Warbirds Online continues with its description of the early equipment of the Central Flying School (CSF) at Point Cook Victoria, prior to and during WW1.
One of the two types first ordered for the CFS was the Deperdussin Type A of which two were ordered (CFS 4&5) in 1912 and delivered in May 1913 at a cost of £480 plus £150 for spares each. These were fitted with 35Hp Anzani Y engines.
One of the aircraft (CFS5) was delivered as a non-flyer and was classed as a rolling taxi aircraft to train pilots in ground handling. This seems a little bizarre 100 years later but it obviously made sense then!
Although the aircraft were a French design both Australian aircraft were built by the British Deperdusin works at Highgate, London Great Britain.
On 16/09/1914 Lt. E. Harrison made CFS5’s only flight at Point Cook when it was flown to a height of 20 feet. The experience must have been quite frightening, as it was only subsequently used for taxiing training. CFS5 served on in the ground based role until it was written off in 1918 and “disposed of”. In 1920 it was still extant and passed to the Australian War Memorial collection where it was eventually restored and remains to this day, currently in store. A great survivor of the CFS, perhaps Australia’s oldest surviving military aircraft.
CFS4 Deperdussin Type A had only a slightly more productive airborne career. It commenced flying in March 1914 at Point Cook. However barely a week later CFS4 was damaged and although the aircraft was repairable it was considered unsafe and written off charge. No further trace of CFS4 exists and its fate is unknown, however it lives on at Point Cook in the form of a replica, which was displayed along with a replica Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2a and a flying (Bristol) Boxkite replica at the Centenary of the Central Flying School in 2014.
The Deperdussin Type A was produced in some numbers and served in various flying schools in the UK and Europe with some success. Three of the type survive as well as the replica at Point Cook. The original examples are Shuttleworth Collection, England, the T1910 Deperdussin an airworthy Anzani-engined example. Another at Norsk Teknisk Museum, Oslo Norway and the previously mentioned example in storage at the AWM.
The Deperdussin Type A had neither a long or significant role with CFS but is highly important as it was a founding aircraft of CFS Point Cook and along with the B.E.2a and the Boxkite is the foundation aircraft of today’s RAAF and as such it is historically very important.
CFS5 is also highly significant in as much as it is Australia’s oldest surviving military aircraft.
© John Parker 2015
Note: Images that are courtesy of the Australian War Memorial are Copyright expired – Public Domain.