In the 1920's, the de Havilland Aircraft
Works developed a line of light aircraft, intended to be affordable and easy to
fly for the average man. They were called Moths, in recognition of Geoffrey de
Havilland's renown as a lepidopterist. The first model, introduced in 1925
became the D.H. 60 Cirrus Moth. It was a simple yet strong spruce and plywood box section
design, powered by a four cylinder 60 horsepower
In 1927, a variant was
introduced with a new, improved inline
inverted four cylinder engine. This became the famous GYPSY
MOTH. It proved powerful and reliable, and many light plane records were broken
all over the world. Not only did it advance the cause of civil aviation, but it
was seen to be an ideal training aircraft as well. The Royal Air Force had been
using this type for elementary instruction for several years when the Air
Ministry issued specifications calling for an improved version. D.H. 60
fuselages were used, but the wing centre sections were moved forward while the
outer sections were moved back. This distinctive swept wing configuration kept
the centre of gravity constant with the changes that were necessary. Thus was
born the D.H. 82 TIGER MOTH.
For 15 years this
became the foremost primary trainer throughout the commonwealth and elsewhere.
It was the dominant type used in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and
thousands of military pilots got their first taste of flight in this robust
Altogether, over 9000 of
these aircraft were made, 1,784 D.H.82C's being built by De Havilland Canada
under license. The Canadian models featured a tail wheel, a stronger
undercarriage with wheels set farther forward and a sliding canopy for
protection from the elements.
After the war
they were universally and inexpensively available for flying clubs and
individuals. Numerous examples are still flying today and they will always be fondly
remembered for providing flying in its purest form for so many.
for the DE HAVILLAND D.H.82a TIGER MOTH:
Two seat, single bay biplane
POWERPLANT: either a 145 hp
GYPSY MAJOR four cylinder inverted air-cooled or a 160 hp Menasco
PERFORMANCE: Maximum Speed:105 mph at sea level;
Rate of Climb: 635 feet per minute; Take-off Weight: 1, 825 lbs; Range: 300
DIMENSIONS: Length: 23', 11"; Span: 29',
4"; Height: 8' 91/2"