All Things Aviation
Scale: 1/20 scale model
Wing Span: 17.75 inches
Length: 11.5 inches
The de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth is a 1930s British biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and many other operators as a primary trainer aircraft. In addition to the type's principal use for ab-initio training, the Second World War saw RAF Tiger Moths operating in other capacities, including maritime surveillance and defensive anti-invasion preparations; some aircraft were even outfitted to function as armed light bombers.
The Tiger Moth remained in service with the RAF until it was succeeded and replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk during the early 1950s. Many of the military surplus aircraft subsequently entered into civil operation. Many nations have used the Tiger Moth in both military and civil applications, and it remains in widespread use as a recreational aircraft in several countries. It is still occasionally used as a primary training aircraft, particularly for those pilots wanting to gain experience before moving on to other tailwheel aircraft.
Many Tiger Moths are now employed by various companies offering trial lesson experiences. The de Havilland Moth club, founded in 1975, is now an owners' association offering a mutual club and technical support.
Among the reasons for which de Havilland came to pursue development of the Tiger Moth was the personal dissatisfaction of Geoffrey de Havilland, the company's owner and founder, who sought to produce a light aircraft superior to two of his previous designs, the de Havilland Humming Bird and de Havilland DH.51.
From earlier experience, de Havilland knew the difficulty and importance of correctly sizing such an aircraft to appeal to various sectors of the civil market, such as touring, trainer, flying club and private aviation customers; the firm had previously attained a measure of popularity with a scaled-down version of the DH.51, designated the DH.60 de Havilland Gipsy Moth.
The starting point for the Tiger Moth was, in fact, the successful Gypsy Tiger. Successively more capable engines had been developed, and the company had produced a prototype to test the new de Havilland Gipsy III engine.
This prototype, a low-wing monoplane, was initially a modification of the standard Gypsy Tiger; it later became the first aircraft to be referred to as the Tiger Moth.
Improvements made on the Tiger Moth monoplane were first incorporated into a military trainer variant of the de Havilland DH.60 Moth, designated the DH.60T Moth – in later parlance the T came to stand for 'Tiger' in addition to 'Trainer'.
According to aviation author A.J. Jackson, development of the standard Tiger Moth version from the monoplane prototype had proceeded relatively straightforward after this point.