History

During the formation of the Airtourer Association in late 1977 and early 1978, the then producer of spare parts was the former New Zealand manufacturer of the Airtourer, Aero Engine Services Ltd (AESL) located in Hamilton in the North Island of New Zealand. Initial contact with AESL indicated that they would be prepared to sell their interest in the Airtourer jigs and spare parts held in stock. During 1978 the idea to purchase this holding was discussed amongst the members of the newly formed Association.

As a result the Airtourer Co-operative Ltd was formed with some 38 initial members. Two members (Doug Stott and Andrew Ronald) of the Association travelled to Hamilton NZ in 1978 and met up with former Airtourer test pilot Randy Green who together negotiated the purchase of the jigs and spare parts. In 1980, a small team of members (Sonny Rankin, Frank Rogers, Andrew Ronald and Paul Cary) went to NZ and packed all the items for shipment to Australia. The purchase included all the rights to manufacture parts and all of the approved drawings etc.

Once in Australia the Co-operative set up in Sydney and has since supplied spare parts to Airtourers world-wide.  The Co-operative operates from Alan Wood’s hangar at Wedderburn  aerodrome with storage of major parts and jigs at Lee Gordon-Browns hangar at Tocumwal.  Necessary parts are made by various approved manufacturers and sub-contractors. The Co-op has continued to operate on a self help basis with no full-time staff and with considerable help from various members.

In 1998 Millicer Aircraft Industries (MAI) Ltd who had purchased the rights to manufacture the Aircruiser from NZ contacted the Co-op with a view to re-manufacture an updated Airtourer.  As a result, the Co-op transferred the rights of manufacture by transfer of the type certificates but included protection clauses in case MAI were unsuccessful.  It also retained all the necessary plans, parts etc., to continue full parts support to the existing series of Aircraft. In late 2000 MAI ceased trading.  After a lengthy and expensive legal process the Co-op regained ownership of the Type Certificate and associated intellectual property. This has enabled the Co-op to continue to provide support for all Victa and AESL series Airtourers but more importantly fulfil the regulatory responsibilities of a Type Certificate holder.

The Coop has custody of the esteemed Henry Millicer’s archives. We’re negotiating with Museum Victoria to transfer much of the original design and testing documentation which hopefully will be used to enhance the display of the prototype Airtourer VH-FMM. Museum Victoria will curate the material and make it available for display and research.