In 1927, the British Air Ministry finalized its Specification F.20/27 which sought a lightweight single-seat interceptor aircraft with good rate-of-climb. This specification took over the earlier standing order of F.9/26 from 1926 which called for a "day and night zone fighter" aircraft. Among the responding defense players - Armstrong Whitworth, Bristol, Fairey, Hawker, Saunders, Vickers, and Westland - became the storied concern of de Havilland. The company put forth the "DH.77", a monoplane fighter attributed to W.G. Carter and Major F.B. Halford. A first flight of the aircraft was recorded on July 11th, 1929.
The end-product was of a sleek appearance by late-1920s standards. The fuselage was slim and aerodynamically refined where possible. The engine was fitted to the nose in the usual way and a conventional single-finned plane arrangement was featured at the tail. The wing mainplanes were straight, low-mounted, and fitted slightly ahead of midships. The open-air cockpit, seating one, was also set ahead of the midway point of the fuselage. With the monoplane wings seated low in the arrangement, the aircraft gave the pilot much improved vision out-of-the-cockpit when compared with contemporary biplane types. The undercarriage was fixed, wheeled at the two main members, and of the "tail-dragger" arrangement (a tail skid was used to bring up the rear). Empty listed weight became 1,655lb against an MTOW of 2,300lb.
Dimensions included a length of 24.4 feet, a wingspan of 32.1 feet, and a height of 8 feet. Internally, the lightweight fighter was powered by a Napier "Rapier I" 16-cylinder air-cooled H series engine outputting 300 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller unit. Of note was the engine's supercharged status and low-profile design. Performance specs included a maximum speed of 205 miles per hour, a service ceiling up to 26,000 feet, and a rate-of-climb (and interceptor's most important quality) of 1,885 feet-per-minute.
As a military-minded interceptor - that is an aircraft charged with meeting an inbound aerial threat head-on in short order - the DH.77's armament comprised the typical installation of 2 x 0.303 caliber Vickers Machine Guns synchronized to fire from the nose section through the spinning propeller blades. These weapons were installed in fixed, forward-firing mounts.
In keeping with the period, the aircraft was completed in "mixed construction" so metal, fabric, and wood all figured into its form. The wings held two internal steel spars for the needed strength and were further braced by wooden ribs. The entire surface area of the planes were then covered over in fabric. The fuselage was given a steel tube framework and also surrounded by typical wood ribs and over this was set into place the fabric skin.
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(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
Ability to intercept inbound aerial threats by way of high-performance, typically speed and rate-of-climb.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
24.4 ft (7.45 m)
32.2 ft (9.80 m)
8.0 ft (2.45 m)
1,664 lb (755 kg)
2,282 lb (1,035 kg)
+617 lb (+280 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base de Havilland DH.77 production variant)
1 x Napier Rapier I 16-cylinder air-cooled H-engine developing 300 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base de Havilland DH.77 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
2 x 0.303 Vickers Machine Guns synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0
DH.77 - Base Project Designation; single flyable prototype completed; later used for engine testing.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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