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Flying the Tiger Moth

An incredible experience.

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John Emms 108/07/2018 15:44:57
242 forum posts

For my 60th birthday, I was bought an "Experience Day", a flight in a Tiger Moth.

To cut an extremely long story short, Sandra and I finally arrived at Eaglescott Airfield **LINK** on Friday evening. I expected this to be very much an air cadet type experience, but how wrong I was - this was a full experience evening, for only Sandra and I!

We arrived to find the Tiger safely behind the hangar doors, waiting for the wind to die down. We were waved down to the hangar by Barry Pearson, and the reason was for Sandra (now 62), and I to roll the aircraft out of the hangar. Time and space was allowed to take the obligatory photos and video, and then it was time for me to be shown how to enter the front cockpit safely, have the pre-flight briefing (including the operation of the controls), and check coms. It is rude of me not to remember the name of the lady who is hugely privileged to be the owner of this Moth, but she and Barry worked together to start the engine, while I held the stick firmly back against the pressure of the spring that provides the elevator trim. The engine started on the third "flick". I was aware that we would need to wait for engine warm up, but very soon, we were taxiing over the iron age mound, and out to the runway.

The take off appeared to be without drama. Barry said we would simply accelerate, and then elevate, and that was exactly what happened. After a short climb to height, Barry took me through some exercises using elevator and aileron, and I was then flying for the rest of a guided sight seeing trip over beautiful countryside. Those who know me are very aware that popular culture passed me well by, so I did not know of the personalities mentioned (other than Vera Lynn who signed the aircraft), and the main point was, I enjoyed flying the aircraft.

I have flown Chipmunk, Kirby Cadet glider, Sedberg glider and Blanic (the gliders solo). I found the Blanic extremely heavy on the controls, and frankly, hard work. The Moth is in complete contrast, extremely light on the controls, responsive, and extremely stable, staying just in the attitude it was left (either straight and level, or in a turn). The way to fly the Moth appears to be just like I would fly a Super 60 type model, with very light touches of control to guide it to the attitude required. I did some turning exercises, and I am not sure if that was to position for the sight seeing, or break up the straight and level. I flew the Moth through the circuit (and a little turbulence as we got lower) after Barry adjusted the throttle. After landing, it was time to unbuckle and climb out (leaning back to avoid the centre section), and help put the aircraft away.

It is fantastic that people keep these old aeroplanes flying, and I very much appreciate this Moth being made available for others to enjoy. This was an incredible experience that I will never forget.

Lessons learnt? For those who can afford it, it is well worth the cost and effort, and an incredible evening. I would book directly with the venue, and cut out the experience company. For those wanting the sight seeing experience, I am told it is well worth having the 40 minutes to fly along the coast, but the 30 minutes of flying the aircraft out to the coast and back was what I really appreciated. For those who can't pull the aircraft out, don't worry, there are three people there for Moth flights. Barry absolutely makes this a special evening, and if I ever want to do a PPL, I want Barry to be my instructor.

I did ask Sandra if she would like to own half a Tiger Moth, but unfortunately she has ideas of owning a Mustang in the sun (I am told that I can borrow it). Perhaps Sandra has a point, the Mustang doesn't need a large hangar to store it, two people to start it, or three people to pull it out before the engine can be started.


cymaz08/07/2018 16:32:12
9273 forum posts
1200 photos

Sounds like you had an excellent time....SWMBO birthday coming up...I’ve a cunning planlaugh

Robert Parker08/07/2018 18:25:34
979 forum posts
1321 photos

Hi John,

What a great time you had and the memories will last a life time.

I too had a tiger moth experience for my 40th given to me by my wife, in White Waltham, took a bit of time to book the flight due to weather conditions but when I did get to sit in the open cockpit and took the controls of G-AHAN it was an experience I will never forget. I must admit you had a far greater experience than I with rolling out the aircraft, starting and putting the aircraft away, now that is a fantastic experience.

Shortly after the flight I bought a 66" tiger moth kit. Although, it waited to be built a few years it took me three years to build her and another twelve to maiden her and yesterday I had the second flight and now fully trimmed flies like a dream.

Have long happy memories



Josip Vrandecic -Mes08/07/2018 19:05:30
2993 forum posts
260 photos

Hello John , Happy birthday and never late for Tiger Moth flying cocktail

Tim Hooper08/07/2018 23:05:50
2901 forum posts
2406 photos

Hi John,

Netty bought me a flight in a Tiger from Duxford a few years ago. Although it was a mere 30 minutes in length, it's made a memory I'll never forget!


brokenenglish09/07/2018 07:03:14
580 forum posts
30 photos

John, your OP is excellent, very interesting and "happy" reading. I'm an old aviator, and it gave me a very pleasant start to the week...
I still have a Complete-a-pac Tiger Moth kit that I picked up when touring Scotland in 1976. About time to get it built...

Thanks for posting!

Edited By brokenenglish on 09/07/2018 07:06:31

Alex Ferguson 209/07/2018 12:27:02
55 forum posts

We had on TV a few days ago a 92 year old out flying the Tiger Moth he learned to fly on when he was about a 20 year old. Did a few aerobatics. He flew with the owner but they didn't say if he had to be accompanied flying his own aircraft.

Gordon Tarling09/07/2018 14:17:02
237 forum posts
4 photos

John - so glad that you enjoyed the Tiger Moth experience. It's a wonderful aircraft! I've had the pleasure of being allowed to fly one on two occasions, once from White Waltham in a Moth owned by a group and once on a sightseeing flight from Wanaka in NZ, which was just the most wonderful experience.

Pete B - Moderator09/07/2018 17:41:28
7666 forum posts
734 photos

I too enjoyed a Tiger Moth flight down at Shoreham, John. A great experience with plenty of hands-on time as well!

My avatar shows the instructor hands-off!teeth 2


Martin Harris09/07/2018 21:12:28
9403 forum posts
255 photos

The comment on the Blanik has me a little intrigued. I only flew one once but I don't recall it being out of the ordinary - my only abiding memory is the fearsome clanging from the "tin can" structure! Every powered aircraft I've flown has struck me as being heavy on the controls compared with any of the gliders I flew - only the ailerons on my SHK feeling at all heavy and that was probably mainly in relation to the very light elevators as a result of the all flying V tail configuration. Even that celebrated paragon of control harmonisation, the Chipmunk, felt fairly heavy overall so the Tiger Moth must be very different.

It's just struck me that I've never left the ground attached to more than one wing - perhaps I should try to remedy this in a Tiggie and experience what sounds like a revelation in the handling department!

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