Tipsy Trainer G-AFRV presented to the Royal Army Museum in Brussels.


Most of the Belgians today are unaware of the fact that aircraft were designed and produced in Belgium.

 From 1931, E.O. Tips was the manager of Avions Fairey at Gosselies, the Belgian subsidiary of the British company Fairey. Avions Fairey was established to locally produce Fairey Fireflies and Fairey Foxes for the Belgian military. Tips had worked for Fairey in the UK since World War I.

 Tips started work on civil light aircraft of wooden construction, the Tipsy aircraft. The first example the single seat S.1 made her maiden flight in 1935, followed by the S.2. The next Tips design was the 2 seat Tipsy B. The B was first taken to the air at Gosselies on May 8th, 1937. The same month the machine was demonstrated at Heathrow and on June 5th, the Tipsy Light Aircraft Company of London Air Park, Hanworth, Middlesex, was established to build the Tipsy B under licence. Twenty-four Tipsy B and Bc (8 B - 16 Bc) were produced in Belgium before 10 May 1940. The Bc was a version of the Tipsy B but featuring an enclosed cockpit.

  To answer requests formulated by the administration of the British Certificate of Airworthiness after tests executed at Martlesham Heath in August 1938 the rudder surface was increased. The modified aircraft was then renamed the Tipsy Trainer. Production in the UK amounted for eighteen aircraft, all with open cockpit, the last three after the war

After World War 2, E.O Tips designed other Tipsy’s including the successful Tipsy Nipper.

Tipsy Trainer G-AFVR

Tipsy Trainer I G-AFRV presented to the public on September 11th, 2010

The Tipsy Trainer I c/n Nr 10

 The aircraft was manufactured in 1939 and registered G-AFRV, flying for the first time on July 22nd 1939. The first owner was General Aircraft Ltd. of Feltham. G-AFRV was damaged in an accident at the end of 1939, was repaired and flew again in July 1941 Later on the aircraft was stored between May 1944 until September 1947. After Word War 2 G-AFRV, was operated by several owners. The registration was finally cancelled when the aircraft struck some cables on September 15th, 1979. The wreck was sold to Gerrit Titeca who in 1989 exchanged it in company of Belfair G-AFJR with the Royal Army Museum for a Stampe SV.4B.

The actual status of the aircraft was as follows:  wing sawn in three parts, fuselage broken in two parts with cockpit area missing. All tail control surfaces were missing as was one undercarriage leg. Undercarriage cowlings and engine cowlings were badly damaged in the crash. 

The Restoration

 The Trainer was first put under care of the Sabena Oldtimers at Zaventem. The restoration was not completed because the association concentrated their efforts on the Tipsy Belfair. In 2004 the Brussels Air Museum Restoration Society (BAMRS) under the guidance of Vincent Jacobs took over the project. The wooden structure of the fuselage was completely stripped and repaired. The missing parts were added to a spare wing held in storage. Some engine cowlings were manufactured by the Museum’s metal workshop. Some missing parts such as the rudder and tail control surfaces were found on internet and acquired. Vincent discovered a Walter Mikron I engine in France and the Museum acquired it in order to equip the aircraft. New cushions for the restored seats were ordered and the restored cockpit was completed. The Etablissement Poncelet were contracted to fabricate a new propeller. In May 2010, the exhaust was build from scratch as well as stands for the tires. During the summer of 2010, the final details were completed.

Tipsy Trainer G-AFVR

The restoration team of the Brussels Air Museum Restoration Society (BAMRS)

 On September 11th, 2010, a ceremony was held in the Aviation Hall of the Museum to officially return the restored aircraft to the Museum.

Tipsy Trainer G-AFVR

Vincent Jacobs & friend present the new "Tipsy" beer label...

 The BAMRS is now working to complete the restoration of the Tipsy Belfair


Tipsy Trainer Characteristics:

Powerplant: one 62 hp Walter Mikron inverted inline piston engine.
Performance: Maximum level speed-110 mph.
Cruising speed: 99 mph.
Service ceiling: 19,685 feet.
Range: 466 miles.
Empty weight: 540 lbs.
Maximum take off weight: 1,102 lbs.
Wingspan: 31 feet 2 inches.
Length: 21 feet 8 inches.
Height: 5 feet, 7 inches.

Wing surface: 129.17 square feet.

Tipsy Trainer G-AFVR

Tipsy Trainer I with a model of the Tipsy Junior OO-TIT in front of it.




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 © Yves Duwelz & Daniel Brackx   (September 2010)




Last updated 11/09/10 12:51   Daniel Brackx