View Full Version : DH82a

29th Aug 2008, 06:54
I've just started flying a Tiger Moth again, after many years of rotary wing flying, and I am loving every moment.

I would be very interested to hear tales from past masters of the DH Moth types, as I suspect, would other PPruners. Close shaves, hints and tips, memorable flights, you name it - there must be a lot of experience we'd enjoy hearing about.

What I'd be really interested to hear about, is how much (or perhaps, little) training people had on the Moth before being kicked off on a first solo in a single engine fighter during the war years... I just cannot imagine how I would have got on, just out of my teens, knowing very little and having only a few hours under my belt.

29th Aug 2008, 07:01
Whirlwind, if you haven't got it already, a copy of The Tiger Moth Story by Bramson and Birch is worth reading!

henry crun
29th Aug 2008, 08:02
whirlwind: You would have managed very well, just the same as tens of thousands of others who learnt on the Tiger.

I count myself very lucky to have been taught by a maestro on that aircraft, Cecil Pashley.

29th Aug 2008, 08:44
I second the Bramson/Birch book (ISBN 0-85979-103-3)

For instance (page 202)


29th Aug 2008, 13:33
And the infamous caption that adorned that pic:

"If this doesn't kill me, Norman will"

Bless you John Blake!

29th Aug 2008, 15:08
Oh happy days, Bunny Bramson sent me solo in Aug 1958, tiger G-AOUY owned by the Glamorgan Flying Club at Rhoose Used to be 3 18s 6d per hour,I expect it is now a little more per hour?

29th Aug 2008, 16:43
What a picture! I think I've seen it before, but of course didn't know about the infamous caption - nice one!

I've already got a bid in on ebay for the book; there are plenty about - thanks for the recommendation chaps.

I first started flying Tigers in 1970, with Messrs Cheshire, Stapp, Lecomber, Falk and Co. at the Biplane Club, Denham. I think at the time there were about 3 Tigers in the hangar, in various states of repair, but G-AXAN and AXTY are in my logbook, so they were clearly serviceable. Later on in '72 I flew G-AXXV at Linton, which I think was owned by some of the instructors on the FTS staff.

A break from fixed wing followed on Whirlwinds (surprise) and Sea Kings SAR, inevitable rotary wing instructing, then to commercial - Bell 212, Sikorsky S76 etc...

The DH is more fun than any of those things...

Agaricus bisporus
29th Aug 2008, 17:07
You should try a Stearman!

29th Aug 2008, 18:10
Do you have one I can try Mr Mushroom?

29th Aug 2008, 20:57
Whirlwind, Lecomber occasionally graces PPRuNe with his exalted (and I mean that most sincerely folks, way more than Hughie Green ever did) presence. Stapp sadly has passed on, was Cheshire the redoubtable Leonard or AJ? Don't know of Falk (apart from Peter ...)?

PS re the infamous caption, with Blake it was ever thus. Think Williams, Stampe and Biggin... Ah, commentary, thy name is Blake. (or O'Brien).

29th Aug 2008, 21:30

I experienced my first ever loop in G AOUY at Rhoose. I think it was the pilot's first loop as well, it was a bit rough. He went on to fly Sea Vixens and lead the Rothmans. I did my PPL on a Tiger 8 years later for 2 10s an hour, which makes the '59 Glamorgan Flying Club rates look a bit high.

Was Bill Barnard the CFI in your day?

29th Aug 2008, 21:34
He went on to fly Sea Vixens and lead the Rothmans

Ooh, what a give away! Much missed as well I'll venture...

29th Aug 2008, 21:37
And particularly in my thoughts today as I watched the Sea Vixen performing at Bournemouth. So sad that he never got to display it himself.

29th Aug 2008, 21:41
Amen. We have been robbed of far too many individuals who make aviation an exciting passtime, let alone an occupation.

