The Pup Abides

pup 7The Pup was delivered to Neil Cottee, founder of Pacific Film and the Rabbit Photo chain of mini-labs. Cottee was involved with the “Olde Bowral Airfield” collection of aircraft, attempting to set up an Australian version of American Cole Palen’s “Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome” in New York. The venture eventually failed, but for a while Bowral played host to DH Hornet Moth VH-UVV, DH Tiger Moth VH-ASC, Fokker DR-1 replica VH-ALU and of course our hero, VH-PSP.

pup 8“Meanwhile, somewhere on the Western Front…”

All the aircraft have now moved on to new homes, with the Triplane going on static exhibition at the Museum of Australian Army Flying in Oakey, Qld, and the Pup now flying as “D4170” for the RAAF Museum at Point Cook, Vic.


Pup Again

First engine run. The original rotary engine sent a fine mist of castor oil lubricant in all directions, so George Dusting (in the cockpit) was probably very glad this was a radial. Although I suppose, back in the day, a pilot’d never have to buy hair oil. Or laxatives.

pup 4Shock absorbers 1916 style – two fixed crossbars with pivoted half-axles in between, wrapped with what I seem to remember was 5/16″ bungee cord.

pup 5And if you’re going after the Red Baron, you’re going to need a gun – preferably a fibreglass Vickers .303.

pup 6

A Young Pup

Below:- This is Transavia TSP-1 Pup VH-PSP in the factory at Seven Hills, Sydney, in 1978. At the right hand side of the photo is the tail of the prototype T-300 Skyfarmer, and at far left the tail of another Airtruk is visible behind the Pup’s tail. In the foreground is a rack holding Airtruk fuel tank cover panels, and up against the far wall is a rack holding wing ribs and other bits.

pup 1Below:- VH-PSP being readied for initial engine runs. The original Pup was powered by an 80hp Le Rhone or 100hp Gnome rotary, but this one has an Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major radial of about 140hp. Transavia had a spare Genet Major put aside for a second Pup if one was ordered.

pup 2Below:- Fuelled and ready to start (note the high-tech refuelling station at far right). The Genet has a “shower of sparks” starter – easier and safer than swinging the prop, but much less reliable. Sometimes it takes a lot of trying and adjusting before it will run.

pup 3