Michael Maniatis restored his first airplane decades ago in his Manhattan apartment, assembling wings, fuselage, and tail surfaces and passing them through a second-floor window for later assembly. He is now retired and living in upstate New York, and his latest effort is a 1928 de Havilland DH60G Gipsy Moth biplane. Much more rare than the World War II-vintage Tiger Moth, the Gipsy Moth was de Havilland’s first airplane.
Maniatis acquired the project in 2014, and now, with just six hours’ flying time logged, he loaded it onto a trailer to come to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. “It got banged up a little on the way,” he told AIN. Unless you knew every inch of the airplane like Maniatis does, you’d never know.
Asked what was the most difficult part of the project, he said, “Assembly. You work to collect and restore all the original parts and pieces, but the hardest part is taking all those separate parts and making them into an airplane.”
Built in England, the airplane was bought by a Canadian owner in 1931, crashed in 1943 and stored in a barn until 1978, when another de Havilland collector bought the project. He never got to it, however, and Maniatis bought it from the estate.