Historic Moth flies again

NOVEMBER 23, 1930 was a day like no one had seen in Northern Tasmania before.

It was the day that Australian Aero Club Tasmanian section's tiny de Havilland DH.60M Moth VH-ULM _ better known as a Gipsy Moth _ made the first flight from the new aerodrome at Western Junction, near Evandale.

The next day, The Examiner reported that a large crowd gathered at the `` `drome'' in the afternoon to witness history in the making.

An exhibition of stunting by Captain Francis was ``highly spectacular''.

But Captain W. Martin was the first of the aero club members to take the Gipsy Moth up solo.

Long-serving Tasmanian Aero Club member and Hillwood pilot Lindsay Millar will be one of a handful of people quietly commemorating the 82nd anniversary of the first flight that launched full-time commercial aviation in Tasmania on Friday week.

Mr Millar will be more excited than most since he found out that the little Gipsy Moth that made the historic flight is back in the air again after 25 years grounded.

He realised that the historic plane existed again in all its glory when he was contacted by Queensland librarian and plane enthusiast Graham Potts checking on the Gipsy Moth's history.

He has been part of the team who rebuilt the iconic aircraft for Brisbane surgeon and plane enthusiast Michael Redmond after he bought it from a grounded historic collection at Wangaratta in the early 2000s.

``It was wonderful to find out that it was actually back in flying condition,'' Mr Millar said.

Mr Potts has discovered that the plane was built in England by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in 1929 and was one of the first of the latest model of increasingly popular Gipsy Moth biplanes produced by the company.

It was registered VH-ILM to the Department of Defence Civil Aviation branch in Melbourne and leased on a peppercorn rent with its sister Moth VH-ULN to the newly formed aero club at Western Junction, in Northern Tasmania.

It was flown extensively by the club for the next decade suffering no less than 11 minor accidents between June 1932 and October 1934.

Ownership passed to the Royal Victorian Aero Club at the end of 1944.

After a succession of private owners following World War II the little Gipsy Moth joined Joe Drage's collection of historic planes at Wodonga in 1972.

The collection was relocated to Wangaratta where it was broken up and sold in 2002.

Work to restore the Tasmanian Aero Club's former plane started in earnest in 2009 and it took to the air again for the first time in 25 years in May, this year.

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