A Tiger from Down Under!

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.


4 comments on “A Tiger from Down Under!”

  1. […] A Tiger from Down Under! by shortfinals | 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… Evergreen Supertanker Demonstration   from TAKEOFF TUBE by (USA_Spotter) The Evergreen Supertanker showed impressive results during the U.S. Forest Service administered grid tests earlier this year. From high, medium and low coverage levels, the Supertanker showed it provides quality, consistent retardant line construction… Majestic Rotors from PPRuNe Forums by Earl of Rochester | An opportunity for Rotorheads to showcase the best you have, or have seen, of rotary wing images. Dedicated to aviation photographers the world over who provide us with a window into the world we love but who’s efforts often go unmentioned. Earl November 25    November 26   November 27   from Cut and Paste Aviation by KenInfinite U2 – on the road from Aviation News – Airplane-Pictures.net | The band U2 have been using Airbus A319 as a tour bus during their U2 360° Tour of New Zealand and Australia… Alliance Air Show « FionaLorne Photography by fionalornephotography […]


  2. I understood that Aussie Tigers dispensed with anti-spin strakes, the lack of which can be seen on Henry Labouchere’s G-BEWN which was imported in June 1977 ex VH-WAL and A17-529.



    • Good point. I checked the CAA records, and G-BPHR is listed as ‘DH82A (Modified)’, which could mean that the anti-spin strakes were fitted AFTER it left the Australian Civil Register (it was VH-BLH in Jan. 1966). Certainly, the one photograph I have seen of the aircraft as N48DH (at Van Nuys, on 30 June 1973) shows no anti-spin strakes (just like every other Aussie Tiger, as you correctly said). Thanks for the good information! Cheers, R


  3. I’m converting a 2m Tiger Moth to look just like this one, if you would like to see the latest pics and watch the progress, go to my facebook website….. 🙂



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