After a visit to Omaka, NZ, Australian aviator Andrew Carter was inspired by the WWI replica aircraft that live there, and became determined to set-up a similar operation in Australia. The result is The Australian Vintage Aviation Society (TAVAS) based in Caboolture, QLD.
TAVAS was formed to bring together Australians who shared a love of building and flying replica aircraft from WWI and the first 25 years of aviation, and Carter found no shortage of people to jump on board with his project.
“Simply put, we want to see more WWI aircraft under construction and in the air. We want to make this as easy and as enjoyable as possible for anyone who wants to do so”, he said.
“We have a team of directors, all volunteers, who have great and varied experience – most with extensive aviation and business backgrounds.
"We also have two teachers with strong interest in aviation, particularly from this period, who will work to make education assist programs within the museum for teachers and students alike."
Carter needed a drawcard from the outset, and when a replica Fokker DR.1 came on the market in Florida, he knew it would be a perfect fit for TAVAS.
A representation of one of Von Richtofen's famous triplanes, it had some Australian connection as it was Australian soliders who shot down and buried the Red Baron, and many artifacts from the original are in museums here today.
The DR.1 came to Australia and recently formed the centrepiece of an open day called Meet the Fokkers, where it went on public display alongside an E.III Eindekker, a DVII and DVIII.
The last three aircraft are on a 17-year loan from German enthusiast Achim Engles, and will require some work to get them to airworthy status.
It's a very good start for this burgeoning society, and Carter has no qualms about looking across the Tasman to see what the society should aim to be.
"“We can learn a lot from the Kiwis about how to run air shows and aviation museums”, he said. “They have an amazing aviation culture. They make great use of syndicates to fund incredible projects and they have very skilled people who can make any component required.
"Their vintage aviation collection is amazing – none more so then what is being done at Peter Jackson’s The Vintage Aviator.”
For now, the society is looking to build its membership base and gather around them the skills to make TAVAS an Australian institution to be proud of.
More information on TAVAS is available on their website at www.tavas.com.au.