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2007/143/1 Aircraft, full-size, Genairco biplane, wood / metal / fabric / acrylic / rubber, made by the General Aircraft Company, Mascot, New South Wales, Australia, 1930. Click to enlarge.

Genairco biplane

Made by General Aircraft Company Ltd in Mascot, New South Wales, 1930.

This aircraft is one of nine aircraft designed and built by the General Aircraft Company Ltd which operated at Mascot in Sydney from 1929 until the Company’s liquidation in 1933. Unlike other aircraft manufacturing endeavours in Australia up to that time the General Aircraft Company serially produced aircraft to their own design rather than the usual manufacture of English designs or local design and construction of one-off examples. The principals of the General Aircraft Company Ltd were Albert...


Object No.


Object Statement

Aircraft, full-size, Genairco biplane, wood / metal / fabric / acrylic / rubber, made by the General Aircraft Company, Mascot, New South Wales, Australia, 1930

Physical Description

A full-size, Genairco biplane made of wood, metal, fabric, acrylic and rubber with a wood and fabric open cockpit, plane is painted silver with blue engine cowling. It is fitted with four cylinder Gipsy II air cooled in-lin engine with two-bladed wooden propeller. Plane has three wheels, two at the front and one at the rear and has two long wings that join over the pilots compartment and a small tail wing for navigation.

On wing its is printed in red ink, 'VH-UOG' and inside of cockpit it is hand painted in red ink, 'NO SMOKING / KEEP HANDS INSIDE COCKPIT / DON'T TOUCH WINDCREEEN'



2700 mm


9250 mm


451 kg



One of nine two-place biplanes designed and manufactured by the General Aircraft Company at Mascot, Sydney.

26 February 1929 General Aircraft Company Ltd formed by Albert Alfred Royal, Alexander Augustus Norman Dudley (Jerry) Pentland and George Beohm. Registered in Sydney with a nominal capital of £10,000; purchased 4.5 acres of land adjacent to Mascot Aerodrome and constructed a steel frame building of 6,400 sq ft. Repaired and rebuilt Moths for the RAAF. Purchased parts from DeHavilland Aircraft Co. Ltd and completed construction of 3 DH60X Moths [VH-ULH, a rebuild of G-AUHA (Genairco number 7), VH-UMS (Genairco number 8) and VH-UMK Genairco number 9)]. The machines were not built under licence or by agreement with DeHavillands.

They began the design and construction of Genaircos using Queensland Maple extensively. The aircraft were a mix of DH Moth fuselage with enlarged forward cockpit allowing side-by-side seating, and the wings of the Avro Avian. The first aircraft, c/n 10, VH-UNC powered by a 105hp Cirrus Hermes I, was registered 20/12/29. On 20/11/30 VH-UOG, c/n 16, was fitted with the 115hp Harkness Hornet engine and test flown by Captain E W Leggatt. C A Butler test flew one of the cabin Genaircos [VH-UOH or UOJ, c/n 17 and 18 respectively] on 1/7/32. The last Genairco [VH-UOS c/n 19] was completed as a seaplane and fitted with a Siemens-Halske radial engine for Maurice Rolland and Clifford Le Brun Brown (pilot) for inter-island services in New Caledonia. (Source: Parnell, N and Broughton, T., Flypast: A Record of Aviation in Australia, (Canberra, 1988), p.78f)



Of the aircraft manufacturing companies operating in Australia prior to WWII the General Aircraft Company, registered in Sydney in February 1929 and operating at Mascot, stands out. While other Australian aircraft manufacturing companies, such as the Australian Aircraft and Engineering Company, Lasco and Qantas, serially manufactured British designs and/or one-off local designs, the General Aircraft Company determined that, as well as producing aircraft to English designs, they would serially manufacture a local design, using local timbers and a locally designed and built engine. According to the designer George Beohm (in a letter to Mr Frank Walters, Hon. Secretary of the Aviation Historical Society of Australia, NSW Branch dated 7/6/1965) "[t]he idea of the plane was thought of whilst I was Engineer for Edie Creek Gold (sic) fields in New Guinea operating from Lae to Wau, where we operated a couple of D.H. wooden Moths. I found that most of the cargo was too wide to fit a Moth. So I decided I would build a small type wide enough to carry tins of biscuits, and other commodities, as there were no machines of this type available, so on completion of the job in New Guinea, I came to Sydney in 1929 and started a small repair workshop for Light Aircraft (sic) and was later joined at Mascot by Mr A Royal who was one of the Big Six of Edie Creek Gold Mining Coy, and together with his backing we formed General Aircraft Coy. and built a workshop on land adjoining the airport at Mascot." The design of the Genairco was based on the popular English-designed and built DeHavilland Moth but using the wing design of the English Avro Avian. The engine was to be the Harkness Hornet, designed and built in Drummoyne, Sydney by motor engineers, Harkness and Hillier. The basis of the engine was a cylinder bank from a Swiss-designed, French-built Hispano Suiza V8 aero engine mounted on the locally-designed crankcase.

After the manufacture and rebuild of several DeHavilland Moth aircraft the first Genairco (c/n 10) was built in 1929. In June 1930 Genairco VH-UOG (c/n 16) was issued with its certificate of registration and made its first flight on October 19th 1930. Australian timbers were used in the construction of these aircraft, relying on research work carried out by the Technological Museum in Sydney. It was the trial aircraft for the installation of the Harkness Hornet aircraft engine, designed by Sydney automotive engineer Donald Harkness and manufactured at his works at Drummoyne. This was the first aero engine largely designed and produced in Australia to be tested to airworthiness standards and approved for use in aircraft.

Although the Hornet engine was successful it was not as good as the DeHavilland Gipsy or Cirrus aero engines. According to Beohm it was underpowered (Ibid.). In November 1930 UOG was fitted with a Gipsy II engine and sold to S C Coleman of Bourke, NSW. In October 1935 it came into the ownership of Dr T J Henry, father of Goya Henry. Goya possessed a disregard of regulations and had appeared before the Central Court on 1 November 1934 on a charge of flying in contravention of the Air Navigation Regulations under the Air Navigation Act 1920. He was convicted and fined. On 8th July 1936 he was advised that his pilot's licence was suspended because of various breaches of the Air Navigation Regulations. Several days after the suspension of his pilot's licence he flew the Genairco, named by him "Jolly Roger" under Sydney Harbour Bridge, being the first pilot to do so and in contravention of the law. He appealed to the Full Court of the High Court of Australia on the basis that Section 51 of the Australian Constitution did not allow the Federal Government to make Regulations for air navigation using its external affairs powers. The High Court upheld Henry's appeal and declared the regulations under the Air Navigation Act invalid. In academic discussions of the constitution Goya Henry's successful 'attack' on Section 51 is still cited.

The Genairco was placed in Goya's name in 1940 and it was sold to Macquarie Grove Flying School in 1946. After a succession of owners it came into the ownership of Airworld at Wangaratta in 1985. The Airworld collection was disposed of in 2002 and the Genairco was purchased by a private collector. The Genairco was purchased in 2007 by the Museum with the assistance of the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account and the E A and V I Crome fund.


Credit Line

Purchased with the assistance of the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account and the E A and V I Crome Bequest, 2007

Acquisition Date

5 October 2007

Cite this Object


Genairco biplane 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 16 June 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Genairco biplane |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=16 June 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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