De Havilland
Tiger Moth &
Queen Bee

De Havilland's Classic biplane trainer and early pilotless 'drone'.
DH82a Tiger Moth DH82a Tiger Moth
 
The De Havilland Aircraft Company DH82 Tiger Moth was one of the final iterations of the successful Moth family which began in 1925 with the DH60 Cirrus Moth. In fact, the DH82 Tiger Moth owes its existence to the often earlier and often confused DH71 Tiger Moth, a single seat research monoplane which first flew in 1930 and of which only 2 were ever built. 
 
Key changes were made against earlier Moths in the series such as improved access into the front cockpit, driven by the RAF requirement that the front seat occupant of training aircraft must be able to escape easily, particularly if wearing a parachute. 
 
Access had always been compromised by the aircraft's fuel tank which was fitted directly above the front cockpit. This, combined with the positioning of the rear cabane struts for the upper wing had always drawn criticism. The answer was to move the upper wing forward but sweep the wings back in order to maintain the same centre of lift. This also called for a strengthened fuselage structure, the adoption of fold-down half doors on both sides of the cockpit as well a new design exhaust system.
 
The prototype DH82 Tiger Moth E-6 (later G-ABRC) flew for the first time on 26th October 1931 at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware, London, with the De Havilland Aircraft Company Chief Test Pilot Hubert Broad was at the controls during this first flight.
 
Shortly after and following the issue of Specification T.23/31, construction of 35 production aircraft began for the RAF (K2567-K2601). Additionally, two float-equipped seaplanes (S1675 and S1676) were also constructed, built in accordance with Specification T.6/33. Intended from the outset for a primary training role, the DH82 Tiger Moth adopted the inverted Gipsy III engine. 

The initial 35 dual-control aircraft order was quickly followed by another for a further 50, powered by the DH Gipsy Major 1 engine.  These were known as DH82a or to the RAF ‘Tiger Moth II’.

In February 1932, the DH Tiger Moth entered service at the RAF Central Flying School at RAF Upavon, Wiltshire although by the outbreak of World War II, these were also supplemented in RAF service by a large number of commandeered DH Tiger Moth civil aircraft.
 
DH82 Tiger Moth (R-5130) 1940 DH82 Tiger Moth (R-5130) 1940
 
During the amazing full production run of over 8,800 aircraft, over 4,000 were built during the war years with over 50% of that number being built at Morris Motors, Cowley. This was due in the main to free up capacity at Hatfield for the production of the DH98 Mosquito.

Nowadays, the DH82 Tiger Moth is part of what appears to be a growing family of original and restored Moths spread around the world.

The DH82 Tiger Moth like its fore-runners, were also built by De Havilland Canada although their variant featured Menasco engines, being known better as DH82C Menasco Moths.  DH Canada created 1,548 aircraft, as well as an additional 200 x Tiger Moths specifically for the USA Air Force under a 'Lend-Lease' scheme with Canada. These were designated as PT-24 before being delivered to the Canadian Air Force.

Initially, De Havilland Australia also produced 20 aircraft, built from UK components which eventually led to a further 1,070 being built at Mascot Aerodrome, near Sydney.

Other overseas manufacturing added to the tally with 23 aircraft being built in Sweden (as the SK.11), 91 built by OGMA in Portugal, 38 built in Norway and 133 built in New Zealand. There are also records showing that an unquantified ‘large number’ of kits were also assembled at various locations around the world.
 
DH82 Queen Bee DH82 Queen Bee
 
A pilotless derivative, the DH82 Queen Bee was also developed for use as a gunnery training target.
 
320 aircraft were built at Hatfield and a further 60 were produced by Scottish Aviation at Prestwick. Final DH82 Queen Bee numbers are unknown as so many aircraft were destroyed without first receiving either registration or record.

A further development of the DH82 Tiger Moth was the Thruxton Jackaroo, a conversion of 18 x DH82’s, that was carried out by Thruxton Aircraft in Wiltshire.   A four-seat cabin biplane, the Jackaroo saw little success with 3 of the aircraft eventually ending up as crop sprayers. There was also a single conversion by Rollason’s, based at Croydon Airport in 1960.

