Category Archives: India

Paperwork Progress

I’ve been busy on several projects lately.  First, transcribing the Schedule of Spare Parts into a digital format so that I can inventory, track and document each component of the Tiger Moth.  I am nearly finished with the first edition, and after that I will conduct a detailed inventory of what I’m missing from A17-370.  Afterward I plan to index the parts list for every known ID number of each part (Canadian, Swiss, Australian, etc) and also index it against the de Havilland drawings.  That will all be available for download here when it’s done.

2016-05-03-0002 - hi contrast - inverse

Another digital project was the creation of a vector version of the de Havilland logo.  This may eventually be used to paint the wheels, but in the meantime will be incorporated into several graphical designs I’m working on.  If you’d like a vector copy of these logos for your own Tiger Moth project, let me know.

Finally, the historical research has continued and just last night I received high-resolution photos of the actual E88 card for A17-370.  This has allowed me to finish transcribing and translating the RAAF service history of the aircraft!  I’m still a bit puzzled about the 1944 event… further digging is required.  But this is GREAT information to have and these scans will play a big part in preserving the history of the aircraft.

DSCN1371 high contrast

DSCN1372 high contrast

With all that in mind, it was time to conduct a quick inventory of where I am and then figure out what I need to pursue next.

Currently Have

Historical Material:

  • A17-370 E88 card (photo, excellent quality!) – Thanks Buz!
  • 1 EFTS ORB February 1944 (photo, excellent quality!) – Thanks Gordon!
  • A17-695 disposal order (low res) – Thanks Gordon!
  • A17-695 E88 card (low res) – Thanks Gordon!
  • A17 series RAAF crash reports summary covering A17-691 to A17-708 – Thanks Gordon!
  • Photo of Tiger Moths at Parafield including A17-358 (excellent quality!) – Thanks Mike!
  • Accident Summaries from India, 1960-1994 (found)

Technical Material:

  • Australian dH.82a Operation, Maintenance and Rigging Manual
  • Australian dH.82a Pilots Notes (1944)
  • British dH.82a Maintenance and Repair Manual (1947)
  • British dH.82a Schedule of Spare Parts (1943)
  • Canadian dH.82c Operation and Maintenance Manual
  • Canadian dH.82c Parts List
  • dH.82a Restoration Manual (documentation of a restoration from 1976)
  • Australian Gipsy Major Care and Maintenance Manual
  • Gipsy Major I and 10 Spare Parts List (1958)
  • Gipsy Major 1, HC and 7 Operation, Maintenance and Overhaul Manual (1958)
  • RAAF Schedule of Aircraft Instruments (1946) – Thanks Ross!


Wish List

Historical Material:

  • Incident/Accident/Crash/Trial/Investigation Report(s) from February 28, 1944 crash/collision at Parafield (if any such exists)
  • 1 EFTS ORB from December 1942
  • A17-695 E88 card (photo or good scan)
  • A17-376 E88 card (can be poor scan, needed to rule it out of 1944 incident)
  • A17-374 E88 card (can be poor scan, needed to rule it out of 1944 incident)
  • A17-372 E88 card (can be poor scan, needed to rule it out of 1944 incident)
  • A17-377 E88 card (can be poor scan, needed to rule it out of 1944 incident)
  • A17-371 E88 card (can be poor scan, needed to rule it out of 1944 incident)
  • 1 EFTS ORB Complete from May 1941 to November 1946
  • Any and all photos of Tiger Moths in production in Australia from January 1941 to May 1941
  • Any and all photos of Tiger Moths at Parafield from May 1941 to June 1944
  • Any and all photos of Tiger Moths at Tamworth from June 1944 to October 1946
  • Any and all photos of Victorian & Interstate Airways facility during WWII
  • Any records of Victorian & Interstate Airways during WWII
  • T5459 E88 card (photo or good scan)
  • N9257 E88 card (photo or good scan)
  • Any records or photos of Tiger Moths in storage owned by the Associated Aero
  • Clubs from October 1946 to December 1949
  • Any records or photos of Tiger Moths shipped to India during 1949-1950
  • Any records or photos of Tiger Moths operated by India from 1950-1955
  • Any records or photos of Tiger Moths owned and operated by the Air Technical Training Institute at Dum Dum airport (now Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Int’l Airport), Calcutta (now Kolkata), from 1955 to 2001
  • Any records or photos of the fate of N9257 VT-CUP in India

Technical Material:

  • Australian-specific Schedule of Spare Parts for Tiger Moths
  • Any Australian-specific Parts Drawings
  • All de Havilland Tiger Moth drawings


If you see anything on the Wish List above that you may be able to help with, even just to point me in a promising direction, please do drop me a line!

