De Havilland Tiger Moth

De Havilland Tiger Moth

infobox Aircraft
name =DH 82 Tiger Moth
type =Trainer
manufacturer =de Havilland Aircraft Company

caption =de Havilland DH 82A Tiger Moth
designer =Geoffrey de Havilland
first flight =26 October 1931
introduced = 1932
retired = 1959
status = Retired from military service, still in civil use
primary user =Royal Air Force
more users =Royal Canadian Air Force RAAF See other military operators
produced = 1931-1944
number built =8,868 [ [ De Havilland Tiger Moth (D.H.82)] ]
unit cost =
variants with their own articles = Thruxton Jackaroo
developed from = de Havilland DH.60 Moth

The de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moth is a 1930s biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and was operated by the Royal Air Force and others as a primary trainer. The Tiger Moth remained in service with the RAF until 1952 when many of the surplus aircraft entered civil operation. Many other nations used the Tiger Moth both in military and civil applications and the ubiquitous little trainer is still in great demand worldwide as a recreational aircraft. It is still occasionally used as a primary training aircraft, although now most Tiger Moths employed in training duties are used by pilots gaining experience for 'taildragger' license ratings.

Design and development

The Tiger Moth trainer prototype was derived from the DH 60 de Havilland Gipsy Moth. The main change to the DH Moth series was necessitated by a desire to improve access to the front cockpit since the training requirement specified that the front seat occupant had to be able to escape easily, especially when wearing a parachute.Bain 1992, p. 43.] Access to the front cockpit of the Moth predecessors was restricted by the proximity of the aircraft's fuel tank directly above the front cockpit and the rear cabane struts for the upper wing. The solution adopted was to shift the upper wing forward but sweep the wings back to maintain the centre of lift. [ [ de Havilland Tiger Moth 82A] ] Bizarrely, this made the Tiger Moth (a piston-engined biplane with an 80-knot cruise speed) the RAF's first swept wing aircraft. Other changes included a strengthened structure, fold-down doors on both sides of the cockpit and a revised exhaust system.Bain 1992, p. 43.] It was powered by a de Havilland Gipsy III 120 hp engine and first flew on 26 October 1931 with de Havilland Chief Test Pilot Hubert Broad at the controls. [ McKay 1988, p. 6] One distinctive characteristic of the Tiger Moth design is its differential aileron control setup. The ailerons (on the lower wing only) on a Tiger Moth are operated by an externally mounted circular bellcrank, which lies flush with the lower wing's fabric undersurface covering. This circular bellcrank is rotated by metal cables and chains from the cockpit's control columns, and has the externally mounted aileron pushrod attached at a point 45º outboard and forward of the bellcrank's centre, when the ailerons are both at their neutral position. This results in an aileron control system operating, with barely any travel down at all on the wing on the outside of the turn, while the aileron on the inside travels a large amount upwards to counter-act adverse yaw.

From the outset, the Tiger Moth proved to be an ideal trainer, simple and cheap to own and maintain, although control movements required a positive and sure hand as there was a slowness to control inputs. Some instructors preferred these flight characteristics because of the effect of "weeding" out the inept student pilot. [ [ de Havilland D.H. 82 Tiger Moth] ]

Operational history

The RAF ordered 35 dual-control Tiger Moth Is which had the company designation DH 60T. A subsequent order was placed for 50 aircraft powered by the de Havilland Gipsy Major I engine (130 hp) which was the DH 82A or to the RAF Tiger Moth II. The Tiger Moth entered service at the RAF Central Flying School in February 1932. By the start of the Second World War, the RAF had 500 of the aircraft in service and large numbers of civilian Tiger Moths were impressed to meet the demand for trainers.

During a British production run of over 7,000 Tiger Moths, a total of 4,005 Tiger Moth IIs were built during the war specifically for the RAF, nearly half being built by the Morris Motor Company at Cowley, Oxford.

The Tiger Moth became the foremost primary trainer throughout the Commonwealth and elsewhere. It was the principal type used in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan where thousands of military pilots got their first taste of flight in this robust little machine. The RAF found the Tiger Moth's handling ideal for training future fighter pilots. Whilst generally docile and forgiving in the normal flight phases encountered during initial training, when used for aerobatic and formation training the Tiger Moth required definite skill and concentration to perform well- a botched maneuver could easily cause the aircraft to stall or spin.

A number of modified Tiger Moths were developed for special roles. A radio-controlled target tug version of the Tiger Moth II called the DH.82B Queen Bee was built with nearly 300 in service at the start of World War II. The Fleet Air Arm operated small numbers of the Tiger Moth II, and the Queen Bee. In the aftermath of Britain's disastrous campaign in France, in August 1940, three proposals involved beach defence systems; 350 Tiger Moths were fitted with bomb racks to serve as light bombers. A more radical conversion involved the "paraslasher," a scythe-like blade fitted to a Tiger Moth and intended to cut parachutist's canopies as they descended to earth. Flight tests proved the idea, but it was not officially adopted. The Tiger Moth was also tested as a "human crop sprayer" intended to dispense "Paris Green" poisonous insecticide from powder dispensers located under the wings. [ [ de Havilland Tiger II] ]

In Canada, de Havilland manufactured 1,523 of the DH 82C, which had a 145 hp D.H. Gipsy Major 1C engine and other modifications including a tail wheel replacing the original tail skid, a stronger undercarriage with wheels set farther forward and enclosed cockpit with a sliding canopy necessitated by the cold northern climate. [ Hotson 1983, p. 51.] The de Havilland Canada operation also supplied 200 Tiger Moths to the USAAF, which designated them the PT-24. A further 151 were built in Norway, Sweden and Portugal while 2,949 Tiger Moths were built by other countries of the British Commonwealth.


In postwar use, surplus Tiger Moths were made available for sale to flying clubs and individuals. They proved to be inexpensive to operate and found enthusiastic reception in the civil market, taking on new roles including aerial advertiser, aerial ambulance, aerobatic performer, crop duster and glider tug. They were often compared with the Stampe SV4 famous aerobatic aircraft.

After the invention of aerial topdressing in New Zealand, large numbers of ex-Royal New Zealand Air Force Tiger Moths built in that country were converted into agricultural aircraft. The front seat was replaced with a hopper to hold superphosphate for aerial topdressing. From the mid 1950s, these topdressers were replaced by more modern types such as the PAC Fletcher, and a large number of New Zealand Tiger Moths in good flying condition then passed to enthusiasts.

Royal Navy Tiger Moths utilised as target tugs and "air experience" machines became the last military aircraft when the service purchased a batch of refurbished examples in 1956. [ McKay 1998, p. 57.]


;DH.60T Moth Trainer:Military training version of the De Havilland DH.60 Moth.;DH.82 Tiger Moth (Tiger Moth I):Two-seat primary trainer aircraft. Powered by a 120-hp (89-kW) De Havilland Gipsy III piston engine; renamed "Tiger Moth I" in RAF.;DH.82A Tiger Moth (Tiger Moth II):Two-seat primary trainer aircraft. Powered by a 130-hp (97-kW) De Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine. Named "Tiger Moth II" in RAF.;DH.82B Queen Bee:Unmanned radio-controlled target drone; 380 built. As of 2008 the sole remaining airworthy Queen Bee resides at RAF Henlow, England.;DH.82C Tiger Moth:Cold weather operations version for the RCAF. Fitted with sliding glass canopies and cockpit heating. Powered by a 145-hp (108-kW) de Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine; 1,523 built.;PT-24 Moth:United States military designation for the DH.82C ordered for Lend-Lease to the Royal Canadian Air Force; 200 built by de Havilland Canada.;Thruxton Jackaroo:Four-seat cabin biplane, modified from existing DH82 airframes.


Military operators

*Royal Australian Air Force
*Royal Australian Navy.;BEL
*Belgian Air Force (31 operated from 1945);BRA;BIR;flag|Canada|1921
*Royal Canadian Air Force;DNK;EGY;IND;flagicon|Iran|1925 Persia;flag|Iraq|1924;NZL
*Royal New Zealand Air Force
**No. 1 Squadron RNZAF
**No. 2 Squadron RNZAF
**No. 3 Squadron RNZAF
**No. 4 Squadron RNZAF
**No. 42 Squadron RNZAF;NOR
*Royal Norwegian Air Force;PAK
*Pakistan Air Force;POL
*Polish Air Force
*Polish Air Force in Great Britain;POR
*Portuguese Army Aviation
*Portuguese Naval Aviation
*Portuguese Air Force;flag|Rhodesia
*Rhodesian Air Force;flag|Spain|1931
*Spanish Republican Air Force;flagicon|Spain|1939 Spanish State
*Spanish Air Force;flag|South Africa|1928
*South African Air Force;SRI;SWE;THA;UK
*Royal Air Force
**No. 24 Squadron RAF
**No. 27 Squadron RAF
**No. 52 Squadron RAF
**No. 81 Squadron RAF
**No. 116 Squadron RAF
**No. 297 Squadron RAF
**No. 510 Squadron RAF
**No. 612 Squadron RAF
**No. 652 Squadron RAF
**No. 653 Squadron RAF
**No. 654 Squadron RAF
**No. 656 Squadron RAF
**No. 668 Squadron RAF
**No. 669 Squadron RAF
**No. 670 Squadron RAF
**No. 671 Squadron RAF
**No. 672 Squadron RAF
**No. 673 Squadron RAF
*Fleet Air Arm;URY
*Uruguayan Air Force


Numerous examples of the Tiger Moth are still flying today (an estimated 250 [ [ deHavilland D.H. 82 Tiger Moth] ] ). The number of airworthy Tiger Moths has increased as previously neglected aircraft (or those previously only used for static display in museums) have been restored. A number of aircraft have been preserved as museum displays (amongst others) at the:
*Mosquito Aircraft Museum in England;
*Polish Aviation Museum at the former Kraków-Rakowice-Czyżyny Airport in Poland;
*Museo Nacional Aeronáutico y del Espacio de Chile in Chile;
*Museo Aeronáutico del Uruguay in Uruguay;
*Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa;
*Alberta Aviation Museum
*Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada;
*Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden, England
*Canadian Museum of Flight
*Sri Lanka Air Force Museum, Sri Lanka
*Yugoslav Aeronautical Museum, Serbia.

pecifications (DH 82A)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
ref=The Tiger Moth Story [Bransom 1991, p. 261]
crew= 2, student & instructor
payload main=
payload alt=
length main= 23 ft 11 in
length alt= 7.34 m
span main= 29 ft 4 in
span alt= 8.94 m
height main= 8 ft 9 in
height alt= 2.68 m
area main= 239 ft²
area alt= 22.2 m²
empty weight main= 1,115 lb
empty weight alt= 506 kg
loaded weight main= 1,825 lb
loaded weight alt= 828 kg
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main=
max takeoff weight alt=
more general=
engine (prop)= de Havilland Gipsy Major I inverted 4-cylinder inline
type of prop=
number of props=1
power main= 130 hp
power alt= 100 kW
power original=
max speed main=109 mph at 1,000 ft
max speed alt= 175 km/h at 300 m
cruise speed main=
cruise speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
range main= 302 miles
range alt=486 km
ceiling main= 13,600 ft
ceiling alt= 4,145 m
climb rate main= 673 ft/min
climb rate alt= 205 m/min
loading main=
loading alt=
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
more performance=

ee also

similar aircraft=
* Boeing-Stearman Kaydet
* Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann
* Stampe SV.4
* Polikarpov Po-2
*List of aircraft of the RAF
*List of aircraft of the RAAF
*List of aircraft of the RNZAF
see also=
*"Thunderbird 6", a film which features the Tiger Moth prominently.




* Bain, Gordon. "De Havilland: A Pictorial Tribute". London: AirLife, 1992. ISBN 1-85648-243-X.
* Bransom, Alan. "The Tiger Moth Story, Fourth Edition". Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1991. ISBN 0-906393-19-1.
* Bransom, Alan. "The Tiger Moth Story, Fifth Edition". Manchester, UK: Crécy Publishing Ltd., 2005. ISBN 0-859791-03-3.
* Hotson, Fred. "The De Havilland Canada Story". Toronto: CANAV Books, 1983. ISBN 0-9690703-2-2.
* McKay, Stuart. "Tiger Moth". New York: Orion Books, 1998. ISBN 0-517-56864-0.

External links

* [ British Aircraft Directory: De Havilland Tiger Moth (D.H.82)]
* [ Tiger Moth preserved by Chile's Aviation Museum, at the official Museo's website]
* [ Western Canada Aviation Museum: De Havilland Tiger Moth (D.H.82c)]
* [ A photograph of a de Havilland DH.82B Queen Bee]
* [ The de Havilland Moth Club]

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