Andrew Carter is a driven, passionate man; he has a deep interest in all things Aviation and is currently an airline pilot based in Brisbane.
Andrew was also the driving force behind the formation of The Australian Vintage Aviation Society – TAVAS which seeks to promote the building and flying of pre 1939 military aircraft with an Australian Connection.
Always one to lead from the front Andrew sought to acquire an aircraft of the WW1 era and display it as part of the TAVAS fleet.
There were many aircraft choices available to Andrew, however he narrowed his search for a suitable Warbirds based on a number of criteria. The aircraft had to be practical, easy to operate and more importantly it had to have a link with Australian Aviation and be easily recognisable by the public in order to build the TAVAS “brand”.
The final choice of a Fokker Dr1 may at first be seen to be a bit cliché as there are a lot of replica Fokkers about in this scheme, that of the famous Baron Von Richthofen’s original Dr1, the Red Baron. On closer inspection the choice is ideal against the criteria.
In 2018 it will be 100 years since the WW1 ended and in March of that year it will be 100 years since the Red Baron was shot down – probably by Australians. The aircraft is thus ideal to promote the aspiration of TAVAS and is instantly recognisable with the public. At first Andrew considered having the aircraft made in Australia by a group of volunteers. However a lack of space and time caused a change of plan. Fortunately just at the right time a Fokker Dr1 became available in the USA in Florida and Andrew snapped it up in rapid time.
Fokker Dr1 flying Replica N2287D was built in 1980 from a combination of Ron Sands and Walt Redfern plans and is very accurate. The Dr1 features a steel tube fuselage in place of the original and is built to last and be robust in operation. This particular aircraft was operated commercially and worked for a living doing TV, Film, and Promotional work and as a paid performer at airshows. The aircraft has always been well maintained and when unpacked at Caboolture was in exceptional condition. The aircraft arrived in July and was packed in a solid wooden frame in a 40 foot shipping container.
The Dr1 was eagerly but carefully unpacked from its container and trial assembled over the next few days and apart from a few small details and a little “travel rash” will be a fairly straightforward assembly job by a qualified engineer. At present the aircraft is powered by a Lycoming flat 4 engine but following initial test flying, the plan is to have a period rotary constructed for it in New Zealand and fitted sometime over the next 18 months. This will give the aircraft a very satisfactory sound and spirited performance whilst being very reliable.
Unfortunately in transit the usual break in to the container occurred and the whole documentation package that was shipped with the aircraft disappeared including the engine, prop and airframe log books, which will create a bit of difficulty but is not insurmountable. However also stolen was a certified piece of cloth from the original Barons aircraft that the USA owner had acquired which is obviously irreplaceable.
Andrew Carters Fokker Dr1 will be a fantastic addition to the historic Warbird scene in Australia but will hopefully be only the start of the ambitious TAVAS group’s plans. Already a Sopwith Pup replica is near completion and will join the Dr1 at airshows . In the pipeline other members have a Sopwith Snipe, a Fokker D V111 and E111 under construction as well as a BE2A and Albatross D.Va.
We should all be very grateful for the efforts of Andrew and the TAVAS group which will bring some much needed content and balance to future airshow performances in Australia.
© John Parker 2013