Paint from the Past

Entire sample - smThis old fabric sample is slowly revealing its secrets.

Using a digital microscope, I was able to closely example the cracked paint surface and actually see the different layers of paint and dope that have been applied over the years.  It’s surprisingly complex.

Most of the sample as you see it here was not painted at all.  The brown-colored areas are only coated with three semi-transparent layers.  The bottom layer, clearly a transparent dope of some sort, is slightly yellowish.  The next transparent layer looks like glass and is a sort of green/yellow color.  On top, which is giving it most of its color, is a brown layer that is still semi-transparent.  I don’t know which of these are true “dope” or which may be some sort of a clear coat.  It’s also possible that one or more of these layers may once have had some sort of unstable pigment in them, which has since disappeared.  I will have to do some real chemical analysis I think if I want to dig any deeper into their composition.


Dope - yellow dope - brown dopeDope - yellow dope - brown dope 2

Along the edge of the sample is a dark stripe, some parts look dark brown/black and others are blue.  I call it the blue stripe, just for ease of reference.  It has two more layers than the main section of the fabric, and these layers are opaque paints.

Sky blue paint - yellow dope - forest green paint - brown dope Sky blue paint - yellow dope - forest green paint - brown dope 2

The lower layer of paint, sandwiched between the bottom-most layer of dope and the glass-like green/yellow layer is sky blue in color.  It may not have been well mixed as I’ve seen some spots that appear white as well, but so small that they must have been irregularities in the paint rather than intentional marks.

The other pigmented layer is a forest green.  It lies between the glass-like green/yellow layer and the top-most brown layer.  Where the brown sits over the green it makes a color that looks like coal or graphite.

Sky blue paint - yellow dope - brown dope 2 Sky blue paint - yellow dope - brown dope

The final irregularity is that I have found some areas where the green paint is absent, although the blue is still there.  I need to map these out at some point in order to determine if it seems to be an intentional pattern or just sloppily-applied paint.

If anyone knows of a way I could tell the age or origin of these paints, or better differentiate between paint and dope, please do let me know.

Mystery Paint

81_1One of my goals is, of course, to document as much of the history of A17-370 as possible.  For each year it would be nice to know where it was, what it was doing, what equipment it had installed, and last but not least, what its paint job looked like.  This final point is key because when the restoration is finished I need to have some historically correct scheme in mind to paint her up in.

Most of this will be discovered through paperwork, but there are also hundreds of minuscule clues on the airplane itself that I will discover during the deconstruction phase.  For the most part, the paperwork gives little or no clue about what paint scheme was applied to the airplane, so all of the tangible and specific evidence I have to work with right now is what’s on the plane itself.

26 Attachments for blind flying hoodDuring her period as a derelict, pretty much all of the fabric has been removed and thrown away.  This is par for the course with an old airplane but it sure makes a restorer’s life more difficult!  There are some little bits and pieces still hanging on where they were sandwiched into the structure or glued directly to it, but most of these are only one or two square inches and only show the rust-red dope that seems to be everywhere.

The fabric that was glued to the fuselage plywood is still intact however.  It shows a dark green over “trainer yellow.”  There may be some other grey/blue layer beneath that also, which I initially thought was silver, but now I will have to make a note to take a second look on my next visit.  But that’s the general theme of what paint survives… rust-red dope, then yellow, and then green on top of that.

Entire sample - smWhich is why the sample of salvaged fabric handed me by the previous owner yesterday was such a surprise.  There is definitely some kind of a blue stripe along one edge.  It’s sort of a dark robin’s egg blue, and seems pretty consistent in color (not streaky as if it were heavily faded).  I really don’t understand the layers I’m looking at here.  It seems that there is none of that rust-red dope.  The blue lies directly on the fabric, and the brown lies over top of everything, either over the blue or directly on the fabric, depending on where you look.  I can’t even tell if the brown color here is really a paint… or just some kind of dope/varnish?  It seems semi-transparent.  I’m wondering if there is some chemical test I could run to determine what each of these layers is… and whether there is some difference between Australian and Indian paints or dopes that might help me identify at least when this paint was likely applied.  That will help give me a better clue as to what design the blue stripe may be a part of.

Cropped sample - 300dpi