The popular Airtourer was designed by Australian Dr Henry Millicer (chief aerodynamicist of Australia's Government Aircraft Factory) in response to a Royal Aero Club (in the UK) sponsored Light Aircraft Design competition.
Millicer's design won the competition, and the Ultra Light Aircraft Association of Australia formed the Air Tourer Group to build a 50kW (65hp) Continental powered wooden prototype of the design, which first flew on March 31 1959.
The wooden prototype aroused the interest of Victa (a company more known for its lawnmowers), who in 1960 decided to commercially design and produce the Airtourer series in Australia. Victa's first all metal prototype of the Airtourer first flew on December 12 1961, powered by a 70kW (95hp) engine. Production aircraft were powered by a 75kW (100hp) Continental engine, and the first production Airtourer 100 flew in June 1962. Type approval was awarded the following month. The more powerful Airtourer 115 flew for the first time in September 1962, powered by a Lycoming O-235.
Victa built 170 production Airtourers before its inability to compete against cheap American imports (which were aided by a favourable exchange rate) which were swamping the Australian market forced production to end. Plans to build the four seat Aircruiser development (described under Millicer) were dropped.
However New Zealand's AESL (Aero Engine Services Ltd) purchased the Airtourer design and production rights in early 1967. AESL (later NZAI and now PAC) built the Airtourer 115, the more powerful 110kW (150hp) model Airtourer 150, and constant speed prop fitted Super 150. Later the 115 became the T2, the 150 the T4 and the Super 150 the T5. The T3 was powered by a 95kW (130hp) RR Continental O-240, while the T6 was a militarised version based on the T5 built for New Zealand. NZAI production ceased in 1974.
In December 1997 Australia's Millicer Aircraft Industries purchased the Airtourer's production rights and it plans to deliver new build M-10-140 and M-10-160 Airtourers from 1999. The Millicer Airtourer is described separately.
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