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Missing A34-47 Dragon


           Prior to its 14 Apr 43 assignment, A34-47 saw 51 days service with 34 SQN at Parafield SA, being used as a light transport aircraft to convey personnel and/or freight throughout Central Australia. Destinations included Oodnadatta, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Daly Waters, Batchelor and Katherine.
Initial Assignment - Parafield (SA) to Essendon (VIC) & return
           The Court of Enquiry (COE) into the disappearance of A34-47 states that A34-47 departed Parafield for Essendon on 14 Apr 43, for the purpose of conveying freight from Essendon to Parafield on the return trip.
          The COE also states that shortly after arrival of A34-47 at Essendon airport (same date), a discussion between the Air Transport Control Officer at Essendon and the Commanding Officer (CO) of 34 SQN resulted in A34-47 being assigned to convey some 'special freight' from Essendon to Mascot NSW, (radio equipment). A34-47 had therefore attended Essendon on a simple routine assignment prior to being re-assigned the Essendon to Mascot 'special freight' tasking.

          Notwithstanding the above, whilst the COE states that A34-47 arrived at Essendon for purpose of collecting freight for its return journey to Parafield, a 14 Apr 43 log entry in 34 SQN Operations Record Book appears to contradict this claim. The log states: "A34-47 to Essendon on loan for Melbourne to Sydney transport".
          The above indicates that A34-47 may have been sent specifically to Essendon for the Essendon/Mascot assignment; (otherwise, if the COE account is to be accepted as being correct, then the 34 SQN log should should have one entry showing the initial assignment to Essendon and return, and a second entry to account for the re-assignment - but doesn't!).
          Although certainly not conclusive, the above is interesting to consider, as it infers A34-47 flew to Essendon for the sole purpose of receiving orders for the Melbourne to Sydney assignment, and not to collect cargo for return to Parafield, (as provided in the COE). Please note that further info will be raised later in this page to assist a possible reason as to why two separate assignments were reported by the COE.
Consignment detail
          The Essendon/Mascot assignment required A34-47 to fly four return journeys in order to deliver the total consignment of 2,250 lbs of radio equipment to Mascot. Accordingly, when A34-47 departed Essendon on 15 Apr, it carried 617lbs (274kg) of 'special freight'.

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