VH-UPB  Saunders Roe A.21 Windhover            (c/n  A21/1)


                                              This very nice photo comes from the Wally Civitico collection who obtained it from the archives of
                                              Exxon Mobil.  It depicts the tri-motored amphibian (3 X 105 hp Gipsy III) over Melbourne en route
                                              to Tasmania while being operated by Matthews Aviation Pty Ltd on their airmail service from Essen-
                                              don to Launceston via King Island.  Vaccum-Mobil Oil products were obviously used.   In February
                                              1932 registration of the craft went to T.P. & R.E. Manifold of Camperdown, Victoria, and was then
                                              restored to Matthews in December of that year.  The interesting shot immediately below comes from
                                              Keith Webb who discovered it in an old album he was perusing, searching for additions to his own
                                              site on historic airfield vehicles.   For more on this fascinating subject go to:
                                              The Windhover had first been destined for Union Airways of New Zealand and given the registration
                                              ZK-ABW .  In the event Union Airways decided it didn't meet their  requirements and sold it before
                                              delivery, so it went (or was diverted) to Australia instead.  The caption on Keith's print indicates that
                                              it came ashore at Skenes Creek, Victoria (just east of Apollo Bay) sometime in 1936, due to a land-
                                              ing in rough sea, whereupon some slight damage had been sustained.        The caption doesn't state
                                              whether the landing was forced or not.     Now, interestingly, this machine was involved in another
                                              marine accident shortly after that (on 14 May 1936) when it again landed in the sea and then drifted
                                              onto rocks near Currie on King Island.    This mishap resulted in it being struck off the register in
                                              January of 1937.    Despite its three engines the Windhover was not that robust of a beast and maybe
                                              they shouldn't have been trying to land it in the rather stormy (at most times) waters of Bass Strait?
                                              Seen below is are two more shots of this rare aircraft. This upper one comes from the Civil Aviation
                                              Historical Society's Charles Ohlson collection, while at the foot of the page is a photo from the State
                                              Library of Victoria collection showing it on the rocks on King Island in May 1936.