Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC) .

Today’s travel notes

Let’s go fly a kite, up where the air is bright… It’s mid winter in Sydney, and the TC took it into her head to hop into a Tiger Moth and fly over Sydney.

“You picked the coldest day of the year,” the pilot announced when we arrived. And cold it was. One degree Celsius on the ground, but bright and clear and beautiful too.

My impressions? Soft, floating, breath taking, beautiful.

Word of the day: Butterfly

Will this worm ever become a butterfly? I do hope not. They’re ephemeral, fickle beings. “Word of the day” is right. But now I’ve had a go at flitting around the skies on papery wings and it has a certain something.

Travel tip

Don’t touch the pedals and levers in your cockpit. They work.

Recommended restaurant

Bring your own, hot, coffee.

Recommended aviation company

Airborne Aviation, at Camden airport near Sydney. They’re friendly, professional, no nonsense. The experience was just awesome. (Those are the TC’s words. She tends to enthuse.)

The book I’m in

Third Strike, by Zoë Sharp.

The TC rather likes the Charlie Fox thrillers.

The photos

Me getting up close and personal with a Tiger Moth’s propeller:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Me and the TC went up in a 1940s vintage Tiger Moth:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

The TC-once-removed was in a Boeing Stearman, built in 1943. Both planes are roughly the same age. The Boeing has a bigger engine, but pushes out about the same horse power, according to our pilot. This discrepancy is easy to understand, our instructor went on with gleeful scorn, once you know that Tiger Moths are British while the Boeings were designed in the US!

Me cosying up to the Boeing Stearman:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Due to the Boeing’s ungainly design 😉 the pilots had to run the engine for 20 minutes to warm it up before takeoff. When we arrived, it was still stuttering and sputtering in the cold morning air.

The little Tiger Moth was altogether more obliging. Open the hatch:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Plug in the electric heater — that’s the black box with the electric cable at top left — and leave it to warm up:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Push the plane out into the open, and you’re ready to rock and roll. Here’s a view of the Moth’s two cockpits:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Here’s a Biggles snap of the TC, as requested by my friend the Sandgroper:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Up, up and away in the Tiger Moth:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

We took off on grass, both planes together, and were in the air before we knew it. The TC-once-removed took some snaps from the Stearman too:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

The Boeing Stearman is so comfy, it’s “like a big old lounge chair with a plane built around it”, said the pilot:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

We flew for about 15 minutes, from Camden airport to Warragamba Dam, then headed back to Camden. Here’s Warragamba Dam seen from the Moth:

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Flying in a Tiger Moth over Sydney

Here’s a short video of the Tiger Moth zooming up to the Boeing. Me and the TC are in the front cockpit of the Moth:

Sometimes we seemed close enough to touch. Here’s the Boeing Stearman, filmed by the TC from the Moth:

The Tiger Moth looks frail and, well, ephemeral. Like those butterfly dudes. But it holds its own against the good old Boeing. This video starts in the Boeing’s cockpit then swings round to find the Moth:

That’s all for today dudes.

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