Veteran finds new home

A VINTAGE aircraft once the personal transport for a British envoy in Portugal is now calling Albury home.

The single-engine, four-seater 1948 Stinson Voyager, owned by Michael and Linda Beach, of Wodonga, joins a growing collection of veterans at the airport.

The bright-red, tail-wheel plane, with a distinctive matching interior, red instrument panel and white control yokes typical of the era, will make its local public debut at the Albury Aero Club open day on Saturday, October 27.

The Beachs bought the more sedate Stinson after selling their Nanchang, an aerobatic Chinese-built air force trainer.

Built in the US by Vultee, the Stinson has its roots in utility aircraft used in World War II.

After the war, production as a personal tourer was aimed at civilians, the Voyager advertised as “the flying station wagon” and by the end of the decade when production wound down, 5000 had been built.

There are 12 on the Australian register and scores still flying around the world.

Mr Beach’s Stinson went straight from the factory in 1948 to Portugal where it was used by the British attaché, then was based at Biggin Hill in England before coming to Australia in the early 1990s.

With its fabric fuselage over steel tubing, and metal control surfaces and tailplane, it fell into disrepair until it was rebuilt at Tyabb and in 2000 was sold to a private pilot at Benalla.

The plane languished at Benalla after the death of its owner in 2005 but is now back to its pristine best to carry on as a pleasure craft including appearances at airshows and Antique Aircraft Association fly-ins.

The open day is an annual event that allows the public into usually restricted areas so they can get close to some of the planes that are part of the general aviation industry at Albury.

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