De Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth


Photo Courtesy Dick Simpson

Photo Courtesy Dick Simpson

Single engine 2-seat primary training aircraft

History of Type

Designed by de Havilland in 1931 to a Royal Air Force (RAF) need for a simple primary pilot trainer.

The RAF was delighted with the aircraft and from an initial order of only 35 eventually ordered a total of ~4,000 machines.  Tiger Moths were made under licence in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia.  They were by far the most numerous basic training aircraft in the world from the 1930s to the 1950s.

One of the RAF requirements for the design was that a trainee or instructor pilot wearing a parachute could easily escape from the cockpit.  Hence the upper wings are kinked to maintain centre of gravity, pushed forward further than the bottom wing  and cut out slightly above the cockpit for that purpose.

Construction is a mixture of lightweight steel tube framing, plywood skin, and doped Irish linen over timber frames for the wings.

Some ~1,000 Tiger Moths were made at the Australian De Havilland Bankstown factory of which ~785 were used by the RAAF from 1940 to 1957.

History of VH-DHV

Interestingly, our aircraft (VH-DHV) was not built by De Havilland at Bankstown but was newly built in 1957 from a mix of new spare parts and an older fuselage at Archerfield QLD.  Our aircraft is part of the Boeing Havilland Collection on permanent loan to HARS.

Technical Specifications

Engines: 1 x Gipsy Major 1, 4 cylinder (6.12 L), air-cooled, inverted, direct drive, ~130 bhp

Maximum takeoff weight: ~830 kg

Length: 7.3 m

Wing span: 8.94 m

Height: 2.7 m

Cruising speed: ~145 km/h (max ~170 km/h)

Ceiling: 15,800 ft

Range: ~490 km

Crew: 1 x pilot/instructor plus 1 x student