DH.80 Puss Moth, stunning portrait courtesy of © Brian Nicholas
The first flight of the ADC Cirrus powered prototype DH.60 Moth (registration G-EBKT) was carried out by Geoffrey de Havilland at the works airfield at Stag Lane on 22 February 1925. The Moth was a two-seat biplane of wooden construction, it had a plywood covered fuselage and fabric covered surfaces, a standard tailplane with a single tailplane and fin. A useful feature of the design was its folding wings which allowed owners to hangar the aircraft in much smaller spaces. The then Secretary of State for Air Sir Samuel Hoare became interested in the aircraft and the Air Ministry subsidised five flying clubs and equipped them with Moths.
First major overhaul of the design: Cirrus engine replaced by a 100 hp (75 kW) Gipsy I engine.
In 1928 when the new Gipsy I engine was available a company DH.60 Moth G-EBQH was re-engined as the prototype of the DH.60G Gipsy Moth.
In 1934 from the 58th DH.60GIII onwards, the engine name was changed to Gipsy Major and the resulting variant was renamed the DH.60G III Moth Major. 96 were built including ten as fuselages for the Royal Air Force as Queen Bee target drones, production ending in May 1935. A final Moth Major was built by the de Havilland Technical School, giving total production of the DH.60GIII of 154
biplane, 8 passengers
Following the success of the de Havilland DH.50J in Australia, the company was asked to design a larger replacement using a Bristol Jupiter engine.Following test flights in England, the aircraft was sent to de Havilland Australia in Melbourne. After reassembly, the prototype first flew on 2 March 1928 and was used on scheduled services between Adelaide and Broken Hill by MacRobertson Miller Aviation. The prototype was originally called Canberra which was used as a type name until it was changed to Giant Moth
monoplane, 2 produced
Photo: De Havilland DH71 Tiger Moth ground running prior to the 1927 King's Cup Air Race.
The first aircraft built (registration G-EBQU) first flew from Stag Lane Aerodrome on 24 June 1927 and was fitted with an 85 hp (63 kW) ADC Cirrus II engine to check its handling characteristics. This was then replaced with Major Halford's prototype engine, by then named the Gipsy. The second example, G-EBRV, was fitted with a Cirrus engine and first flew on 28 July 1927.
monoplane, 4 seats, 8 produced
The DH.75 Hawk Moth was the first of a family of high-wing monoplane Moths, and was designed as a light transport or air-taxi for export. The aircraft had a fabric-covered steel-tube fuselage and wooden wings. The Hawk Moth was first flown on 7 December 1928 from Stag Lane. The first aircraft used a 200 hp (149 kW) Ghost engine. This engine comprised two Gipsys mounted on a common crankcase to form an air-cooled V-8. With the Ghost, the aircraft was underpowered and a 240 hp (179 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial engine was fitted to it and all but one production aircraft. Changes were also made to the structure including increased span and chord wings and the aircraft was redesignated the DH.75A.
monoplane, 284 produced
Photo: Amy Johnson Mollison with her de Havilland DH.80A Puss Moth, G-ACAB, The Desert Cloud, Lympne Aerodrome, London, 14 November 1932. (Unattributed)
The unnamed DH.80 prototype which first flew in September 1929 was designed for the flourishing private flying movement in the United Kingdom. It was a streamlined all-wooden aircraft fitted with the new Gipsy III inverted inline engine that gave unimpeded vision across the nose without the protruding cylinder heads of the earlier Gipsy II engine.
After the prototype was tested, the aircraft was redesigned with a fabric-covered steel-tube fuselage and as such re-designated the DH.80A Puss Moth. The first production aircraft flew in March 1930 and was promptly sent on a sales tour of Australia and New Zealand. Orders came quickly, and in the three years of production ending in March 1933, 259 were manufactured in England. An additional 25 aircraft were built by de Havilland Canada. Most were fitted with the 130 hp (97 kW) Gipsy Major engine that gave slightly better performance.
14–18 November 1932: Amy Johnson, CBE, (Mrs. James A Mollison) flew her new de Havilland DH.80A Puss Moth, c/n 2247, registration G-ACAB, from Lympne Aerodrome, London, England, to Cape Town, South Africa, a distance of approximately 6,300 miles (10,140 kilometers) in a total elapsed time of 4 days, 6 hours, 54 minutes. This broke the previous record which had been set by her husband, Jim Mollison, by 10 hours, 28 minutes.
monoplane ,1 produced
Built during the "Great Depression" the Swallow Moth was a low cost two tandem seat sports aircraft which was first flown by Geoffrey De Havilland 21 st August 1931. Initially the Swallow Moth was open topped but with the addition of the canopy, which increased the speed by 11 mph, it was designated the DH 81A. It was retained for flight testing and eventually retired from use on 3 rd February 1932. It never took up civil registration and spent it's life in the Class B marking E7.
