(VH-UPT) as G-ABCF
Avro 616 Avian
This was the Avian which was specially
modified with long range fuel tanks for Charles Kingsford
Smith to participate in a race for light aircraft between England and
Australia. Smith named the
machine 'Southern Cross Junior'
and departed Heston on 9 October 1930. He made 10 inter-
mediate stops and arrived in
Darwin on 19 October,
thus easily beating Bert Hinkler's record.
Upon reaching Australia a
controlling interest in the
aircraft was acquired by Mr., Albert E. James
who planned a
flight from Australia to Japan with it in
1931. The pilot was to be a Mr. Guy Menzies.
The registration VH-UPT
was then allocated to the aircraft. However, in the event it
Menzies pre-empted James'
careful planning for this flight and
(without James' knowledge or consent)
undertook the first solo flight
across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand
with it before the Australian
rego could be officially taken up, and whilst the aircraft was still
registered G-ABCF. The above
is from the
archives of the Civil Aviation Historical Society in Melbourne and
at Sydney prior to that trans-Tasman flight. Menzies'
to bad weather
he had to make an emergency forced landing in what
he assessed to be a
paddock Unfortunately the paddock
turned out to be La Fontaine Swamp, a marsh land near Hari
Hari in the
Westland district, and the aircraft
overturned. Menzies was
not seriously injured although
the aircraft was substantially
and was officially written off some three months after the accident,
January 1931. As an aside, and sadly, Guy Menzies was killed when the
Flying Boat he was commanding was
shot down over the Mediterranean in 1940.