Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sandringham wingtip repair 1975_329

Crashed your flying boat on a Pacific Island? Need to get back to base and repair it? Well that happened a few times, once that I personally remember to Ansett Airlines' Short Sandringham VH-BRC "Beachcomber". It was damaged by a storm that tore it from its moorings whilst overnighting at Lord Howe Island on June 9, 1974.

"Beachcomber" ironically ended on the beach with a damaged starboard wing, the float torn off and wingtip and leading edge crumpled. Temporary repairs were made on site and the 'boat was ferried back to Sydney for permanent repairs at Rose Bay on or about July 3, 1974.

The damaged wingtip was removed, as you can see in this and subsequent pics. Beachcomber was repaired and test flown from Rose Bay on August 29, 1974 and operated the final flying boat passenger service to Lord Howe on September 10 that year. A permanent short field runway had been built by then and land-based wheeled aircraft (how unromantic!) took over the service.

Special thanks to my friend the late James Davidson and his father, a flight engineer on the 2 Ansett 'boats in the 1970s for access to the Ansett base - and to 'BRC and sister ship 'BRF ('Islander') way back when.

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