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Daw, E. D.
Australia's First All-steel Monoplane
Fourth National Conference on Engineering Heritage 1988: Preprints of Papers
Institution of Engineers, Australia, Barton, Australian Capital Territory, 1988, pp. 30-33

This paper discusses the design, construction, and testing of the first monoplane to be built in Australia of welded steel tubing. Design and construction was commenced in 1927 by L. J. R. Jones, who was an outstanding figure in the field of aeronautical engineering in Australia in its formative years. The monoplane, generally known by the name Wonga, was completed and successfully flight-tested in 1930. Plans to make international flights and to put it into commercial production were aborted successively by construction delays and storm damage. In 1931 and 1932 it was reconstructed and re-engined with an Australian designed and built engine, the Harkness Hornet. Although it showed every indication of being a remarkably successful and innovative design, the project was ended when the Wonga crashed in conditions of severe wind and turbulence in June 1932. The subsequent investigation into the loss of the aircraft was significant in its own right, involving the first investigations ever conducted in the southern hemisphere using models and a wind tunnel. Some of those who were involved in the project went on to another which was perhaps of even greater significance. Jones remained active as an aeronautical designer and engineer for some time, and was involved soon afterwards in other innovative work. He was generally ahead of his contemporaries in carrying his work into effect. Neither historians nor engineers have given him adequate recognition.

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  • Fourth National Conference on Engineering Heritage 1988: Preprints of Papers (Barton, Australian Capital Territory: Institution of Engineers, Australia, 1988), 133 pp. Details