Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Scale (2024) Special Forces

de Havilland DH.91 Albatross

Passenger Airliner / Mail Plane / General Transport

United Kingdom | 1938

"Including its two prototypes, only seven total DH.91 Albatross aircraft were ever built by de Havilland and these lived short service lives into World War 2."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the de Havilland DH.91 Albatross Passenger Airliner / Mail Plane / General Transport.
4 x de Havilland Gipsy Twelve 12-cylinder inverted-Vee piston engines developing 525 horsepower each.
225 mph
362 kph | 195 kts
Max Speed
17,897 ft
5,455 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
1,041 miles
1,675 km | 904 nm
Operational Range
700 ft/min
213 m/min
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the de Havilland DH.91 Albatross Passenger Airliner / Mail Plane / General Transport.
71.5 ft
21.80 m
O/A Length
105.0 ft
(32.00 m)
O/A Width
22.2 ft
(6.78 m)
O/A Height
21,275 lb
(9,650 kg)
Empty Weight
30,865 lb
(14,000 kg)
Notable series variants as part of the de Havilland DH.91 Albatross family line.
DH.91 "Albatross" - Base Series Designation; named aircraft were Faraday, Franklin, Frobisher, Falcon, Fortuna, Fingal, and Fiona.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/11/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

In the mid-1930s, the British Air Ministry released Specification 36/35 calling for a transport / mailplane aircraft capable of a transatlantic crossing. The de Havilland concern returned with its DH.91 design drawn up by aircraft engineer A.E. Hagg (1888-1985). The DH.91 lived a relatively short service life as its production and exposure was ultimately limited by the arrival of World War 2 (1939-1945). As such, totals included just seven useable airframes - including two flyable prototypes.

The aircraft used a largely conventional arrangement which included a stepped cockpit overlooking the nose, low-set monoplane wings, and a twin-finned tail unit. The fuselage was relatively deep and dotted by rectangular windows while also being highly streamlined for aerodynamic efficiency. Each wing mainplane carried a pair of engine nacelles and these were equally-streamlined, hugging their mechanical components as close as possible, to further the aerodynamic qualities of the aircraft. This sort of component-hugging benefit was made possible by an all-new cooling system implemented into the design of each unit. Construction also included a unique sandwiched (plywood-balsa) wood arrangement used across the fuselage - a construction technique later pressed onto the war-winning de Havilland "Mosquito" fighter-bomber of World War 2 fame (this aircraft appears in detail elsewhere on this site).

As completed, the DH.91 would field a crew of four to include two pilots, a radioman, and a flight steward. Up to twenty-two seated passengers could be carried if the fuselage was arranged in such a way to accommodate them. Overall length reached 71.5 feet and the wingspan was 105 feet with the height measuring 22.2 feet. Empty weight was 21,230lb against an MTOW of about 30,000lb. Power was served from 4 x de Havilland "Gipsy Twelve" 12-cylinder, air-cooled, inverted-Vee piston engines outputting 525 horsepower each.

Performance went on to include a maximum speed of 225 miles per hour, a cruising speed near 210 miles per hour, a range out to 1,040 miles, and a service ceiling up to 18,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was 700 feet-per-minute.

A first-flight of the DH.91 in prototype form occurred on May 20th, 1937 and a second flyable form was completed and flown thereafter. The second example suffered a complete fracture under load during testing which forced some reinforcement of the airframe. Imperial Airways became the launch customer of the series and took into inventory both of the prototypes and a further five production models (totaling seven airframes). The first example received during October 1938 was converted to seat twenty-two passengers in some comfort while the two prototypes were received in their original mail-carrying forms. The fleet was used to connect locations within the UK to parts of France, Belgium, and Switzerland during the early-going of operational service.

As was common during the period, this small group of aircraft were named as naval ships would be. They fleet constituted "Faraday", "Franklin", "Frobisher", "Falcon", "Fortuna", "Fingal", and "Fiona".

The arrival of World War 2 on September 1st, 1939, changed how Europe did business in the air. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was in dire need of any and all capable aircraft and studied the DH.91 for its range qualities. As such, a pair of the mail carrier forms (Faraday and Franklin) were taken into military service through Squadron No.271 during September of 1940 and these flew a route between the UK and Iceland. However, both suffered from accidents during landing actions while on approach at Reykjavik which ended their flying days in the war heading into 1942. The remaining five passenger haulers served with BOAC (born from the reorganization of Imperial Airways) and these continued in service by connecting Bristol to Ireland and to Portugal though one (Frobisher) was destroyed during a German air raid and another (Fingal) in a landing accident in 1940. Another (Fortuna) example crashed after its now-weakened wood structure gave out in 1943 near Shannon Airport in Ireland.

The remaining two aircraft - Falcon and Fiona - were voluntarily destroyed in September of 1943 rather than continuing to press these airframes any further. Such ended the short-lived reign of the de Havilland DH.91.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the de Havilland DH.91 Albatross. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 7 Units

Contractor(s): de Havilland Aircraft Company - UK
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom (retired) ]
1 / 1
Image of the de Havilland DH.91 Albatross
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The de Havilland DH.91 Albatross Passenger Airliner / Mail Plane / General Transport appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks of the World U.S. Department of Defense Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols Breakdown U.S. 5-Star Generals List WWII Weapons by Country World War Next

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)