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De Havilland DH 87 Hornet Moth


DH 87 Hornet Moth

Structurally similar to the D.H.86, the D.H.87 Hornet Moth design philosophy was commercial rather than aerodynamic, and biplane wings could be manufactured far more economically than the more complicated box spars of monoplanes. An enclosed side-by-side two-seater, it had tapered wings and a spruce/plywood box fuselage with external longerons, stringers and fabric covering.

The prototype G-ACTA, 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.




More than 60 aircraft were manufactured to this standard with wings of increased taper and span (9.93m), but in 1936 another set of wings was introduced, first fitted retrospectively to the second production Hornet Moth. These wings, virtually without taper and with almost square tips, were made available to existing owners on a trade-in basis and were fitted 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.





Engine: 1 x de Havilland Gipsy Major inline, 97kW
Max take-off weight: 885 kg / 1951 lb
Empty weight: 563 kg / 1241 lb
Wingspan: 9.73 m / 31 ft 11 in
Length: 7.61 m / 24 ft 12 in
Height: 2.01 m / 6 ft 7 in
Wing area: 20.44 sq.m / 220.01 sq ft
Max. speed: 200 km/h / 124 mph
Cruise speed: 169 km/h / 105 mph
Ceiling: 4510 m / 14800 ft
Range: 998 km / 620 miles



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