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  Klemm Kl.31 a XIV "St. Paulus" Registration VH-UZM  

Click For Enlargement
via Noble prewar

Click For Enlargement
via Ed Coates prewar

Aircraft History
Built by Klemm Leichtflugzeugbau GmbH (Klemm Light Aircraft Company) as a model Kl.31 a XIV powered by a Bramo Sh 14a radial engine. Constructor Number 653. Registered in Germany as D-IRUT. This aircraft was disassembled and shipped to South Africa arriving in July 1935 and registered as ZS-AFJ. Afterwards returned to Germany and re-registered as D-IRUT.

Sold to Missions-Verkehrs-Arbeitsgemeinschaft (MIVA) / Missions Transport Association for use in New Guinea. This aircraft was nicknamed "St. Paulus" painted in black block letters below the cockpit canopy on the left side of the fuselage.

During 1937, shipped to New Guinea and reassembled. Registered in Australia as VH-UZM. This aircraft had a natural metal finish with VH-UZM painted in large black block letters on both sides of the fuselage. On the left side of the nose below the cockpit was "St. Paulus" with a black line underneath. The tail rudder was painted dark red with a white cross pattée. On the left wing root was a black strip.

This Klemm Ki.31 operated from Alexishafen Airfield (Danip Airfield) piloted by mission pilots German Willy Schafhausen and Austrian T. S. 'Stan' Johnson flying from the mission to remote outposts to communicate messages, transport supplies or up to three passengers.

During January 1939, crashed or ditched into the sea off Madang and was damaged. Afterwards, salvaged and likely repaired.

During 1940 was assigned to Father Glover at the Catholic Mission at Wau operating from Wau Airfield. The ultimate fate of this aircraft is unknown but disappeared prior to the Pacific War. Possibly, this aircraft was destroyed during the Japanese air raids on January 21, 1942 against targets in New Guinea.

References
Ed Coates Collection - VH-UZM Klemm Kl.31 a XIV (c/n 653)
Journal of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia "Aviation Operations in New Guinea" by Eric Noble November/December 1973 page 85 (photo center)
Thanks to Robert Piper for additional information

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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Kl.31

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