Tiger comes to Nhill
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