The Designer

Henry Millicer

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airtourer VH-MUF for sale

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Airtourer History

Some information on Henry Millicer:

Born in Poland on June 11, 1915, the son of a university professor, Henry developed an early interest in aviation. In 1924 he won an aeromodelling competition with the prize being a flight over Warsaw, his home city. At age 14 he built a full-size glider and at 17 qualified as a glider pilot. After receiving a degree in aeronautical engineering he worked as a junior designer in the National Aircraft Establishment, (PZL - Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze). He was also a member of the Polish Airforce reserve and flew against the Germans at the outbreak of World War II; winning the Polish Air Force Cross. At the defeat of Poland he escaped to France and then to England where he flew in a Polish squadron in the RAF. He was awarded the Military Medal for his service.
Post-war he obtained a Masters degree in aeronautical engineering and joined Airspeed and then Percival aircraft. The Percival Provost design is attributed to Millicer. In 1950 he migrated to Australia and became chief aerodynamicist at the Government Aircraft Factory, working on the Jindivik and the Malkara missile. With two colleagues he entered a design competition sponsored by the Royal Aero Club of London for a replacement aircraft for the DeHavilland Chipmunk. The Millicer group won the competition with a design that ultimately became the Victa Airtourer. Millicer became the principal lecturer in Aeronautics at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with a view to establishing his faculty as the leading school in Australia. He retired in 1980 but remained associated with his faculty at RMIT and in 1984 his work was recognised with the award of a Doctorate in aeronautical engineering. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia. He continued to be involved in the design of aircraft and formed Millicer Aircraft Industries which bought the rights to the Aircruiser that Millicer had designed for Victa. The new Aircruiser the MAI 9-200, was due to fly early in 1997.Millicer died on August 28, 1996 aged 81 and his ashes were scattered from the air near his home at Anglesea.

AESL - Now Pacific Aerospace

Tooling and manufacturing rights were sold to Aero Engine Services Ltd (AESL) in New Zealand where production of 115 and 150 hp models continued until 1971.

A total of 168 were completed or significantly completed by Victa in Sydney and a further 80 built by AESL in Hamilton NZ. 170 serial numbers were issued by Victa and 80 by AESL.

Some of the late serial numbers issued by Victa were completed in NZ and issued with a NZ serial number (starting at 501). In addition, some of the Victa built aircraft were rebuilt in the factory by AESL and issued with NZ serial numbers which accounts for some duplication.


AESL produced 7 Airtourers from parts provided by Victa, before launching production of its own aircraft, ultimately produced in 7 different variants:

T1 powered by a 100 hp Continental O-200 engine

T2 powered by a 115 hp Lycoming O-235 engine

T3 powered by a 130 hp Rolls Royce O-240 engine

T4 powered by a 150 hp Lycoming O-320-E1A - fixed pitch propellor

T5 powered by a 150 hp Lycoming O-320-E1A - Controlled Speed propellor

T6 initially a small run of 4 aircraft for the RNZAF, powered by a 150 hp Lycoming O-320-E1A - Constant Speed propellor with gross weight increased from T-5 and 24 volt electrics.

T8 powered by a 160 hp Lycoming AEIO-320 with fuel injection.

(The T7 was offered as a fixed pitch T6, but none were ordered).

Between May and August 1969 AESL delivery pilot Cliff Tait circumnavigated the world in an Airtourer for a record breaking flight. He covered 53,097km in 288 flying hours in ZK-CXU.

Ownership of the higher powered 4 seat variant, (Aircrusier), built as a one off by Victa in 1966, passed to AESL who rebuilt it as a prototype of the successful CT/4 Airtrainer. Production of the CT4 is continued by Pacific Aerospace.

AESL production of the Airtourer commenced in July 1967 and terminated after the delivery of 87 aircraft in July 1973. Rights to produce the Airtourer were sold to Millicer Aircraft Industries (and then briefly to Edge Aviation) of Australia, who rebuilt a single AESL aircraft. Manufacturing rights for the airtourer range now rests with the Airtourer Co-operative in Australia, however Airtourers are no longer in production.

Specifications (AESL Airtourer T.2.)

Span :                                           7.92m (26'0ft)
Length :                                       6.33m (20'9ft)
Height :                                       2.30m(7'6ft)
Weight empty :                           490kg (1,080lb)
Weight loaded :                            749kg (1650lb)
Maximum speed :                        229km/h(142mph)
Service ceiling :                           14,000ft (4267m)
Range : (standard fuel tank)       758km (595 miles) ………………  (long range tanks)  1285 km (806 miles)

The original fun machine Australian designed and built

See Also

Pacific Aerospace Henry Millicer and Victa history Click on the pdf link to Henry Millicer and Victa

 Airtourer Association Victa history

In 1953 Dr. Henry Millicer entered and won from 103 other contestants, a design competition held by the Royal Aero Club of Great Britain for a two-seat light aircraft. 

Promoted by its founder, Mervyn Richardson and his son Gary, the Victa Lawnmower manufacturer formed an aviation division in 1960 to manufacture and develop Millicer’s design as the Victa Airtourer.  The first prototype flew in December 1961 with the first production machine flying in mid-1962.

The Airtourer was an immediate success, so much so that the U.S. manufacturers of light aircraft began to ‘price dump’ their aircraft into Australia.  Victa applied to the Australian Government for protection against this tactic. However, in early 1987 after a much delayed Tariff Board Hearing, Victa ceased production.  A total of 168 Airtourers had been built in Sydney Australia.  The tooling was sold to AESL in New Zealand, and they continued to build and sell this aircraft. Seventy-nine Victas are still flying in Australia with 20 or so, in New Zealand and England