De Havilland DH60M Moth VH-ULP

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.
This aircraft, VH-ULP (c/n 1406), was one of that batch of Moths.

Built by De Havilland Aircraft Co., Ltd., Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware, Middlesex and powered by a De Havilland Gipsy Mk. I of 100 h.p., VH-ULP was registered new to the CAB (CoR 341) on 21 November 1929. A DH60M 'Metal Moth', VH-ULP had a steel-tube fuselage frame instead of the previous wood. It was initially loaned to the Victorian Aero Club, but it was subsequently retained by the CAB for its own business, normally based at Melbourne/Essendon.

It was based at Birdum, NT, during the wet season of 1930/31 to carry the air mails between Birdum and Daly Waters due to a gap between the Larkin service from Camooweal to Daly Waters and the railhead at Birdum. During this time it was fitted with axle extensions for operations from boggy aerodromes. The aircraft was flown by CAB pilot Val Augenson and maintained by engineer Des Gardiner.

The aircraft was later used in April-May 1933 by Departmental Superintendent of Flying Operations David Ross and Des Gardiner to survey the Darwin-Singapore air route in preparation for the opening of Qantas Empire Airways scheduled services which connected with the Imperial Airways service to London at Singapore.

In 1935/6 the aircraft flew 292h, being "normally kept in Melbourne...used almost entirely for the practical flying tests of pilots and instructors." In 1938 VH-ULP was fitted with one of the first receivers for the new 33 Mc Lorenz Radio Range and was used for testing the Essendon beacon, however the aircraft's performance fell well short of what was required for proper testing.

The building in the background of the photo above is the Aero Club buiding at Sydney/Mascot. The 'balcony' on the roof was later built in and became the first of four Control Towers at Mascot.

At the outbreak of the Second World War VH-ULP was impressed by the RAAF. Click here to read more about the history of this aircraft.


(Photo: John Hopton collection)

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