De Havilland D.H.87 Hornet Moth
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De Havilland D.H.87 Hornet Moth

For biplane afficionados with a taste for additional comfort, the company designed the de Havilland D.H.87 Hornet Moth, an enclosed side-by-side two-seater structurally similar to the D.H.86. It had tapered wings and a spruce/plywood box fuselage with external longerons, stringers and fabric covering. The prototype, first flown at Hatfield on 9 May 1934, was joined in a year-long test programme by two similar aircraft, preparing for production deliveries which began in August 1935 under the designation D.H.87A. Rather more than 60 aircraft were manufactured to this standard with new wings of increased taper and span (9.93m), but in 1936 yet another set of wings was introduced, first fitted retrospectively to the second production Hornet Moth. These new mainplanes, virtually without taper and with almost square tips, were made available to existing owners on a trade-in basis and were fitted also to almost 100 new aircraft designated D.H.87B. Following development of a floatplane version by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd, four examples were acquired by the Air Ministry in 1937 for evaluation as seaplane trainers at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe, Suffolk. Hornet Moth production, including the prototype, totalled 165 aircraft.

De Havilland D.H.87 Hornet Moth

 MODELD.H.87B (landplane)
 ENGINE1 x de Havilland Gipsy Major inline piston engine, 97kW
    Take-off weight885 kg1951 lb
    Empty weight563 kg1241 lb
    Wingspan9.73 m32 ft 11 in
    Length7.61 m25 ft 12 in
    Height2.01 m7 ft 7 in
    Wing area20.44 m2220.01 sq ft
    Max. speed200 km/h124 mph
    Cruise speed169 km/h105 mph
    Ceiling4510 m14800 ft
    Range998 km620 miles

De Havilland D.H.87 Hornet MothA three-view drawing (800 x 804)

Larry Loretto, 02.10.2015

By the way, I will gladly take interested folks for a flight in EEJ, HOWEVER, you cant be very big in any dimension as in spite of the PR departmenrs statements in the thirtees, its a VERY snug cockpit and most modearn folks just dont fit in, also the payload with two aboard is allmost nill due to the instalation of electrics, txp, radios, battery, generator ,ELT and all the other stuff the Feds seem to want these days!

Larry Loretto, 01.10.2015

I own and fly C-FEEJ, the only Hornet Moth flying in North America I belive, its a VERY different aircraft to fly with lots of somewhat odd handling suprises, based at CYSH {Smith Falls} at this time.

kenneth edward danyluk, 11.07.2015

I have log books,aircraft and engine,from P.K.-W.D.R. Its date of construction was 15.2.36.The last entry in the log was 30 may,1939. I was wondering if it survived WW II.

Bev Cook, 01.05.2015

Are there any Hornet Moths flying and giving passenger flights. If so, which location.

David Hunt, 26.02.2014

I flew G-AELO with Surrey and Kent Flying Club at Biggin Hill. My instructor was Brian Shatwell, one of the few active pilots who had one eye. I have a good photo of him with a group of us at Croydon Airport; this was taken by the local press covering the closing of Croydon in 1959. Happy Days!!

Barry, 31.05.2013

Yes Jerry E there are a number still flying in the U.K. and one, G-ADOT, is a non-flying model at the De Havilland Heritage Museum at London Colney nr, St.Albans Hertfordshire.

Herbert C Schneider, 08.12.2012

This aircraft is the subject of two books, the novel Hornet Flight by Ken Follett, and a history on the facts behind Follett's book, The Hornet's Sting, by Mark Ryan.
In 1941, a Danish aviator, Thomas Sneum, escaped from Nazi-occupied Denmark across the North Sea to England aboard a patched-up Hornet Moth. The flight involved a mid-air refueling, during which Sneum (and Follett's fictional character) climbed out on to the wing with a can of gasoline. Follett's book is a good read, but Ryan's account of what actually happened is even more amazing.

chris finch, 01.04.2012

I am building a radio controlled model and would like to paint it in RAF colours, where can I get Photos

Kenneth Ball, 18.02.2011

We flew this aircraft at the London Aeroplane Club, Panshanger near Hatfield while I worked there in 1949-54 as an apprentice for De Havilland Aircraft Co.

JerryE, 03.02.2010

Where can any be seen in museums and how many are still flying.

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