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by Brian Lees


At the end of March, 1973, Lionel took VH-AGX to Bourke with Johnny Messenger and myself to pick up the Western NSW contract following continued problems with Cessna 206 VH-DGD. The usual scene took place where every aircraft enthusiast in town responded to Lionel's flypast by coming out to the airport. Lionel took several up for a circuit and one enthusiast, a cotton farmer named Jack Buster, made an offer to Lionel to fly his Tiger Moth "anytime he liked". Well, it was cloudy the next day, so Lionel decided to take him up on his offer. The Tiger Moth was locked up in its hangar - so Lionel picked the lock! Any reservations Johnny and I expressed were dismissed by "if he didn't mean it, he shouldn't have said it". Lionel proceeded to give Johnny and I our introduction to Tiger Moth flying. I was on my third or fourth circuit when I spotted a fast moving dust trail heading from Jack Buster's farm towards the airport. When I looked for it on the next circuit, I saw it stop, wait a moment, and then turn back, presumably as Jack recalled (and probably regretted) his generous offer of the day before. Lionel was unperturbed, and Johnny and I had a great morning's flying.


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