De Havilland (Airco) D.H.4


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De Havilland (Airco) D.H.4

One of the most outstanding combat aircraft produced during World War I, the DH.4 day bomber was built in large numbers: 1449 aircraft in Britain and 4846 in the USA, where many were powered by the excellent 400hp Liberty 12 engine. The protoype DH.4 flew in August 1916, and pilots were unanimous in their praise of its fine handling qualities, wide speed range and a perfonnance which made it almost immune from interception. The first DH.4s arrived in France with No 55 Squadron in March 1917 and began operations against German targets in April. In addition to its primary bombing role, the aircraft was used for photo-reconnaissance, long-range fighter sweeps and antisubmarine patrols. The DH.4 was widely used by the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), and on 15 August 1918 an aircraft from RNAS Great Yarmouth, flown by Major Egbert Cadbury, shot down the Zeppelin L.70. After the war, many DH.4s were used in civilian roles, such as crop-dusting, mail carriage and aerial survey.

De Havilland (Airco) D.H.4A three-view drawing (638 x 618)

 ENGINE1 x 250hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VI inline engine
  Take-off weight1575 kg3472 lb
  Wingspan12.92 m42 ft 5 in
  Length9.35 m31 ft 8 in
  Height3.35 m11 ft 0 in
  Max. speed230 km/h143 mph
  Ceiling6705 m22000 ft
 ARMAMENT2 x 7.62mm machine-guns, 209kg of bombs

Greg Fey, e-mail, 05.01.2018 21:16

Reading the description on my photo more, it also says "DH4B M1 In Flight". The print looks just like the white hand printing I saw on the front of a 1926 photo of Lindberg's crashed DH-4 number 109 that I found online.


Greg Fey, e-mail, 05.01.2018 21:08

I have the original of this photo. There is text at the bottom of mine that the web copy doesn't have. 19-4-26 which might be April 1926, I'm guessing. The back of the photo indicates it's my great uncle Lt Howard M Fey in Hawaii. It's stamped 11th Photo Section A.S. Luke Field Hawaii. I know from other sources that he was stationed at Kelly in Hawaii in 1926 and flew a lot of DH-4 planes.


Ralph Smith, e-mail, 15.01.2013 19:36

A.S. 23007 is a Boeing Built DH-4M-1, a conversion from the wood frame to a metal tube fuselage, the fuel tank was moved in the DH-4B version to in front of the pilot and the cockpit moved to just rear of the wing


John Cate, e-mail, 02.05.2012 22:25

The picture is of a U.S. built DH-4B well after the First World War. The DH-4B was the widely used Liberty engined DH-4 variant used by the Post WW1 Army Air Service untill 1927. The cockpits, fuel tanks and landing gear were redesigned after the appearance of the DH-9 but the other features and dimensions were mostly those of the wartime DH-4 as built in the U.S. The British DH-9A was the most widely used derivative of the DH-4 in the Post war RAF. It had different wings of greater span but the same Liberty engine in a full cowl with a broken lower contour and no louvers underneath.


soulard, e-mail, 10.06.2011 23:38

au sujet du dh,pouvait il etre equipe de conteneur de larguage de bommettes explosives,fumigene ;incendiaire ou chimique existe t'il des photos de cesarmement merci d'avance pour tous les rensignements BEST REGARDS


Vintage1, e-mail, 27.06.2010 10:50

I am fairly sure the 2-blade prop was fitted to the US version with the Liberty engine: The 4-Bladers were fitted to the Rolls Royce engined UK versions.


Robert Guttman, e-mail, 03.08.2010 17:41

The aircraft shown in the photo is definitely a U.S. Army DH-9A, not a DH-4. The close proximity of the pilot and observer's cockpits is the key. Compare with the 3-view drawing, which shows the arrangement of the DH-4. In addition, the DH-9 page features a photograph of a DH-4 mis-represented as a DH-9A!

The Pilot's cockpit on the DH-4 was much further forward, between the wings. From that position the pilot's view, as well as his ability to communicate with the observer, were restricted. The space between the cockpits was occupied by the main fuel tank. The problem was solved on the DH-9 by simply exchanging the positions of the fuel tank and the pilot's cockpit.


richard, e-mail, 14.11.2009 18:40

Does this airplane have a two or four blade prop?


Gary Adams, e-mail, 17.05.2009 21:05

No, this is an American produced DH-4B. Late versions of this AC did have the revised seating for pilot and observer /gunner. The engine is a Packard Liberty V-12 and markings are post-war stars (c. 1924) with chrome yellow /OD paint. The DH-9 did in fact have a Liberty engine but is easily identified by the more aerodynamic shape to the nose.


Bob Green, e-mail, 28.07.2008 12:49

I agree with Pete Arundel, I think this is an American produced DH9a.It has American stars on the upper wing


Tom Fattorini, e-mail, 09.03.2008 00:13

In my uncle's flying log book 24 Aug 17 his DH4 has engine 200 W.C. "RAF" It would seem to be underpowered compared with the 400hp mentioned?


Pete Arundel, e-mail, 21.07.2007 00:07

I don't think that the picture is a DH.4. I think it's a DH.9a.
The DH.4 had one perceived flaw - the large distance between the pilot's and gunner's cockpits which made communication difficult. This was remedied in the DH.9 but the 9's inferior engine made it, in all other respects, worse than the 4. The addition of the Liberty engine to the 9 remedied the problem. Anyway, the pic above shows an aircraft with pilot and gunner close together and what appears to be a Liberty engine so I think it's a 9a not a 4.
Could be wrong though.
It has been known . . .


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