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DeHavilland Aircraft (not Mosquito)

DeHavilland Aircraft

Geoffrey de Havilland, born in 1882, was in his late twenties in 1909. He had a strong and enthusiastic interest in flying machines, but he was working in London as a draftsman, a job that did not allow him to express his enthusiasm for airplanes. Fortunately, he had a wealthy grandfather, and he invested £1000 with young de Havilland for the design and construction of his first airplane.

Aviation then was much in the news. De Havilland proceeded to build an engine, while Frank Hearle, the brother of his fiancée, helped to construct the aircraft. While its wing broke on takeoff, a second airplane in 1910 was far more successful. It passed acceptance tests and became the first such craft to be purchased by the British government.

De Havilland joined His Majesty's Balloon Factory in Farnborough in 1910 and set to work designing new airplanes. In 1914, only a month before the outbreak of World War I, he transferred to private industry and became chief designer at the Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco). He stayed at Airco through the war.

There he achieved his first major success: the DH-4, a two-seat bomber that first flew in August 1916. Highly manoeuvrable and with a top speed of 143 miles per hour (230 kilometres per hour), it could outfly most fighters. In 1917, when the United States entered the war, officials in Washington selected it for production and built nearly 5,000 of them. DH-4s carried the early U.S. airmail; some also carried passengers. They remained in service through the 1920s.

After 1918, the end of the war brought a sharp falloff in demand for new aircraft. The assets of Airco plunged in value, and de Havilland bought the company. With Airco now in his hands, he renamed it the De Havilland Aircraft Company. Incorporated in September 1920, it overhauled existing planes while constructing a small number of new designs for the Air Ministry and for newly formed airlines.

Good aircraft need good engines, and De Havilland was dissatisfied with those that were available. His long-time friend, the engine designer Frank Halford, modified a French motor and came up with one that was lighter in weight and simpler in design. The company then set up a strong in-house engine division. Its motors powered De Havillands highly successful Moth family of aircraft.

The first such airplane flew in 1925, ushering in a line that stayed in production through World War II. These included the Gipsy Moth that used Halford's Gipsy engine, the Giant Moth, Hawk Moth, Puss Moth, Swallow Moth, Tiger Moth, Fox Moth, Leopard Moth, and Hornet Moth. They served as private planes, trainers, and light airliners.

In 1934, De Havillands Comet Racer won an air race that ran halfway around the world, from London to Melbourne, Australia. This Comet beat a highly touted U.S. entry, the Douglas DC-2. In an era when boxy biplanes still were common, the Comet showed a highly streamlined form that foreshadowed the speedy fighter aircraft of a decade later.

All-aluminium designs had not yet become standard, and the Comet was built with plywood. De Havilland used the same construction in an early four-engine airliner, the Albatross, which flew in 1937. Drawing on this experience, the company proceeded to use plywood in crafting one of the outstanding aircraft of World War II: the Mosquito.

There were plenty of woodworkers in England, which made them easy to construct. During much of the war, the Mosquito was the fastest airplane on either side. Nearly 7,000 of these twin-engine craft were built during the war. They performed superbly as fighters, light bombers, and in camera-carrying versions used for photo-reconnaissance.

An advanced version, the Hornet, remained in production until 1952—well into the jet age—and stayed in service until 1959.

De Havilland also took the lead in building jets. The inventor Frank Whittle constructed an early jet engine prior to the war. In January 1941, the senior British aviation official Sir Henry Tizard asked Halford and De Havilland to design a new jet interceptor and a new engine. Halford simplified Whittle's design, crafting a successful engine called the Goblin. It powered the Vampire fighter, which first flew in September 1943. This led the company to build post-war jet fighters: the Venom and the Sea Vixen.

In 1944, De Havilland was knighted and became Sir Geoffrey. This high point in his life coincided with the high point in his company's fortunes. In the post-war world, with America ascendant, he continued to pioneer but lost repeatedly to the Yankees.

He built the DH-108, an experimental jet powered by a Goblin that was to break the sound barrier. One of them broke up in flight, killing the pilot—his son, Geoffrey, Jr. A DH-108 indeed flew supersonically in September 1948. But by then America's Chuck Yeager had already done this in the rocket-powered X-1, and George Welch had done so as well in the XP-86, which went into production as a fighter.

De Havilland built the world's first jet airliner: the Comet, named for the 1934 racing plane. Fitted with four of Halford's more powerful Ghost jet engines, the Comet entered test flight in 1949 and first carried paying passengers in May 1952. People fell in love with it. Its speed of 480 mph was unrivalled. It flew at high altitude, avoiding discomforts of the weather. Its engines ran smoothly, eliminating the harsh vibration of conventional motors. Orders poured in.

