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Airco
DH14 & DH14A

A large single engine two-bay biplane intended as a DH9A replacement; only three were built.
Airco DH14A G-EAPY ground DH14A G-EAPY, the first DH14 to fly, seen at Hendon with its original two-wheel undercarriage.
 
The DH14 was a large single engine, two bay biplane designed as a potential replacement for the DH9A and was also known at the time as the Okapi (a forest giraffe with zebra type markings that facinated Geoffery de Havilland).
 
Powered by the 600 hp Rolls-Royce Condor engine, the DH14 was equipped with a large rectangular radiator, like the Liberty-engined DH9A.
 
Three aircraft were built although due to the end of the War, the RAF were in no hurry to accept them, so it was actually the 3rd of these that was the first to fly.
Airco DH14A G-EAPY ground running Hendon Airco DH14A G-EAPY ground running at Hendon, showing the four-wheel undercarriage fitted for the attempted Cape flight.
 
Completed by Airco at Hendon as a DH14A long-range civil aircraft (J1940 - G-EAPY) and fitted with a 450 hp Napier Lion engine, it flew on 4th December 1919. 
 
The aircraft was then purchased by FS Cotton, who intended to use it to try for the £10,000 prize for the first Australian to fly between England and Australia.  Unfortunately, events overtook him and the prize was won by Ross & Keith Smith in their Vickers Vimy (G-EAOU) before he was ready to depart. 
 
Airco DH14A G-EAPY flight FS Cotton & WA Townsend set off in G-EAPY on their attempted Cape flight on Feb 2 1920.
 
Cotton later attempted a flight in the DH14A, modified with a four wheel undercarriage, between London and Cape Town and setting off on 4th February 1920. This flight was unsuccessful, with the machine being damaged by an accident during a forced landing at Messina on 23rd February 1920. 
 
Ultimately, the DH14A was repaired and entered by Cotton in the 1920 Aerial Derby, during which it suffered a further accident. Repaired again, it eventually received its planned military serial J1940.
 
Airco DH14 Okapi J1938 Airco DH14 Okapi J1938 in RAF markings.
 
The DH14A joined its two DH14 counterparts (J1938 and J1939) which had been completed for the military by the newly formed De Havilland Aircraft Company at Stag Lane in late 1920. They were used for endurance testing and development of the Rolls-Royce Condor engine at Martlesham Heath.
 
J1940 was eventually used for comparative trials with the two Condor-powered aircraft whilst J1939 was later fitted with a 600hp Condor IA engine.  Both Condor-powered aircraft had been written off in accidents by April 1922.
 
The DH14/14a design was abandoned in 1922.

Specifications

Powerplant DH14: 525 hp Rolls-Royce Condor I twelve cylinder engine;          DH14A: 450 hp Napier Lion
Span 50 ft 5 in
Maximum Weight (DH14) 7,074 lb
Capacity Pilot and rear gunner positions; provisions for six 112 lb bombs. Forward firing synchronised Vickers machine gun and single Scarff-mounted Lewis gun for self-defence.
Range / Endurance DH14:  5 hours; DH14A:  Quoted as 18 hours or 2,000 miles range
Maximum Speed (DH14) 126 mph at sea level; 122 mph at 10,000 ft

Numbers Built & Variants

Three aircraft only              Two DH14 (J1938, J1939) and one civil DH14A (G-EAPY, later J1940)

Survivors

Nil.