A dream in progress, to see one of the oldest aircrafts in the city take flight again, is nearing completion.
The engine of an 81-year-old de Havilland Puss Moth, will be ready next week, in the first and pivotal step towards the restoration of the aircraft.
Eight months ago, the remains of the dilapidated aeroplane was spotted by Steve Borgia, a collector of contemporary museum artefacts. Mr. Borgia, after a great deal of persuasion, bought it from the owner, Ramanathan Avudiappa Chettiar. “I had no intention of selling it. But for the sake of national interest I sold it, as it would be remarkable to see it fly again,” said Mr. Chettiar.
According to Anuradha Reddy, an aviation historian, historical records suggest that the aircraft was first registered in 1931, and had been in the possession of several individuals before it lost its flying license in 1942.
The aircraft has now been placed at a conservation laboratory in a hotel in Swamimalai, Thanjavur district, where restoration work on it has been going on for the past six months “Mechanical engineers have been working on the engine for the past six months now, and the engine is finally almost complete,” said Mr. Borgia
It is a whole new experience for Shivam Sabesan, the deputy manager of technical planning at Nissan, who has only ever worked with car engines so far in his career.
“It is an invigorating experience to be able to handle a machine that is so old. It tells you how engines were in earlier times,” he said.
Work will move on next to the fuselage or the airframe. Once this is completed, the wings will be worked upon, followed by the wiring and the landing gear. “The plane is built around the engine. That’s the toughest part. The rest is easier,” Mr. Sabesan said.
Mr. Borgia’s excitement is palpable. “I want to fly the aircraft. Even if it doesn’t take off, I will drive it on the road and take it to Chettinad and park it on the tarmac that was prepared for it,” he said.