The DH82 Tigers Moth was also the basis for the DH83 Fox Moth. This variant of the Moth theme utilised re-rigged wings and a converted fuselage which accommodated passenger inside cabin for the first time whilst the pilot still operated outside, in an open cockpit.

Officially retired from service in 1959, DH82 Tiger Moths (alongside so many other Moths variants) continues to be a trainee pilots 'first taste of the air' and leisure flying the types is something still enjoyed by many 100's of airline Captains, during their ‘downtime’.
 
DH82 Tiger Moth Image Gallery

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DH82 Tiger Moth tailplane and fuselage production 21st February 1939
DH82 Tiger Moth production

DH82 Tiger Moth tailplane and fuselage production 21st February 1939

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DH82 Tiger Moth & ATA women ferry pilots at Hatfield
DH Tiger Moth & ATA

DH82 Tiger Moth & Air Transport Auxilliary female ferry pilots at Hatfield

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DH82 Tiger Moth EM836 ground view
DH82 Tiger Moth EM836

DH82 Tiger Moth (EM836) ground view

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DH82 Tiger Moth 15 aircraft on ground (including NL826)
DH82 Tiger Moth 15 aircraft

DH82 Tiger Moth 15 aircraft on ground (including NL826)

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DH82 Tiger Moth preparing for flight
DH82 Tiger Moth 

DH82 Tiger Moth preparing for flight

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DH82 Tiger Moth at Panshangar, with aircraft being prop swung DE637 to rear-dh4043b.jpg
DH82 Tiger Moth at Panshangar

DH82 Tiger Moth at Panshangar, with aircraft being prop swung (DE637 to rear)

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DH82 Tiger Moth (T6953/G-ANNI) taxying at Woburn in August 2014
DH82 Tiger Moth 15 aircraft

DH82 Tiger Moth (T6953/G-ANNI) taxying at Woburn in August 2014

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DH82 Tiger Moth performing a steep bank at Panshangar
DH82 Tiger Moth at Panshangar

DH82 Tiger Moth performing a steep bank at Panshangar

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DH82 Tiger Moth (L6923) air to air
DH82 Tiger Moth (L6923) air to air

DH82 Tiger Moth (L6923) air to air

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2021 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH82 Tiger Moth numerous aircraft (including G-ADJB & G-AJH) at The London Aero Club 26th September 1935
DH82 Tiger Moths at The London Aero Club

DH82 Tiger Moth numerous aircraft (including G-ADJB & G-AJH) at The London Aero Club 26th September 1935

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2021 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AKXG) with Spray Fit and with pilot operating control lever
DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AKXG) with Spray Fit and with pilot operating control lever

DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AKXG) with Spray Fit and with pilot operating control lever

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2021 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH82 Tiger Moth (VH-NWM) Australian aircraft - close up of cockpits April 2013
DH82 Australian Tiger Moth

DH82 Tiger Moth (VH-NWM) Australian aircraft - close up of cockpits April 2013

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DH82 Tiger Moth (S-13) Danish Air Force pilot with John de Havilland
DH82 Tiger Moth - Danish AF

DH82 Tiger Moth (S-13) Danish Air Force pilot with John de Havilland

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DH82 Tiger Moth (BB803 G-ADWJ) fly past Henstridge June 2014
DH82 Tiger Moth (G-ADWJ)

DH82 Tiger Moth (BB803 G-ADWJ) fly past Henstridge June 2014

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DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AOJK) landing at Woburn August 2014
DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AOJK)

DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AOJK) landing at Woburn August 2014

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DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AHOO) at Woburn in August 2014
DH82 Tiger Moth at Woburn in August 2014

DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AHOO) at Woburn in August 2014

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2021 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AHOO) at Woburn in August 2014
DH82 Tiger Moth at Woburn in August 2014

DH82 Tiger Moth (G-AHOO) at Woburn in August 2014

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2021 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
DH82B Queen Bee (K8669) preparing for launch
DH82B Queen Bee preparing for launch

DH82B Queen Bee (K8669) preparing for launch

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DH82B Queen Bee K8669 leaving land-based catapult
DH82B Queen Bee

DH82B Queen Bee K8669 leaving land-based catapult

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DH82B Queen Bee (K8642) leaving catapult after launch
DH82B Queen Bee leaving catapult

