The prototype DH94 Puss Moth (E-4 / G-AFRD) was flown by Geoffery de Havilland for the first time at Hatfield on 22nd June 1937, powered by a 90hp Gipsy Minor engine and sat two occupants in tandem open cockpits.
The aircraft had a conventional plywood and spruce fuselage, but the high aspect ratio wing was skinned with plywood, like the earlier Comet Racer and Albatross. The wings could be folded from a point outside each undercarriage leg to minimise hangar space requirements.
Due to its clean lines, the aircraft was fitted with a perforated airbrake installed between the undercarriage legs.
Nine aircraft were also fitted with a hinged canopy enclosed cockpit and were known as the Moth Minor Coupé.
Development of the type was somewhat protracted whilst satisfactory spinning characteristics were achieved and this may have contributed to a relatively slow start to production deliveries. 100 aircraft were scheduled for production before the outbreak of the Second World War, selling at just £575 each which proved very popular with the Flying Clubs.
Following the outbreak of hostilities however, production at Hatfield was abandoned after just 73 aircraft had been completed and the manufacturing drawings, tools and fixtures were passed to the De Havilland Factory at Bankstown near Sydney, Australia where at least another 40 aircraft were completed.
Civil aircraft were operated in the UK after being commandeered by the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm with one Moth Minor joining the United States Army Air Corps. Some UK built aircraft were also commandeered by the Australian Air Force for the duration although a number were destroyed by inexperienced pilots, generally during rough landings.
|Powerplant||One 90hp De Havilland Gipsy Minor 1|
|Maximum Weight||1,550 lb|
|Maximum Speed||118 mph|
|Normal Cruising Speed||100 mph|
|Total 113||40 of these built in Australia|
|G-AFPN||Sole flying example in UK (Welshpool?)|
|VH-AIB, VH-CZB||Airworthy in private ownership in Australia|
(Moth Minor Coupe)
|De Havilland Museum. London Colney www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk|