de-Havilland Tiger Moth History
de-Havilland had been very successful with it's Moth biplanes since their introduction in 1925 dominating the UK civilian market, they had however failed to dominate the military aircraft Market. de-Havilland had tried to sell their Gipsy Moth in large numbers to the RAF, but the RAF saw several problems when the aircraft was flown to the edge of it's performance envelope, the RAF believed their pilots could be almost guaranteed to reach or exceed these limits. The perceived problems included difficulty in spin recovery, a tight fitting cockpit for the trainee with the upper wing directly above making a bail-out extremely difficult while wearing a bulky parachute, the fuel tank and it's fuel lines located directly above the trainees cockpit was seen as an obstruction to a trainee trying to bale out.
de-Havilland Tiger Moth Design
de-Havilland heavily modified the design of the Gipsy Moth to address all of the RAF's worries. The fuel tank was relocated on to the upper wing, a strake was added to the top of the rear fuselage just in front of the tail fin to make it far easier to recover from a spin. The upper wing was moved forwards so the forward cockpit was no longer under the wing, to retain the original centre of gravity and lift the new upper wing was swept backwards and the cabane struts moved. To further aid egress from the aircraft the top twelve inches of the sides of both cockpits were hinged so they could be folded down to quicken exit times for both trainer and trainee, finally the adoption of an inverted engine gave far improved forward vision. The changes made by de-Havilland to the Gipsy moth were so extensive that a new designation, DH82a, and a new "Moth" name were required, the new name chosen was of course the "de-Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth".
The de-Havilland Tiger Moth During WW2
The efforts of de-Havilland's were not wasted, by the outbreak of WW2 over 500 de-Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth were in service with the RAF, and during the war the RAF acquired over 4,000 more de-Havilland DH82a Tiger Moths. It was not just the RAF who found the de-Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth an excellent trainer, the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand air forces also adopted the de-Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth as their primary biplane trainer aircraft.
The de-Havilland Tiger Moth after WW2
The 1950's saw the world's air forces slowly replacing their time served de-Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth biplanes, surplus Tiger Moth aircraft were quickly absorbed into the civilian market where many Tiger Moths remain airworthy to this day.
De Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth Specifications:
Crew: Student & Instructor
Length: 23 ft 11 in (7.34 m)
Wingspan: 29 ft 4 in (8.94 m)
Height: 8 ft 9 in (2.68 m)
Wing area: 239 ft² (22.2 m²)
Empty weight: 1,115 lb (506 kg)
Loaded weight: 1,825 lb (828 kg)
Engine: Single 130 hp (100 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Major I inverted inline four cylinder
Maximum speed: 109 mph at 1,000 ft (175 km/h at 300 m)
Range: 302 miles (486 km)
Service ceiling: 13,600 ft (4,145 m).