The Tiger Moth is regarded as among the most famous training aircraft ever. More than 7,300 Tiger Moths were constructed; this biplane was preferred by civilian and military training schools in the UK. Militaries in England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand trained their fighter pilots on the Tiger Moth. After the Second World War, the RAF phased out this plane. The de Havilland Chipmunk replaced it. Many Tiger Moths ended up in the civilian market that had a huge demand for light aircraft. Today, the various models of the de Havilland Tiger Moth can be seen in aviation museums and private collections all over the world.
What is the Tiger Moth?
The Tiger Moth evolved from a series of light aircraft designs. The first Tiger Moth was the DH.82. It was inspired by the DH.60, of which 550 were built powered by a Renault engine and more than 600 were built equipped with the Gipsy, an engine developed by the de Havilland company. The DH.60 served as a touring and training plane.
Flying schools and clubs across the United Kingdom quickly adopted the DH.60 because of its simple design and ease of flying.
The de Havilland DH.82 is the most iconic of all the models. This single-engine biplane ranks as among the foremost of private touring and pilot training aircraft in aviation history. The plane was first flown on Oct. 26, 1931.
Before the Americans officially entered the war, Americans who flew with the Eagle Squadrons trained on the DH.82. The aircraft was also used for submarine patrol, air ambulance, and prisoner evacuation.
The DH. 82 Tiger Moth I was a two-seat primary trainer aircraft. It was powered by a 120 hp de Havilland piston engine. The DH. 82A Tiger Moth II was a two-seater primary trainer plane with a 130 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine. Its hooded rear cockpit was meant for blind flying instructions.
The DH. 82B Tiger Moth III, of which only one was ever built, used a better iteration of the de Havilland Gipsy engine. It used a wider fuselage and a bigger fin. The DH. 82C Tiger Moth was built to operate in cold weather; it was fitted with siding Perspex canopies, cockpit heating, brakes, tail wheels, and metal struts. It flew on the power of a 145 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine.
The DH. 82C-2 Menasco Moth I was built with a Super Pirate 125 hp inline inverted 4-cylinder engine and was used mainly as a radio trainer. It was quickly identified against the DH. 82C by the opposite rotation of the propeller and the reversed cowling openings.
The DH. 82 Queen Bee 405 stood out amongst the many versions of the Tiger Moth because of its use as an unmanned radio-controlled drone that could be operated from wheels or floats.
Tiger Moth Experiences
Give yourself an authentic experience of flying in the Tiger Moth with the Tiger Moth experiences offered. This biplane was the first step for pilots to pilot legendary crafts such as the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster, and Wellington. The experiences on offer are a great birthday gift for family and friends or just a day of bonding in an unforgettable atmosphere.
It’s not every day that you give yourself a chance at open cockpit flying in one of the most iconic planes ever.
The vintage aircraft flying experience through Air Experiences offers flying in Dragon Rapides, Chipmunks, Harvard Warbirds, etc. You can choose flight times as low as 15 minutes and take it forward from there.
Harvard WarBird Flight Experience at DuxfordProduct on sale£429.00 – £539.00
Tiger Moth Flying Experience at Bicester Airfield£194.00 – £599.00
Tiger Moth Flight Experience at Duxford, CambridgeshireProduct on sale£189.00 – £319.00
Get hands-on flying experience in a World War II vintage Tiger Moth biplane. The experience is available at Bicester Airfield, Oxfordshire. A qualified CAA flight instructor accompanies you on the flight. The experience includes a preflight briefing and the opportunity to shop at the Bicester Village shopping outlet.
During the flight, you will learn about the various dials, experience the fun of taxiing on the runway, taking off, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells from up above, and then finally landing.
History of the Tiger Moth
A number of light aircraft designs were tested from 1924 onward, and it was the DH. 60 that became the prototype for the DH. 82 Tiger Moth. By the time war started, there were around 1,400 Tiger Moths ready. The war resulted in huge orders for this light and easy-to-learn aircraft constructed with a framework of wood and metal. The nose was covered in fabric. The two wings of the aircraft were of equal dimensions and angled such that the pilots could easily enter the forward cockpit and bailout when required. Tiger Moths were also built in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
In Great Britain, the Tiger Moths were built by Morris Motors so that the de Havilland company could utilize its resources to developing combat aircraft, such as the Mosquito.
The Tiger Moth was also considered for gunnery, bombing, and photography roles; however, it found fame as an ab initio trainer and was used in 25 countries that included Brazil, Denmark, Portugal, and Spain.
After 1937, production capabilities were enhanced enough to not only fulfill military requirements in Great Britain but also to accept overseas civilian orders from flying clubs and private collectors in India, Lithuania, Mozambique, and Greece.
Here are the answers to questions about the Tiger Moth that you’ve always had in your mind –
Why is it Called the Tiger Moth Plane?
The plane’s designer Geoffrey de Havilland was an amateur lepidopterist. Upon seeing the design of the DH.60 on the board and the plane’s ability to retract its wings against the fuselage, he is supposed to have alluded to its similarity to the moth. And the name stuck.
How Many Tiger Moths are Still Flying?
Around 250 Tiger Moth aircraft are airworthy today. The numbers have increased over the years because of restorations carried out on previously static aircraft meant for display. Museums with Tiger Moth aircraft on display are located in Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, the United States, Sweden, Israel, Chile, Brazil, and Scotland.
How Much Does a Tiger Moth Plane Cost?
The cost of an airworthy Tiger Moth could be in the range of £50,000 to £60,000, and even higher if it has clocked fewer flying hours and features new fabric. Hangarage may cost another £3000 per annum; insurance will cost you around £1,000 or more depending on your flying experience and the condition of the aircraft; fuel for the hour will average at £50; and then you need to factor in costs of maintenance, tires, spark plugs, etc. You may want to keep aside around £2,500 for annual maintenance. One of the biggest costs, if it were to occur, would be an engine repair or replacement.
Were Tiger Moth Planes Used in WW2?
At the onset of WW II, the Tiger Moth II became the primary training aircraft for the Empire Air Training Scheme. While used chiefly as trainers, these planes were also deployed with army cooperation units in New Guinea. The planes were also fitted with light bomb racks and were to be used to bomb enemy troops attempting a landing. However, this idea was never put into practice. Pilotless Tiger Moths were used as targets for antiaircraft gunners.