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87/510 Aircraft and parts, reproduction of 1931 Clancy Skybaby, wood / metal / fabric, designed by Allan Clancy, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1930-1931, made by Chapter 211, Experimental Aircraft Association, Grand Haven, Michigan, United States of America, 1980-1981. Click to enlarge.

Reproduction of 1931 Clancy Skybaby aircraft

This aircraft is a 1981 reproduction of the original Clancy Skybaby designed and built by Allan, William and Jack Clancy in the early 1930s at their Sydney home. The aircraft was the forerunner of the later ultralights which brought aviation within the reach of everyone. Significantly, it was the first Australian-designed and built aircraft in its class to gain Department of Civil Aviation approval for flight. The Skybaby was considered so important that this reproduction was built in the USA …


Object No.


Object Statement

Aircraft and parts, reproduction of 1931 Clancy Skybaby, wood / metal / fabric, designed by Allan Clancy, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1930-1931, made by Chapter 211, Experimental Aircraft Association, Grand Haven, Michigan, United States of America, 1980-1981

Physical Description

Replica of the Clancy Skybaby single-seat monoplane aircraft. The aircraft comprises a fixed undercarriage and strut-braced, parasol wing and is made of wood, metal and Irish linen. As well as the aircraft and its detatchable components (including the fuselage, wings and struts for wing sections), is a fuel line, bag containing bolts and aileron supports.



This is a replica of the original Clancy Skybaby produced by the Clancy Brothers in their Sydney garage in 1931. Allan Clancy was a draughtsman with the railways and drew the plans for the Skybaby from his own designs. He went on to be an engineer with the railways. William was a motor mechanic and worked on the Skybaby's engine. He became a popular and respected flying instructor with the Kingsford Smith Flying School and later served in the RAAF. After the war he flew as one of the chief pilots for Butler Air Transport.

In late 1981 Jack Clancy contacted the Museum to offer a set of the newly copied plans and information on the Skybaby in the knowledge of the significance of the aircraft in Australian aviation history. The plans were gratefully received and the Museum, in the first phase of its redevelopment as the Powerhouse, was interested to have the Skybaby replicated from Jack's plans and displayed in the new Powerhouse Museum. Problems of funding and staffing such a project in the early stages of the Powerhouse development prevented progress.

However, with the completion of the Skybaby by Chapter 211 and its subsequent donation to the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA, Jack felt it would be simpler and appropriate if the Chapter 211 Skybaby could be donated by the EAA Foundation to the Powerhouse Museum.

Having gained the support of the members of Chapter 211 for this donation Jack used their influence and his own contacts in Oshkosh to gain the approval of the EAA Foundation and its museum.

In late 1985 the Museum received official notification from the EAA Foundation that they were willing to donate the Skybaby to the Powerhouse Museum and the members of Chapter 211 agreed to look after the packing and transport of the aircraft to Australia with the Powerhouse covering costs.

The Skybaby was shipped to Australia in early 1987 and, upon arrival, was transported to Jack's workshop at his home in Roseville. There he assembled it in readiness for its erection and display at the Powerhouse in 1988. Jack also provided another engine for the Skybaby, suitably modified to the Clancy-Watt-Henderson specification, as the engine he had donated to Chapter 211 was retained by them for other aircraft projects.



The first powered aircraft designed and built in Australia flew at Diggers Rest , Victoria on 16 July 1910. It's designer, builder, pilot, John Duigan carried out his flight without reference to Government for the design and construction of the aircraft or the flight. Today such activity without bureaucratic sanction would be in contravention of the Civil Aviation Regulations and thus, illegal.

The laws requiring Government approvals for design, construction and flying of civil aircraft emanated from the Air Navigation Act passed by the Commonwealth Government on December 2 1920; becoming law in June 1921. The administration of the Act was carried out through a branch of the Department of Defence, the Civil Aviation Branch (CAB) and its role, in part, was to ensure proper standards of safety and skill were maintained by those engaged in the aviation industry.

Basically, aircraft were required to be built to a certain standard approved by the CAB either on the basis of their specifications being accepted by signatory countries to the International Aerial Navigation Convention of 1919 or by the submission of engineering specifications for the aircraft proposed to be built. The Clancy Skybaby, as a local design and construction, came within the latter category although it appears that the engineering justification for the design was submitted post-construction. However, the original Skybaby was tested officially by Captain E W Leggatt for the CAB. Although the Skybaby was approved by the CAB the original was never registered but operated on a "Permit to Fly" which limited it to within a three mile radius of Mascot aerodrome. During this period there were a number of aircraft , currently termed ultralights, being designed and built but the Skybaby appears as the only Australian ultralight design to be replicated by other aspiring pilots. The Skybaby design is still accepted as a current ultralight design capable of flight under CAO (Civil Aviation Orders) 101.28.

In 1980 Lyn Butler (neé Clancy) had her article on the original 1931 Clancy Skybaby aircraft printed in the February 1980 edition of the Experimental Aircraft Association's (EAA) official magazine "The Vintage Airplane". According to the late Jack Clancy, Lyn's father, this article prompted members of Chapter 211 of the EAA , based in Grand Haven, Michigan, USA, to seek out plans of the Skybaby as a suitable project for them to build and fly. Jack provided the plans, which had been redrawn by Sydney Technical College students, and also an engine built to original Clancy-Watt-Henderson specifications was donated to them by him. The new build Skybaby flew on June 22, 1982 at Memorial Airpark, Grand Haven, Michigan. On Thursday July 1, 1982, during the fourth take-off roll of the day the Skybaby drifted off the runway and overturned. The problem was determined to have been a bolt dropping out of the starboard undercarriage radius arm and the aircraft drifting into boggy ground (NTSB identification: CH182DA229). Repairs were carried out and it completed approximately 6 hours of flight testing before being donated to the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the presence of Jack Clancy and Lyn Butler on August 5, 1982.


Credit Line

Gift of EAA Aviation Foundation, 1987

Acquisition Date

29 April 1987

Cite this Object


Reproduction of 1931 Clancy Skybaby aircraft 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 December 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Reproduction of 1931 Clancy Skybaby aircraft |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=7 December 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}