Benalla’s Aviation Museum has a new attraction after Men’s Shed members completed the restoration of a World War II-era Tiger Moth.
The vintage plane was bought as a wreck after it experience a minor crash in 2008 and plans have been in place for more than seven years to bring it back to its former glory.
Aviation Museum president Craig Morrison said that the aircraft will not be able to fly, however, the engine can be started and it can taxi.
‘‘We bought the Tiger Moth as a wreck from South Australia and we’ve rebuilt it from the back cockpit forward,’’ he said.
‘‘So everything from there has been rebuilt, the engine, all the timber work and the four new wings that have been purchased to finish it off.
‘‘The project has been going since 2010, and it’s the first time the plane has looked like it did originally since 2008.
‘‘It’s rebuilt to a running static, which means it will start and taxi, but it won’t fly as it’s too expensive to get it back to that condition.
‘‘It’s more of a memorial piece to honour the guys who fought in World War II and it’s a great centrepiece for the museum.’’
The aircraft, one of seven currently housed in the Aviation Museum, stands as a memorial to the thousands of trainee pilots, instructors and ground staff that served at Benalla during World War II.
The project has been possible thanks to generous donations from the RSL and other benefactors.
Getting all four wings put on marked a huge milestone and involved reattaching a multitude of bracing wires as well as physically connecting them to the fuselage.
Craig said that the Tiger Moth looks magnificent, and is another reason for locals and visitors alike to spend some time at the museum.
‘‘It’s really important for us to have this aircraft here,’’ he said.
‘‘Benalla Airport was an original training facility in World War II. We are based in an original Bellman hanger, so it’s quite significant as it is the type of plane that was based here in the 1940’s.’’
The museum is open on Wednesdays and Sundays from 9am to 3pm and tour groups can arrange a visit on other days by appointment.
●For more information or to book a tour group, phone Craig Morrison on 0429629415.