30th Aug 2008, 02:03
Tgraph, it was Tony Cheshire and I think, Peter Falk. Barry Turner and his younger brother (who had a very quick Velocette) were around too. Neil Williams used to pop in quite frequently and graced us with his upside down flypast presence. I was in awe of him of course, moreso when I heard his story of a wing folding up on him mid aerobatic manoeuvre - and his solution to the problem.
I met Brian Lecomber at Brawdy many years later , when he'd established himself as an aero 'presence', and see his writings in Flyer mag - he doesn't look any different!
They were happy days for me at Denham. Most evenings we flocked in a variety of vehicles to a pub or out for a curry. Ian 'schimmel' Fenwick had a horrible Reliant 3-wheeler I recall, in which I often cadged a lift (I only had a shabby 350 Matchless then).

30th Aug 2008, 07:01
What I'd be really interested to hear about, is how much (or perhaps, little) training people had on the Moth before being kicked off on a first solo in a single engine fighter during the war years...

There is a fasinating thread going on in the military forum.

Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW11

30th Aug 2008, 08:30
George Kemp did most of my initial training, looking in my old log book,he and Bunny Bramson seemed to appear the most, a little later Bernard did some training with me on the Jackaroo. Also I see a signature signed by J A Bennett as the CFI,so that must have been after Bernard left

Agaricus bisporus
30th Aug 2008, 10:39
I did my Stearman time with and outfit called "Eastern Stearman" at Old Buckenham, which is not too far away from you, Whirlwind. It was run by a fellow called Jim Avis. I believe that outfit is long gone now but apparently some Stearmen remain at OB. Suggest you take a trip over there and ask, and maybe post the results here?

Sleeve Wing
30th Aug 2008, 20:48
Anybody remember Wg.Cdr. Bill Lucas and his son, Peter, at Roborough, early 60s.
Bill ran the show and Peter,who was a full-time RAF pilot, used to help out.
Bill Lucas sent me off on my first Tiger solo in quite a short time, stomping off across the airfield with his cushion under his arm, muttering "Don't break it !
That was a term before the "instructor from Rhoose".

Used to do consecutive loops in the Tiger and lose very little height - I still can't do that !

31st Aug 2008, 18:39
Whirlwind and I have talked about this post and we have decided that, in the interest of flight safety, the following tragic story is worth publicising. The lesson is that the Tiger Moth is a delight to fly, but that it can be very unforgiving in some circumstances, as this Swedish accident report shows:


I have a particular interest in this aircraft, SE-AMM, pictured here some two years earlier at Duxford:

De Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth, SE-AMM, Private (http://www.abpic.co.uk/photo/1023471/)

because before being sold to Sweden it was G-ANEF, a DH82A Tiger Moth that many PPRuNers will remember from the RAF College Cranwell Flying Club. I flew my first powered solo in it, in 1966.

The type's propensity to flick-depart in a slow climbing turn was demonstrated to me by my instructor at a safe altitude, some 4000 feet as I recall, on a freezing winter's day. I have never forgotten that sortie, my first fully-developed spin, or how cold I was. Thank you, Bob!

Safe flying everyone! Enjoy your Tiger Moth flying, wherever it is. But don't forget those lessons from the past, or the dear people who learned them the hard way for our benefit.

Sleeve Wing
4th Sep 2008, 16:55
Speechless Two.

Sept.25th.1961. BB694. Also soloed XL714. Are they still around ? Would be fascinated to know.

Have, since then, in the last 8-10 years, flown some 700 hours in Tigers for Avia Special and Delta Aviation. The most recent was some film work a couple of months ago in the ex-Ted Lay aircraft,G-ANMO, K4259, built in 1935 and still going strong.

Are we not lucky to have been able to experience such amazing flying ?

4th Sep 2008, 18:37
Sleeve Wing, both seem to have survived!

