De Havilland DH60 Moth G-AUAE

In the late 1920s and early 1930s the CAB purchased at least 36 De Havilland Moth aircraft, mostly for loan to the Australian aero club movement. The purpose of this apparent largesse was to provide a pool of trained pilots for use in war. DH60 Moth G-AUAE (c/n 192) was the first of these aircraft.

Built by De Havilland Aircraft Co., Ltd., Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware, Middlesex and powered by a ADC Cirrus I of 60hp, G-AUAE was the first Moth to be exported. A Certificate of Airworthiness was issued for it on 15 Sep 1925 and it was registered to CAB on 5 November, Certificate of Registration number 127.

The aircraft was loaned to the Australian Aero Club (NSW Section) on 26 July 1928. The photo above shows the aircraft whilst with the Australian Aero Club (NSW Section) c.1928-29, probably at Sydney/Mascot. As part of the wholesale changeover in Australian registration markings, on 28 March 1929 the Aust. Aero Club was instructed to change its markings to VH-UAE, the change to be completed by 31 Aug 1930.

The aircraft's engine was changed to a more powerful Cirrus II of 75hp on 25 March 1929, however it unfortunately spun into the sea off Cronulla, NSW, on 31 March and was damaged. The aircraft was rebuilt and the engine changed again to a Gipsy I by 28 Aug 1929. The aircraft's markings were probably changed to VH-UAE at this time. The photo below, taken in late 1929 shows the aircraft after the rebuild and change of markings.

The aircraft was further damaged in a taxying accident at Mascot on 5 Feb 1930. Repaired, it was stolen from Hargrave Park, NSW, and damaged on landing at Granville Showgrounds, the first known aircraft theft in Australia.

VH-UAE made a forced landing at Warren, NSW, on 5 April 1931 and was damaged. It was struck off the Register on 4 November 1931 - the aircraft listed as withdrawn from service. It was then sold to W S Harman some time after April 1932, who in turn sold it to Tugan Aircraft Ltd., Mascot NSW.

It was then rebuilt as DH60X with new Tugan c/n 8 and passed through various owners until impressed into RAAF service as A7-88 in 1940. Post-war the aircraft was re-registered as VH-UAE and passed through various owners.


Click here to read more about the subsequent life of this remarkable aeroplane.

(Photos: Jason Hassard/John Hopton collection)

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