VH-UEL      Fairchild  24W-41A Argus II                                 (c/n  839)


                                This RAF Argus II was serialed HB602 during WW II and civlianized in 1947 as G-AKFN. 
                                It was purchased in 1959 by a syndicate of Darwin pilots and departed the U.K. in June of
                                that year under the care of a female ferry pilot.  It did not get off to a good start, damaging the
                                undercarriage during a landing at Toussus-le-Noble (Paris), and was further delayed due to
                                unapproved repairs to the auxiliary fuel tanks.   It got as far as Beirut where it went u/s and
                                was impounded by the airport authorities. The owners were therefore forced to have it dis-
                                mantled and shipped to Darwin.   It was registered VH-UEL on 24 November 1960.  .The
                                photo above (from the Geoff Goodall collection) was taken by  Bob Wiseman at Adelaide in
                                March 1962 during a trip south from its Darwin base.   It sustained a forced landing in a swamp
                                near Howard Springs, 15 miles south of Darwin on 19 May 1962     The engine failed and the
                                pilot headed to the only area clear of  bushfires below.  The aircraft overturned in the wet boggy
                                ground and was written off.   The pilot and two passengers fortunately received only minor
                                injuries.   Geoff's second image ot it (below) illustrates the extent of the damage.