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De Havilland DH 80 Puss Moth



Developed to provide private pilots with cabin comfort, the three seat prototype de Havilland D.H.80 (G-AAHZ) was first flown at Stag Lane on 9 September 1929. It introduced the inverted de Havilland Gipsy II engine, improving the pilot's view over the nose, and had a slab-sided plywood-covered fuselage with the pilot (forward) and two passengers slightly staggered at the rear of the cabin. Two doors were on the right side.
Production aircraft began to appear in March 1930, designated D.H.80A Puss Moth, incorporating a welded steel-tube and fabric-covered fuselage. The wings were foldable.
Notable were swivelling main landing gear shock-absorber fairings which could be turned broadside to the airflow to act as airbrakes. Other changes included single doors on each side of the fuselage, and installation of the improved 89kW Gipsy III; later examples were powered by the 97kW Gipsy Major. A total of 259 aircraft was manufactured in the UK, the last leaving Stag Lane in March 1933, and many were used for pioneering flights. Another 25 aircraft were built by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd.

During July 1931 Amy Johnson used Jason II to fly from Lympne to Tokyo in 8 days 22 hours 35 minutes, and in 1932 Jim Mollison flew from Lympne to Cape Town in 4 days 17 hours 19 minutes. Mollison's second Puss, The Heart's Content, had a 727-litre fuel tank installed in the front of the cabin and additional windows in the rear, its 5794km range enabling him to make the first solo east-west North Atlantic crossing, leaving Portmarnock Strand, Dublin, on 18 August 1932 and arriving 31 hours 20 minutes later at Penfield Ridge, New Brunswick. On 6 February 1933, Mollison took off from Lympne en route to Natal, Brazil, and became the first man to make a solo crossing of the South Atlantic.




Six served with the RNZAF on communications duties 1931-37 and 1939-46.




Engine: 1 x de Havilland Gipsy III inline, 89kW
Max take-off weight: 930 kg / 2050 lb
Empty weight: 574 kg / 1265 lb
Wingspan: 11.2 m / 36 ft 9 in
Length: 7.62 m / 25 ft 0 in
Height: 2.13 m / 6 ft 10 in
Wing area: 20.62 sq.m / 221.95 sq ft
Max. speed: 206 km/h / 128 mph
Cruise speed: 174 km/h / 108 mph
Ceiling: 5335 m / 17500 ft
Range: 483 km / 300 miles

Engine: DH Gipsy Major III, 130 hp.
Wingspan: 36 ft 9 in / 11.2 m
Length: 25 ft / 7.62 m
Max speed: 127 mph / 203 kph
Cruise: 110 mph.
Range: 450 miles.
Ceiling: 17,500 ft
Price 1931: £900



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