Tony Palmer’s de Havilland Tiger Moth

RCAF Tiger Moth 5084 and CT-CTK

I was looking through Barnstormers and saw the plane for sale in the USA and with the change in the rules here in the UK it seemed that it ticked most boxes:-

  1. I was looking for a project to take me into retirement and this seemed a project which was not too daunting.  The fuselage was together, it had most of the bits, 3 out of 4 wings were built but not covered.  I have 3 engines in different states.
  2. The UK rules meant I can do all or most of the rebuild myself.
  3. With the rule change the completed value will hopefully rise.
  4. It is a warbird, made 1941 and can be used in its wartime colour scheme using military numbers.
  5. Spares are still generally available and those that cannot be got can be made under the LAA.
  6. It is practical to use from a grass strip.
  7. I feel like I am helping to keep some history for future generations.

After a few emails it looked good and then I spent some time on the phone talking to the seller, Jon.   We found we had a lot in common and struck up a friendship.  So I started getting shipping prices together and learning about importing planes in containers, what you must do, can’t do etc. Eventually it gelled together and I had a plan that worked (I hoped!!).

The plan as it happened:-

  1. Thursday morning fly to New York; rent a people carrier to use as a van and drive up to the Jon’s house in Essex, Connecticut and get there in time to have a quick look and then dinner, chat and then to bed.
  2. The next day the first thing after breakfast was to look at the problem and decide on required materials to buy.  Two of Jon’s buddies came across to help pack all the smaller pieces into boxes and Jon went off to buy strapping, foam, bubble wrap, parcel tape etc.
  3. The container had been dropped off the day before still on its trailer and that meant everything had to be lifted about 4’6” to get it in.
  4. The first day we wheeled/winched the fuselage up a ramp made of scaffold boards on aluminium ladders.
  5. I then constructed special brackets that picked the attachment eyes top and bottom with home-made ‘u’ bolts to hold the wings against the side of the container.
  6. The wings were loaded and then it was the heavy bits i.e. engines.
  7. We finished loading the plane on the Sunday lunchtime and went up to Cabalas, a very large hunting and outdoor shop for a bit of shopping.
  8. Monday morning at 9.00 the truck arrives (Portuguese driver) and off it goes!
  9. After that I spent a couple of hour’s sightseeing around the local town (Essex).
  10. Lunch back with Jon, said my goodbyes and then back to the Airport.
  11. Then with lots of emails about different bits of paper etc. it turned up at Southampton a few weeks later.
  12. Then it was more paperwork and haggling with the Tax people and it ended up with no duty and 5% VAT.
  13. I rented a 7.5t truck and Farry drove my Landrover with his car trailer down to the docks where the plane was decanted from its container and taken home.

 Being loaded in the USA

At Southampton

Essex town centre on a Monday Morning

5084 in its new home

Tony Palmer

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3 thoughts on “Tony Palmer’s de Havilland Tiger Moth

  1. Hello Tony,
    I have just purchased and collected a Tiger Moth from a French Museum. My twosons and I hired a 15foot trailer and towed it home to Scotland where I intend to rebuild her. I have no history of the plane at this stage but small plates with numbers are showing on each piece that we remove the fabric from. I have one complete engine and one that looks complete but isnt, its pretty empty inside but the Barrels and heads look good.
    I wont go on chatting but let me know how you progress and maybe we can swap notes.
    Kind regards

    John White
    Chairman
    Aviation Preservation Society (Scotland)

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