Restored WW2 plane takes off from Robin Hood Airport

The restored Tiger Moth takes off from Robin Hood Airport.
The restored Tiger Moth takes off from Robin Hood Airport.

A fully restored aircraft which patrolled the skies above Britain during World War Two has taken to the air once more.

Robin Hood Airport was the home to a nostalgic look back at the 1940s when the fully refurbished Tiger Moth took off for its first test flight.

The aeroplane, which was built in 1941 at Morris Motors, Cowley, has been based at Aerospace NDT Ltd at Robin Hood and for the last two years, has been overhauled and restored to its original RAF specification.

In front of a number of onlookers, the aeroplane took off for its maiden test flight from Doncaster to Treswell, Nottinghamshire.

It was flown by flight instructor and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) examiner Richard Flanagan, who has had more than thirty years’ experience of flying Tiger Moths.

David Firth, who has owned the plane for five years, said: “It was exciting moment to see the Tiger Moth back flying again. The first test flight was a success, and the aeroplane will now go on to continue its test sequence. If she performs as she should, which I am confident she will, we can then apply for a permit to fly.”

He added: “I’d like to thank everyone at Doncaster Sheffield Airport for their help and co-operation in letting this happen. It was a great occasion with many exciting people jumping around when the aeroplane took off.”

From the 1930s, the Tiger Moth was used by the RAF as a basic trainer aeroplane for almost all of their pilots.

By the start of the Second World War, the RAF had 500 of the aircraft in service and in 1940, a number were fitted with bomb racks for anti-submarine operations, some were used for photograph reconnaissance, with a few converted for use as air ambulances in Burma. After the war, many ex RAF aircraft became civilian trainers, while others were used for crop spraying or passenger carrying.

This particular Tiger Moth served at RAF Holme on Spalding Moor and RAF Wickenby during World War II.

Added David: “It’s apt that this particular aircraft spent a lot of its time in this area during World War II, where she was largely used as what was known as a ‘station hack’, a flying pool car in other words.

“The museum at Wickenby airfield were kind enough to provide us with a copy of the control tower records for this period, which shows all the aeroplane’s movements, when and where she went, and even who was on board.

“It would be wonderful if we could reunite any of those people with the aircraft after all these years.”

Chris Harcombe, head of aviation development at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: “We were thrilled to be a part of the Tiger Moth’s maiden test flight, and very proud to see it take off from Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

“It looked magnificent in flight and it was a great moment to see it back in the air again.”