de-Havilland Gipsy Moth History
de-Havilland made a range of light aircraft all called moth's, the de-Havilland dh-60 designed by Geoffrey de Havilland was powered by the Gipsy engine and is therefore known as the "Gipsy Moth". The name Moth reflected the aircrafts wings which could be folded backwards towards the fuselage, like the wings of a moth, for ease of storage. Like most light aircraft of the 1920's era the de-Havilland dh-60 Gipsy Moth was a wood and fabric biplane with twin tandem cockpits.
de Havilland DH.60 Gipsy Moth Club Use
The prototype de-Havilland dh-60 Gipsy Moth first flew in early 1925 and unlike the late production aircraft, was powered by a Cirrus engine. The British Government decided that supporting flying clubs was a cheap way of ensuring there would be a good number of qualified pilots available should another war ever occur, with this in mind in 1925 they created five "Royal Aero Club" flying schools and equipped them with de-Havilland Gipsy Moths at a unit cost of approximately £550 per aircraft.
de Havilland DH.60 Gipsy Moth RAF Service
Although de-Havilland tried to sell the Gipsy Moth as a military trainer to the RAF, the RAF thought there were several problems with the design when used near it's flying limits which they expected their trainee combat pilots to reach, consequently they only purchased 120 de-Havilland Gipsy Moth biplane trainer aircraft.
The RAF thought that if the Gipsy Moth was handled very aggressively it was too easy for the student to enter a spin, it was quite possible he may lack the necessary skill to recover control, the trainer sitting in the rear seat had the option of bailing out but the upper wing was directly over the trainees head and trying to get out of this confined space while wearing a parachute in an emergency was an unacceptable risk. Should the unfortunate trainee stay with the de-Havilland Gipsy Moth until crash landing the position of the petrol tank and it's fuel line location made fire a probable occurrence.
de-Havilland eventually made major modifications to the Moth's design to vastly reduce these potential problems and in so doing created the definitive Moth, the famous de-Havilland Tiger Moth.
de Havilland DH.60 Gipsy Moth Specifications:
Crew: Pilot and passenger / student
Height: 8ft 9.5in (2.68 m)
Length: 23 ft 11 in (7.29 m)
Wingspan: 30 ft 0 in (9.14 m)
Empty weight: 920 lb (417 kg)
Loaded weight: 1,650 lb (750 kg)
Engine: Single 100 hp (75 kW) de Havilland Gipsy I, 4 cylinder, upright, in-line piston engine
Maximum speed: 102 mph (164 km/h)
Range: 320 mi (515 km)
Service ceiling: 14,500 ft (4,420 m)
Rate of climb: 500 ft/min (2.5 m/s)