Pioneering Miss Flinders returns to the air

Miss Flinders aircraft returns to Launceston Airport

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The 1930 Desoutter Havilland Gipsy aircraft. Photo supplied.

The 1930 Desoutter Havilland Gipsy aircraft. Photo supplied.

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A piece of Tasmania's early commercial aviation history 'flies high' in Launceston Airport once again.

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After 20 years away and 90 years since first landing in Tasmania, Miss Flinders has returned to Launceston Airport terminal.

The Tasmanian Aviation Historical Society, in cooperation with the Launceston Airport, has done a fantastic job of returning the 1930 Desoutter Havilland Gipsy aircraft to 'the skies' in the airport terminal.

Her first flight to Flinders Island was on March 18, 1932, taking off from what was then the newly-opened Western Junction Aerodrome.

Miss Flinders had a remarkable career, and has an equally remarkable retirement, with her ongoing preservation made possible by the dedication of many passionate enthusiasts and professionals over decades since her last commercial flight.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Ferguson after 20 years at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG), Miss Flinders is back in place at the airport.

The 1930 Desoutter Havilland Gipsy aircraft. Photo supplied.

The 1930 Desoutter Havilland Gipsy aircraft. Photo supplied.

"She always brings a sense of awe and wonder to people passing through the terminal, young and old," he said.

"She has become an important part of the Launceston Airport, not only from her earliest days in the transport industry but also being put on display for the opening of the new terminal in 1966 as well as her return in time for the airport's 90th anniversary last year.

"Like so many who have grown up in the Launceston area, I have very fond and vivid memories of Miss Flinders suspended as if in flight at the Launceston airport. I feel so happy that she returns home to bring wonder and local history to more children for years to come.

"I encourage everyone coming through the airport to stop and have a look at this important piece of Tasmanian aviation history, and take in the interpretative display."

The project was funded by the Launceston Airport, the Tasmanian Government and the Tasmanian Aviation Historical Society (TAHS).

Federal Member for Bass Bridget Archer said the Government had agreed to gift Miss Flinders to TAHS for storage, care and future display of the aircraft after being presented with a proposal from the society.

"We know the role Miss Flinders played in early commercial aviation history in Tasmania and I appreciate the important role that TAHS is taking on in the ongoing preservation of Miss Flinders and Tasmanian aviation history more broadly.

"TAHS has a plan to increase its support and funding base for the care of the aircraft, which plays an important part in Tasmania's aviation history after becoming the first aircraft to fly between Launceston and Flinders Island in 1932."

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the council was delighted that the Society will become the new custodian of this important piece of early Tasmanian aeronautical history.

The aircraft was built by M. Marcel Desoutter in the UK in the late 1920s and powered with a De Havilland Gypsy Mk III engine. It begun its service in Ireland before travelling to Australia in early 1932.

A public appeal in the 1960s funded the cost of transporting the aircraft back to Launceston from the mainland and its restoration for display, with the work to restore the aircraft undertaken by volunteers from the Airforce Association and Tasmanian Aero Club.

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