DH 80 Puss Moth

DH 80 Puss Moth parked on airfield

Role: Two or three seat long range private aircraft


De Havilland hobby aircraft

Innovation / Significance: 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.

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
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.


  • Powerplant - One 120 hp Gipsy II, or 130hp De Havilland Gipsy Major 1
  • 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