Altair VH-USB is guarded by a barefoot member of the Fiji Constabulary
in Albert Park, Suva, probably on the morning of 22nd October 1934.
P.G. Taylor describes the arrival the previous evening in his book
to the Grand Pacific Hotel by road faces over Albert Park, Suva's
Sports and Recreation Ground, and from the balcony on to which our
rooms open we can see Lady Southern Cross only three hundred yards
away across the close green turf of the cricket field.
... Across the park I see the Lady Southern Cross, well covered by
tarpaulins, her motor lying snug beneath a shelter that Tommy has
rigged above the cowl, her silver wing-tips shimmering in the rain.
Lights dance upon the the metal of her propeller. The blade stands
out, cold and shining in this scene of warmth and soft sounds, the
silent sentinel of the sleeping power that lies below. Already one
feels an affection for that motor, but I cannot understand why she
should have missed like that to-day. Two sets of plugs; it does not
seem feasible that two could have cut out in the same cylinder. However,
why worry? Tommy will see about it to-morrow.
On the morning
of 22nd October:
... One glance at Lady Southern Cross from the balcony was enough
to show that it would be impossible to take off until the rain had
eased up considerably. Albert Park was no longer a green cricket-field,
but a lake across which the easterly wind drove darkened gusts of
ripples that told of the condition of the weather outside: and in
the middle of the lake sat the Altair, apparently resting lightly
on the surface of the waters.
Somehow there is always something to do on these occasions. We were
ready, ourselves, to go that morning, but having been obliged to stay
we soon found plenty of occupation. Smithy proposed to spend some
time on the machine with Tommy, and also to look into the reason of
the sudden miss which had developed.
Tim Kalina Collection.