civilianized in September
                                        1946 for Eddie Connellan to be used on Connellan Airways Flying Doctor Service contract.  In his
                                        book  'Failure of Triumph'  Eddie Connellan wrote “Irrespective of my own wishes, DCA told me that
                                        I should use the 8 passenger DH.84 Dragon.    They had the Air Force sell me one for 50 pounds and told
                                        me to use it.   I argued that it was ridiculous to try to carry on with an 8 passenger aeroplane of 260hp,
                                        against the 900hp in the Beech 18 and that the best thing that they could do with the enormous fleet of
                                        Air Force Dragons was to put them all in a heap and burn them.   I told them it would not be long before
                                        our Dragon would sink back into the ground after take off.    In fact this happened at Hermannsburg in
                                        September 1946.    No blame could be attached to the pilot: the aircraft simply had insufficient power to
                                        stay in the air in hot conditions". 
In fact, the Dragon was repaired at Alice Springs and promptly sold
                                        to Qantas for their New Guinea services.  As indicated above, it struck a mountain at Koranka, NG
                                        in severe smoke haze, killing the pilot.  It was an all freight flight and there were no passengers aboard
                                        at the time.