1938 DH 82a Tiger Moth N-5490

This website has been established to record the history, restoration and return to airworthiness of 1938 Tiger Moth N-5490.
The website is dedicated to the de Havilland engineers who created the Tiger Moth and to the pilots who learned to fly on them
and went on to distinguished wartime and post-war flying careers.

If anyone can add to the information presented on this website, please make contact.

Scroll down this page for the latest project news.

The N-5490 project is a proud supporter of the RAF Charitable Trust.


The Crew Room

The Pilots

de Havilland Tiger Moth N82KF, alias N-5490, resting quietly at Harvey Field, Snohomish on 29th January 2012 before acquisition.
Appearances can be deceptive.  After sitting in this open T hangar for over ten years, the airframe had deteriorated singificantly.
On close inspection and stripping down, many wounds from a long and hard life were uncovered.

N-5490 is currently undergoing a meticulous restoration to full airworthiness and will be restored
as closely as possible to its original 1938 specification and 20 ERFTS colours, including its original
pre-war instrumentation and Air Ministry equipment.
Follow the restoration here.

If you would like to support the restoration of this historic aircraft, please make contact.

Latest Project News

18th March 2014  Bill Graham gets ready to fire up N82KF at Schellville, California in the summer of 1987.
This and two more superb photos have turned up recently.  They were taken by the late Mike Ody and were kindly passed along
by George Trussell via Air Britain.  The other two photos may be found in the Crew Room.

30th December 2013  Apologies for not having reported any news or restoration progress for over a year - where does the time go?
I will be making more updates shortly - particularly relating to the restoration which is now getting under way.
Just before Christmas, I received an e-mail from Jim Hutchings, aged 85 who learned to fly in N-5490 in 1949 at 21 EFTS, RAF Booker.
He was a trainee Army pilot training to be a glider pilot.  He went on to Airspeed Horsas.  That was 64 years ago and Jim is the only living pilot
I have been able to trace who flew N-5490 in its RAF service days.  His logbook shows that he flew N-5490 twelve times during his flight training.
I have added a page to the Pilots section of the website, detailing Jim's service career and his association with N-5490.

2nd December 2012  On a bright September morning in 1986, N-5490 arrives at Petaluma, California at the end of its epic delivery flight from Fairbanks, Alaska.
What makes this photograph remarkable is that I took it!  See many more of my photos of the arrival in the Crew Room.

23rd November 2012  More pilot biographies of those who trained and instructed at 20 ERFTS are being added t0 the Pilots page.
So far, fifteen have been written and there are many more in the research phase that will be added in due course.
Included are remarkable stories of courage, sacrifice, achievement, humour and record breaking that make compelling reading.

19th November 2012  Filling up somewhere along the Alcan - the Alaska Canada Highway in the Yukon - on the epic flight from Fairbanks, Alaska to
Petaluma, California in September 1986.  Note the packed snow on the ground.  The Tiger was landed on the dirt road every few hundred miles for a fill-up,
creating quite a spectacle for the other customers.  This and many other superb images of N-5490 were sent in by Dave Treversi today.

18th November 2012 Ken French sent over a set of photos of N-5490 this week that were taken when he operated
the aeroplane from Plum Island in the seventies.  Here's a delightful study taken over the coast near the airport.

12th November 2012  Today a discussion forum was added to the website so that frequent updates on the restoration can be posted
and everyone can become involved more directly in the project.  Just click The Crew Room link at the top of this page,
register and you will become an active part of the project.

Remembrance Day 2012 I was sent this tribute to Flt Lt Ian Smith today.  It is the remarkable story of another heroic pilot
that should never be forgotten.  With thanks to Peter Hills, who comments: "A sober read, amazing he was not awarded the DFC and DSO".

8th November 2012  This evening I uploaded a tribute to my parents - both DH workers - here.
Among other things, this page tells the story of the October 1940 bombing of Hatfield and includes
many images of the downed Ju-88 and the terrible damage it wreaked.

4th November 2012  Today this website was re-hosted to its new, permanent home here at www.N5490.org.
Many more files have been uploaded and the content will continue to expand in the coming days, weeks and months.

31st October 2012  This morning I received this e-mail from Bill Clark:

"I am very pleased to have been pointed to your website and found it fascinating.  It was a huge surprise to see the photos of Gravesend Airport as it was then known and,
as a "flying/aviation mad keen eighteen-year old" spent many an hour on the outside of that place watching the newly formed 20 ERFTS Tigers performing
and it was this that induced me to apply to the RAFVR to train as a Pilot at Gravesend's sister airport, Rochester, also in Kent. I was successful in my application
but it was not until WWII was underway that I was called to commence my flying training on Tigers.  By this time most training establishments had moved away from the southern part of England
and so I trained in The Midlands at Desford EFTS on the western side of the City of Leicester.  At the end of my training in various other places in the UK I flew off the aircraft carrier Ark Royal
in a long-range Hurricane Mk II to Malta and later went on to join other Fighter Pilots in squadrons in the Egyptian and Libyan Deserts in 1941/42.
As you would expect I am now a 92 year old person but still very much interested in all things aviational concerning WWII.
I will continue to look on your website for updates of your project and wish you every success in this venture.
With very Best regards, Will"

31st October 2012 Mike Lithgow's logbook from 1939 when he was learning to fly with No. 20 ERFTS, Gravesend is preserved in the museum at Brooklands.
Mike mentions in his autobiography, 'Mach 1', that the only memorable event at Gravesend was spinning the Tiger Moth, which made him violently ill.
This entry in Mike's logbook for July 6th 1939 shows that he did his spinning in N-5490 with his instructor Pilot Officer Porter.

This morning I received this e-mail from Pilot Officer Porter's son Peter.

"When my father moved from Bexleyheath, Kent, he left a lot of stuff in the attic at the old house.  It is a great pity that one of the items
that he left was his log book, particularly as I would loved to have had it after he passed away in 1999.  It would have been a mine of information
and I would have dearly loved to use all that information as part of the website that I was able to put together.  If you look at the site
you will see that he kept an amazing amount of stuff from his time in the RAF, including photographs and training excerpts,
but not the most important item, his logbook.  The chap who bought his house called him to ask if he wanted it but
my father told him not to bother,  It's possible that it is still available so I will see if the current owner still has it.
I can't remember the address, but my brother may be able to tell me.  I'll call him tomorrow and see if he can remember."

30th October 2012  The task of uploading biographies of thr RN pilots who learned to fly at Gravesend in the summer of 1939,
including several who are known to have flown N-5490 is underway and can be found here.
Many more are waiting to be added and research continues.  We are particularly interested in tracing the logbooks of these pilots.
Four logs have been traced so far, and of these four, two of the pilots - Mike Lithgow and Anthony Tuke - trained on N-5490.
Heroes one and all.

27th October 2012  Website launched.

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