Mildura Weekly : Friday March 21 2014 Vol 8 No 20
Mildura Weekly – 21/03/14 17 www.milduraphonebook.com.au A FLEET of one of the world’s most collectible aircraft, the Australian designed Victa Airtourer, manufactured by the famous lawnmower com- pany, will fly into Wentworth today for three days of activi- ties. About 25 Airtourer pi- lots and passengers will be hosted by the Sunraysia Sport Aircraft Club, with plenty of activities planned, including sight-seeing trips tomorrow, a pool-side welcome din- ner, ageing aircraft seminar (many of the aircraft are around 60 years old), air- craft hanger inspections, an aerodrome barbecue and tour of Wentworth Art- back gallery. SSAC secretary Brian Middleton said Monday has been set aside for a fly-in lunch at Mungo Lodge. Brian said the Victa Air- tourer has an interesting his- tory, and one that makes it a unique and highly sought-af- ter collector’s vintage aircraft. The Airtourer is the re- sult of a competition organ- ised by Australia’s Royal Aero Club in 1953. The winning design was by Henry Millicer, chief aerodynamicist of Aus- tralia’s Government Aircraft Factories. A wooden prototype built by the Air Tourer Group of the Australian Ultra Light Aircraft Association in Williamstown, Melbourne, during the late 1950s and carrying the well- known registration VH-FMM (Foxtrot Mickey Mouse in Australian aviation history) was first flown on March 31, 1959. The prototype is still on display in the Melbourne Museum. The Airtourer design is a cantilever low-wing mono- plane configuration with fixed ‘tricycle’ landing gear. It has interconnected ailerons and flaps, with these systems functioning as both ailerons and flaps when operated. The nose wheel was steerable, and there was available space for no more than 45kg in lug- gage. The aircraft was dem- onstrated to aero clubs and flying schools as a possible replacement for existing training aircraft, mostly Tiger Moths and Chipmunks. Interest was shown in the design by Mervyn Rich- ardson, chairman of Victa ltd, which at that time was best known for making lawn mowers and light two-stroke engines. Richardson was in- terested in entering an avia- tion-related industry. From 1961 to 1966, Victa undertook production of the all-metal Airtourer, building both 100 hp and 115 hp mod- els. As the Australian Govern- ment had rejected Victa’s appeals for tariff protection assistance, and for funding assistance to keep the produc- tion lines open, the company had no choice other than to close down its Aviation Di- vision in February, 1966, by which time it had built 168 of the aircraft. The manufacturing rights were bought the following year by Aero Engine Ser- vices Ltd of NZ, which produced 80 more of the 115 hp and 150 hp model aircraft up to 1973. Ironi- cally, one of its largest off- shore orders came from the Royal Australian Air Force, which bought 51 of the Airtourers for training purposes. An estimated 90 Airtour- ers remain in Australia, with another 20 spread around New Zealand and the Unit- ed Kingdom. At the height of production they sold for around $210,000. About the aircraft. It was a two-seater (side by side), powered by a single Lycom- ing O-235 flat four piston engine. The wingspan was just under eigt metres, its length was 6.5 metres, and it weighed in empty at 490 kgs (750kg under full load). Max- imum speed was 228 kph, with a cruising speed around 175kph. The Airtourer could operate to 14,000ft, and had a flying range up to 1140kms. Vintage Victa fly-in visit to Wentworth MILDURA art lovers will get a fair taste of Africa by way of a unique painting and photographic show – comprising around 50 exhibits – for a month from Thursday, March 27. The display at Gallery 25 in Deakin Avenue, appropriately titled ‘Out of Africa,’ is the result of a trip by eight women, including four from Mildura, late last year. The work of the Mildura ‘fab four,’ in paintings and photographs, along with individual artists from Jerilderie and Numurkah, will make up the exhibition. Mildura artist Elizabeth Phil- lips, 73, helped organise the art show, and says that coincidentally, she and the two visiting artists were all taught by the same painter, Lance McNeill, a Melbourne-based artist who regularly toured regional centres of Victoria and NSW to con- duct workshops. Other Mildura contributors are Jenni Waller, Glenda Moyle and Ja- net Stanbrook. Also making a con- tribution will be John Cooper, the man who organised the latest Afri- can safari, and who, with Elizabeth, is planning a follow-up safari for later this year. Now Sydney-based, John is a teacher who taught the Phillips children at Coomealla High School, and boarded with the family for 12 months, during which time he took groups of children on adventure tours into the Australian outback. Elizabeth said the African trip was an amazing adventure, with an abundance of wild animals, incred- ible scenery and friendly, welcom- ing people. “I am excited about the next trip, and really looking forward to it,” she said. “People are welcome to join the trip, and can contact me on 50 248845 for details.” Taste of Africa at Gallery 25 • WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: Images of Africa that will form part of the Gallery 25 art show from March 27. RIGHT - M ildura women on the safari were Glenda Moyle (second from left), Janet Stanbrook next to her, then Jenni Waller, with Elizabeth Phillips second from the right (and INSET). DEMO RIDE DAY SATURDAY 29th MARCH Mildura Motorcycles invite you to exclusively demo ride the Triumph motorcycle range. Bookings are essential as timeslots are limited get in early to avoid disappointment. Ph: (03) 5023 2046 Email: email@example.com 733 Fifteenth St Mildura LMCT 8145 DEMO RIDE DAY SAT URDAY 29th MARCH LMCT 8145 www.triumphmotorcycles.com.au All riders must be wearing appropriate protective clothing and footwear.
Friday March 14 2014 VOL 8 No 19
Friday March 28 2014 Vol 8 No 21