But during 1954, two Comets broke up in midair. Investigation showed that this airliner was subject to a new and unanticipated type of structural weakness. All remaining Comets were withdrawn from service, with De Havilland launching a major effort to build a new version that would be both larger and stronger. This one, the Comet 4, enabled De Havilland to return to the skies in 1958. By then, though, it was too late. The United States had its Boeing 707 jetliner along with the Douglas DC-8, both of which were faster and less costly to operate. The Comet soon faded, as orders dried up.

De Havilland also pushed into the new field of long-range missiles, developing the liquid-fuelled Blue Streak. It did not enter military service but became the first stage of Europa, a launch vehicle for use in space flight. In flight tests, the Blue Streak performed well—but the upper stages, built in France and Germany, repeatedly failed. In 1973 the Europa program was cancelled, with Blue Streak dying as well. The last of them wound up in the hands of a farmer who used its commodious fuel tanks to house his chickens.

De Havilland returned to the airline world in 1962 with a three-engine jetliner, the Trident. However, he designed it to fit the needs of one airline and one man: Lord Sholto Douglas, chairman of British European Airways. Other airlines found it unattractive and turned to a rival tri-jet: the Boeing 727. De Havilland built only 117 Tridents, while Boeing went on to sell over 1,800 727s.

In 1959, De Havilland Aircraft merged with the firm of Hawker Siddeley Aviation, while the engine division became part of Bristol Siddeley. Sir Geoffrey died in 1965. He had pioneered from aviation's earliest days until well into the 1950s. But after the war, competing with the United States, he repeatedly fell short.

DeHavilland Tiger Moth

The DH.82A training biplane was designed by Capt Geoffrey de Havilland during 1931 as an improved derivative of the DH.60 Gipsy Moth. Two DH.60T De Havilland Tiger Moth prototypes tested late summer 1931 with 120 hp Gipsy III inverted in-line engine, followed by first DH.82 with increased dihedral and sweep-back flown on October 26, 1931. Entered production for RAE as new standard ab initio trainer (as noted below); pre-war production of DH.82s by de Havilland at Hatfield also included five for Danish Air Force and 20 for Persian Air Force. In 1934, DH.82A version introduced 130 hp Gipsy Major, plywood rear fuselage decking and blind flying hood over rear cockpit. Pre-war deliveries, apart from (or by diversion from) RAF contracts, included nine for Danish Air Force, 59 for Persian Air Force, 17 for Iraqi Air Force, 12 for Brazilian Air Force, one for RCAF, 110 for RNZAF and 20 for RAAF.
Production transferred to Morris Motors Ltd at Cowley in 1941, subsequent deliveries including (in addition to those listed above), 24 for RNZAF, ten for Persian Air Force and five for SAAF. Pre-war deliveries from Hatfield included large batches to equip civilian-operated Elementary and Reserve Flying Training Schools; and total of 124 DH.82As serving with seven of these schools impressed 1940-41 for RAF service (with serials in range BB672 to BB868) plus 41 miscellaneous privately-owned De Havilland Tiger Moths. Production totals in UK were 114 DH.82 and 1,950 DH.82A at Hatfield and 3,432 DH.82A by Morris Motors. For the Royal Norwegian Air Force, Haerens Flyvemaskinefabric built 17 DH.82s and 20 DH.82As. In New Zealand, the de Havilland Aircraft subsidiary built 181
DH.82As against RNZAF contracts between 1940 and 1944. De Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd in Australia built 1,085 DH.82As between 1939 and 1945, of which 743 sup-plied to RAAF, 20 to RNZAF, 120 to South Africa, 94 to Southern Rhodesia and 128 to India. In Canada, de Havilland built 25 DH.82As for RCAF to add to one British-built specimen and then went on to produce the DH.82C variant noted below. Proposed production of 200 DH.82As in Bombay can-celled but at least 120 previously civil De Havilland Tiger Moths impressed for service in India 1940-42, of which a few converted as ambulances carrying one stretcher beneath hinged rear fuselage decking. Other impressments included 21 for the RAAF, 29 for the SAAF and 24 for the RNZAF, all from local sources.
DH.82 De Havilland Tiger Moth I: Initial production batch of 35 for RAF to Specification 23/31, deliveries starting 1932. Also two seaplanes to Specification 6/33 for evaluation in 1932.
DH.82A De Havilland Tiger Moth II: Major production version to Specifications 26/33 and 7/35. Two delivered as seaplanes in 1936. Rear fuselage strakes added retrospectively 1942 as anti-spinning precaution.
Equipped 28 Elementary Flying Training Schools in UK during World War II, and many exported to help equip RAF Empire Air Training Schools (in addition to Canadian production noted below). Adapted 1939-40 for use as emergency anti-invasion bomber carrying eight 20-lb (9.1 kg) bombs.

