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279. Christmas came early


It’s a requirement for private pilots to do an hour with an instructor every other year, and this year Theo and I decided to do so with Clive Davidson in one of his iconic Tiger Moths biplanes, restored, like 1264, to pristine perfection, exactly as she was in 1940.

All RAF pilots did their first flying hours in the Tiger Moth, and it remains one of the classic biplane designs of all time, and we happened to pick an absolutely perfect day for it on the Thursday before Christmas.

I flew to Henstridge in Dorset in the Escapade – a pleasure in itself – and here’s my take on the flight. If you’d like to have a go yourself, you couldn’t be in safer hands than with Clive or partner Annabel, and with limitless tea and coffee and aviation-related yarns in the hangar, both before and afterwards. Ring Clive on 07855 452097 or check their website here.

Enough advertising. Here’s the video.


From → Flying

  1. How would you compare the Tiger with the Scout?

  2. Well, in some ways they are surprisingly similar. The controls are the same, the number of wings is the same, the wheels are in the same place and with the same number of brakes (none), and the air conditioning is much the same (though it’s possible to remove your goggles in flight in the Tiger Moth, which is definitely not advisable in the Scout).
    In other ways, though, the Tiger is a considerable step forward. It’s stable in pitch for a start, which means you can have a trimmer (an adjustable spring). I didn’t check out the stability in other axes, but you can take your feet off the rudder pedals without having it flop fully over, which is a novelty. Of course it’s famously sensitive in yaw – the rudder is very light and very sensitive, so keeping the ball in the middle is very hard. Oh – and turns to left and right are more or less the same; with an engine that stays still while the crankshaft rotates, and a little toothpick of a propeller, there’s none of this precession lark. Oh – and it’s an absolute pussycat to land, with decent suspension. You can manage a little bit of crosswind. Not that you need it for landing – it’s possible to stop on grass within about 20m! And finally, you can generally taxi it under control, though Clive failed to turn it downwind after four tries at one point!
    All told, a real joy.

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