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Published September 14th 2011
Imagine yourself dressed in heavy leather flying jacket, helmet and goggles and strapped into the open cockpit of a beautifully restored vintage aeroplane. After a short take-off run across a well manicured grass strip you're airborne and climbing away under a brilliant blue sky – looping, rolling and spinning your way along Victoria's majestic "Surf Coast".
The RAAF operated 861 Tiger Moths throughout WW2 and until 1957.
For some people that's the sort thing dreams are made of and, if you're one of them, the chance to live the dream is close at hand.
Tiger Moth World nestles behind the sand dunes of the "Surf Coast" just near Torquay. From the criss-crossing grass runways with their white markers and fluttering windsock to the aviation memorabilia and the magnificent little aeroplanes themselves, Tiger Moth World takes visitors back to a bygone era.
The DH82 Tiger Moth first flew in 1934. Perhaps the most famous training aeroplane of all time they were produced in vast numbers to train allied aircrew during World War Two.
The RAAF operated 861 Tiger Moths, 703 of which were built on the DeHavilland Australia production line. The last 10 aircraft were retired from service on January 9th 1957.
The tandem, 2-seat Tiger Moth is perhaps the most famous training aeroplane ever built.
At Tiger Moth World your introduction to this grand old lady of the skies can be as gentle or as wild as you choose. A straight and level joy flight along the coast will provide you with some breath-taking views. Trips like the "Lighthouse Spectacular" to either the Split Point lighthouse at Aireys Inlet or the Point Lonsdale lighthouse adjacent to The Rip will set you back $300. For the same price you can have a romantic trip for two to Bells Beach and return in Tiger Moth World's "Tiger Cat" aircraft.
There's no in-flight movie up here but the view of Fort Queenscliff is just spectacular.
But if pure adrenalin is your thing you can literally have your world turned upside down.
The 'Extreme' experience will cost you $325 and is precisely that, open cockpit, wind in your face extreme aerobatics.
And yes, it is safe. To date Tiger Moth World has operated more than 20,000 flights in complete safety. Despite their flimsy appearance the Tiger Moth is as solid as a rock. They have each been meticulously rebuilt and are excellent examples of the type.
Tiger Moth World is located at 325 Blackgate Road, Torquay and offers a variety of scenic flights along the "Surf Coast" and the Great Ocean Road.
Facilities at the airstrip include a Tiger Moth museum, coffee shop and aviation gift ship. Gift vouchers, valid for six months are available. Tiger Moth World also operates from Apollo Bay Airfield, a great option if you want to take in the magnificent 12 Apostles from the air.
You can contact Tiger Moth World by telephone on (03) 5261 5797, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.tigermothworld.com.au