Jackaroo Aircraft Thruxton Jackaroo
In the early 1950s Sqn Ldr J. E. Doran-Webb, managing director of the Wiltshire School of Flying at Thruxton, considered building a highwing four to five-seat touring aircraft using only Tiger Moth components. Contacts at the Royal Aero Club introduced him to Ronald Prizeman, who schemed a four-seater using the same biplane layout as a Tiger Moth but with a revised fuselage. This was accepted and formed the basis for certification as the D.H.82A (Mod) Jackaroo.
The front side frames of the Tiger Moth fuselage were moved apart by 12.5in within which four seats were installed, with the starboard pair staggered slightly forward. The basic structure and rigging of wings, tail and rear fuselage were not altered but it was necessary to increase the undercarriage track by designing a new W-shaped centre strut.
Two prototypes were built at Thruxton in 1956; G-AOEX was finished as a standard four-seater with cabin and known as a Series 1. It was test flown by Lt-Cdr Pat Shea-Simonds on March 2, 1957. The Series 2, G-AOEY, was conceived as a cargo carrier/cropduster. The cabin could be converted to carry a load of 5501b and a new low-profile superstructure neatly converted the Series 2 into a single-seater with open cockpit.
Jackaroo Aircraft Ltd was formed late 1950s at Thruxton, Hampshire, to produce the Thruxton Jackaroo widened-fuselage four-seat version of the de Havilland Tiger Moth. First "production" conversion flew on April 15, 1957, and quite a number of Tiger Moths were converted subsequently to Jackaroos. Company also designed a four-seat low-wing lightplane called the Paragon, being re-formed in early 1960s as Paragon Aircraft Ltd. to produce it under new name of Paladin.
Paragon was formed at Thruxton Aerodrome near Andover, Hampshire, from the earlier Jackaroo Aircraft Ltd., for conversion of standard two-seat Tiger Moth biplanes to four-seat configuration by inserting a new wider center fuselage and extending the top wing centre section. 18 Jackaroo conversions were carried out by the company.
By July 1957 the manufacturer was anticipating that production would reach at least six aircraft per month. An agricultural conversion kit was available at £150. Overseas owners were encouraged to convert their own Tiger Moths by purchasing a packaged kit at £600. Tiger Moths flown into Thruxton could be converted in ten days for £700.
Rollason Aircraft at Croydon acquired Jackaroo G-ANZT in 1957, and incorporated a number of improvements. In April 1960 Rollason cornpleted a Jackaroo of its own, G-APOV, in which the rear fuselage faired smoothly from the wide cabin to the tail.
Although never certificated as aerobatic, the aircraft was spun on at least one occasion with all four seats occupied, an experience none of those on board ever wished to repeat.
The big prospective orders never came and import permits for five other Jackaroos already on the line at Thruxton were refused. Each was broken up for spare parts. Designer Ron Prizeman never complained however, despite never receiving his agreed royalty of £2 per aircraft
Assets acquired 1964 by Hampshire School of Flying.