The first De Havilland DH37 ‘Sylvia’ (G-EBDO) was designed and built for Mr AS Butler (later Chairman of De Havilland Aircraft Company) and was named after his sister. It was first flown in June 1922 and was used for air racing / long distance touring and came fifth in that year’s King’s Cup air race at Croydon Aerodrome.
In 1924, it came third in the King’s Cup, flying the 950-mile course at an average speed of 112.65 mph.
The type was used extensively for touring, with one notable four week trip starting in April 1924, taking in the French Riviera before visiting Milan, Belgrade, Sofia, Bucharest, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Brussels and Paris.
On 30th May 1924, Sylvia was flown non-stop to Prague in five and a half hours.
In May 1927, it was re-engined with a 300 hp ADC Nimbus engine, receiving the designation DH37A and being renamed ‘Lois’. In this guise, it was short-lived, crashing at a Whitsun Air Race Meeting at Bournemouth, on 4th June 1927.
In 1924, a second example (G-AUAA) had been built and exported to Australia where it was used by the Civil Aviation Board (CAB) for personnel transport and for the development of a network of aerodromes for 'trunk air mail routes'.
The aircraft was later sold for £2,000 to the Salamaua Development Company, who in turn sold it to Guinea Gold where it became the first aircraft to be used in support of gold extraction in New Guinea. It's registration was later changed (VH-UAA) in line with the General Changeover in Registration and it was the only aircraft to receive a registration with double letters.
The aircraft changed hand four times between 1929 and 1932, before it was eventually written off during a crash landing in the sea at Crowdy Head, NSW on 25th March 1932.
|Powerplant||270 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon III (DH37); 300 hp ADC Nimbus (DH37A)|
|Span||37 ft 0 in|
|Maximum Weight||3,318 lb (DH37); 3,725 lb (DH37A)|
|Capacity||Pilot (aft) and two passengers (forward) in open cockpits. Front cockpit covered in when racing.|
|Maximum Speed||122 mph (DH37); 133 mph (DH37A)|
|Endurance||Sufficient to allow Alan Butler to fly non-stop to Prague in 5 ½ hours|
Variants & Numbers Built
|‘Sylvia’ with Rolls Royce Falcon III and later with an ADC Nimbus and renamed 'Lois'|