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Friday, 4 November 1938


Mr Forde e asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Has his attention been drawn to a paragraph in the Canberra Times of Wednesday, the26th October, 1938, in which it is stated that air interests in Sydney condemn the Civil Aviation Department for its failure to put into operation the ultra short-wave beacon system at the MascotAerodrome

2.   Why has this work not been completed?

3.   Has his attention been drawn to a statement by an official of Australian National Airways that had the radio beacon been in operation at Essendon Aerodrome the tragedy on Tuesday,the 25th October, would not have occurred, because, in the opinion of the company, with a radio beacon operating it would not have been possible forthe pilot to have over-shot the Essendon Aerodrome without knowing it?

4.   What comment docs he intend to make on this statement?

5.   Is it a fact that the radio beacon at Essendon was erected about a year ago, but was not put into operation?


Mr Thorby - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   Yes.

2.   This aspect has been covered in my reply to the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan) on the 19th October.(Hansard, pages 94] and 942.) 3.Yes.

4.   As this accident is at present being publicly inquired into by the Air Accidents Investigation Committee, I do not propose to make any comment at this stage.

5.   The question of the date on which the Essendon beacon was completed was covered in my reply to the honorable member for Cook on the 19th October.


Mr Sheehan (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) n asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Will he amplify the two reasons given on the 19th October, why the chain of ultra short-wave range beacons for aircraft have not been tested?

2.   Is it a fact that the ex-Minister for Defence, Sir Arehdale Parkhill, promised that these beacons would be in operation by the winter of 1937?

3.   Can the Minister guarantee that the beacons will be in operation by the winter of 1939?

4.   In view of the disaster to an air-liner on the 25th October, is it now affirmed that the existing medium direction-finding facilities are a valuable aid to pilots?


Mr Thorby - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   In view of the public inquiry at present being made by the Air Accidents Investigation Committee, I do not propose to make any further statement at this stage.

2.   The then Minister for Defence, Sir Archdale Parkhill, did anticipate that certain of the radio beacons would be in operation by the winter of 1937, but, unfortunately, this proved to be impossible of accomplishment.

3.   I can sec no reason why the beacons should not be placed in operation progressively commencing with the first on the 1st December, subject to the condition that the beacons prove safe and satisfactory after tests which are about to commence.

4.   Yes. The existing facilities are a valuable aid to pilots, and this is proved by the work performed by the Essendon station over the last four years.


Mr Forde e asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   At what aerodromes throughout Australia have radio beacons been established, and what was the cost at each aerodrome?

2.   How many aerodromes are without radio beacons, and what action is his department taking to have radio beacons established at all aerodromes ?


Mr Thorby - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The location and costs of radio beacons are as follows: -

 

2.   The Government's policy is that radio beacons will be the normal radio aid to navigation usedon the BrisbaneSydneyMelbourneAdelaide and Melbourne-Hobart air routes. To meet this requirement ten beacons are being supplied at the localities indicated in No. J above. On other routes throughout the Commonwealth, direction-finding stations using Bellini Tosi medium frequency directionfinding receivers have been installed as temporary aids. This equipment is available as follows : -

Perth-Darwin route - Four stations.

Perth-Adelaide route - Three stations.

Adelaide-Darwin route - Three stations.

Brisbane-Rabaul route - Seven stations.

Flying boat route, Darwin-Sydney - Seven stations.

Landplane route, Darwin-Brisbane - Four stations.







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