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  Junkers  F 13 Serial Number 2044 Registration Number VH-UKW

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Ed Coates 1929

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November 6, 1929

Aircraft History
Built by Junkers. Serial Number J2044. Originally nicknamed "Tannenmeise". Registered LVB-99 in the Luftvardighetsbevis Register (Aircraft issued with Swedish CoA but without Swedish registration). During 1929, disassembled and shipped aboard the S. S. Kernak from Hamburg to Melbourne

Australia Service
On June 19, 1929 arrived at Melbourne, reassembled and test flown on June 25, 1929 by A. E. 'Pard' Mustar. Registered to Eyre Peninsula Airways Ltd. (EPA) on June 25, 1929 and registered as VH-UKW. Nicknamed "Mt. Wedge" on the left side of the cockpit in black lettering, after the Mt. Wedge station owned by John Bascomb in South Australia.

Dale Bascomb adds:
"When it was brought to Australia, and flew for EPA it was named after our family station "Mt Wedge" my great great grandfather was the director of the board for EPA. we actually have a old photo of it landing at Mt Wedge in one of the fields. From what I've been told, my great, great, grandfather John Bascomb was the owner of the Mt. Wedge junker, it was the first plane in history to fly from Adelaide to the Eyre Peninsula, SA. the plane was named after his sheep/ceral station, which is still in the family."

This F.13 was painted white with black lettering with VH-UKW on the fuselage. The nose was painted black with "Mt. Wedge" on the left side of the cockpit. The lower surface of the wings were painted black with large VH-UKW in large white letters.

On July 9, 1929 flown to Parafield Airfield. On November 6, 1929 took off from Parafield Airfield piloted by O. Kenny members of the Freemasons aboard on a charter flight to Yorketown.

Eyre Peninsula Airways ceased operations during October 1930. This aircraft was retained by director J. H. Moate then flown to Kalgoorlie on December 18, 1930. Next, owned by Goldfields Air Navigation Co. Ltd. (founded by J. H. Moate) in Kalgoorlie on January 7, 1931. Registered February 18, 1931. It was damaged at Merredin, WA, February 20, 1931 during a Perth-Kalgoorlie flight.

On October 31, 1931 purchased by Guinea Airways Ltd. for £650. This aircraft retained the registration VH-UKW and was noted as having flown 980 hours when re-registerd on November 5, 1931 but in need of an overhaul which cost £400. Flown by Captain Charles W. Snook to Sydney.

New Guinea Service
On February 29, 1932 took off from Lae Airfield on a flight to Port Moresby. On March 23, 1932 the first scheduled air service began between between Port Moresby and Bulolo Airfield with the passenger fare of £15. On March 27, 1932 assigned fleet number 6.

Operated the first Port Moresby to Kokoda Airfield service on September 28, 1932. It operated the first official Port Moresby-Lae-Wau air mail flight on September 30, 1932 piloted by F. Drayton and operated mainly Port Moresby-Lae-Wau & later to Kokoda.

During August 1932, the engine was replaced with a 425hp Bristol Jupiter VI engine replacing the original the 310hp Junkers L-5 engine. Returned to service on December 1, 1932.

On August 28, 1932 forced-landed at Kokoda Airfield. Repaired it was afterwards fitted with an additional fuel tank during December 1932. After a forced-landing, due lack of fuel on December 1, 1933, it was fitted with an extra fuel tank.

It was struck off register on November 4, 1935. A Pratt & Whitney A2 engine was installed and registration renewed on November 11, 1935.

Another accident was after a landing, on November 11, 1937 piloted by Syd W. Wiltshire at Slate Creek and was badly damaged. Repaired, it later crashed on October 15, 1938 at Salamaua Airfield when the undercarriage collapsed pilot by W. J. Robins who was unhurt.

On August 26, 1939 took off piloted by Les H. Ross. During the flight, this aircraft suffered an engine failure and crashed at Narakapor Airfield near Nadzab. After the crash, it was damaged beyond repair and written off. Another source states this aircraft was destroyed by the Japanese on January 21, 1942. Struck off register on March 11, 1942. The ultimate fate of this aircraft is unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Wings of Gold
Junkers F13 Serial Numbers
Ed Coates via Geoff Goodall Collection (photos)
Grand Lodge "Early use of air travel by Freemasons" via Wayback Machine January 3, 2011
Flightpath Vol 21 No 4 May/July 2010 "Junkers in Australasia" by James Kightly

Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 37 (lower) incorrectly identifies this aircraft as "W34 VH-UKW" [sic] an incorrect reference to Junkers F 13 VH-UKW. That wreckage is in fact Junkers W33d "The Lady Letti" VH-UIW.
Thanks to Dale Bascomb for additional information

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Last Updated
September 17, 2020


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