Royal Victorian Aero Club

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The Royal Victorian Aero Club is an Australian aero club based at Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne. Originating in 1914 (six years before the national airline Qantas) it is amongst the world's oldest Aviation organisations.[citation needed]

History[edit]

Founded by pioneer aviators in 1914 at Point Cook, the club is one of Australia's oldest flying training organisations.

The Australian Aero Club was formed on 28 October 1914 (and formally established on 9 April 1915) and was subsequently affiliated with the Royal Aero Club of Great Britain. The original hand-written minutes of this historic meeting establishing the club are preserved today.[citation needed]

Renamed the Victorian Aero Club in October 1934, on 13 March 1935 approval to use the “Royal” prefix was granted and since that date the institution has been known as the Royal Victorian Aero Club.

While originally formed at Point Cook, in 1919 the Club transferred operations to what was then the Commonwealth Aerodrome (or sometimes referred to as St Johns Field) on Bulla Road in Essendon. Club operations were some of the first from St John's Field, as the aerodrome was not officially opened until 1922.

The Civil Aviation Department provided support to the Australian Aero Club, by providing an establishment gift of six DeHavilland Gypsy Moth aircraft two of which were allocated to the Victorian Chapter. The two Victorian Gypsy Moths, (G-AUAL and G-UAUG) arrived in July 1926 by ship and within a month they were taking part in a major aerial display at Essendon to celebrate the arrival of solo flyer A. J. Cobham of from England. The Flying Section of the Club was officially opened by Lieutenant Governor Sir William Irvine on 21 August 1926.

In 1934 club member 28 year-old Freda Thompson flew her DH Moth Major solo from England to Australia in 19 days - the first Australian women fly the route (also notable for her record 512 hr flight from Koepang to Darwin).[citation needed] Freda Thompson was Club President in 1948.

Operations were somewhat limited during the Second World War, and Essendon Airport subsequently became the primary commercial airport for Melbourne, the increased airliner traffic limiting private operations. Thus, in December 1949 the Club transferred to and became the first operator on what were once market-gardens on Centre Dandenong Road, at the newly established Moorabbin Airport, southeast of the city. A massive growth in the number of flying hours took place in the 1950s and 1960s, aided in part by a Commonwealth Government edict providing some subsidies for private flying training.[citation needed]

Identities[edit]

The Foundation Members[citation needed] of the Royal Victorian Aero Club were:

  • Group Captain Sir Thomas White (original member of the Aero Club at Point Cook in 1914 then President of the Australian Aero Club Victorian Section in 1926).
  • Wing Commander HG Rigby.
  • Major HT Shaw.
  • Brigadier GM Moore.

Some of those who played a vital role in Club flying operations and who have trained thousands of Australian aviators include:

Laurie McPherson, Instructor 1950–1951. CFI 1952–1960, 1969–1970 and Manager 1961–1968 and 1978–1985. Pilot who conducted tests on behalf of the Australian Department of Civil Aviation to closely examine the spinning characteristics of the DHC Chipmunk.[citation needed]

John Lindsay, Honorary Life Member, one-time CFI and manager and pre-eminent club member from 1945 to 2007.

H Owen Jones, an employee for 42 years.

Roy F Goon, first flew with RVAC in 1933, flew CAC Boomerang aircraft during Second World War in Darwin and Gove (Sqdn. Ldr. 83 Sqdn).[citation needed] Commanding Officer of l l l MFCU at Labuan. He held this position from 14 Feb 1943 to 7 Sep 1945 and was a test pilot with the RAAF, Commonwealth Aircraft Factory and Royal Flying Doctor Service. Held Commercial Pilot Licence No 511 and was an Instructor at the RVAC for 40 years and Chief Flying Instructor in 1977. Goon was a member of the well-known Chinese-Australian family from Ballarat, Victoria.[1][2]

George Campbell referred to by pioneer avaitrix Nancy Bird-Walton as "a man who became a great trainer of pilots in the last war years." [3]

Club Operations[edit]

The Royal Victorian Aero Club provides aircraft and facilities for pilot training and private flying at Moorabbin Airport.

The Club currently trains pilots from various overseas countries and also offers an annual Scholarship as well as fly-aways and regular competitions.

Additionally, the club (with the RAAF Roulettes as Patron) operates the Young Eagles programme for Victorians between 12 and 17 years of age, designed to introduce flying to potential aviators.

Aircraft[edit]

Previous aircraft[edit]

In the boom times of the 1950s much of the training and private flying was undertaken in the legendary De Havilland Moth series of aircraft (primarily the de Havilland Tiger Moth).

The De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk and Victa Airtourer were used in the 1960s followed subsequently by a limited number of Beechcraft aircraft and in much greater numbers, the reliable Piper Aircraft and Cessna, current models of which remain the backbone of the fleet today.

Current Fleet[edit]

[4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]