Tiger Moth VH UEQ....A New Love in Our Life

"For Sale. One DH82A De Havilland Tiger Moth, VH-UEQ, 4 cylinder Gypsy Major engine, built by General Motors Holden, Melbourne, serial no FU78.  By the Order of Commonwealth Disposals, This Year of 1944, on 7th June. Built to RAAF Order A17-78 on 2nd September 1940. Has served on 13 different RAAF bases (including storage) as a basic trainer.

100 Pounds, No Further Offers, Going Once, Going Twice and Sold to D. Hardwick of Morgan, Sth Australia!

15th March, 1962, VH-UEQ was re- registered to John Henderson of Adelaide.


VH-UEQ at Parafield Airfield, South Australia. This picture was taken in 1964 by John Smith of Pt Willunga at the Air Race from Brisbane to Adelaide. Our girl was one of the 110 competitors.

Gordon Hasting bought her for 1200 pounds and she was re-registered on 15th March 1967 in his name. She was brought back to the family farm near Maitland, Yorke Peninsula, still in South Australia but now living on a big mixed cereal farm. Gordon had started flying at 19 years old after spending hours reading the old Biggles comics! At the time, this was considered an extravagant lifestyle, wasting money and frowned upon! Dudley Bond was just one Instructor at Parafield that taught Gordon to fly.   

Butler Re-Union Weekend, Minlaton, South Australia, August 30-31, 1966. Included in a mail drop from a Tiger Moth aircraft, VH-UEQ, piloted by Gordon Hasting.

Gordon and his wife May, had a daughter Lee, named after Adrian Lee, a cropduster friend. There are 4 sons, Mark, who served in the RAAF for 26 years, David, Andrew and Richard, who until he was 4 years old wouldn't go near the Tiger Moth. It wasn't until Richard sat on his sister's lap for a fly that he changed. Now you can't keep him out of a plane and he "loves the Tiger Moth to bits!" He tells me that he remembers Dad doing streamer cutting and dropping small bags of chips and lollies for school picnics and charities. He also used to fly for people who wanted to do aerial photography from the Moth. Gordon strapped young Richard in the front at about the age of 5 years old and at 9,  he was flying from the front. At 11, he was landing the Tiger Moth from the back. No wonder he has such an affinity with this Lady! Richard's father died while still young and ownership of the Tiger Moth was shared then by Richard and Mark.

Richard was instructed to his Private Pilot Licence and the Commercial Pilot Licence by Des O'Driscoll. Des was the most senior flying instructor in South Australia, based at Pinnaroo. Instead of expecting the students to come to him, he took the training to the students, and thus is well known in many outback areas of Australia. Des lived in the family home and stayed with you for about 3 weeks and became a friend and mentor. Des himself took his own first flying lesson in a Tiger Moth at the age of 16. He put all of his savings into lessons to pursue his dream and achieved his Commercial Licence in 1962 and became the first Commercial Pilot of the Pinnaroo Aero Club.

Now, at just 21 years old, Richard started flying commercially. He gained his Agricultural Pilot Rating and started  Ag flying around Maitland - now he was officially a "Cropduster" ! Water bombing for fire control and aerial spraying have been part of his commercial career in an Air Tractor. (For more information, go to www.airtractor.com )  He went to Malaysia for 3 years, spreading fertilizer on palm oil plantations. He was doing up to 200 landings a day. That must really sharpen you up!! Meanwhile, the Tiger Moth was staying in a shed at home, back in South Australia.

Back to Australia and he has been involved in the last 10 years flying the Ag Tractor for Aerotech Australasia. He has been to so many major fires! On this side of the gulf, Richard spent 3 days spreading oil dispersant on an oil spill from Port Stanvac that went all the way down the coast towards Aldinga about 5-6 kms. He has now clocked up a total time of over 10,000 hours. Awesome!

Amazingly, he found the time to marry his beautiful girlfriend Nicole 15 years ago,and they  have little 2 year old Georgia and a new baby due in May! He is now a Senior Flying Instructor for Recreational Aviation and owns his own Flying School at Maitland, YP Sport Aviation. He is also a part owner in a Tecnam P96 Golf.  I think he is still just 38 years old!! 

Martyn, test flying her at Maitland with Richard....He's disappeared to go and get more headsets!

The Tiger Moth has been in the Hasting family for 40 years and is a well known and loved aircraft at Maitland Airfield. Richard remembers that the fabric was all original, but it was tatty, untidy and "ordinary". Ordinary is a word commonly used by pilots to describe all sorts of things, including the weather. They are not being complimentary! The engine had already been restored by Barry Linnard. So, in 1992, Harvey McBain, our own engineer now of Nelson Aeroplane Co., Nelson Victoria, began her restoration and it was completed in 1995 at a cost of $55,000. She is beautiful and I am trying to come up with some funky graphics to suit her!

Bonnie in the Moth with her Dad.... off to practice take offs and landings....

The Smith family in the biplane. We love her already....MMGB xxxx

I know that Richard and Maitland are missing her already, but we are happy to share. Maybe she can be a trainer again!   

Ready to go for an evening flight.... Great light, Johnny Photo! 
We are ready to go off into the sunset along the coast in the Moth.... 

Hurry up, Mrs Smith!!
Look at the Light! Look at the Light, Johnny Photo!!
Martyn is not into the light, just the conditions! .... We are an "arty, farty" lot though!
Thank you, Richard xx for the trust xx





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