de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Utility Transport
Over 1,600 examples of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver were produced over a two-decade span.
Authored By Dan Alex; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Introduced in 1948, the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 "Beaver" went on to achieve global popularity with over 35 operators using the type and production reaching an impressive post-World War 2 total of 1,657 units. Manufacture of the aircraft spanned from 1947 until 1967 and the successful DHC-2 also went on to form the basis for the similar DHC-3 "Otter" series detailed elsewhere on this site. While production of the DHC-2 has since closed, the aircraft line is still in active service throughout the world today (2016) with no sign of its end coming soon.
The DHC-2 was developed along the lines of a utility-minded platform with inherent Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities. This meant a lightweight overall design with good power stemming from a single engine and a shoulder-mounted wing structure to maximize lift and agility. First flight of a prototype was on August 16th, 1947 with service introduction arriving in 1948.
Origins of the DHC-2 lay in the years immediately following the close of World War 2 (1945). The world aircraft market saw a dramatic shift away from military platforms to civilian-market types and de Havilland - makers of the famous wartime twin-engined DH.98 "Mosquito" series - followed suit. Research centered on delivering a new aircraft to "bush" pilots - one of rugged, sound and reliable design. Due to the variable environments that the new aircraft could operate across, a floatplane and wheeled undercarriage was developed to suit customer needs. Large side doors, placed along both fuselage sides, was another of the notable requirements bush pilots made. The engine of choice became the Pratt & Whitney Canada "Wasp Junior" radial of 450 horsepower - these left over from the Canadian war effort. Design work began in 1946.
The DHC-2 was not an outright commercial success. However slowly-but-surely its capabilities became known within certain flight circles. It was not until its major endorsement arrived through the United States Army selection as its next general purpose utility transport that raised the export profile of the DHC-2 considerably. The U.S. Army used the aircraft to replace an aging stock of Cessna aircraft in the same utility transport role.