For many years … correction.. for decades, I had been hearing about the rumour about a “Tiger Moth at Behala” – referring to a DH-82 Tiger Moth that was apparently stored at the Behala Flying Club in Kolkata. I heard from my late friend Mukund Murty about this aircraft. Later it was reported that the Army Aviation Corps was planning to procure it for their museum. Then nothing was heard about it. It was all chalked down to rumours.
Now, THAT Tiger Moth has been located online at the Shrikrishna Science Centre in Patna. As reported by Amartya Ghose on Twitter:
A Tiger Moth emerges from Shrikrishna Science Centre, Patna. The aircraft was transferred by the DGCA to Shrikrishna Science Centre. The aircraft earlier flew with the Bengal Flying Club , Barrackpore. @warbirdsindia @dipalay @TheGhostRider31 pic.twitter.com/zB8dgtbgfj— AMARTYA GHOSE (@AmartyaGhose) August 3, 2022
Shrikrishna Science Centre is a science museum in Patna, Bihar, India which was named after the first Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Krishna Sinha. It was inaugurated on 14 April 1978. The Centre is located on West Gandhi Maidan, Raja Ji Salai, Dujra Diara, Patna.
History of Tiger Moth VT-CUI
Now, the Tiger Moth still carries the remnants of its old registration, in this case VT-CUI. Based on the old civil registry information, Tigermoth VT-CUI was a former Australian example, built as DHA880 registered as VH-AOC and later impressed into RAAF Service as A17-464. It went into the Indian civil register in December 1948 and was assigned to the Bengal Flying Club.
It was involved in a crash on 25th May 1972. The aircraft had just landed at Behala airfield, with an Instructor and student. The instructor tried to take a turn in the aircraft without bringing it to slow down, and the aircraft rolled over the brick boundary and into a shallow pond, where it got bogged down in the mud and nosed over. The aircraft suffered substantial damage and never flew again. Presumably, it was stored at Behala for years. Thereafter, it was stored with the Behala Flying Club till it was transferred to its current location by the DGCA. (As per the placard)
When did this aircraft arrive at the Science Center? We are not sure, but we did find an old video on youtube dating back to 8th October 2011 that shows the Tiger Moth in its current place. The aircraft does look quite new – and the fin flash on the tail is not noted in this view.
I personally feel it amazing that no one reported this Tiger Moth’s existence for the past 11 years (And possibly more!).. .. goes with what I always stated… there are still many ‘warbird secrets’ that we dont know about!
Also available is this great walk-around video of the aircraft on youtube by Explore World Channel.