LESS than six months after opening, the Evans Head Heritage Aviation Museum is facing the prospect of losing its beloved Tiger Moth.
The iconic Australian-built plane was used to train RAAF and civil pilots in the 1940s and 1950s, and holds a special status in Australian aviation history. Heritage Aviation Association president Rod Kinnish said the museum was disappointed the owner had decided to withdraw an agreement to permanently lend the plane to the museum.
"We've looked after the Tiger Moth for 16 months now in our hangar," Mr Kinnish said.
"We've kept it safe and kept it clean.
"This is unfortunate but we understand the owners need to raise capital."
The museum also had a long-term plan to acquire permanent ownership of the plane - transferring it from permanent loan status - but was unable to raise the money at short notice when the sale was announced last week.
"The museum's only been open since August last year. We have limited funding and nowhere near the capital required to buy the plane," Mr Kinnish said. "And we won't have for some time.
"The capital that we do have has to go back into the infrastructure of our current exhibits - insurances and running costs.
"Unfortunately that doesn't give us the opportunity to purchase a major asset like the Tiger Moth."
Mr Kinnish said volunteers had devoted countless hours to preparing the aircraft for viewing by the public. "We've set it up so people can get right up close to it, fully inspect the aircraft, look inside the cockpit, and walk around it," he said.
It is understood the owner is asking $25,000 for the plane.