DH82B Queen Bee (K8642) leaving catapult after launch

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2021 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)

Variants


DH60T Moth Trainer
/ Tiger Moth
Military training version of the De Havilland.
DH60 Moth
8 built
First prototypes.
DH82 Tiger Moth                        Configuration aircraft were re-named Tiger Moth.
DH82 Tiger Moth I Two-seat primary trainer aircraft, powered by a 120 hp (89 kW) De Havilland piston engine.
DH82A Tiger Moth II Two-seat primary trainer aircraft, powered by a 130 hp (97 kW) De Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine and fitted with a hood over the rear cockpit for blind flying instruction.
DH82B Tiger Moth III
1 built
Improved variant with a De Havilland Gipsy Major III engine, a wider fuselage and larger fin - The designation is often applied to the Queen Bee in error.
DH.82C Tiger Moth
1,523 built
(inc Menasco Moths & PT24's)
Cold weather operations version, fitted with sliding perspex-canopies, cockpit heating, brakes, tail wheels and metal struts. Powered by a 145 hp (108 kW) De Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine.
DH.82C-2 Menasco Moth I
10 built
DH.82C fitted with Menasco D-4 Super Pirate 125 hp inline inverted 4-cylinder engine (due to shortages of Gipsy Major). Primarily as radio trainers - distinguishable from DH82C by opposite rotation of propeller and reversal of the cowling openings.
DH82C-4 Menasco Moth II
125 built
As DH82C-2 but with reduced fuel capacity and further detail alterations - One example survives and is on display at Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.
DH82C-4 Menasco Moth III
1 built
Fitted with American AT-1/AR-2 radio and intended as a radio trainer from outset but project cancelled when shortages of British radios and engines was resolved - The sole example (RCAF 4934) was converted from Menasco Moth II.
DH82 Queen Bee
405 built
Unmanned radio-controlled target drone used Tiger Moth wings and for economy a wooden fuselage based on that of the DH60 Moth. The Queen Bee was intended to be operated from either floats or wheels.
PT-24 Moth
200 built
United States military designation for the DH.82C ordered for Lend-Lease to the Royal Canadian Air Force. Built by De Havilland Canada. 
Thruxton Jackaroo
19 conversions
Four-seat cabin biplane, modified from existing DH82A airframes by widening the gap between the fuselage longerons.

 

Specification (DH82A)


Powerplant                                 One 130hp De Havilland Gipsy Major, or (DH83C) one 145 hp Gipsy Major 1C
Span 29 ft 4 in Maximum Weight 1,825 lb
Capacity Pilot and passenger or instructor and pupil
Maximum Speed               104 mph
Cruising Speed 90 mph Range 300 miles

 

Number built


DH82a, b & c Approx 8,800                                   
DH82 Queen Bee  380

 

