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DE HAVILLAND TIGER MOTH
Originally designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company for the civilian market, the de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth went on to become the RAF’s primary trainer aircraft from the mid 1930s through to the early 1950s.
The biplane became so successful that various military models of the aircraft were exported to more than 25 Air Forces across the globe and at one point, the flow of orders for the Tiger Moth completely occupied de Havilland’s capacity to manufacture aircraft - leaving little capacity to accommodate domestic customers.
To keep up with production demands, Tiger Moth fuselages were also built in Toronto, Canada and shipped to the UK for finishing. Eventually production caught up with military demand and in the late 1937, it was released back onto the civilian market.
During those initial production years, the Tiger Moth underwent a number of design changes including improving access to the front cockpit, since the RAF training requirement specified that the front seat occupant had to be able to escape easily, especially when wearing a parachute. This resulted in de Havilland shifting the upper-wings forward but sweeping them back to maintain the centre of lift. Other changes included strengthening the fuselage with plywood to replace of the original doped canvas, fold-down doors on both sides of the cockpit and a revised exhaust system.
The RAF had originally ordered 35 dual-control Tiger Moths with a subsequent order for another 50 aircraft powered by the new de Havilland Gipsy Major I engine (130 hp). Orders continued to grow as war approached and the British Air Ministry released just how few trained pilots they were going to have to meet the conflict.
One solution was the introduction of the Empire Air training Scheme where pilot training schools were established across the Commonwealth from Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and even the Bahamas. This necessitated additional production capacity and de Havilland opened a factory in Australia and New Zealand to keep up with demand. By the end of WWII over 1070 Tiger Moths had been constructed in Australia.
In the opening months of the war in Europe, as allied forces struggled to upgrade an ageing flying force with the new Hawker Hurricane’s and Mk 1 Spitfires, the robust Tiger Moth also found itself operating as a coastal patrol aircraft with some even being outfitted as armed light bombers.
Over 80 years since its first flight, the Tiger Moth continues to grace our skies across the globe and has proven to be one of the oldest and most loved airplanes from a bygone era.
All Tiger Moth Instruments listed below come complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.
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