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4 October 1911 Test flight

 4 October 1911          Test flight

At the Cheltenham racecourse on 4 October 1911 Lieutenant Watkins took his Vickers monoplane for test flight around the course. Reaching a height of 400 feet he completed five circuits, but on landing the end of the left wing struck a post and broke a stay. The following day on a further test flight the plane was caught in a gust of wind and as one wing touched the ground the plane overturned and although the pilot stopped the engine the plane was wrecked. The accident was an unfortunate blow to Watkins and Douglas Mawson as it was intended to take the plane to the Antarctic for exploration work there. The plane of nickel steel weighing 1200 pounds was 34 feet long and 45 feet from wing tip to wing tip. It was capable of covering 300 miles in five hours and was fitted out to travel on ice in the form of a sledge. Mawson’s party left Adelaide for the Antarctic trip in November 1911 without the plane.

125 Years of the Advertiser, Advertiser Newspaper, 1983, pp.87-8.

Tags: test flight, Vickers monoplane