Australian & New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials & History

RAAF A61 Northrop Delta 1D-5

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Northrop Delta A61-1 
RAAF Photo 
Via Brendan Cowan


Northrop Delta Image Gallery

RAAF.Serial C/N Aircraft History
42 Initially registered in the USA as NC14267 to the Chicago Real Estate Loan and Trust Company of Chicago, Illinois, USA, on July 30, 1935
Used by Company president and businessman George F. Harding who used it for three years as an executive transport.
17 or 27 April 1938 it was purchased by the American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth and re-registered NR14267 for his fourth and last Antarctic expedition in 1938/39.
Ellsworth had used an earlier Northrop Gamma on previous expeditions in an ultimately successful attempt to fly across Antarctica.
The Delta was stripped of internal cabin fittings and auxiliary long-range fuel tanks were fitted.
The Ellsworth expedition left New York on 16 August 1938.
Northrop was aboard the expeditionís ship Wyatt Earp along with a float equipped Aeronca (later VH-ACK).
Calling first in Sydney and then South Africa, they left Capetown in October heading south.
In Antarctica the Northrop, fitted with skis, was craned on to the ice of a long frozen fjord.
After a short test flight, Ellsworth set out on 11 January 1939 with Canadian pilot 'Red' Lymburner on a single exploratory flight into the Antarctic interior.
The Wyatt Earp docked in Australia at the end of the expedition,
The Commonwealth Government purchased the ship and the two aircraft on board in February 1939.
Stored in a hangar at RAAF Richmond, alongside Kingsford Smith's Fokker F.VIIb Southern Cross (another former former polar explorer).
June 1939 taken out of storage and allocated to the Department of Civil Aviation to assist in the task of calibration of radio navigation aids.
Fown from Sydney/RAAF Richmond to Melbourne/Essendon for a complete overhaul by Australian National Airways.
Registered as VH-ADR on 16 August 1940 and a Certificate of Airworthiness for it was issued in September.
It was intended to be used primarily for Lorenz radio navigation aid range test work.
Registered VH-ADR 16/08/40 to 12/42 and was used by DCA for checking navigational aids.
After being placed in storage between 1941 and 1942, it was briefly leased to the USAAF and loaned to the RAAF for communications flights.
In December 1942, VH-ADR was impressed by the RAAF as A61-1 in addition to retaining its civil registration, and was issued to No 35 Sqn.
Six months later, the Delta was transferred to No 34 Sqn and later to No 37 Sqn.
On September 30 1943, the aircraft swung on take-off, apparently due to the collapse of the tail wheel strut.
The Delta was damaged beyond repair and was dismantled in 1944.
In October 1943 the remains were allotted to 2 Aircraft Depot, RAAF Richmond, for conversion to components.
Though Ansett Airways sought to use her, there were no replacement parts available to make that feasible,
damaged at RAAF Richmond for a year before the remains were transferred to 2 Central Recovery Depot and she was broken up.

  Northrop Delta NC14267 
Via Brendan Cowan  Northrop Delta NC14267 
Elsworth Antarctic Flight 
in Store 1939 RAAF Richmond 
Via Brendan Cowan  Northrop Delta VH-ADR 
Via Brendan Cowan  Northrop Delta A61-1  Northrop Delta VH-ADR 
Ed Coates Collection  Northrop Delta A61-1 
RAAF Photo 
Via Brendan Cowan

RAAF Form E/E.88 Aircraft Status Card


The Authors of this page are Darren Crick and Brendan Cowan

Source: National Archives, RAAF Status Card, RAAF Museum Website, CASA Aircraft Records, , ,

Emails: Erwin Husmann


Updated 29 June 2015


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