The De Havilland Aircraft Company DH71 was a small, clean low-wing, single-seat monoplane, intended for racing and for engine development allied to the Cirrus Moth range. Produced as a private venture, its slender fuselage was tailored around accommodating its rather slim test pilot, Hubert Broad.
Two aircraft were built, the first (G-EBQU) was powered initially by an ADC Cirrus II engine but this was later replaced by an experimental 130 hp Gipsy engine. The second aircraft (G-EBRV), was powered by the 85 hp ADC Cirrus II.
The first aircraft made its debut flight at Stag Lane on 24th June 1927, followed 4 days later by the second aircraft on 28th July 1927. Both aircraft received their Certificates of Airworthiness in July 1927.
The appearance of the DH71 caused something of a sensation as it was probably the first British civil aircraft to be designed specifically for air racing.
Both aircraft were entered into the 1927 Kings Cup at Hucknall, on 30th July although one (G-EBQU) was subsequently withdrawn. Meanwhile Broad flew the other aircraft (G-EBRV) in the race before it too had to be withdrawn due to handling problems.
Broad subsequently set a closed-circuit speed record of 186.4 mph (in G-EBQU) on 24th August 1927, followed by an altitude record for its class of 19,191 ft just 5 days later. Most startling about the achievement was that Broad had set the record without oxygen, something considered to be 'very brave but also very foolish'.
The second aircraft (G-EBRV) flew in the 1927 King’s Cup Air Race although it retired early. The author Harald Penrose reports in British Aviation 'The Adventuring Years' that ‘it achieved a speed of 162 mph on the first 26 mile lap, beating its handicap speed by nearly 48 mph’.
Meanwhile, the first aircraft (G-EBQU) was privately sold to Australia in 1930 and re-registered (VH-UNH). Sadly, it was destroyed in an fatal accident on 17th September 1930 when the engine failed whilst practicing for an Air Race.
The second aircraft (G-EBRV) was retained and preserved by the manufacturers outside their Hatfield Headquarters. Sadly, it was ultimately destroyed by enemy bombing on 3rd October 1940.
|Powerplant||130 hp DH Gipsy Experimental or 85hp ADC Cirrus II|
|Span||22 ft 6 in|
|Maximum Weight||905 lb|
|Capacity||Single pilot only|
|Maximum Speed||166 mph (193 mph when modified for speed record)|
|Number built||Two only: G-EBQU and G-EBRV|