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Tipsy Trainer

The Tipsy Trainer was the British-built version of the Belgian Tipsy B which was made at the Avions Tipsy factory at Gosselies Aerodrome, Charleroi. The first flight of a Tipsy B was on 8 May 1937. The company name Tipsy is derived from the designer Ernest Tips.

 

Before the Second World War, Tipsy Aircraft moved to a site in Liverpool Road on the Slough Trading Estate. Sixteen Tipsy Trainers were built before the conflict began and the incomplete airframes of three more were hoisted up into the rafters in the hope that they could be completed when peace returned. During the war the company made components for aircraft vital for the war effort, notably for Mosquito aircraft.

Tipsy Trainer G-AISA

 

After the Second World War, the three part-finished airframes were completed in 1947-48 and were registered as G-AISA, G-AISB and G-AISC, their construction numbers were 17, 18 and 19 respectively. Components for two other airframes had been burnt during the harsh winter of 1946 to heat the factory and help to set glue. G-AISA, made its first flight in April 1947 from Fairey Aircrafts Great Western Aerodrome, nowadays known as London Heathrow.

 

Soon after the completion of G-AISC, the nineteenth aircraft built on the trading estate, the company closed in Slough. A total of 42 Tipsy Trainers were built in Belgium and at Slough.

Tipsy Trainer G-AFVN

This aircraft, construction number 12, was built in 1939 at Slough. It was use by the RAF during World War Two but from October 1945 the aircraft was returned to the civil register as G-AFVN. In June 2014 it was transferred to a new owner in Belgium and registered OO-DRY with the intention of it being restored to airworthiness.

 

Commercially the problem was that the market was flooded with surplus training aircraft from the Second World War. Miles aircraft such as the Magister and also the de Havilland Tiger Moth were made available to the civilian market as the RAF and other air forces demobilised.

 

Many of these aircraft were not just more advanced but also often cheaper to buy than a newly-built Tipsy Trainer which was after all, a pre-war design. Also many of the surplus aircraft had enclosed cockpits and when sales of civil aircraft did pick up, a new generation of Pipers, Cessnas and Luscombes all more advanced and featuring enclosed cabins became available.

Image from Grace's Guide

Advert from The Aeroplane magazine December 1939

 

Pilots found the Trainer to be a very easy and simple aircraft to fly. Its 62hp engine combined with a relatively large tail and rudder limited the torque, especially on take-off. However the large rudder could cause problems if landing in a crosswind. The large wing area produced a ground-effect which helped the pilot to land softly and smoothly.

 

The instrument panel was very simple. Just five brass-ringed dials: airspeed indicator, altimeter, oil pressure gauge, rev counter, compass and a large Reid and Sigrist turn-and-bank indicator in the centre.

Tipsy Trainer G-AFRV

This aircraft was built in 1939 and has construction number 10. It now resides at the Brussels Air Museum.

Dimensions/Weights

Wingspan: 31ft 2in (9·5m)

Length: 21ft 8in (6·6m)

Height: 6ft 11in (2·1m)

Wing area: 130sq ft (12m2)

Empty weight: 540lb (245kg)

Gross weight: 1,047lb (475kg)

Engine: Walter Mikron four-cylinder inverted in-line, air-cooled, 60hp (45kW)

 

Performance

Maximum speed: 121mph (195kph)

Service ceiling: 19,685ft (6,000m)

Rate of climb: 430fpm to 6,560ft (2·2m/s to 2,000m)

Range: 497mi (800km)

Tipsy Belfair

The company went back into production in Belgium however, and produced an enclosed cockpit version of the Trainer called the Tipsy Belfair. The name is a conjunction from the words Belgium and Fairey. The Fairey connection came from Ernest Tips who had worked for the company in Britain after the First World War. Only seven Belfairs were built.

Tipsy Belfair G-APIE

Originally registered OO-TIE, was one of three given culinary related registrations, the other two being G-AOXO and G-APOD.

Known Tipsy Trainers

Reg

Year

Con

No

Owner/Location

G-AFJR

1947

02

WFU 12/04/1989

G-AFJS

1938

03

WO 03/07/1955

G-AFJT

1938

04

Registered in Finland OH-SVA 28/08/1950

G-AFKP

1938

05

Crashed Sudan 04/06/1952

De-registered

G-AFMN

1938

06

Destroyed by fire Hooton 08/07/1940

G-AFRT

1939

8

Destroyed by fire Slough 1950

G-AFRU

1939

9

Scrapped Redhill 1946

G-AFRV

1939

10

Crashed Herrings Farm 15/09/1979, parts for G-AFJR

G-AFSC

1939

11

DM Forshaw

G-AFVN

1939

12

WFU and de-registered 20/11/2006

Registered in Belgium OO-DRY 02/07/2014.

G-AFVO

1939

15

De-registered then registered in Belgium 05/09/46

G-AFVP

1939

14

Scrapped during WW2

G-AFWT

1939

13

Based at Denham, fate unknown

G-AISA

1947

17

Steve Slater

G-AISB

1937

18

De-registered G-ASIB. Registered OO-EOT

G-AISC

1948

19

Wagtail Flying Group

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Postcards from Slough gratefully uses images from Grace's Guide.

www.gracesguide.co.uk

 

 

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