A9-190's STORY: THE END OF A BEAUFORTRelated by Flt. Off. John Caddy, of 100 Sqn Pilot of A9-190 at the time of the accident
When we reached the range the Kokoda Trail, which was our intended route, it was covered in cloud so I flew over the range at about 13000 feet. While still climbing up oil pressure on the Port motor fell to zero but all the other instruments showed normal so I continued on and throttled back a bit after we crested the range. On arrival in Port Moresby I got the ground staff to check the motor and they finally advised me that the oil pump was OK again. On a test run-up it reached 87lbs. normal was 90lbs so I decided to continue but instead of heading for Cairns I decided to head for Higgins at the top of Cape York. About a half of an hour out of Port Moresby the oil pressure fell to zero again but no other signs of trouble so I presumed the gauge was unserviceable I continued. Roughly half way across the boost and revs began to surge and a few minutes later the engine began to vibrate and was shaking the aircraft. I presumed it was about to seize and feathered the prop.
I soon found that we couldn’t maintain height using as much power on the starboard engine as I could hold. Recommended single engine speed was 130 knots but I flew at 115 knots to reduce height loss as much as possible. We then threw out everything moveable from the aircraft with the exception of the Radio and parachute because I had sit on it. We received radio bearings from Higgins and crossed the coast at about 1000 feet. When I saw the strip I was at 300 feet so went straight in - unluckily down-wind and the strip was slightly downhill. I had used all my compressed air trying to jettison fuel,so I had no brakes and no time to manually pump down the flaps.
Floated halfway down the strip and did possibly the best landing of my career and we were still doing 95 knots off the other end – went through one small ditchbut the second one stopped us dead.The only injuries were my Navigator hit his head and had a slight concussion, one passenger lying between the main spars, had been struck by a battery and it was discovered next day that I had whip-lash. All in all we were very “bl----” lucky. Had a week at Higgins then flew to Townsville in a Dakota and back to Aitape, PNG.