De Havilland DH60 Cirrus Moth

The world’s first truly practical and successful light aircraft for both the military and private owner.
DH60 G-EBLV DH60 Cirrus Moth G-EBLV

The De Havilland DH60 Moth was an immediate success and was effectively the world’s first affordable, practical and safe light aeroplane and it benefited hugely from its selection to equip a number of officially supported Flying Clubs during the 1920s and 1930s.

Features included folding wings which allowed it to be stored in much smaller spaces than conventional fixed wing aircraft. Some models were even advertised as being towed by small cars such as Austin 7’s. 

DH60 Cirrus Moth De Havilland Cirrus Moth (G-EBKT) under tow with wings folded


One early aircraft was fitted with all metal twin floats making it the first Moth Seaplane.  Production Moths later became widely known as Cirrus 1 Moths.
Notable flights were made by aviation pioneer Sir Alan Cobham such as his record breaking flight from London to Zurich, there and back in one day. 

Captain Thomas Neville Stack flew a Moth to India, reaching Karachi on 8th January 1927 whilst and Lady Bailey (later Dame Mary Bailey) piloted her Moth from Croydon to Cape Town and back in 1929.  Lady Bailey had also claimed the world’s height record 2-years earlier when she took her DH60 Cirrus Moth to an altitude of 17,283ft.

From 1926 onward, the 80hp Cirrus II engine was fitted to production machines, these being known as Cirrus II Moths. A small number of aircraft (including 6 for the RAF) were also fitted with the 75 hp Genet I radial engine.

Production switched in 1928 to the DH60X, which is distinguished by a spilt axle undercarriage (with struts forming an 'X' between the undercarriage legs). It was initially fitted with a 90 hp Cirrus II engine although some were fitted with the 105 hp Cirrus Hermes I unit. The type was then succeeded in production by the DH60G Gipsy Moth, by which time some 403 had already been built, the majority being DH60X Moths.

The DH60 Cirrus Moth was widely exported with licence manufacture in Australia and Finland.


DH60 Cirrus Moth
39 built
Prototype and early production aircraft powered by a 60 hp (45 kW) ADC Cirrus engine
DH60 Cirrus II Moth
32 built
Also known as the Hermes Moth - Introduced in 1927 it had a slightly larger wingspan and decreased distance between the upper and lower wings. Powered by an uprated (105 hp/78 kW) Cirrus Hermes engine.
DH60 Genet Moth
6 built
A small number of DH.60 Moths were fitted with the Armstrong Siddeley Genet radial engine and used by the Royal Air Force Central Flying School for display purposes.
DH60G Gipsy Moth First major overhaul of the design: Cirrus engine replaced by a 100 hp (75 kW) de Havilland Gipsy I engine.
DH60GII (Gipsy II Moth) Powered by a 120 hp (89 kW) Gipsy II and commonly referred to as a 'Gipsy Moth' just like the 100 hp (75 kW) version. 
DH60L (Luxury) Offered with wider let-down cockpit doors and an enlarged luggage locker behind the rear cockpit. The luxury version also featured a state-of-the-art 1930's style two-color paint scheme for the fuselage.
DH60M Moth
(Metal Moth) 751 built
The original plywood box fuselage replaced with a construction of metal stringers covered with doped fabric. Although overall weight increased, maintenance became easier and metal fuselages became standard for all later versions. Four pre-production aircraft, 536 built by de Havilland at Stag Lane, 40 built by de Havilland Canada, 161 built by the Moth Corporation in the United States, 10 built by the Norwegian Army Aircraft Factory in Norway.
(Moth Trainer)
685 built
Trainer variant of the Metal-Gipsy Moth. Rearranging of the inner wing bracing wires allowed for easier access to the front cockpit, a necessity for military pilots wearing parachutes. Two prototypes and 47 production aircraft were built. (Production for all Gipsy I and II variants: 595 built by de Havilland at Stag Lane Aerodrome, 40 built by Morane-Saulnier in France, 18 built by the Moth Corporation in the United States, and 32 built by Larkin Aircraft Supply in Australia.)
57 built
In 1931 the company took a De Havilland Gipsy II engine and turned it upside down and re-designated it the Gipsy III, this engine was then fitted to the Moth to create the DG.60GIII Moth, 57 built including 10 as fuselages for the Royal Air Force as Queen Bee target drones.
(Moth Major)
154 built
In 1934 from the 58th DH.60GIII onwards, the engine name was changed to Gipsy Major and the resulting variant was renamed the DH.60G III Moth Major. 10 as fuselages for the Royal Air Force as Queen Bee target drones and a final Moth Major was built by the DH Technical School.
(Tiger Moth Prototypes)
8 built
Eight prototypes with swept wings as a proposed RAF Trainer although after changes it entered service as theDH82 Tiger Moth.
DH60X Optional 'X' braced undercarriage version of the early Gipsy Moth. (X-style undercarriage became standard for the DH.60M and all subsequent models)



  DH60 Moth DH60X Moth
Powerplant                  60hp ADC Cirrus I/II                        105hp ADC Cirrus Hermes I                      
Span 29ft 0in 30ft 0in
Maximum Weight 1,350 lb 1,750 lb
Capacity    Pilot and passenger Pilot and passenger
Maximum Speed 91 mph 98 mph

Normal Cruising Speed

85 mph 85 mph
Range 320 miles 290 miles


Number built

1,762 All Variants                



DH60 Cirrus Moth 
BAE Systems, c/o Shuttleworth Trust, Sandy, Beds, UK                                       
DH60X Hermes Moth
Shuttleworth Trust, Sandy, Beds, UK
Privately owned in UK
Privately owned in Australia
DH60X Cirrus Moth 
Canadian National Aviation Museum, Ottawa, Canada
DH60X Cirrus Moth
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia


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