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By Paul Jansen
The world’s only school for Spitfire fighter aircraft pilots, the Boultbee Flight Academy in Britain, keeps the faith by starting trainees on either the venerable Tiger Moth or the Chipmunk.
I picked the Tiger Moth, de Havilland DH 82A, as it was the original trainer for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Spitfire pilots until the early 50s when it was replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk DH C metal monoplane.
Britain produced over 7,000 Tiger Moths, of which over 4,000 were built during World War II specifically for the RAF. My instructor was Sam Whatmough, a British Airways pilot, who, when he is not flying BA’s Boeing 777s or training others to fly those and Boeing 787 Dreamliners, teaches enthusiasts how to fly historic aircraft.
Manufacturer: Morris Motor Company
Type: de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moth
Role: Primary trainer
Year of manufacture: 1943 (built by Morris Motors)
Delivered to Royal Air Force: 1944
Wingspan: 29 feet 4 ins (8.94 m)
Height: 8 ft 9 ins (2.68 m)
Length: 23 ft 11 ins (7.34 m)
Weight (empty): 1,115 lb (506 kg)
Weight (max): 1,825 lb (828 kg)
Engine: de Havilland Gipsy Major I inverted 4-cylinder inline, 130 hp (100 kW)
Max Speed: 95 knots (109 mph or 175 kmph)
Max climb: 1,643 ft/min (8.3m/sec)
Ceiling: 13,600 ft (4,145 m)
Range: 302 miles (486 km)
Copyright: Paul Jansen 2013. All rights reserved.
Advanced combat trainer: North American Harvard Mk IIB