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De Havilland Cirrus Moth

The creation of the 60hp Cirrus engine by Frank Halford of the Aircraft Disposal Co allowed de Havilland to produce the world’s first truly practical and successful light aircraft, the Cirrus Moth

DH60 Cirus Moth G-EBLV
The DH60 was a development of the DH51 biplane and the prototype (G-EBKT) made its first flight with Geoffrey de Havilland at the controls on 22nd February 1925.   It was a 2-seat biplane of wooden construction with a plywood covered fuselage and fabric covered flight surfaces.  The main DH60 variants were the DH60 Cirrus Moth, DH60X Hermes Moth and the DH60G Gipsy Moth (DH60G described separately).


The Moth was an immediate success and was effectively the world’s first affordable, practical and safe light aeroplane which benefited hugely from its selection to equip a number of officially supported Flying Clubs. 

Features including folding wings which allowed it to be stored in much smaller spaces with some models advertised as being towed by small cars such as Austin 7’s.  One early aircraft was fitted with all metal twin floats making it the first Moth Seaplane.  Production Moths later became widely known as Cirrus 1 Moths.
 
Notable flights were made by aviation pioneer Alan Cobham such as his record breaking flight from London to Zurich and back in a day.  Captain Thomas Neville Stack flew a Moth to India, reaching Karachi on 8th January 1927 whilst and Lady Bailey (later Dame Mary Bailey) piloted her Moth from Croydon to Cape Town and back in 1929.  She had also claimed the world’s height record 2 years earlier when she took a DH60 Cirrus Moth to 17,283ft.

From 1926 onward the 80hp Cirrus II was fitted to production machines, these being known as Cirrus II Moths. A small number of aircraft (including 6 for the RAF) were fitted with the 75 hp Genet I radial engine.

Production switched in 1928 to the DH60X which is distinguished by a spilt axle undercarriage (with struts forming an X between the undercarriage legs).  It was fitted initially with the 90 hp Cirrus II (although some were fitted with the 105 hp Cirrus Hermes I).

The type was succeeded in production by the DH60G Gipsy Moth, by which time some 403 had already been built, the majority being DH60X Moths.

The Cirrus Moth was widely exported with licence manufacture in Australia and Finland.

Variants

DH.60 Cirrus Moth
39 built
Prototype and early production aircraft powered by a 60 hp (45 kW) ADC Cirrus engine
DH.60 Cirrus II Moth
32 built
Also known as the Hermes Moth - Introduced in 1927 it had a slightly larger wingspan and decreased distance between the upper and lower wings. Powered by an uprated (105 hp/78 kW) Cirrus Hermes engine.
DH.60 Genet Moth
6 built
A small number of DH.60 Moths were fitted with the Armstrong Siddeley Genet radial engine and used by the Royal Air Force Central Flying School for display purposes.
DH.60G Gipsy Moth First major overhaul of the design: Cirrus engine replaced by a 100 hp (75 kW) de Havilland Gipsy I engine.
DH.60GII (GipsyII Moth) Powered by a 120 hp (89 kW) Gipsy II and commonly referred to as a 'Gipsy Moth' just like the 100 hp (75 kW) version. 
DH.60L (Luxury) Offered with wider let-down cockpit doors and an enlarged luggage locker behind the rear cockpit. The luxury version also featured a state-of-the-art 1930's style two-color paint scheme for the fuselage.
DH.60M Moth (Metal Moth)
751 built
The original plywood box fuselage replaced with a construction of metal stringers covered with doped fabric. Although overall weight increased, maintenance became easier and metal fuselages became standard for all later versions. Four pre-production aircraft, 536 built by de Havilland at Stag Lane, 40 built by de Havilland Canada, 161 built by the Moth Corporation in the United States, 10 built by the Norwegian Army Aircraft Factory in Norway.
DH.60T (Moth Trainer)
685 built
Trainer variant of the Metal-Gipsy Moth. Rearranging of the inner wing bracing wires allowed for easier access to the front cockpit, a necessity for military pilots wearing parachutes. Two prototypes and 47 production aircraft were built. (Production for all Gipsy I and II variants: 595 built by de Havilland at Stag Lane Aerodrome, 40 built by Morane-Saulnier in France, 18 built by the Moth Corporation in the United States, and 32 built by Larkin Aircraft Supply in Australia.)
DH.60GIII Moth
57 built
In 1931 the company took a De Havilland Gipsy II engine and turned it upside down and re-designated it the Gipsy III, this engine was then fitted to the Moth to create the DG.60GIII Moth, 57 built including 10 as fuselages for the Royal Air Force as Queen Bee target drones.
DH.60GIII Moth Major
154 built
In 1934 from the 58th DH.60GIII onwards, the engine name was changed to Gipsy Major and the resulting variant was renamed the DH.60G III Moth Major. 10 as fuselages for the Royal Air Force as Queen Bee target drones and a final Moth Major was built by the DH Technical School.
DH.60T (Tiger Moth Prototypes)
8 built
Eight prototypes with swept wings as a proposed RAF Trainer although after changes it entered service as theDH82 Tiger Moth.
DH60X Optional 'X' braced undercarriage version of the early Gipsy Moth. (X-style undercarriage became standard for the DH.60M and all subsequent models)
 

Specifications

  DH60 Moth DH60X Moth
Powerplant 60hp ADC Cirrus I/II                              105hp ADC Cirrus Hermes I                      
Span 29ft 0in 30ft 0in
Maximum Weight 1,350 lb 1,750 lb
Capacity    Pilot and passenger Pilot and passenger
Maximum Speed 91 mph 98 mph

Normal Cruising Speed

85 mph 85 mph
Range 320 miles 290 miles

Number built

1,762

Survivors

DH60 Cirrus Moth
(G-EBLV)
BAE Systems, c/o Shuttleworth Trust, Sandy, Beds, UK                                                 www.shuttleworth.org
DH60X Hermes Moth
(G-EBWD) 
Shuttleworth Trust, Sandy, Beds, UK
DH60X
(G-EBZN)
Privately owned in UK
DH60X
(VH-SSC)
Privately owned in Australia
DH60X Cirrus Moth (G-CAUA)
Canadian National Aviation Museum, Ottawa, Canada
DH60X Cirrus Moth
(VH-UAU) 
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia