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Happy 90th Birthday - De Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth

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Happy 90th Birthday - De Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth

Old 26th Oct 2021, 01:21
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Happy 90th Birthday - De Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth

On this day, 26th October

History will record that on this day in 1931, Captain Hubert Stanford Broad, Chief Test Pilot of the de Havilland Aircraft Company Ltd, completed the first circuits of Stag Lane Aerodrome in the updated biplane trainer with the new designation: DH.82 Tiger Moth.

It would be the first of many.

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Old 26th Oct 2021, 02:16
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There is a good article on Tiger Moth history in Safety Digest #113 page 31. There are about 175 still on the register. I am not sure how many of these are projects v airworthy aircraft.

The ASD article is reproduced below:

“In this age of mass production and glossy products, row upon row of sleek modern designs confront us at any airfield we may visit. Small , medium and large , of varying hues, these aircraft perform a wide variety of tasks in relative comfort and efficiency …….. but are they ‘aeroplanes’?

As one walks the lines of modern aircraft, more often than not an anachronism appears amongst them, immediately identified as a ‘real aeroplane’. Its antiquity is apparent: two wings, open cockpit and fabric covering, held together by wire, and nearly always in immaculate condition . This is a TIGER MOTH.

The Tiger Moth evolved from the De Havilland DH- 51 of 1924 and its successor, the DH-60 Moth of 1925. The DH-60 engendered a line of variants culminating in the DH-60T Moth Trainer , first flown in April 1931. Of the 72 DH-60Ts built, eight were constructed with a small amount of sweep- back on the main planes and designated Tiger Moth, the second De Havilland type to bear this name. (The first was the Monoplane DH-71 Racer of 1927 .) In turn , one of these eight was further tested with dihedral on the lower wing and increased sweep-back, effecting a change of type number to DH-82.

Bearing the Class B test marking E-6, airframe number 1733 – the first true DH-82 – made its first flight at the hands of De Havilland’s test pilot Hubert Broad on 26 October 1931 at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Middlesex. Built to meet Air Ministry Specification 15/31 the design led to immediate military orders, and a total production of 135 examples of this model followed . Designated MKl by the RAF it was powered by the 120 HP De Havilland Gipsy MKIII engine. The prototype, registered G-ABRC, received its Certificate of Airworthiness on 18 March 1932 and served with De Havillands for many years. At the outbreak of war it was impressed into military service and allotted serial number BB723. After serving in RAF and RN units it was sold as surplus in January 1951 and scrapped in 1953 without being reregistered. No example of either the DH-60T or DH-82 came to Australia contrary to popular belief.

The Tiger Moth as we know it in Australia is the type DH-82A, the major production version of the design. This variant was the result of Air Ministry Specification T26/ 33 which called for installation of the De Havilland Gipsy Major MKl engine of 130 horsepower and other design changes including a plywood turtle-decking in place of the fabric-and-stringer structure , an increase in fuel tank capacity from 18 to 19 gallons, elimination of the deep front-cockpit door and installation of a fixed rear seat in place of the adjustable seat of the DH-82. The first DH-82A, airframe number 3175, was registered as G-ACDA and certificated on the 10th 0f March 1933. At the outbreak of war this aircraft was impressed and subsequently saw service with both the RAF and RN. Known to the RAF as the MKII, 8811 examples of this sub-type were constructed.

A further 420 Tigers were built with wooden DH-60GIII fuselages. These were designated DH-82B ‘Queen Bee’ target aircraft. Some Canadian production was designated DH-82C, a variant which included those fitted with the Menasco D4 Pirate engine of 120 horsepower and the De Havilland Gipsy Major MKIC of 145 horsepower.

The Tiger Moth in Australia

The first Australian Tiger Moth, VH-UTD, was placed on the register on 28 May 1935. This was the 126th production aircraft and carried airframe number 3320. It was the fore-runner of 18 civil and 20 military examples imported prior to the outbreak of war. Another six arrived in 1940 for civil use. Of those 24 civil-registered Tiger Moths, three were purchased by the RAAF and 18 were impressed. VH-UTD became A17-675 on the 22nd of July 1940 and saw service with No. 8 Elementary Flying Training School at Narrandera, NSW. As the war progressed Australia undertook to train aircrew under the Empire Air Training Scheme and, as part of this commitment, production of 350 Tiger Moths was started at De Havilland’s Mascot Factory. Ultimately 1135 aircraft were constructed there, the last 65 being delivered unassembled.

