De Havilland DH60 Moth VH-UAO

One of the many DH60 Moths owned by the Civil Aviation Branch
of the Department of Defence for loan to the Aero Club movement in support of pilot training, this aircraft (c/n 613) is unusual in that it is one of the few to survive to this day (c.2004). It is also unusual in that it served with the RAAF twice, with two different identities!

In 1925 the Air Board approved the purchase of two De Havilland DH60 Cirrus Moths for trial as trainers by the Royal Australian Air Force. These were successful and in 1928 it was announced that a further 20 would be imported from England and 14 constructed locally.

This aircraft was constructed by De Havilland at Stag Lane, UK, as a DH60X Moth, powered by an 80hp Cirrus Mk II. It was purchased new by the Royal Australian Air Force and shipped to Australia. Arriving in 1928, it was allocated the RAAF serial A7-9.

After four years' service it was decided to standardise on the more powerful Gipsy engine and, as newer aircraft had arrived, several of the older Moths were reconditioned for loan to the Aero Club movement. Moth A7-9 was one of those reconditioned and it joined the civil Register on 19 August 1932 as VH-UAO, registered to the CAB and on loan to the Australian Aero Club (WA Section) at Perth/Maylands, where it is seen in the photo above.

There, it suffered the usual spate of accidents typical of the era, including a ditching in the Swan River in 1936. During its rebuild a Gipsy Mk I engine was fitted, the aircraft consequently becoming a DH60G. On 27 July 1937 the Civil Aviation Board, as it had by then become, sold the aircraft to the Royal Aero Club of Western Australia, as the Australian Aero Club (WA Section) had also by then become.

The coming of the Second World War brought a desperate need for training aircraft and VH-UAO was once again called to the colours, being impressed into the RAAF on 22 July 1940. As the aircraft had been re-engined, it was allocated a new military serial, A7-92. The poor but rare photo below shows A7-92 at Maylands in July 1940.


(Photos: Top - T Fletcher/Geoff Goodall collection, Bottom - Geoff Goodall collection)

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