Miles M-38 Messenger - VH-AVQ
What became the Miles Messenger was a single engined four seat touring aircraft with a fixed tail wheel undercarriage that was a pre-war design that George Miles of Miles Aircraft resurrected to meet an Air Ministry Military specification. The prototype designated M.26 Mk1 first flew on July 11 1941.
With no interest shown by the Air Ministry, a group of Army officers asked Miles if he could build an M.26 into an Air Observation Post(AOP) aircraft as an urgent matter.
Miles's prototype M.38 flew on September 12 1942 successfully demonstrating all the required attributes, but the unauthodox procedure angered the powers that be into firstly refusing production and secondly, posting the senior officer that instigated the issue to the North African campaign.
Eventually 250 M.38s were ordered with eighty one being built before the order was cancelled on the eve of VE Day in 1945.
Post war, thirteen Miles Messengers, as the civil variants were named, were imported into Australia, unfortunately meeting the same fate of the Percival Proctor, being grounded by the Department Of Civil Aviation (DCA) due to airframe glue failure.
The Museum's Miles Messenger was built in 1947 and purchased by Richard Casey, later Governor-General of Australia. It arrived in Australia on October 22 1953, was assembled and entered into the Register of Aircraft as VH-AVQ. The Casey's flew the aircraft out of Berwick airfield until it was retired and hangared at Moorabbin in March 1962, and struck off the Register of Aircraft on April 1 1964.
The hangar at Berwick that had housed VH-AVQ was acquired by the Museum, and the aircraft itself had been in storage until acquired by a Museum member who donated it to the Museum in 1982. Restoration was completed in 1987 and was then on loan until returned to the Museum in 2010, and is currently in storage at Moorabbin.
Crew : 1 pilot.
Passengers : 3.
Power plant : 1 x 155hp Blackburn Cirrus Major111 4 cylinder inline air cooled engine.
Length : 24'00'' (7.3m) Wingspan : 36'02'' (11.0m) Height : 9'06'' (2.9m)
Weights : empty - 1,450lbs (658kg) maximum - 2,400lbs (1,089kg)
Speeds : maximum - 100kt (120mph) (193km/hr) cruise - 93kt (112mph) (183km/hr)
Range : 460 miles (740km)