Of the 1070 aircraft assembled, one was released directly to Broken Hill Aero Club as VH-AEB, two went to Burma, 18 to the USAAF, 20 to the RNZAF, 41 to India, 62 to the Netherlands East Indies, 96 to Rhodesia, 120 to South Africa and 712 direct to the RAAF. As well, 100 British built ex-RAF aircraft were shipped here, bringing the total number of Tigers in Australia by the end of the war to 1127. RAAF serial numbers ranged from Al7-l to Al7-759.

Post-war, the majority of the military Tiger Moths were entered on the civil register. The type was used for practically every purpose imaginable, although primarily in the training and cropdusting roles. A few were placed on floats and several were fitted with canopies. Many were privately owned. Of the original 21 civil Tiger Moths acquired by the RAAF eight were returned to civil use post-war. One of these was airframe number 3623, originally imported as VH-UYQ. This aircraft was re-registered VH-CCE in November 1955 and is now the oldest surviving Tiger Moth in Australia. (It has been in storage since 1975.) VH-UTD – the original Australian Tiger Moth – was written off in February 1945 after an accident in which it stalled and spun in.

In 1954 there were still more than 300 examples of the Tiger Moth on the register and high numbers were maintained until the mid-sixties. The current register lists well over 100 examples – not a bad record for a type that ceased production in Australia 37 years ago.”

Source: https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/5774809/asd_113_82.pdf

Last edited by Frontal Lobotomy; 26th Oct 2021 at 02:36.
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Old 26th Oct 2021, 04:09
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I loved every minute of flying the Tiger, and I hope I get to fly one again someday
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Old 26th Oct 2021, 05:22
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de Havilland offered the slats as an option, since virtually all civil Tigers are ex military anyone have any idea why the military opted for slats, the reduced stall speed was minimal in the scheme of things? Some thing to occupy a students mind perhaps in cockpit checks?
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Old 26th Oct 2021, 09:34
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A great aircraft to learn to fly in. Many around today will live to see the 100th Anniversary. and beyond. Long Live the DH 82 Tiger Moth !!
As a hangar rat in RACSA I spent many hours wet and dry sandpapering off the roundels of a newly purchased Tiger from Tocumwal depot.
Cost 50 pounds, minto, out of the box.. Later, most RACSA Tigers went on to dice with death as crop sprayers.
There are 2 project Tigers in Cairns, static right now but can get CPR.
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Old 26th Oct 2021, 11:43
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all civil Tigers are ex military anyone have any idea why the military opted for slats,
I learned in a Tiger at a club where all of the instructors were military pilots. On our Tiger the slats were wire locked closed.
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Old 27th Oct 2021, 03:48
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Centaurus are you out there?

I know you have some background/history with slat use on Tigers.
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 11:55
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The noise of the slats operating as the aircraft approached the stall was most noticeable and probably saved the occasional life. I understand the reason for some operators removing the slats from operation - either having them locked or removing them from the aircraft, was maintenance costs. In my opinion, it was false economy. There have been several fatal accidents in Tiger Moths in Australia where a stall occurred at low altitude in the circuit. I believe that in some instances the slats of some of these aircraft had been removed thus negating the advantage of early stall warning. That said I can offer no proof of this statement

Providing the pilot accepted the Pilots Notes recommendation to lock the slats while taxiing thus preventing their banging against the leading edge of the upper wings when taxiing on uneven surfaces as on grass fields, then I would have thought maintenance costs should be minimal. Of course the slats should be unlocked for takeoff and landing and locked before aerobatics. While stalling speeds slats locked or unlocked were only a knot or two, it was the stall warning noise the slats offered that convinced me of their value particularly for student pilots.
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Old 2nd Nov 2021, 13:20
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At the RACSA where I learnt to fly the Tigers had slats and I remember the check list bit about locking and unlocking.
An abiding memory was PFD straight down way below when with a not so tight harness the instructor poled it over for a engine out prop restart. Before my go the straps were … locked in the seat tighter !
You got bloody cold in winter ! And some bum stole the fur collar off my sidcot suit.
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