Survivors


It is conservatively estimated that around 250 examples of the Tiger Moth are still flying today. The number of airworthy DH82 Tiger Moths increases as previously neglected aircraft (or those previously only used for static display in museums) have been restored and returned to flight.
DH82 Tiger Moth
(C-GWI)
Alberta Aviation Museum, Edmonton, Canada.                                 
www.albertaaviationmuseum.com                                
DH82 Tiger Moth
(A-38 MLD)
Nationaal Luchtvaart-Themapark Aviodrome, Lelystad, Netherlands
www.aviodrome.nl
DH82 Tiger Moth
(RCAF 4841)
Canadian Air and Space Museum, Toronto, Canada
www.casmuseum.org
DH82C2 Moth
(RCAF 4861)
Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Canada
www.casmuseum.techno-science.ca
DH82C2 Moth
(RCAF 5875)
Canadian Museum of Flight, Langley, Canada
www.canadianflight.org
DH82C2 Moth
(RCAF 8922)
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Hamilton, Canada
www.warplane.com
DH82C Tiger Moth  Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, Brandon, Manitoba, Can
www.airmuseum.ca
DH82C Tiger Moth (CF-IVO)
EAA AirVenture Museum, Oshkosh, United States
www.eaa.org
DH82C Tiger Moth Heritage Park, Calgary, Canada
www.heritagepark.ca
DH82 Tiger Moth
(HU-512)
Indian Air Force Museum, Palam, India.
www.indianairforce.nic
DH82C Tiger Moth Israeli Air Force Museum, Hatzerim, Israel
www.iaf.org.il
DH-82A Tiger Moth
(VH-LOW )
Luskintyre Aviation Flying Museum, Luskintyre, NSW Australia
www.luskintyreairfield.com.au
DH82A Tiger Moth
(VH-IVN)
Mackay Tiger Moth Museum, Mackay, Australia.
www.mackaytiger.com.au
DH82A Tiger Moth
(VH-CYA)
Mackay Tiger Moth Museum, Mackay, Australia.
www.mackaytiger.com.au
DH82A Tiger Moth
(G-ANFW)
Malta Aviation Museum, Malta
www.maltaaviationmuseum.com
DH82A Tiger Moth
(G-ANRX)
De Havilland Aircraft Museum, London Colney, England
www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk
DH82A Tiger Moth Museo Aeronáutico, Coronel (Aviador) Jaime Meregalli, Uruguay
www.museos.gub.uy
DH82A Tiger Moth
(CC-DMC)
Museo Nacional Aeronáutico y del Espacio (es) Chile
www.museoaeronautico.gob.cl
DH82A Tiger Moth
(PP-ZTM)
Museu Aeroespacial, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
www2.fab.mil.br
DH82A Tiger Moth
(CS-AEF)
Museu do Ar, Sintra, Portugal
www.emfa.pt
DH82A Tiger Moth
(ZK-BRL) 
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, NZ
www.tepapa.govt.nz/pages/home.aspx
DH82A Tiger Moth
(N9510 / G-AOEL )
National Museum of Flight at RAF East Fortune in Scotland
www.nms.ac.uk
DH82A Tiger Moth
(N390H)
National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio, USA
www.nationalmuseum.af.mil
DH82A Tiger Moth
(G-ACDB)
Cole Palen's Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome,Rhinebeck, New York, USA
www.oldrhinebeck.org
DH82A Tiger Moth
(D-501/21)
PAF Museum, Karachi, Pakistan
www.pafmuseum.com
DH82 II Tiger Moth
(T-8209)
Polish Aviation Museum, Kraków, Poland
www.muzeumlotnictwa.pl
DH82A Tiger Moth
(VH-AWA)
RAAF Museum, RAAF Williams Point Cook, Australia
www.airforce.gov.au/raafmuseum
DH82A Tiger Moth
(CF-DHQ)
Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, Canada
www.history.alberta.ca/reynolds
DH82A Tiger Moth
(VH-CKF)
Royal Aero Club of Western Australia (Inc.), Jandakot, Australia
www.royalaeroclubwa.com.au
DH82A Tiger Moth II
(VH-FAS)
Royal Aero Club of Western Australia (Inc.), Jandakot, Australia
www.royalaeroclubwa.com.au
DH82A Tiger Moth
(OO-SOE)
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces/Military History, Brussels, Bel
www.klm-mra.be
DH82A Tiger Moth II
(VQ-FAG)
Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum, Wigram, New Zealand
www.airforcemuseum.co.nz
DH82A Tiger Moth
(VH-ADW)
Royal Newcastle Aero Club, Rutherford, NSW, Australia
www.rnac.com.au
DH82C Tiger Moth
(CF-DHQ)
Saskatchewan Western Development Museum, Moose Jaw, Canada
www.wdm.ca
DH82A Tiger Moth
(G-ANKT)
Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, Beds, UK
www.shuttleworth.org
DH82A Tiger Moth
(CX-123)
Sri Lanka Air Force Museum, Sri Lanka
www.airforcemuseum.lk
DH82A Tiger Moth
(VH-UVZ)
Temora Aviation Museum, Temora, Australia
www.aviationmuseum.com.au
DH82A Tiger Moth
(VH-CKF)
Temora Aviation Museum, Temora, Australia
www.aviationmuseum.com.au
DH82C Tiger Moth
(C-GMFT)
Western Canada Aviation Museum, Winnipeg, Canada
www.royalaviationmuseum.com
DH82A Tiger Moth
(YU-CHX )
Yugoslav Aeronautical Museum, Serbia
www.milaviation.com

 

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