The De Havilland Aircraft Company Moth family was a low-cost range of touring aircraft that were developed into a series of types all based on the original design.
One such variant was the DH60G Gipsy Moth which was an improved version of the DH60 Cirrus Moth which is described elsewhere on this website. It made use of the 100 hp DH Gipsy I engine although later production models were also fitted with the 105 hp DH Cirrus Hermes, or the 120hp DG Gipsy II engine.
Parallel production took place of a metal tube fuselage version designated the DH60M (often known as the DH Metal Moth), with the two variants being built in similar numbers. Folding wings were fitted as standard to all DH Gipsy Moths.
In late 1928, production at Stag Lane switched from the DH60 Cirrus Moth to the DH60G Gipsy Moth and the type won the 1928 King’s Cup Air Race, piloted Captain Hubert Broad. Shortly afterwards, Geoffrey de Havilland then set an altitude record of 21,000ft, flying a DH60G (G-AAAA). This aircraft is further notable as being the first aircraft to be registered under the modern system of registrations whereby the first letter indicates the country of origin.
Additional publicity was gained by participation in other air races. Alan Butler, for example, flew a cleaned-up version DH60M (G-AAXG) with a lowered 'coupe-style' front cockpit, modified centre section and no external exhaust pipe.
The type is best known however, for long-distance flights by such famous pilots as Amy Johnson. Amy achieved world-wide recognition when she became the first female pilot (aviatrix) to fly solo from London to Australia in May 1930, in her DH60 Gipsy Moth (G-AAAH ‘Jason’).
Another notable pilot of a DH60 Gipsy Moth was Francis Chichester (later Sir Francis Chichester) who also flew solo to Australia and subsequently completed the first flight across the Tasman Sea from New Zealand to Australia in 1929. Chichester had intended to fly around the world in his DH60 Gipsy Moth but a crash in Japan convinced him to take up sailing instead. Out of respect for his ‘little aeroplane' however, he named his record-breaking yachts Gipsy Moth II and Gipsy Moth III.
Other famous flights included those by Jim Mollison (Australia to England), John Grierson (flights to Lahore, to Moscow and to Baghdad), CWA Scott (London to Australia) among many others. Well-known pilots included Dame Lady Mary Bailey, Winifred Spooner, JRD Tata, CWA Scott and Jean Batten
Some 595 examples of the DH60G Gipsy Moth were built at Stag Lane, with a further 80 aircraft built under licence in France, the United States and Australia.
A number of aircraft were completed with tandem enclosed cockpits, this version being known as the Gipsy Moth Coupe. The type was also available as a single-float or twin-float seaplane and it was widely exported for both civil and military user. In the UK it became dominant in the privately owned civil market.
Although less well-known, the DH60M was produced in similar numbers (circa 550) to the DH60G. Another variant was the DH60T Moth Trainers of which around 50 were built.
The DH60T featured an exhaust which ejected at the front of, and below, the engine cowling, rather than running alongside the two cockpits. The wing bracing wire arrangements were also modified to ease cockpit access for inexperienced pilots.
In addition to production in the UK and France, the DH60M was also built in significant numbers in Canada (40), the United States (161) and Norway (10).
In July 2017, some 22 DH60G and DH60M aircraft still appeared on the UK civil register.
|DH60G Gipsy Moth||100hp de Havilland Gipsy I|
|DH60GII Gipsy Moth||120hp de Havilland Gipsy II|
|DH60M Moth (Metal Moth)||Metal tube rear fuselage with fabric covering|
|DH60T Moth Trainer||Trainer variant with modified exhaust and bracing wire arrangements|
|Powerplant||100hp Gipsy I or 120hp Gipsy II|
|Maximum Weight||i) DH60G: 1,650 lb ii) DH60M:1,750 lb|
|Capacity||Pilot and passenger|
|Maximum Speed||102 mph|
|Normal Cruising Speed||85 mph|
DH60G 595 Stag Lane, 80 under licence
DH60M 536 Stag Lane, 211 under licence
DH60T 2 prototypes and 47 production aircraft
|Currently Registered (total 35 in July 2017)|
|UK||18 DH60G, 4 DH60M|
|Australia||1 DH60G, 4 DH60M|
|United States||3 DH60GM, 2 DH60M|
Amy Johnson’s ‘Jason’, Science Museum, London
|Milestones of Flight, RAF Museum, Hendon|
CC-FNG ‘LAN 32’
|Museo Nacional Aeronáutico y del Espacio de Chile, Chile www.museoaeronautico.gob.cl/|