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De Havilland DH80 Puss Moth

The first monoplane de Havilland design to achieve large scale production success. Used for a number of record-breaking flights and popular for its quiet enclosed cabin and good handling qualities. An innovative feature was that the long diagonal landing gear struts could be turned through ninety degrees to act as airbrakes to steepen the landing approach.

Company Information

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Heritage - DH80A Puss Moth - 001

First Flight

The prototype DH80 Puss Moth E-1 / G-AAHZ flew for the first time on 9 September 1929. This one-off aircraft had a flat-sided wooden fuselage, production aircraft, the DH80A, having a fabric-covered steel tube fuselage construction.


The Puss Moth was a high wing two seat light aircraft offering long range and cabin comfort. The seating arrangement allowed the carriage of a second passenger when desired. The wings could be folded back to reduce hangar space, a common feature of a number of light aircraft of the era. The type was immediately successful, achieving sales to private owners world-wide. In addition to the prototype, a total of 259 aircraft were manufactured at Stag Lane, with a further 25 constructed by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd.

Long distance record-breaker

In the 1930s, the Puss Moth became a preferred mount for long-distance record-breaking pilots, the type being flown by famous names such as HJ ‘Bert’ Hinkler, CJ Melrose, the Master of Semphill, Jim and Amy Mollison (Amy Johnson) and others. Their flights ranged from London across the Atlantic and to South Africa; India; Japan; and Brazil.


A number of early production aircraft were lost in flying accidents, these being ultimately traced to wing flutter. The fleet were then modified with an additional bracing strut running from the front wing strut to the wing rear attachment point; a larger rudder was also fitted.



Role: Two or three seat long range private aircraft
Powerplant One 120 hp Gipsy II, or 130hp De Havilland Gipsy Major 1
Wing Span 36ft 9in
Maximum Weight 2,050 lb
Capacity Pilot and two passengers
Maximum Speed 128 mph
Normal Cruising Speed 108 mph
Range 300 miles


Five examples are listed in the CAA database, three of these G-AAZP, G-ABLS and G-FAVC (ex-CF-AVC) having current certificates of airworthiness in January 2013.

Museum examples

Museum examples include VH-UQB (ex-G-ABDW, the first Puss Moth to fly to Australia) at East Fortune, Scotland; I-FOGL Technical Museum, Milan; ‘CF-APK’ Hinkler Hall of Fame, Bundaberg, QLD; G-AEOA Shuttleworth Trust, Old Warden; CF-PEI, Canadian national Aircraft Collection, Ottawa.