BB694, c/n 3340 now G-ADGV (http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=60&pagetype=65&appid=1&mode=detailnosummary&fullregmark=ADGV)

XL714 now G-AOGR (http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=60&pagetype=65&appid=1&mode=detailnosummary&fullregmark=AOGR)

4th Sep 2008, 19:19
Once upon a time ,long ago,5 Dec`76,down at the `Tiger Club`on a brilliant but freezing day,after `thawing-out` from giving a check-ride in a Tiger `DC`to a gentleman,who used to have a `Beta`,then a Harvard, and now a Yak-?,but who shall remain nameless, the conversation turned to night flying(we may even have adjourned to the pub,for a few `cokes`..).`It`s a lovely night for flying`,`It is ,isn`t it`,nice and clear,and a full moon,see for miles`,`why don`t we go for some night flying?,`cos the Jodel(lights) is at the back of the hangar`,`Michael`s not here(Jones..Boss)`,We could use the Tiger as it`s at the front`.....`I`m sure I`ve seen a set of lights for a Tiger in the workshop`.......An hour or so later`DC`emerges from hangar sporting a combined set of battery powered nav.lights atop the fuel tank;someone had also dug out the `gooseneck` lamps and laid them out along the side of the runway,flaring merrily,and one to keep us warm at the hangar..As I was current night,I was volunteered to check out the others,so off we went...the moon had now risen in the East,and the dew was now frozen,like icing,reflecting the moonshine,as we weaved out to take-off..
Line-up with the flares off the left,aiming for the middle one at the other end
and then seeing the yellow exhaust change to red and then blue at full power..heady stuff... you could read the instruments,as the moon was behind,but once downwind there was just a black hole,still,keep the flares off the left wing tip,1900 rpm,by ear,and look at the horizon,count to `five` after the last flare,power to idle,trim ,65kt(ish) gentle turn,now you can read the altimeter,look for the lights,and the `picture`,see the aircraft shadow,just follow it and gently flare......greaser...fullpower,orft we jolly well go for another one...and so it went on for 50 mins checking out Smith,Reagan and Joyce,and then having to prise my frozen body out to let Smithy check out a few more `intrepids`.....Absolutely fabulous on such a night.....and the beers tasted much better later....and I don`t recall if the`Boss` ever knew..Syc....

5th Sep 2008, 17:06
Peter Lucas is well past 70 and still instructing on the Dash 8 300 and 400, he did my type rating some years ago, a delightful and charming man.

5th Sep 2008, 20:15
I had my first lesson with Lucas Snr. (always with several degrees of dihedral in his moustache) in Auster G-AJUM, 14/2/1958. (Yes, I know this is a DH82a thread - but it was February, B. Cold and I went for the saloon luxury of the Auster.

There was another character at Roborough in the early sixties, with whom I did fly in one of theTigers. (G-ANJD, 25/4/1963) Henry Pidduck was an ex-crop-duster who also flew R/H seat on the Dan Air Heron; turned up, one day, to fly the schedule, wearing sports jacket and ratting cap!

Other names mentioned in this thread - O'Brien (Treaders) and the anonymous owner of a Beta (Sycamore) - I bear the responsibility for launching both of these gentlemen on their first solos.

I just love these nostalgia threads - just wish I could decipher some of the 'noms de keyboard'. I'd be surprised if I couldn't connect with anyone. If anyone wants to blow their cover, I'll watch the PMs.

8th Sep 2008, 05:28
Sycamore - great tale... did you by chance have anything to do with those wooden bladed helicopters??

Agaricus - I have Old Buck on my list of places to fly to! Hoping to fly to Duxford today first; unbelievably the weather might be reasonable today (end of moan). A trip to Vintech at Gransden is on the cards too; one of the engineers there races a Manx Norton, so I'm hoping for a good poke around the workshops (I race a Dresda and a Velocette).

I hope we can generate a few more Moth stories; as I said at the beginning of the thread, there must be loads of interesting tales to be told.

I came back to Tigers this year, and I flew my first solo in a fixed wing since 1991 on my birthday, 3rd May, in G-ANFL. It was a coincidence that it was my birthday; also that my wife shares the same day for hers - so she bravely came up for a ride too. The last time she went up in a Tiger was a surprise birthday present I bought her in Delta's G-ADGT in '03. She was petrified, because she was given the stick for a short time. Having flown many times in helicopters, she thought that if she let go, the stick would fall to the nearest corner of the cockpit and take the aircraft with it! Anyway, she knows better now...Here's a picture of us post flight.

