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de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver

Canada (1948)
Picture of de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Utility Transport Aircraft
Picture of de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Utility Transport Aircraft Picture of de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Utility Transport Aircraft

Over 1,600 examples of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver were produced over a two-decade span.


Detailing the development and operational history of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Utility Transport Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/12/2018. 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.


Picture of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Utility Transport Aircraft
Picture of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Utility Transport Aircraft



Any available statistics for the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Utility Transport Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (158mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
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
1657
1657


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Canada
Year: 1948
Type: Utility Transport Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): de Havilland Canada - Canada
Production: 1,657
Status: Active, In-Service
Global 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
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
30.25 ft


Meters
9.22 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
48.00 ft


Meters
14.63 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
8.99 ft


Meters
2.74 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
3,000 lb


Kilograms
1,361 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
5,099 lb


Kilograms
2,313 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial piston engine developing 450 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
158 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
255 kph


Knots
138 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
455 mi


Kilometers
732 km


Nautical Miles
395 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
15,046 ft


Meters
4,586 m


Miles
2.85 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,020 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
311 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• DHC-2 "Beaver" - Base Series Name
• Beaver Mk I - Initial utility model
• Beaver AL Mk I - British Army designation of the Mk I
• Beaver C-127 - U.S. Army designation until 1962
• Beaver YL-20 - U.S. Army designation of evaluation models.
• L-20A Beaver (U-6A) - U.S. Army model; 968 units completed.
• L-20B Beaver (U-6B) - U.S. Army model with slight changes from A-model forms; six total units.
• Beaver Mk II - One-off form with Alvis Leonides radial piston engine fitted.
• Wipaire "Boss Turbo-Beaver" - Post-military L-20 models
• Turbo-Beaver Mk III - Fitted with PW PT6A-6/-20 turboprop engines.
• Airtech Canada DHC-2 (PZL-3S) - Post-military model with Ivchenko PZL-3S radial engine of 600 horsepower.
• Volpar "Model 4000" - Model of 1972; AiResearch turboprop engine driving three-bladed propeller; all-new tail unit.
• Viking DHC-2T "Turbo Beaver" - Fitted with PWC PT6A-34 turboprop engine of 680 horsepower.