Every day Whitsunday Tigermoth Adventures does an aerobatic exhibition over the beach — which means right over ADAGIO. The biplane is piloted by Peter Hearnshaw and Warwick Woinarski, crewed by “crash test dummy”/ground crew Lynne Robinson, and accompanied by adequately brave visitors.
The DH-82A Tiger Moth was designed and built by De Havilland and was first flown at Stag Lane Airfield England in 1931, just 28 years after the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Only 8,800 were built with a small number still flying today which is testament to the extreme reliability of this aircraft. It is fully aerobatic as the flying surfaces are made of timber and fabric “rag & tube”. Pilots who flew these aircraft were, and are still known as “stick & rudder” pilots. Unlike modern aircraft with sophisticated trim and stable flight design, the Tiger Moth is a true “seat of the pants” flying experience.
VH-ARU was shipped in pieces from England and assembled in Melbourne in 1940. The Gipsy Major engine was built under license by General Motors Holden. It was first registered by the Royal Australian Air Force as A17-237 and was used as a training aircraft. After the war, VH-ARU was sold to a crop dusting company in Western Australia. Since then it has had 2 other private collector owners and was rebuilt in 1997. Whitsunday Tiger Moth Adventures bought the plane in 2006 where it now sees its days taking people on flights over the beautiful Whitsunday Islands.