de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth Basic Trainer Biplane
For its time, there was no more a trusted basic trainer than the storied de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth biplane.
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The famous de Havilland DH.82 "Tiger Moth" biplane was a dedicated military-minded basic trainer derived from the preceding DH.60T with its 120 horsepower Gipsy II series engine. The DH.82 was specifically developed by the de Havilland concern as a military product from the beginning and instituted a series of modifications to suit the role including a reinforced airframe and provisions for practice drop bombs or reconnaissance equipment. The Tiger Moth incorporated a metal skin and seated the student and instructor in tandem and the product went on to become a famous British-designed and developed biplane trainer which provided many-an-airman their first taste of heavier-than-air powered flight.
The DH.82 was born through eight pre-production airframes that were assigned the same DH.60T designation as the previous "Moth" trainer line. The aircraft retained the same biplane wing arrangement save for the upper assembly being moved slightly forward to ease cockpit entry-exit and improved vision about the aircraft. This forced the use of angled parallel struts. The engine was fitted to a forward compartment and drove a two-bladed assembly. The student and instructor sat in separate open-air cockpits. The undercarriage was fixed through two landing wheels and a tailskid while the empennage utilized a large-area rudder and low-set horizontal planes. Power was served through 1 x de Havilland Gipsy III series engine of 120 horsepower. First flight of the prototype was recorded in October of 1931 with revised wings incorporating more sweep-back.
Serial production of DH.82 aircraft was massive for the inter-war years and totaled 8,868 units from 1931 to 1944. It was formally introduced in 1932 and saw consistent service into 1952 while remaining a popular mount for civilian pilots. The definitive mark became the DH.82A Tiger Moth Mk II with revised rear-decking. Another version, the DH.82B "Queen Bee", was used as a remotely-piloted target drone. The DH.82C became a "winterized" model for Arctic conditions and operations. There were several sub-variants of this mark.
Military operators proved numerous and ran the gamut of Commonwealth nations. Other foreign operators became Brazil, Denmark, France, Iran and Iraq, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and the United States among others. Having served prior to, and during, World War 2, some examples fell to the enemy Germans (Luftwaffe) during the conflict. However, the true Tiger Moth value was well-known to the host nation of the United Kingdom where the aircraft stocked the inventories of some twenty Royal Air Force (RAF) squadrons and served within the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) as well.
The Tiger Moth remains a popular air show traveler even today (2014) and is used in large numbers despite production having begun in the 1930s.