Mystery Of Vapor Float Collapse In Amana Crash
PERTH, Feb. 20.
Australian National Airways could offer no explanation as to what caused the crash of their flagship Amana near York on June 26, with the loss of 29 lives, Mr. G. A. Pape (counsel for the company) told the Air Court of Enquiry today.
One clue to the fatality, he said, might lie with the collapsed vapor vent floats in each of the carburetters. 'We don't know what hap jened,' said Mr. Pape, 'but we do know, or believe, that they were not collapsed as a result of the impact. 'Where did the very great surge of pressure come from to crash these? We don't know. 'We have been trying to find out, and they have been trying to find out in the US. 'This terrific pressure might have caused engine failure.' ' Today was the 12th and final day of the enquiry. It was adjourned sine die by Mr. Justice Simpson, who, with the assistance of two assessors. Capt. J. W. Bennett and Mr. D. B. Hudson, has been presid ing. 11 Findings Mr. Pape, in his address to the court, said there were 11 formal findings which Mr. Jus tice Simpson would be justified in making, and they included the facts that relevant licences were in force for both the plane and the crew; that the members of the crew were in a satisfac tory physical condition: that there was a proper loading of the plane; that the flight was undertaken under the regular
flight plan; that there was an uneventful trip from Sydney to Perth; and that the plane was fit to make the return flight to Sydney when it took off from Guildford. Four further facts were also evident, and they were that the plane was on track; that, according to a statement from the one survivor, it was all very sudden; that there were three engines on power with No. 4 feathered; and that when the crash occurred the plane was in a northerly direction. The evidence of the sur vivor, Mr. Forwood, was very important, for it showed that there was a sudden falling of the nose of the plane. Mr. Pape submitted that if there had been anything wrong the pilot would have returned the plane to Guildford. He believed that the nose down effect of the plane came as a complete surprise to the crew, and that it was due to a sudden loss of power. Mr. Pape added that the 'water in the fuel' theory was 'completely and utterly unten able.' There was no basis for the 'fantastic theory' that the pilot would be cross-feeding at that stage of the flight, and so cause any water that might have been in one fuel tank to be distri buted to all engines. Water Question Mr. R. I. Ainslie (for the Vacuum Oil Co.) held that the court was not in a position to find that corrosion was caused by water in the fuel. 'I ask the court,' he said, 'to find that it has been proved conclusively and beyond a shadow of a doubt that no water was in the fuel supplied by the Vacuum Oil Co. to the Amana.' Mr. L. D. Seaton, KC (assist ing the court), in reply, said that he did not mean to infer that the pilot committed suicide, and consequently mass murder, by using the wrong controls in the plane, but according to the circumstances of the moment, a wrong action could have been taken— not from negligence, but merely from inadvertence.