1931 Desoutter I

The Collection’s exhibit

This Desoutter was built in 1931 and began operations as an air taxi with National Flying Services based at Hanworth, Middlesex, and was purchased by William `Sam` Stephenson in 1932.

It  was entered in the King’s Cup Air Races in 1933 and 1934. In January 1935, G-AAPZ was purchased by Richard Shuttleworth who flew it to Old Warden. It underwent a lengthy rebuild with a new supercharged 150hp Menasco C-45 Pirate engine, redesigned tail surfaces, modified windscreen and new Bendix brakes fitted to Puss Moth wheels. The fuselage was painted in blue Titanine with silver flying surfaces and the aeroplane was test flown in 1938.

It flew in camouflage during early WW2, then displayed at Hendon in 1951 for the Daily Express `50 Years of Flying Exhibition`. Later, in 1971, it was exhibited on loan to the Torbay Aircraft Museum until its return to Old Warden in the late 1970s.

In 1985 a long term restoration programme began to rebuild the Desoutter as a Mk 1 standard model, to be repainted in the original National Flying Services livery. On 26th January 1998, G-AAPZ was successfully flown for the first time in 56 years. It regulary flies during The Collection’s event season.

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