The Fabulous French Four

Noumea based Aeronavale DC-4 9148 was a frequent visitor to Brisbane from the late sixties. Whenever Noumea was threatened by a cyclone it was customary to ferry aircraft to Australia for safe keeping. The DC-4 was often accompanied by other aircraft such as Neptunes, DC-3s and Noratlases. As a further safeguard, it was usual practice to keep the crews separate from the aircraft and for this purpose crews would normally withdraw to the Gold Coast! Sadly, the aeroplane came to a tragic end at Noumea on 22 January 1982 when it crashed into a mountain with the loss of all on board. The aircraft had been flying circuits off Noumea's Runway 11 but inexplicably continued to fly right hand circuits after the runway had been changed to 29. The accompanying photo of Runway 11 demonstrates the close proximity of high ground to the left of the runway. Another photograph shows the (circled) wreckage on the mountainside.

All photographs by Ron Cuskelly