The DH. 81 Swallow Moth was a low-wing cantilever monoplane. This arrangement and its plywood-covered fuselage and closely cowled 80 hp (60 kW) inline Gipsy IV engine gave it a very clean aerodynamic look. The wings carried ailerons that were horn-balanced at the wingtips and the empennage was of characteristic de Havilland form, with a balanced rudder. The main undercarriage was simple, the legs reaching to mid-fuselage in front of the leading edge of the wing, with bracing struts fore and aft to the keel; the later Leopard Moth used a similar arrangement. A small tailskid completed the undercarriage.
biplane -8,868 produced
Photo: 26 October 1931. First flight of the de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moth E6 prototype (later G-ABRC) at Stag Lane Aerodrome, with de Havilland Chief Test Pilot Hubert Broad at the controls. British single engine biplane.
'A robust aircraft, it is generally docile and forgiving in normal flight. The Tiger Moth responds well to control inputs, and is reasonably easy to fly for a tail-dragger. Its large “parachute” wings are very forgiving, and it stalls at a speed as slow as 25 knots with power.'
The DH82 Tiger Moth owes its existence to the often earlier and often confused DH71 Tiger Moth. Intended from the outset for a primary training role, the DH82 Tiger Moth adopted the inverted Gipsy III engine.
The initial 35 dual-control aircraft order was quickly followed by another for a further 50, powered by the DH Gipsy Major 1 engine. These were known as DH82a or to the RAF ‘Tiger Moth II’.
In February 1932, the DH Tiger Moth entered service at the RAF Central Flying School at RAF Upavon, Wiltshire although by the outbreak of World War II, these were also supplemented in RAF service by a large number of commandeered DH Tiger Moth civil aircraft.
During the full production run of over 8,800 aircraft, over 4,000 were built during the war years with over 50% of that number being built at Morris Motors, Cowley. This was due in the main to free up capacity at Hatfield for the production of the DH98 Mosquito.
The DH82 Tiger Moth were also built by De Havilland Canada although their variant featured Menasco engines, being known better as DH82C Menasco Moths. DH Canada created 1,548 aircraft, as well as an additional 200 x Tiger Moths specifically for the USA Air Force under a 'Lend-Lease' scheme with Canada. These were designated as PT-24 before being delivered to the Canadian Air Force.
Initially, De Havilland Australia also produced 20 aircraft, built from UK components which eventually led to a further 1,070 being built at Mascot Aerodrome, near Sydney.
Other overseas manufacturing added to the tally in Sweden (as the SK.11), Portugal, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. There are also records showing that an unquantified ‘large number’ of kits were also assembled at various locations around the world.
Though it was primarily used to give pilots their elementary flying training during the Second World War, the aircraft, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and made by the de Havilland Aircraft Company, was not retired from service until nearly 15 years after the conflict ended.
After their training, pilots would move on to fighter aircraft including the Spitfire and Hurricane, or bombers such as the Lancaster and Wellington.
biplane, 154 produced
monoplane, 133 produced
Moths, along with butterflies, form an insect order called Lepidoptera. There are around 160,00 species of moth worldwide, and there are over 2,500 species recorded here in the British Isles, so there are still plenty to discover.
Power Unit: One 130 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major 1
Photo courtesy Arthur Scarf
The DH.82 was a direct development of the earlier DH.60 “Moth” which had straight wings and made rapid exit from the front cockpit difficult. The British Air Ministry rejected the DH.60 for this reason and the De Havilland was forced to further develop the otherwise good aircraft in order to win the R.A.F. contract. A Moth trainer was dismantled and modified to serve as the prototype for the proposed new aircraft. The centre-section of the top wing was moved forward 22″ to allow adequate clearance for easy departure from the front seat. This forward shift of the top wing caused a balancing problem and in order to achieve the proper centre of gravity, the upper wings had to be swept back by 11″ each and the lower wings swept back 9″ each. At this time a new 120 HP Gipsy III engine was installed as well. This aircraft was hastily put together and a new airplane featuring all of these alterations was built and designated the DH.82. The result was a hugely successful aircraft that was accepted by the R.A.F. and became one of the world’s all-time classic biplanes.
The Thruxton Jackaroo was powered by 1 × de Havilland Gipsy Major four-cylinder, air-cooled, inline engine, 130 hp (97 kW).
The Thruxton Jackaroo was a 1950s British four-seat cabin biplane converted from a de Havilland Tiger Moth by Jackaroo Aircraft Limited at Thruxton Aerodrome and Rollason Aircraft and Engines Limited at Croydon Airport.
It was a four-seat cabin general purpose biplane, the original tandem two-seat Tiger Moth fuselage was widened to accommodate four-passengers. It was marketed as "the cheapest four-seat aircraft in the world".
The first conversion first flew on 2 March 1957. Eighteen Tiger Moths were converted by Jackaroo Aircraft Limited between 1957 and 1959 and one aircraft was converted by Rollason's in 1960. The aircraft could be fitted with an optional crop spraying gear. One converted aircraft was further modified as a single-seat agricultural aircraft, but with little interest in the variant the aircraft was converted back to a Mk. 1.
Jackaroo Mk 1Production cabin biplane with wooden canopy.
Jackaroo Mk 2Single-seat Agricultural variant with either a hopper or 60-gal tank in place of the two front seats, one conversion.
Jackaroo Mk 3Production cabin biplane with metal canopy and provision for brakes.