Rest assured, Mackay’s Tiger Moths are safe and sound

Acting as a team, these members of the Mackay Tiger Moth Museum (from left) Peter Currey, Greg Christensen, Barry Dean, Ian Thomason and Ross Robotham flew the second Tiger Moth to Mackay in 2011.
Acting as a team, these members of the Mackay Tiger Moth Museum (from left) Peter Currey, Greg Christensen, Barry Dean, Ian Thomason and Ross Robotham flew the second Tiger Moth to Mackay in 2011. Tony Martin

THE Mackay community can rest assured the region's two Tiger Moths are in tip-top condition, despite a fatal crash in the south.

Video footage recently captured the wing of a Tiger Moth snapping off during an aerobatic manoeuvre performed off the Gold Coast.

The plane crashed into the ocean, killing the pilot and passenger.

Mackay Tiger Moth Museum owner Barry Dean said he had been flying Tiger Moth planes since 1973 but had stopped performing aerobatics not long afterwards.

He said back then, there were four or five pilots flying the same plane and performing their own tricks.

"You're not quite sure what the last pilot had done... whether he'd overstressed the engine or not," Mr Dean said.

"We did ruin an engine from over-revs at one stage."

The museum has two Tiger Moths.

Mr Dean said the Tiger Moth was initially built and used by the air force to train pilots.

"They had to do a lot of aerobatic manoeuvres," he said.

While both Mackay planes were inspected regularly, Mr Dean said when anyone asked about aerobatics, they were referred to other aircraft in the area.

"You're pulling up to five Gs... which is five times your weight... that really loads up your wings," Mr Dean said.

"When you're doing spins, you've got loads (or stresses) on the tail plate and rudder.

"We're trying to preserve the aeroplane.

"And there are quite a lot of different pilots flying (them)."

Mr Dean said it was easier to monitor stresses put on a plane when there was just one pilot flying it.

"If he knows he's overstressed it, he'll get on the ground and have it checked out."

Mr Dean added he could not say for certain what happened to the Tiger Moth on the Gold Coast.

"Anything could happen... from pilot error to something failing in the aeroplane," he said.

"In this particular case, we just don't know.

"We just have to wait and see what the investigation brings up."

Topics:  airport mackay

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