There was one in the roof of a timber supplier in Suva by the name of Marlow. This was in the mid 1960s. He apparently had got it from NZ and used it to fly around the Islands. I tried to purchase it from him but he wasn't interested. He still had the paddle on the wall of his home. I understand from his nephew that Dornier heard about it later and got it off him. In return the family were given a beautiful model of the aircraft. Last I saw of the model was in the home of Herb Marlow when he was the rep for Air NZ in Lautoka.
The History of NZ Aviation says that only one of the three seat Dornier DO12 Libelle flying boats was assembled and flown from Mechanics Bay In Oct 1929 as ZK-ABI. It was the first all metal aircraft flown in NZ. Its servce life was short ; it went into a spin and crashed into the sea off Milford Beach on 12 Dec.1929 killing the pilot,Capt.Don Harkness and and the company engineer ,C.F.Goldsboro. The remaining Libelle was shipped to Fiji and became VQ-FAB, later-after many years storage being reclaimed by Dornier and restored to full display condition in Germany.
Post by Peter Lewis on Jan 10, 2009 20:45:54 GMT 12
Libelle c/n 101 ex D-1065 was assembled at Mechanics Bay and registered as ZK-ABI on 15November1929. It was fitted with a ADC Cirrus III engine and was the first all-metal aircraft to be flown in New Zealand. Test flights were undertaken by ex-WW1 aviator Don Harkness, who was then employed as a Auckland University lecturer, starting on 17November29. There were apparently some trim problems with the airframe, and prior to a test flight on the 12th December a large rock was placed in the airframe as ballast. The aircraft took off from Mechanics Bay and flew at low level across the Waitemata harbour to the north shore. Near Milford Beach the aircraft was seen to enter a steep spin and crash into the water. Harkness and passenger company engineer Goldsboro were killed and the aircraft destroyed. Speculation was that turbulence had caused the rock to shift, and this had made the aircraft uncontrollable.
ZK-ABI at Mechanics Bay in late 1929 - 'AERIAL SERVICES" was painted under the cockpit, 'DORNIER LIBELLE" near the tail:
This was the end of Aerial Services Ltd. The second Libelle c/n 117 spent time in storage (it was never flown in New Zealand) and then went to Fiji (together with some recovered parts from ZK-ABI) where it was assembled and registered as VQ-FAB on 15September1930 by Mr Alf Marlow who was in business as Fiji Builders Ltd. Mr Marlow used the aircraft to fly around from Nausori around to his various building contracts in the Fijian Islands until the aircraft was damaged in a tropical storm in March 1931 (an active life of only a few months!). Not repaired after this incident, the aircraft spent years in storage - I have a note that it was at a local Technical College at one stage - until the Dornier Company bought it back in 1970 for the German Tecnological Museum at Munich.
. . . and a quote from a message board:
" The chap's name I remember was Alf Marlow who owned once and operated one of the Dornier Libelle flying boats that came to New Zealand in the 30s. The rare aircraft was snapped up for a very big price in the early 70s when they found out that Marlow had it stored in Suva. Marlow was in the building business and used the Libelle to carry timber out to the islands. He used a lot of Fijian native labour on many of the outer islands and picked up stories about aviation from them as he was naturally interested in them.
Marlow was like most of us in the aviation game had an intrigue about aeroplanes and there owners and pilots. He died in the late 70s. "
Post by contourcreative on Jan 11, 2009 6:50:36 GMT 12
Peter, Glycol thanks for this so much. We'll be designing a paper model of this little Dornier very shortly and probably do a postcard at some stage as well. Here's the Fiji Dornier's final resting (or is that 'hanging'?) place.....
Makes hanging out in bars a legitimate aviation research activity.
...thought it might be one of those photos where you miss the obvious [1st photo,left hand background.. :-)]
It seems it didn't fly much if at all in Fiji...only reason I say this is that when I was living there in the mid '70s the subject came up amongst a lot of old timers there and seem to recall that it may not have even been assembled.
Post by youngmarlow on May 6, 2011 11:26:11 GMT 12
Please tell me where this photo was taken. Alf Marlow was my great grandfather and the Dornier is a key part of my family history. I'm a little horrified that this piece of history ended up strung up in a bar where (quite clearly from the photo and what's going on in the background) people don't realise its value to history and in particular, my family.
Post by youngmarlow on May 6, 2011 12:56:29 GMT 12
Shorty - My grandfather was Eric Henry Marlow (Alf's son) and he would have been around his late 40's in 1967. I don't have the full details of the family tree as we are all spread over the world now and I'm still piecing them together, but if he was a Marlow from Fiji he's definately related. As far as I'm aware, there were 2 other sons of Alf, Ralph and Keith. Herb Marlow (mentioned in these posts) is my second cousin.
Post by youngmarlow on May 11, 2011 12:32:34 GMT 12
Radialicious - I don't mean to be a pest but my father is keen to have the prop from the Libelle returned back to the family. We had no idea where it ended up and he made enquiries a few years back but didn't get anywhere. Please tell me, if you can, where these photos were taken so that I can try and get the ball rolling. Much appreciated.
I reckon that prop would be in the Bounty bar in Nadi. Brian Smith used to have the restaurant just down the road from Nadi airport heading into town. I would say the pics are from that location. I believe the bar has changed owners as well as location in recent years. The new restaurant is now at the end of the main street in Nadi town.
I am sure many of the guys that worked at the airport would have sampled Brian and Veronika's hospitality and would know about the prop if it was indeed there. Brian was aviation friendly but I can't remember seeing that prop before. (Reading about Dorniers and Junkers engines here).