Max speed, 104 mph (167 km/h). Cruising speed, 90 mph (145 km/h). Initial climb, 635 ft/min (3.23 m/sec). Service ceiling, 14,000 ft (4,267 m). Range, 300 miles (393 km). Empty weight, 1,115 Ib (506 kg). Gross weight, 1,825 Ib (829 kg). Span, 29 ft 4 in (8.94 m). Length, 23 ft 11 in (7.29 m). Wing area, 239 sqft (22.2m2).

DH.82B Queen Bee K8666

This version of the DH.82 Tiger Moth was designed to Specification 18/33 for a radio-controlled target aircraft, for anti-aircraft gunnery practice. Used DH.60-type wooden fuselage in place of D.K.82 metal-and-fabric type, with 130 hp Gipsy Major I engine, larger fuel tank in centre section and radio control gear in rear cockpit. Alternative wheel or float undercarriage; normally launched from ship catapult as a seaplane for use at coastal ranges, landing on the sea afterwards for recovery. Prototype first flown (manually) on January 5, 1935; 320 built by DH at Hatfield to Specification 20/35, deliveries starting in 1935, and 60 by Scottish Aviation at Glasgow in 1943-44. Operated by Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit Flights in UK and overseas.

Max speed, 104 mph (167 km/h). Gross weight, 1,825 Ib (829 kg). Span, 29 ft 4 in (8.94 m). Length, 23 ft 11 in (7.29 m).

Shot down by HMS Coventry 23/3/39. More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DH.82A Tiger Moth T7666

Southern Rhodesia. Struck of charge 17/08/43. More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DH.82A Tiger Moth II N6666

Sold 21/01/50. More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DH.82A Tiger Moth II DX666

Not on the DeHavilland list. More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DH.82A Tiger Moth II DE666

Indian Air Force as VT-CTU. Crashed 07/07/55. More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DeHavilland Vampire/Sea Venom - The De Havilland Vampire was Britain's second jet fighter, designed during 1942 to Specification E.6/41 around a single 2,700 Ib st (1,226 kgp) H-l Goblin turbojet, with an armament of four 20-mm Hispano cannon. First of three De Havilland Vampire prototypes flown September 20, 1943, under code-name 'Spider Crab'. Production contracts placed with English Electric Co at Preston, for 120 on May 13, 1944, and 180 more on May 7, 1945; first production De Havilland Vampire F Mk I flown at Salmsbury April 20, 1945. Deliveries, initially to equip No 247 Sqn, began after end of war.

Max speed, 531 mph (854 km/h) at 17,500 ft (5,334 m). Initial climb, 4,200 ft/min (21.34 m/sec). Range, 730 miles (1,175 km) at 380 mph (611 km/h) at 30,000ft (9,150 m). Empty weight, 6,372 Ib (2,893 kg). Gross weight, 10,480 Ib (4,758 kg). Span, 40ft 0 in (12.20 m). Length, 30ft 9 in (9.37 m). Wing area, 266 sqft (24.71m2)

DH.100 Vampire FB.5 VV666

This aircraft was built by English Electric and served on No4 squadron at Gutersloh from Thursday 26th July 1951 to Wednesday 5th December 1951. It was sols as scrap on 26th November 1958. More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DH.112 Sea Venom FAW.21 XG666

Broken up as spares 24.05.62 at Abbotsinch. More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DH.113 Vampire NF.10 WM666

Sold to DeHavilland on 26.11.53. To Indian AF as ID603 30.7.54. 
More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DeHavilland Dominie - The DH.89 was developed in 1933/34 as a light general purpose transport, the proto-type flying on April 17, 1934. Total of 728 built, including 206 as DH.89A Dragon Rapide up to 1939 and remainder as RAF Dominies, noted below, all with 200 hp Gipsy Queen III engines. Deliveries included two to RAF in 1938 for communications to Specification 21/38, three as R/T trainers to Specification T.29/38 and two as VIP transports, plus two to RAAF for communications. In 1939, 44 DH.89As assigned to NAC in UK, of which 14 operated in civil guise for internal communications through-out war; 43 ex-civil examples impressed for RAF use, including ambulance duties, ATA ferry service and Anti-Aircraft Co-Operation Units. About eight DH.89As impressed in India, plus four ex-RAF Dominies civil-registered for use by Air India and then also impressed. Seven civil DH.89As impressed in Australia for RAAF as radio/navigation trainers until 1944; six impressed for RNZAF, several for SAAF. A number of Dragon Rapides was operated during the war by the Luftwaffe. They included two ex-Latvian and two ex-Lithuanian aircraft originally captured by the Soviet forces, and then by the Luftwaffe.

