De Havilland DH60 Moth VH-UAE

Somewhat like the apocryphal 'Grandfather's Axe', former CAB De Havilland DH60 Moth G-AUAE/VH-UAE is presently (c.2010) Australia's longest-registered, airworthy aircraft.

After wartime RAAF service as A7-88, this aircraft was disposed of on 9 March 1945 to Mr Bruce Cowan of La Perouse, NSW, for A£100. Mr Cowan sold it to Mr H. Hayes of Bega, NSW, who had it re-registered as VH-UAE.

Over the years VH-UAE had three further private owners. The photo above shows it at Forbes, NSW, on 24 May 1964. The owner, Mr A.A. Wright was briefly visiting from his nearby property 'Stanley Park' at Garema.

In 2000, VH-UAE completed a restoration at the Croydon Aircraft Co. in New Zealand. Returning to Australia, VH-UAE was purchased by David and Carolyn Salter of Walcha, NSW, in 2001. Under the tender care of the Salters, VH-UAE is regularly flown to events around the east coast of Australia, and has even made a trip to central Australia to star in a film.

VH-UAE is seen in the photo below getting airborne for a display in the hands of David Salter at the Houdini-Centenary Air Show at Melton, Vic, on 20 March 2010.

According to Carolyn Salter "It really is a privilege to own Australia's oldest flying aircraft, and with that comes also the responsibility of keeping her in excellent condition, and looking after this little piece of aviation history. There is nothing quite like viewing the world from aloft, and when there is no barrier between you and the earth and sky, and the view is sometimes between flying wires, then you are truly blessed. And we know it."*


(Photos: Top-Bob Neate/Geoff Goodall collection; Bottom-Phil Vabre)

* Gipsy Moth DH60 by Carolyn Salter, in Rag & Tube #120, December 2004, p.22.

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