Monthly Archives: April 2017

Learning from the Logbooks

With the final pair of wings I also received the aircraft logbooks, or, I should say, logbook.  Rather worm-eaten, it is marked as Book IV.  The entries begin in November 1968 and run until the aircraft was retired in 1973.

The logbook details one hard landing and a bird strike, each carefully repaired.  A page is missing which would have documented the last major overhaul of the aircraft.  In all, she flew 355 hours in 655 days, and if this was typical of her activity rate during her whole Indian career I’m confident that the TTAF (total time – airframe) figure given on the final page of 6,942 hours is an accurate total including RAAF service.

A few other interesting papers were stuck into the logbook, including a weight and balance from 1968 and a list of modifications performed or present on the aircraft.

Check out that battery!  47lbs!  But this also confirms the blind flying hood remained.

Of course I wish I had more documentation, I believe that the flying club that owned A17-370 has since closed its doors but it seems to have been a joint government/private entity.  I still intend to do what I can to track down any other logbooks or documentation that may be out there.  If you think you might be able to help with that, please do drop me a line!

In particular I’m wondering if it might be possible to get in touch with the mechanics who signed the entries in this logbook.  I have their A.M.E. numbers but not their names (the signatures are hard to decipher).  I imagine there must be a database somewhere where A.M.E. numbers can be looked up, but I haven’t been able to find it yet.  As always, I’ll continue to chip away at this research!

Purchase Complete!

Exactly one year from the date the contract was signed, I have received the final parts and logbooks of de Havilland Tiger Moth A17-370.  Now the real work can begin!

All four wings have been reunited with the fuselage in the same room for the first time since India.  I’ve already begun searching for the data plates and any tell-tale features on these last two wings, to help corroborate the known or suspected history of the aircraft.  More on that in the days to come.

The aircraft logbooks only cover the time from 1968-1970, with one quick note to show it was test-flown a final time in 1973.  Not a lot to go on here, but once I’ve scanned all of the pages I will do my best to transcribe them and see what they tell us.  As you can see, they are in quite rough shape.

That’s all the updates for tonight, I’m exhausted, but this is a big milestone for the restoration project!

Catching up!

Sorry I took a little break there when I went on holiday to visit family, but I’ve been back for a little while now and I have so much news to share!

Recently I located the Certificate of Airworthiness issued to A17-370 just before she was exported to India in 1949.  This is great because it documents *exactly* what equipment was installed in the aircraft at the time of export.  It’s highly likely this is the same equipment it had when it was placed in storage by the RAAF at the end of WWII, since it remained in storage for all of the intervening years.  That’s my theory anyway, and so I’ll use this as a guide for my restoration back to RAAF configuration.  Here is the general equipment list used for weight and balance.

And here is a list specifically of instruments and cockpit equipment, which also mentions the blind flying hood!

I’ve also continued to dig through the Australian National Archives for photos and drawings.  I did find drawings of the Holt flare installation in the wings which appears to perfectly match mine, so that will be very handy.  I still have not located any photos of A17-370, but I haven’t given up yet.

I recently heard a rumor that H.A.R.S. (Historical Aircraft Restoration Society) might have de Havilland Australia Tiger Moth drawings, so I reached out and sure enough, they do!  These drawings have been VERY elusive, but H.A.R.S. has several hundred surviving sheets, and I hope I will get my hands on all of them eventually.  There will be a cost of course, but it will be worth it to have documentation for many of the unique modifications of Aussie Tigers.  I’m very grateful to them for preserving these historic documents and being willing to share them with fellow restorers.

Aside from research, I’ve mostly been working on gathering the final tools for the workshop and getting it all organized and laid out the way I want it.  This has taken a LOT of work and it isn’t done yet.  One of the drawbacks of acquiring “vintage” tools is that they often need to be rebuilt in order to work reliably and consistently.  In the process however I have learned a lot, I’ve gotten to put other tools to use and get some good practice, and I am gaining a great deal of confidence in my ability to build and rebuild things.  Sort of critical, for an aircraft restoration project, eh?  😉

Above is how I would like everything to be laid out, once it’s all in working order.  I hope to get to this point this Spring, certainly no later than the Arlington Fly-In this summer.  Once the shop gets to this point, it will be full speed ahead on the restoration!