Tiger comes to Nhill

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY JEN­NIFER GOLDSWORTH­Y

Is it an Avro An­son or a Wir­raway? No, it’s too small, it has two wings – it is a Tiger Moth.

When Len Creek was a young lad, planes from the Nhill RAAF base fly­ing over his fam­ily’s Winiam East farm ig­nited in­ter­est in avi­a­tion.

The air­craft was in­volved in train­ing runs to the Lit­tle Desert for dog fight­ing and bomb­ing prac­tice.

But most fas­ci­nat­ing for Len was the Tiger Moths do­ing aer­o­bat­ics in­clud­ing loop-the-loops.

The in­ter­est prompted a young Len to buy a balsa wood model glider and he was ex­cited to give it a try.

His neigh­bour Lyall Schultz hap­pened to see his test run at Nhill’s Goldsworth­y Park, as well as the dis­ap­point­ment on his face when the plane did not fly far be­fore nose-div­ing into the dirt.

Lyall took Len un­der his wing and helped him to sand and ad­just the wings un­til it flew like a dream.

With his avi­a­tion in­ter­est fur­ther ig­nited, Len de­cided that one day he would learn to fly one of the planes that flew over­head.

Wit­ness­ing joy rides in a Tiger Moth at Nhill Show proved to be too en­tic­ing for Len, who at the age of about 12, saved his pocket money for 12 months to be able to pay for his first flight ex­pe­ri­ence.

This was the most amaz­ing thing he had ever ex­pe­ri­enced and he was fas­ci­nated at what he saw from such a dizzy height.

A loop-the-loop at the end of the ride proved to be mem­o­rable.

When Len had the fi­nance to do so, he joined Nhill Aero Club and learned to fly in a Tiger Moth. He fell in love with this air­craft.

Re­cently Len de­cided he would like to have his own Tiger Moth and af­ter some search­ing and ne­go­ti­a­tions he is now the proud owner of ‘VH-RIN A17-588’.

With Len in the cock­pit, the air­craft made its first land­ing at Nhill Aero­drome ear­lier this month in front of an ex­cited crowd of on­look­ers.

Nhill’s com­mu­nity will ben­e­fit from Len’s ac­qui­si­tion of this Tiger Moth be­cause it will be­come one of the jewels on dis­play at Nhill Avi­a­tion Her­itage Cen­tre, along with an Avro An­son, Link Trainer and soon-to-ar­rive Wir­raway.

The Tiger Moth air­craft has a long and colour­ful his­tory.

In 1909, Geoffrey De Havilland de­signed and built his first air­craft.

In 1925 he built the DH60 Gypsy Moth, which be­came the most pop­u­lar air­craft in the world at the time and was used ex­ten­sively for train­ing pi­lots.

One of the draw­backs of the Gypsy Moth was the fuel tank was di­rectly over the trainer’s head, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for pi­lots to get in and out of the cock­pit.

De Havilland re­designed the air­craft and the im­proved de­sign had the fuel tank and top wing pushed fur­ther for­ward.

To com­pen­sate for this he made the wings an­gled a bit, like the shape of a boomerang.

This seemed to work well, but meant the ends of the bot­tom wings were too close to the ground, mak­ing it easy to touch the ground on land­ing and take off.

He fixed the prob­lem by lift­ing the ends of the bot­tom wings.

He called the model the Tiger Moth.

AD­DI­TION: Len Creek’s Tiger Moth touches down in Nhill. Pic­ture: JEN­NIFER GOLDSWORTH­Y

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