Historic Moth restored in Norway

At Kjeller, 15 miles north of Oslo, de Havilland DH60M LN-KFM (c/n 711) made its first flight for 87 years on 18 April following a 10-year restoration by the Kjeller Flyhistoriske Forening (KFF). At the controls of the 1929-vintage, metal-fuselage Moth was KFF chief pilot Helge Storflor. The Norwegian Army’s flight school at Kjeller used 13 DH60Ms between 1929-39, the last 10 of which were built there by Hærens Flyvefabrikk.

Helge Storflor says: “None of the Norwegian DH60Ms were preserved for posterity, so we had to get a wreck from Australia that we have rebuilt”. The aircraft was acquired by the KFF during 2005 from an owner in the state of Victoria, who had discovered the fuselage stored in Mascot, New South Wales during May 1993. The project was led by Per-Øivind Skarphol. Helge added: “We have a rich environment for veteran aircraft here. They have done a fabulous job.”

Originally registered VH-UKC to de Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd of Melbourne in May 1929, the machine then embarked on a sales tour, during which it was flown by Maj Hereward de Havilland — the younger brother of Geoffrey de Havilland — who had overseen the setting-up of the company’s Australian subsidiary two years earlier. On 29 September that year, ’UKC was one of 17 aircraft to take the start of the Western Australian Centenary Air Race at Mascot, with Hereward at the helm once again. The long-distance race, staged to celebrate the centenary of the founding of Perth, covered the 2,450-mile route from Sydney to Perth, Hereward being the only pilot to fly the event solo. He arrived at Maylands Aerodrome, Perth on 7 October to win the speed section and claim the £300 prize, having been airborne for a total of 22 hours 52 minutes. The aircraft was then sold to an R. B. Pearson at Brewarrina, NSW in April 1930, but it was only briefly operated by him before crashing at Miowera on 4 May. The wreck went to the Aero Club of NSW at Mascot for a rebuild, but this was not proceeded with and the aircraft became a spares source.

Helge Storflor flying DH60M Moth LN-KFM near Kjeller in mid-April.

The Norwegian restoration team sourced the 100hp de Havilland Gipsy I engine from Belgium, and had it overhauled at Little Gransden, Cambridge shire, by Vintec. A new set of wings was constructed, and new windscreens moulded. The Moth has been painted in the markings of the last of the 13 DH60Ms delivered to the Norwegian military.