ALDINGA’S VINTAGE BIPLANES
Australian Air Force Cadets from the southern squadrons of Adelaide were recently given the opportunity to fly a Pilot Experience Flight (PEX) out of Aldinga airfield.
Not only was this a rare chance to fly over South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, and capture clear views of the stunning coastline and rolling vine-covered hills of the famed McLaren Vale wine region – but the cadets did this in classic biplanes.
Among the vintage aircraft made available by Adelaide Biplanes was a de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth VH-UEQ.
The Tiger, a single-engine two-seat biplane, is called “the epitome of a classic biplane trainer”. This particular aircraft was built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in September 1940 as a military ab-initio basic trainer. The DH.82A was operated by the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm. In the UK, the DH.82A was known by the RAF as the “Tiger Moth II”.
The de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth was used as a tug aircraft for launching Air Training Corps gliders. On seeing these images veteran AirTC and AAFC officer, with almost half a century’s service, Rob Moore reminisced: “I was very fortunate to fly a DH.82A as a glider tug on the very first 6 Wing AAFC gliding camp in in 1969”. Rob received the Medal of the Order of Australia on Australia Day 2000 for service to youth, “particularly through the South Australian Squadron Air Training Corps, and to gliding”.
This aircraft underwent its most recent rebuild in 1996, and now sports a splendid yellow paint scheme with silver wings.
Other aircraft offered by Adelaide Biplanes for these Pilot Experience Flights included the American Champion 8KCAB Super Decathlon and a Great Lakes 2T1A-2 biplane.
Pilot Officer (AAFC) Paul Rosenzweig, 6 Wing Public Affairs & Communication Officer, said “As well as these Pilot Experience flights under the guidance of a qualified flying instructor, flying training courses are offered by the AAFC, where cadets as young as 16 years – the minimum legal age for powered flight – can learn to fly an aircraft solo”.
Air Force Flying Scholarships are available to Air Force Cadets to support their training.
Photos courtesy of Gaylene Smith of Adelaide Biplanes, Aldinga
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