VH-AEC Inlander

Type: L-10A Electra
MSN: 1034
Previous Identities: NC14947
Subsequent Identities: Nil


19AUG35 Delivered to Mesta Machine Co., Pittsburgh, Penn. as NC14947.
39 To Lt Col George R. Hutchinson, Pittsburgh, Penn. The aircraft was named Amicitia (Latin for Friendship) and it was intended that the Hutchinson family, who had a CBS Radio children's adventure programme The Flying Hutchinsons, would use the aircraft to visit 68 nations as goodwill ambassadors of CBS Radio's School of the Air while carrying a scroll with a message of peace. Ironically, the flight progressed only as far as Mexico when it was curtailled by the outbreak of WWII. The following crew names were painted behind the cockpit:
Lt Col Geo R Hutchinson
Capt. Lee H. Dice
Edward Hamel

It is worth noting that George Hutchinson once owned another Lockheed aeroplane that was exported to Australia. This was the Sirius which was later rebuilt as Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's Altair VH-USB Lady Southern Cross.
  To G. M. Archer, New York.
  To Lorenz Iverson, New York.
  To Brayer Brothers Construction Co., Buffalo, New York.
  To Arthur Kudner, New York.
MAY41 Sold to Qantas for US$41,250 and shipped to Sydney where it arrived in June. It was subsequently trucked to Mascot where it was re-assembled by Qantas. The aircraft carried the name Que Sera Sera. The Electra was acquired to operate the weekly Brisbane-Darwin landplane service. It was the first non-British aircraft operated by Qantas.
30JUN41 Test flown at Mascot, NSW. The aircraft was marked as VH-AEC and named Inlander.
03JUL41 The aircraft departed Archerfield, Brisbane at 11.00am on its first service to Darwin under the command of Capt S.K. Howard with C.H.C. Swaffield as co-pilot. See this letter from Hudson Fysh regarding this flown cover which was carried on the flight.

The Argus (Melbourne) of this date reported that; "Influx of troops into Darwin is largely responsible for inauguration by Qantas Empire Airways, under agreement with the Civil Aviation Department, of a new Brisbane-Darwin air service, which will commence today."

The Telegraph (Brisbane) of this date reported that; "No ceremony marked the departure but company directors and officials entertained guests. ... Three men who were present at the opening of the Charleville-Cloncurry air service by Qantas on November 2, 1922 were also present at Archerfield to-day. They were Sir Fergus McMaster, chairman of directors of Qantas Empire Airways, Mr Hudson Fysh, managing director of Q.E.A. and Mr A.N. Templeton, director of Qantas." Sir Fergus McMaster stated: "It is the first non-British aircraft in the Qantas fleet." Mr Hudson Fysh stated; "It provides a quick link between Darwin and the Eastern States and is, therefore, in line with the company's wartime policy of making the maximum war effort before any other consideration."

The Longreach Leader of 5 July reported that the aircraft was due in Longreach at 3.40pm on 3 July but did not arrive until 4.20pm because of heavy headwinds. Among the passengers was Captain L.J. Brain. After refuelling quickly the aircraft departed for Cloncurry where it overnighted.
04JUL41 Registered VH-AEC to Qantas Empire Airways Ltd.
05JUL41 Departed Darwin for Archerfield on the return leg of its inaugural flight under the command of Capt S.K. Howard with C.H.C. Swaffield as co-pilot.
42 The Electra was painted in camouflage and operated a regular Brisbane-Darwin service under charter to the U.S. Army. Recurrent engine problems resulted in many forced landings.
11DEC42 Arrived in Port Moresby to join the "Special Transport Flight" carrying troops and supplies in the Buna campaign. The Electra made 31 trips to forward areas carrying 209 troops and 13.5 tons of supplies. It also evacuated wounded to hospital in Townsville.
11JAN43 The "Special Transport Flight" was disbanded and the Electra returned to mainland services.
43 The aircraft was used at times by ADAT on the Townsville-Horn Island shuttle.
SEP43 A Qantas report indicates that VH-AEC had flown 70 return trips Brisbane-Darwin in the preceeding year carrying 1,065 passengers and 17 tons of freight.
46 Post-war, the Electra was used for a time on the Brisbane-Darwin and Brisbane-Quilpie routes, but retired in 1946 to operate general charter flights and Sunday joyrides from Archerfield.
11FEB48 Crashed at Condamine, Qld. The aircraft was en route Brisbane-Roma with nine passengers when the starboard engine failed in bad weather. Unable to maintain height on one engine, the aircraft struck a tree in the ensuing forced landing and slid backwards through the scrub. The Electra was written off but there were only minor injuries to one passenger and one crew member. (Capt D.A. Tennent & F/O R. Crabbe).

Issue Date Remarks
7 16NOV21
Added four images of the aircraft taken on the day of its first test flight at Mascot. Source: State Library of NSW.
Image1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4
Also added an image of the aircraft after the crash on 11FEB48.
6 04NOV21
Added a flown cover which was carried on the inaugural Qantas service. Also added an image of the inaugural flight. Thanks to Phil Vabre. Also added press reports of the inaugural service.
5 01DEC17
Added two images of the aircraft marked as Amicitia. Thanks to Bill Diebold. Image1 Image 2
4 26JAN17
Added a letter from Hudson Fysh regarding the inaugural Qantas service. Thanks to Phil Vabre.
3 03APR16
Refreshed page layout with no change to data.
2 11JUL10
Added three images from the Qantas Heritage Collection thanks to Paul Sheehan.
1 09FEB00
Original issue

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