de Havilland Tiger Moth, Old Warden 2009 ©Nigel Key
26 October 1931.
The Tiger Moth DH.82 prototype was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, based upon the Gipsy Moth, as a training aircraft.
The main design change to the Tiger Moth was to give the occupier of the front cockpit easy access and an easy means of escape, especially if having to 'parachute' out.
To achieve this, the top wings were moved further forward than normal but swept back to maintain the centre of lift. The structure was also strengthened, fold down doors were put on both sides of the cockpit and the exhaust systems were revised.
The prototype was powered by a de Havilland Gipsy III producing 120 hp and first flew on the 26th of October 1931 flown by Chief Test Pilot Hurbert Broad.
A distinctive feature of the Tiger Moth was the ailerons which were on the lower wings only and controlled by an externally mounted circular bell-crank rotated by cables from the control columns.
The De Havilland Tiger Moth was produced from 1931 to 1944, with 8,868 built.
De Havilland Gipsy III or Gipsy Major.
The Tiger Moth proved to be an ideal trainer aircraft as it was simple, cheap to own and maintain with a slowness to react from control movements helping to access trainees potential.
The Tiger Moth I, designation DH 82, was operated as a primary trainer by the Royal Air Force with 35 being ordered fitted with the Gipsy III engine producing 120 hp. The Tiger Moth II, designation DH.2A, was fitted with a Gipsy Major I engine producing 130 hp, a further 50 were ordered.
The Tiger Moth entered service with the Central Flying School in February 1932 and by the start of WWII the RAF had 500 of the aircraft in service and many civilian Tiger Moths were used to meet the demand.
In 1935, a modified Tiger Moth II, designated DH.82B 'Queen Bee', was produced as a radio controlled target tug with almost 300 in service by WWII.
The Tiger Moth remained in service with the RAF until replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk in 1952.
After WWII, there were large numbers of surplus Tiger Moths and many were sold to individuals and flying clubs to be civil registered. They proved very popular as they were inexpensive to operate and quickly took on roles such as aerial advertising, crop dusting, aerobatic performing and used as a glider tug.
|Crew - 1 or 2 (in tandem)|
|Wing Type - Bi-plane|
|Length - 23ft 11in (7.29m)|
|Wingspan - 29ft 4in (8.94m)|
|Height - 8ft 9.5in (2.68m)|
|Empty Weight - 1,115lb (506kg)|
|Max. Weight - 1,770lb (803kg)|
|Max. Speed - 109mph (175 km/h)|
|Range - 302 miles (486 km)|