DH.89B Dominie: Production of DH.89s from 1939 onwards for military purposes; name Dominie adopted 1941, with Mk I for navigation and W/T training and Mk II for communications with six passengers and two crew. Production totals, 186 by DH at Hatfield and 336 by Brush Coachworks at Loughborough, to 1945. Some transferred to USAAF in Europe; nine to RNZAF, 18 to SAAF and others to Allied air forces for communications duties.

Max speed, 157 mph (253 km/h). Cruising speed, 132 mph (212 km/h). Initial climb, 867 ftlmin (4.4 mlsec). Ceiling, 19,500 ft (5,944 m). Range, 578 mis (930 km). Empty weight, 3,276 Ib (1,487 kg). Gross weight, 5,500 Ib (2,497 kg). Span, 48 ft 0 in (14.63 m). Length, 34ft 6 in (10.52 m). Wing area, 336 sqft (31.2 m2).

DH.89B Dominie I HG666

SRAF VP-YCL. More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DeHavilland Chipmunk Developed just after World War II, the DHC-1 Chipmunk was the first aircraft designed by DeHavilland of Canada to replace the DeHavilland Tiger Moth as a single-engine basic trainer. The Chipmunk first flew on 22 May 1946. Initially, 218 Chipmunks were built for the Royal Canadian Air Force, followed, after a change to the Gipsy Major 8 engine, by 735 planes for the RAF’s primary pilot training bases. These were designated as T 10s.

The British version also differed by being fully aerobatic and having a sliding, multi-panelled canopy rather than the ‘bubble’ typical in Canada. Another 217 of the versatile, easily-mastered Chipmunks were built for export sale, and 60 were built under license in Portugal. Not fully retired until 1996, many examples are still flying in private hands worldwide.  [History by Jeff VanDerford]

Nicknames: Chippie; Flying Sardine

Specifications (T Mk 10):
        Engine: One 145-hp DeHavilland Gypsy Major 8 inline piston engine.
        Weight: Empty 1425 lbs., Max Takeoff 2014 lbs.
        Wing Span: 34ft. 4in.
        Length: 25ft. 5in.
        Height: 7ft. 0in.
            Maximum Speed: 138 mph at sea level
            Ceiling: 15,800 ft.
            Range: 280 miles
        Armament: None

Number Built: 1,075+

Number Still Airworthy: 130+

DHC.1 Chipmunk T.10 WB666

Delivery date 15/06/1950, sold. EP-AFM Iran. More information on this aircraft will appear here when researched and available. Top

DHC.1 Chipmunk T.10 BBMF

The BBMF operate two aircraft serials WG486 and WK518.

The two De Havilland Chipmunks held on charge by the BBMF are the last in RAF service and are probably the least-seen aircraft of the BBMF’s fleet. They are used year-round primarily for the conversion and continuation training of BBMF pilots on tail-wheel aircraft. Within the RAF, ‘tail-draggers’ are now unique to the BBMF and pilots new to the Flight commonly arrive with no previous tail-wheel aircraft experience. Other functions of the aircraft include the delivery of small spare parts, the delivery or collection of pilots and also the reconnaissance of new venues. Both BBMF Chipmunks appear in a smart high-conspicuity black paint scheme with white bars.

Of the two aircraft, WK518 has been with the BBMF the longest, having been delivered to the Flight from No 1 Air Experience Flight (AEF) in April 1983. The aircraft was first delivered to the RAF in January 1952 going to the RAF College at Cranwell. Other units who have operated WK518 include the University Air Squadrons (UASs) for Liverpool, Manchester, Cambridge, Hull, Leeds and London Universities, the Cottesmore Station Flight and No 1 AEF at Manston.

WG486 was also delivered to the RAF in January 1952 and served with No 5 Basic Flying Training School, No 9 Refresher Flying School and No 2 Flying Training School (FTS) before being used by the Army with 651 and 657 Squadrons. The aircraft was issued to the Middle East Air Force in 1958 with 114 Squadron before returning to the UK in 1961. It was subsequently operated by units that included the RAF College at Cranwell, Initial Training School at South Cerney and Church Fenton, No 1 FTS, PFS, Liverpool and Bristol UASs and No 3 AEF. In 1987 WG486 moved to Germany to operate as part of the Gatow Station Flight in Berlin, which was then surrounded by Communist Block territory. It therefore became the most unlikely ‘spy plane’ and ‘Cold War warrior’ until the Berlin Wall came down. When Gatow closed, the aircraft spent a year at Laarbruch before being delivered to the BBMF in 1995.

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