A Tiger from Down Under!
Tags: '48', 130hp, 1940, 1973, 1989, A17-48, A17-48 Group, A20, A24, A46, A58, A68, Air Show, aircraft, anti-spin strakes, Australia, Australian, Aviation, Bankstown, Boomerang, British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, British Empire, British register, California, Catalina, communications, Cowley, De Havilland, De Havilland Australia, December 1941, DH Gipsy Major 1C, DH82A, Down Under, Elementary Flying Training School, Empire Air Training Scheme, England, external control cables, February 1932, February 1945, front cockpit, fuel tank, G-BPHR, Gipsy Major engine, Great Vintage Flying Weekend, GVFWE, Hoffmann HO21 propellor, Japan, Keevil, liaison, Morris Motors, Morris Motors Cowley, Mustang, N48DH, Netherlands, no-step markings, post-war, RAAF, RAAF roundel, RAF, RAF Central Flying School, RAF-style roundels, RAN, Rhodesia, Royal Air Force, rudder, Second World War, South Africa, Spitfire, Swindon, Sydney, tailfin, Tiger Moth, trailing edge, training, USA, USMC, Van Nuys, VH-BLX, Wanborough, warbird, Wildcat, Wiltshire, wing, wings, Wirraway, WW2
The DH82A seen here, at the Great Vintage Flying Weekend, Keevil, is that rare survivor, an Australian Tiger Moth. It became obvious to the Royal Air Force, as soon as the Second World War broke out, that the supply of Tiger Moths from UK sources (including Morris Motors of Cowley) would be insufficient. The RAF’s Central Flying School had received their first Tiger in February 1932, and there were close to 500 serving both with the CFS and with many of the newly formed (and civilian-operated) Elementary Flying Training Schools which were dotted around the country. Arrangements were quickly made for the production of the DH82A principally in Canada and Australia to fill their needs and also supply machines for the Empire Air Training Scheme (sometimes known as British Commonwealth Air Training Plan). Australia was already the recipient of 100 DH82A’s from RAF stocks, and had assembled 20 Tigers from imported fuselages and locally-made wings in their new Bankstown, Sydney plant and in 1940 received an order from the RAF for Tigers to be sent to South Africa and Rhodesia. The outbreak of hostilities between Japan, the USA, the Netherlands, and the British Empire in December, 1941, meant that the Tiger Moths were retained in Australia for local needs.
Here we see ’48’, A17-48 (built in 1940), at the Great Vintage Flying Weekend, Keevil, finished in an early-war scheme of all-over yellow (promulgated for training aircraft at this time) with RAF-style roundels, complete with a red centre; these were removed following a ‘friendly fire’ incident when an RAAF Catalina was attacked by a USMC Wildcat. A17 was the Australian type-code for all Tigers; (A24=Catalina, A20=Wirraway, A68=Mustang, A46=Boomerang, A58=Spitfire, etc). Powered by a 130hp DeH Gipsy Major 1C, driving a Hoffmann HO21 propellor, this is one of 1,069 DH82A aircraft built by De Havilland Australia up until February 1945, and used by the RAAF and RAN during and after World War Two on training, communications and liaison tasks. This photograph shows the external control cables for the rudder, the external fuel tank (above the front cockpit), the anti-spin strakes (just in front of the tailfin) and the ‘no step’ marking on the trailing edge of the wing.
Post-war, like many others, A17-48 was sold off to the civilian market and given an Australian registration of VH-BLX. Next seen in the USA, registered N48DH, it was sporting a post-war RAAF all-silver finish with yellow training bands at Van Nuys, California in June 1973. Eventually, in 1989, the aircraft was sold on to the British Register as G-BPHR, and now is in the capable hands of the ‘A17-48 Group’ of Wanborough, near Swindon, Wiltshire and is back in a completely correct early-war RAAF scheme. This Tiger is a fine testament to the longevity of the type, and the soundness of the De Havilland design.
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