RELIEF BY PLANE
FOR ARCHBOLD EXPEDITION 900 MILES NON-STOP FLIGHT.
To bring relief to the Archbold Scientific Expedition, which was cut off in the Papuan wilds with a diminishing food supply and the gaso- line for the wireless transmitter ex- hausted when its amphibian was wrecked at Port Moresby, a New Guinea Airways' Ford plane made a 900-mile non-stop round flight in eight hours and dropped food and gasoline by parachute, which landed safely. The flight is regarded as one of the most successful in New Guinea aviation history and great credit is due to the pilot, A. A Koch. The country traversed contained mountains 8,000 to 14,000ft high, where weather changes were frequent and flying conditions can become very difficult and- very often impossible.
The story of this flight was related by Mr. C. R. Gurney, who has relin- quished his position as chief pilot of Guinea Airways and is going to Britain to attend an aviation school. He passed through Cairns on the Montoro on Saturday. Mr. Gurney has been 6 1/2 years with the company and flown 3800 hours for it.
Mr. Gurney said that the Archbóld Expedition was camped at Blucher Mountains, near the headwaters of the Strickland River, a tributary of the Fly River. A plane was the only means of getting to them in a reason- able time, as the expedition would have been in rather a bad way with- out immediate supplies. The Ford machine was fitted with extra tankage to give it a range of 1000. miles. A smaller plane was sent from Lae to Port Moresby to get the pilot of the amphibian and then the Ford set out from Lae with him as a guide. The journey was 450 miles .each way. With the gasoline dropped the land party was able to get its transmitter func- tioning and it advised that all the.sup- plies dropped were found.
RETURNING TO U.SJL
Mr. Gurney said that he understood that the land partv was coming down the Strickland and the schooner Maira was leaving Port Moresby next Thursday and going up the Fly River to meet the men. The expedition, Mr. Gurney believed, is going back to the United States and returning to Papua with a twin-engined Sikorsky flying boat. Repairs to the Fairchild amphi- bian, which overturned in a gust of wind and was immersed 48 hours in salt water, would be very costly. The immersion would affect the metal plane. Repairs could be done by Guinea Airways, whose fleet are mostly metal machines..
AIRWAYS' NEW LOCKHEED:
The first of the two Lockheeds for
Guinea Airways is expected in New Guinea early in August and will be flown up from Sydney by Mr. E. H. Chater, assistant general manager, who was once chief 'pilot in West Australian Airways and for many years chief instructor of the Victorian
Aero Club. The machine, a Lockheed Electra, has a cruising speed of 200 miles an hour. The company's fleet at present consists of four three engined Junkers, two three-engined Fords, three single-engined Junkers, two Stinson Reliants, a Fox Moth, a
Gypsy Moth anda DH61.
As an indication of the use of avia- tion in New Guinea, Mr. Gurney re- lated that every morning at 8 o'clock a small plane left Wau and called at eight aerodromes, quite locally, and dropped meat, bread, other supplies
Questioned on the reports of re- trenchment by the company, Mr. Gurney said that what had happened could not be called a retrenchment. The carrying reached a peak last year and there had now been a little easing off in the staff.