AUSTRALIAN DH.82 TIGER MOTHS - 1960s
The first Tiger Moths were introduced by Australian flying clubs in 1936, and when the type was selected by RAAF as the standard
basic trainer, many more British built DH.82s followed. In 1940 de Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd at Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney commenced local production, constructing a total of 1,070 Australian-built Tiger Moths for RAAF and overseas customers.
From 1946 military disposals Tigers became the mainstay of Australian private and club flying for over the next decade. Their low cost and plentiful spares saw their extensive use for aerial agriculture, with a high attrition rate. The retired DH.82 cropsprayers in the 1960s provided the basis of the boom in rebuilding Tiger Moths to immaculate original condition by antique aircraft enthusiasts.
|Those were the days.... Parafield-based Tiger
Moth VH-UEQ nonchalantly parked among Cessnas at Adelaide Airport during
September 1962. VH-UEQ was registered quoting serial "FU78", which tormented DH.82 historians until the DH plate was
examined and revealed to be a badly punched former RAAF serial A17-78, built at Sydney in August 1940.
|Silver VH-ABF and blue VH-BLR arrived together
at Swan Hill Vic in March 1965 for an airshow. The pair came from farming
properties at nearby Kerang
|VH-RVI was the last of the once large Tiger
Moth fleet of the Royal Victorian Aero Club at Moorabbin. It is seen visiting
airshow at Horsham Victoria in March 1965.
|DH.82 Tiger Moths were still in widespread
agricultural use across Australia at the beginning of the decade.
DCA's concern over
the high pilot fatality rate in DH.82 crop spraying and dusting accidents resulted in the requirement to fit an overturn truss to protect
the pilot's head. In 1961 DCA implemented a three-year plan to ban Tiger Moths from ag work: all Australian agricultural operators
were required to reduce their DH.82 fleets by a third each year.
Here's VH-BTC at Parafield SA in May 1962, outside the Air Mist hangar, after a crop dusting job.
|By 1965 retired agricultural Tiger
Moths were parked out at many airfields. They had little resale value back
then, prior to the boom
in the popular vintage and antique aircraft movement. Here Aerial Cropdusters and Sprayers Ltd of Melbourne's VH-FAG sits in the
weather at Ballarat Vic in February 1965. It is still fitted with its under wing spray bars and fan-driven pump under the fuselage.
The chemical hopper is fitted in the front cockpit position, with a refilling hatch ahead of the pilot's windscreen.
|Sad evidence of unwanted grounded agricultural
Tiger Moths - another abandoned by Aerial Cropdusters and Sprayers Ltd of
Melbourne was VH-ACJ left at the closed RAAF base at Uranquinty NSW. Photographed there in July 1967 after a windstorm
caused this damage, it languished there until saved and later rebuilt as a privately owned two-seater.
|The grounding of agricultural Tiger Moths
resulted in ag operators clearing out their DH.82 spares stocks. Robbys
Aircraft Co at
Parafield dumped damaged Tiger wings and airframe sections at the DCA Fire Service practice ground in 1966. Here the remains
are being inspected by John Smith, John Streeter and Geoff Goodall, although the better parts had already been removed by a
|This two seater VH-AKG was rebuilt by Aerokair
at Parafield in 1964 from a retired ag Tiger VH-TSJ formerly with Trojan
Aerial Spraying, Parafield. Operated initially by the Aerokair Flying Club, it is seen at Blythe SA in October 1964.
|VH-RIP at Swan Hill, Victoria in March 1965
|Early morning at Glen Innes NSW in July 1967.
Resident privately-owned VH-AZF had just been rolled out of the hangar to
move out Duttons Aerial Sowing agricultural Cessna 180s to start their day's work.
|VH-BFW at Yarram, Victoria in August 1967,
after being kindly rolled out by its owner for the photograph.
|VH-CXL at Orange NSW in February 1966 was
c/n LES-8. This was one of 11 Tiger Moths assembled from spare parts at
Camden NSW by Lawrence Engineering Services between 1959-1962. Now a privately-owned two seater, the overturn truss
behind the rear cockpit has been retained from its former cropspraying days with Deniliquin Aerial Services.
|A popular post-war modification for Australian
Tiger Moths was installation of a canopy over both cockpits. The design
based on the canopy of the CAC CA-6 Wackett Trainer, and had no connection with the Canadian Tiger Moth canopy.
VH-AOU at Bathurst NSW in September 1965.
|Another canopy Tiger. On a road trip to a
NSW airshow in May 1967, we went to the owner of VH-BIT's street address
in the town
of Yarrawonga Vic to ask where he kept the aircraft - only to find it parked at his house! He had done some silver respraying on the
fuselage, and used an open block next door as an airstrip.
|This Sydney-based canopy Tiger VH-AJA was
found parked in a farmer's field near Barham NSW in December 1966. Nobody
around and not tied down. The compiler's trusty Ford Zephyr on the road in the background.
|This immaculate Tiger VH-AAR was at Kerang
Victoria in July 1967, while owned by the Kerang Tiger Group.
|Remember those "old aeroplane in a barn"
stories? VH-ATM had been continously registered to a farmer near Tailem
since 1946, but had never been seen by Adelaide enthusiasts. In April 1969 the property was visited, where the all yellow cabin
Tiger Moth was found in a barn, covered with canvas. Its owner had died but his family allowed us to remove the covering for this
picture. It had been parked here on flat tyres for at least twenty years. Some years later the aircraft was acquired by Richard Cavill,
Managing Director of SAATAS, restored to airworthy condition without the cabin and based at Parafield as his private aircraft.
|Bankstown Airport, Sydney in January 1967.
Two RAAF disposals Tiger Moths, in wartime trainer yellow and still wearing
RAAF serials A17-258 and A17-284 are on a trailer, temporarily parked in an old igloo hangar which was being demolished at
the time. The pair had just been moved from Brisbane, where they had been stored for many years in the rafters of the Royal
Queensland Aero Club hangar at Archerfield and were the basis for future Tiger Moth restoration projects.