The next arrival to the Aero Club was another Gypsy Moth ACC in March 1931.
In the second edition of the Fly Paper in May 1931, it showed that the Aero Club had been very unlucky during the past four or five months through accidents. The Herald Moth, AAE, was completely written off in late December 1930 and since then there have been two mishaps that caused serious damage to club Gypsy Moths. At the clubs 1931 pageant, a Gypsy Moth, which was not owned by the club, cut out as he was 50 feet above the crowd. The pilot broke a strict aerodrome rule by turning back and the machine landed by breaking its back across the forward cockpit. The second accident occurred at the North Island Air Pageant held at Masterton in March 1931. A pilot flying AAT collided mid-air with ACE, a metal Moth of the Otago Aero Club. Fortunately, both machines were travelling in the same direction and merely converged on each other’s paths. Both machines landed without injury to their pilots but both planes were extensively damaged.
To improve the club environment along with aircraft hours in August 1931 the Aero Club joined with the gliding club. This hugely increased membership along with on the added visitors to the club on display days.
An article in the New Zealand Herald which was published in 1932 said that “there was an almost complete absence of wind and the machines were inclined to drift when coming into land. One of the visiting pilots displayed remarkable promptness of action when he saw that his machine was likely to strike the boundary fence after landing. He switched off the engine, undid his safety belt and jumped out and while the machine was still rolling he caught hold of a strut and stopped the Moth before it ran nose first into the fence.”
12th September 1932 saw another incident with aircraft. A force landing needed to be made in AAL as a result of a split pin left out of the fuel tap assembly. The pilot was put on a months’ probation but the aircraft did not experience much damage.
Flying up to this stage was mainly done in close proximity of the Aero Club and Auckland city. Some now wanted to broaden the use of aircraft to include cross country time and it was only in November 1932 that the committee resolved to add to the flying rules the “no club machine be allowed to go cross country without being equipped with a compass” rule. This was by no means a cheap addition as new compasses cost £15. The aircraft were phased in over time to have the compass installed with two machines initially being used for cross-country.
With cross countries now occurring flying hours gradually increased for the Aero Club as it was something new to experience while flying – going to someone else’s back yard to land. In March 1934, the club lost its president Ernie Bouder who was flying AAL to Wellington. He was flying in very poor weather and ended up crashing into “extremely precipitous and rough weather”. Search planes from Wellington Aero Club had to wait for the weaherr to improve before a search could be made. AAL flew again up until 1941 when it crashed in New Plymouth. At this stage it was owned by the Government.
Another incident occurred on 21st April 1934 when AAT was stolen out of the hangar. A note was found by D.M. Allen in the hangar which said “We are borrowing one of your planes. Flying to Australia immediately. P.S. We are carrying enough petrol to get there.” As the investigation took place it was found that to get AAT out of the hangar, the two men needed to move two other aircraft out of the way. They broke the lock on the fuel tank outside and took out 19 gallons of fuel which is full capacity of the Gypsy Moth. They found then that AAT was pushed out to the centre of the field, started there without a warm up. This alone would have led to trouble and indicated the men did not have any experience. AAT was found with the throttle wide open and both switches full on, a few hundred yards from the centre of the flying field with its nose buried in the mud. Further inspection of the damage found that it had a tip off one blade of the propeller was broken, the tip of one wing was slightly crushed and the metal casing of the engine was damaged while the undercarriage was smashed. AAT was repaired but it took quite a while before it was back up in the air again.
In mid 1934 a De Havilland Rapide ACO was ordered to complete in the Melbourne Centenery Air Race in Octoebr 1934. The Air Race was successful as well as a Tasman flight which terminated in Palmerston North where the tip of one of the propellers was bent in a collision with a fence. However the committee felt that there was no place for the Raipde with the Aero Club and sold it to Brierly West Australian Airways.
The next aircraft to arrive at the Aero Club was ACM a sports Avain aeroplane. The plane was a 2 seater bi-plane of considerable higher performance that the Gypsy moth. The addition of the Avian brings the clubs fleet up to eight aircaft, 1 Puss Moth (ACB), and six Gypsy Moths (AAL, AAE, AAT, AAK, AAU and ACC).
The Aero club continued to operate during 1936 with scholarships being awarded from the NZ Herald, large crowds coming to see parachute jumps at Mangere and training continuing throughout the year. The membership for the year ended April 1937 showed a decrease in members and a decrease in flying hours. This was due to the leveling work that was going on at Mangere, and because of this, some flying was restricted. This was restricted even more when two aircraft were damaged on landing because of the reduction in landing space available to them. The club did purchase their ambulance aircraft a Beechcraft which could carry 4 passengers or be used fro ambulance work. Without the help of the NZ Herald which donated £500, and through donations from companies and individuals amounting to £1173 with the balance being paid by the club. The Beechcraft was bought and its registration was AMU. It served the club for many years to come along with providing great help during its ambulance work, but the club lost one of its Tiger Moths AAU when it crashed at Mangere in August 1936.
With the introduction of the Tiger Moths to New Zealand, the Aero Club decided to give away three of its current aircraft to the Hamilton Aero Club. They gave three aircraft, A Puss Moth, A Gypsy Moth and the Avian along with a quantity of stores and equipment. On 2nd August 1937 the Auckland Aero Club ordered two new Tiger Moths. The Tiger Moths were fitted with Gypsy Major engines which develop 130 horsepower and a cruising speed of 92mph. One of the machines is completely equipped for ‘blind flying’. The same machine also has an inverted flying system which makes it possible for the aeroplane to be flown upside down for 3 minutes. The second machine is a standard model. Their main purpose will be the training of candidates for the Air Force and civil reserve. Their registrations were AFN and AFO. They did not arrive until January 1938 which brought the total of the Aero Clubs aircraft to 7 training machines, 2 Tiger Moths and 5 Gypsy Moths and the Beechcraft.
In October 1937 the club lost AAK and in March 1938 the club also lost AAT due to crashes that occurred at Mangere.
July and August 1938 saw the arrival of three new Tiger Moth aircraft to the Aero Club. One arrived in July and had both front and rear ‘blind’ flying instruments and the instruments were illuminated by means of an electric lighting set for night flight. Flares could also be fired using a button in the cockpit and the plane was finished in the Aero Clubs standard color: international orange. The other two arrived in August and brought the Aero Club fleet up to 5 Tiger moths, 2 Gypsy Moths, a Beechcraft and a Miles Magister.