8th Sep 2008, 08:50
Whirlwind one of the owners of Vintech has a pristine Tiger (G-APLU) which he bases in Rush Green.

8th Sep 2008, 12:35
Aah - de Haviland.

I was lucky enough to get a full PPL in 1958 on an RAF flying scholarship flying Tigers at Herts and Essex flying club at Stapleford Tawney. All our equipment - gloves, helmet, boots etc - were provided by the RAF, and we needed it when flying early on winter mornings. My first instructor was John Lamb, who later became an early hovercraft pilot, and later the redoubtable Neville Browning. The aircraft were G-ANKU and G-AIDS, on which I first soloed. Do they still exist?

Later, in the Navy, I did a summer camp at Arbroath, also with Tigers. A Cadet with a flying licence was highly unusual at that time. My instructor would turn up looking hungover, point to an aircraft and say ''Take that aircraft, piss off, and I don't want to see you until lunchtime". Afternoons were much the same. Never was taxpayers money better used!

8th Sep 2008, 13:37
G-AIDS (http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=60&pagetype=65&appid=1&mode=detailnosummary&fullregmark=AIDS) certainly does and still living in Essex.

G-ANKU (http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=60&pagetype=65&appid=1&mode=detailnosummary&fullregmark=ANKU) is listed as destroyed in County Wicklow in '65 - it was owned by 20th Century Fox at the time, so I'll hazard a guess it was used in the filming of "Aces High" and ended its life in a crash sequence or as a prop.

8th Sep 2008, 14:23
I did my PPL at Perth in 1958. I went solo in G-AHUE (no longer with us) and also flew G-AHUV and G-ANNG.

I did my final handling test with the fearsome Wg Cdr "Pooch" Nugent and that was a story in itself.

I had been hoping to do my final check ride with Tommy Blyth the CFI but "Pooch" had decided that he wanted to do it.

He was out front swinging and swinging the prop and the engine was quite dead. He roared at me:

"Do you know what is wrong with this aircraft young man?"

"Sir, I think the impulse starter has jammed".

"And just what do we do about that do you think?"

"Sir, I would open the starboard cowling and hit the impulse casing with one of the wooden chocks."

Well, "Sir" went berserk and I got a very firm lecture about how this was no way to treat a beautiful flying machine.

He then roared (and I mean roared) for the chief engineer. Charlie Delbridge came out in his white coat and overalls, listened to the problem, opened up the starboard side of the cowling and hit the impulse casing with a chock!

It started first time but I would have to say that I would really rather have hidden myself about 100 feet underground at that point.

However, the rest of the check went well and I passed and here I am boring the backsides off you 50 years later!

8th Sep 2008, 18:04
Whirlwind, would you photo be at a small strip just off the Norwich to Reepham road ? I snapped a photo of G-ANFL there a few weeks ago. Keith.

9th Sep 2008, 01:40
Norwich - yes, that's the strip.

LowNSlow - they seem to be everywhere. Owning a company like Vintech, he should have a very nice Tiger. I flew to Little Gransden yesterday afternoon; no Tigers, but lots of Yaks and some very impressive (and pristine) American vintage aircraft. The airstrip there is lovely; it's just a pity there was nobody there to watch me grease the Moth on to 28!

JW411 - sounds typical of the type of instructor one had to call 'Sir' all the time. That's a lovely story and I'm sure it doesn't bore the pants off anyone! My PPL was also at Perth, courtesy of the RAF Flying Scholarship scheme in 1969. I was one of the last of 2 to go through on the Chipmunk (G-APLO now in Jersey and G-ARCR, destroyed). The rest of my course had to go through on spam can 150s. I don't remember feeling particularly privileged at the time, but I certainly was. My man was Gordon Lockhart, a fiery Scot, allegedly an ex sub-mariner, who seemed to be very ancient to me...