STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): de Havilland Canada - Canada
OPERATORS: Argentina; Austria; Burma; Cambodia; Chile; Colombia; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Finland; France; Ghana; Greece; Haiti; Indonesia; Iran; Kenya; Laos; Netherlands; New Zealand; Oman; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; South Vietnam; South Yemen; Thailand; Turkey; Uganda; United Kingdom; United States; Uruguay; Yugoslavia; Zambia
LENGTH: 30.25 feet (9.22 meters)
WIDTH: 48.00 feet (14.63 meters)
HEIGHT: 8.99 feet (2.74 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 5,099 pounds (2,313 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial piston engine developing 450 horsepower.
SPEED (MAX): 158 miles-per-hour (255 kilometers-per-hour; 138 knots)
RANGE: 455 miles (732 kilometers; 395 nautical miles)
CEILING: 15,046 feet (4,586 meters; 2.85 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,020 feet-per-minute (311 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Utility Transport Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 8/24/2018.
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.
As completed, the DHC-2 needed only a single pilot to operate her. The passenger section carried up to six persons or 2,100 lb of cargo as needed. The primary engine fit became the Pratt & Whitney R-985 "Wasp Junior" radial of 450 horsepower which helped to provide speeds nearing 160 miles per hour (cruising was closer to 145 mph). Its range was out to 455 miles and the listed service ceiling was 18,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was a usable 1,020 feet per minute.
Since its inception, the DHC-2 has seen a plethora of variants emerge - the "Beaver I" was the original transport model and accepted into service with the British Army as the "Beaver AL Mk 1". The U.S. Army operated them under the "C-127" designation initially and then as the "L-20". These were tested as "YL-20". Another U.S. Army variant to emerge was the L-20A "Beaver" which then became the "U-6A" after the 1962 reorganization. About 968 of these were procured and followed by the "L-20B" - which became six "U-6B" systems after 1962.
The "Beaver II" was a form outfitted with the Alvis "Leonides" radial piston engine. The Wipaire "Super Beaver" were surplus U.S. Army and USAF types modified for post-military roles. The Wipaire "Boss Turbo Beaver" - as its name suggests - was given a turbo modification. The "Turbo-Beaver III" carried a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-6 or -20 series turboprop engine of 578 horsepower. Another post-military conversion model became the Airtech Canada DHC-2 which were given PZL-3S radial piston engines outputting 600 horsepower. The Volpar Model 4000 fitted an AiResearch TPE331-2U-203 turboprop engine driving a three-bladed propeller and was given an all-new tail fin. The Viking DHC-2T "Turbo Beaver" was a model completed by Viking Air with changes to include a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 series turboprop engine developing 680 horsepower.
The DHC-2 series has seen operational service with both military and civilian parties worldwide - from Argentina and Australia to Yugoslavia and Zambia.
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Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (158mph).
Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units