Go Flying Australia Podcast 011 – WW1 Replica Aircraft Owner and Author of the “Diary of Jack Flyer”

Summary: Today I talk with Tim Heylbut who is a WW1 replica aircraft owner and author of a book called ‘The Diary of Jack Flyer’.  We talk about a number of things including his love of his replica Nieuport 11 aircraft, flying single seat ultralight aircraft for the first time and his new initiative to try to get more pilots out flying their aircraft.

Show Notes

Tim is lucky enough to own two aircraft, an Australian Lightwing LW1 (1987 original box shape – Serial #4) and 1916 replica Nieuport 11c1 (87% replica) with a 503 Rotax 2 stroke with a smoke machine fitted.

Barossa Airshow – Tim displayed the Nieuport at the Barossa Airshow, demonstrated a WW1 scramble,  there was some windshear but Tim managed to slip the aircraft in to avoid this.

Nieuport Ground

Nieuport Flying Characteristics has a sensitive roll rate and a demonstrated crosswind of 0-0.2 gusting but he has found no issues with rudder authority.

Taildragger Experience – Tim has had mostly taildraggers.  Tim loves his Lightwing, thinks it is a docile taildragger and it does not need a lot of rudder on landing and takeoff.

Tim’s Start in Aviation – Tim obtained a Bunyip ultralight from his boss by foregoing a pay rise and receiving the aircraft instead.  He was provided with two books – ‘how to fly ultralight aircraft’ along with the relevant regulations.  Tim started out by doing bunny hops in the aircraft.



Tim did his formal flight training at Boxwood in Victoria in the Thruster T-500, he now has his certificate and his Cross Country and Passenger (PAX) endorsement.

Buying the Nieuport – He found his Nieuport in Queensland and bought the aircraft.  The aircraft had a hard life and has been ground looped many times.

Nieuport – It’s a Sesquiplane, the lower wings are single spar, the lower wing is mainly for stability and not lift.  Has a .303 lewis machine gun (wooden).  The builder recommend a larger tail for more rudder authority.  The aircraft has a lot of torque roll and you need to hold a lot of left rudder in flight.  There is a smoke system fitted for air shows but Tim has found it good for in flight aircraft recognition for loose formation flying.  Tim wants to build and Fokker Eindecker aircraft (See Below – This was the enemy of the Nieuport).


PerformanceCruise 60 knots, climbs at 40 knots.  The reason there is a low crossind tolerance is that in WW1 aircraft landed in paddocks into the wind.

The Diary of Jack Flyer Book – The main character is based on Tim and what he went through early in his flying (moderately exaggerated).  A lot of the stories came from a family member who was a Hang Glider pilot.  All other characters are fictionalised.  Back when Tim was learning to fly there was no internet or easily available resources on learning to fly in his area.

Book Cover

Lessons in the book – Tim wanted to touch on Human Factors, airmanship and safety in one book to help make pilots aware of the consequences.

Tim learning to Fly – Tim taught himself to fly and hence was best placed to tell the Story of Jack Flyer who also learnt to fly ultralights by himself.  Tim did not know about turbulence when he first started flying.  Tim’s first experience with turbulence caused him to have a hard landing.  Eventually he was able to build his ‘bump tolerance’.

Pre Flight and Safety in flight is critical for Tim.

Incidents in Aircraft – In the Bunyip and the Supercat he had a few engine failures.  He had an emergency in the Lightwing and he noted the noise of the 502 Rotax was louder than normal, the cabin filled up with smoke.  Luckily he was above SA skydive and he called a PAN PAN, he could open the doors in flights to vent the smoke and he ended up doing a zig zag side slip onto SA skydive.  The exhaust tip has vibrated and fell loose so Tim spoke to a Level 2 maintainer and rectified the issue.  He also filed the fix in a report to the authorities.

Flying single seat aircraft without training – Tim notes that some pilots still experience the same feeling in single seat ultralight (Regulation – Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 95:10) as there is no way to be trained in a single seat aircraft.  You would normally do some training on a two seat aircraft.  Tim loves single seat aircraft and is an advocate of 95:10 aircraft as it is a cost-effective way to fly.

Tim is looking to buy a Thruster aircraft.  Both of Tim’s aircraft has 2 stroke engines.  He notes that all of his engine failures are fuel related.  He notes that if you run a 2 stoke you should not run a paper fuel filter (Z-14), the paper can clog with oil and block the fuel so you should use a motorbike filter.  Tim notes that proper maintenance is the key.


Great Jack Flyer Gatecrash 2015 – Tim wants to get more people out to flying events.  He wants to create some fun flights and activities to get more people involved in flying.  Tim is working on a documentary for these flights and to be able to cover the topic of affordability to remove the perception that flying is a rich mans sport.


CAO 95:10 – Tim talks about the affordability and enjoyment of flying this class of aircraft and recommends people to try this type of aircraft.


Buy The Diary of Jack Flyer Here

The Diary of Jack Flyer Facebook

More Photos of the Nieuport 

nieuport flying
Nieuport Smoke


  • Shane Kelly

    Great interview. Tim’s experience and enthusiasm for flying is inspirational!

    • Adam Knight

      Thanks for the comment Shane. I hope you enjoy Tim’s great book! You should get it in the mail in a few days.

  • David Isaac

    Tim, you are a credit to your own tenacity and a credit to the the 95-10 supporters. Great interview, great plug for RA Aus.

    • Tim Heylbut

      Thanks David appreciated 🙂

    • Adam Knight

      Thanks for the comment David. I hope you enjoy Owens book!

  • Tim Heylbut

    Thank you Adam. Another great podcast 😉

    • Adam Knight

      Thanks for coming on the Podcast Tim! I look forward to hearing great things about the Great Jack Flyer Gatecrash event and documentary over the next few months.
      Great work on helping promote this great sport.

  • Scott Crew

    Great Podcast, enjoyed seeing you at the Barossa Airshow.

    • Adam Knight

      Thanks Scott! Tim is an awesome ambassador for flying and a pleasure to talk to.

    • Tim Heylbut

      Thank you had an awesome time there 🙂

  • rubber

    What is the “9510” aircraft Tim refers to at 35:50 in this podcast?