THE first fare-paying passenger to make the return flight from Amsterdam to Batavia was carried on KLM Fokker F. VIIa H-NADP, powered by a 400 h.p. Gnome Rhone Jupiter radial engine, in June and July 1927, and this photograph was probably taken during that trip. The F.VIIa could carry two pilots and eight passengers. Later, H-NADP was rebuilt and re-registered as H-NADR, PH-OTO and PH-ALY. It then passed to Aalborg Luftfahrt as OY-DEV, and finally served as FE 2 with the Finnish Red Cross.
NETHERLANDS-registered Fokker F.VIIa-3m H-NAEA, powered by three Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial engines, was named Postduif (Carrier Pigeon). This photograph was taken in October 1927, while it was making the first official mail flight from Amsterdam to Batavia (now Djakarta) and back, flown by Lt G. Koppen of the Netherlands Army and G. Fryns of KLM. Postduif later served with the Dutch Army as an F.VIIa-3m/M, serialled 803.
DE Havilland Cirrus I Moth G-EBMO, piloted by Hubert Broad, won the 1926 King’s Cup Race. It was subsequently fitted with the first production Cirrus II engine of 85 h.p. and, on 16 November, left Croydon for India, flown by T. Neville Stack and accompanied by B. S. Leete in G-EBKU, the second prototype Moth. After reaching India in December the two Moths - the first to be seen in the subcontinent - went on a joyriding tour. G-EBMO was sold in India in June 1927, and ’KG crashed at Calcutta the following month. Stack (left) and Leete are seen here with ’MO in front of a rather distinctively marked hangar.
AVRO 594 Avian G-EBTU was taken from the Avian II production line to be modified as a Mk.III with overload fuel tanks and an 85 h.p. ADC Cirrus II engine. Named Red Rose, after Lancashire’s county emblem, it was used for a flight to Australia by Capt W. H. Lancaster, in company with Mrs Keith Miller. The pair left Croydon on 14 October 1927 and, after various mechanical problems, reached Darwin on 19 March 1928. This study of Capt Lancaster and Mrs Miller with their aeroplane at Karachi was taken some time before 10 January 1928, the date that they reached Muntok in the Dutch East Indies. The machine became VH-UTU in Australia, and survived until 1936.
ON 6 April 1924 four specially designed Douglas World Cruisers, developed from the company’s DT-2 torpedo carrier and powered by 420 h.p. Liberty engines, set off from Lake Washington, Seattle, in the USA on the first round-the-world flight. One aircraft, No. 1 Seattle, crashed in Alaska, but the other three carried on, changing from float to wheel undercarriage at Calcutta for the long overland part of the journey. They are seen here at Karachi, with No.2 Chicago nearest, and No.3 Boston and No.4 New Orleans behind. Chicago and New Orleans completed the epic flight on September 28, accompanied by Boston II, which was the prototype DWC sent to replace the original Boston, which had been lost in a forced landing between the Orkneys and the Faroes.
A pair of ex-military Airco D.H.9s, H9370 and F1223, were acquired by the Belgian company SHETA and fitted with cabin tops and sliding windows from the concern’s defunct D.H.4As. As D.H.9Cs they served with SHETA as O-BATA and O-BELG respectively until they were acquired by Fig Offs Nevill Vintcent and J. S. Newall in 1927 and modified by de Havilland at Stag Lane. Modifications included the fitting of nose radiators and large centre-section fuel tanks of the type fitted to the D.H.50, and a rubber-in-compression undercarriage with Dunlop car tyres. Registered G-EBUM and G-EBUN, the D.H.9Cs left Stag Lane on 9 January 1928 and arrived at Karachi on April 26, where ’UN is seen in this study. Vintcent and Newall then toured the sub-continent, carrying 5,000 passengers. In January 1929 ’UM and ’UN became VT-AAK and VT-AAI respectively on the Indian civil register.
VICKERS Vulture II amphibian G-EBHO started life with a Rolls-Royce Eagle IX engine, but was converted to a Vulture I, powered by a Napier Lion, for an attempted round-the-world flight. Piloted by Fig Off W. N. Plenderleith, and with Sqn Ldr A. S. C. MacLaren as navigator and Sgt R. Andrews as flight engineer, it left Calshot on 25 March 1924. After two engine changes the aircraft reached Akyab in Burma, but then crashed on take-off after being left uncovered in monsoon conditions for two days. The flight was then continued using the reserve Vulture I G-EBGO, but this crashed in the Bering Sea near Nikolski off the Siberian coast in thick fog on 2 August, and the attempt was abandoned.