Tiger Moth

The Aircraft On Display

The aircraft on display originally bore the RAAF serial number A17-161. It was built in NSW and entered service with the RAAF in October 22th, 1940. After the war, it was used by Farmair Pty Ltd as a crop sprayer, until replaced in 1965. The fourth photo above, taken in 1968, shows it had by then been converted back to two-seat configuration. In 1970, it was sold to TVW Channel 7, who at the time maintained a small aircraft museum (See the fifth photo above). When the museum closed, the aircraft was donated (on indefinite loan) to this Museum, arriving on February 14th, 1984.

Type / History

Type Two-seat trainer
Manufacturer de Havilland Aircraft Company
Designer Geoffrey de Havilland
Maiden Flight 26th October 1931
Introduced 1932 - military
Retired 1959 - military.
1946 - phased out of RAAF
Some still in civil use.
Primary users Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm
Royal Australian Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
plus numerous others, military & civil
Number built In excess of 8,000
Variants Thruxton Jackaroo (4 seat cabin bi-plane)
DH-83 Fox Moth (5 seat utility bi-plane)

The de Havilland Aircraft Company created a series of small biplanes in the period following from World War I, starting with the 1924 DH 51, from which was developed the DH 60 Moth, first sold in 1925. The first Moths were powered by Cirrus engines, but when supplies of these became unreliable, de Havilland developed and installed their own engine, the Gipsy I.

The DH 60, particularly with the Gipsy engine as the DH 60G, was the dominant aircraft used by flying clubs in Britain between the wars, but it was not adopted by the RAF. In response, several modifications, including a swept upper wing whose centre section lay further forward, giving better entry and egress for the forward cockpit, were incorporated. This version was accepted by the RAF, with an initial order of 35 named the DH 60T. A second order of 50, delivered in 1932, used an uprated engine, and was named the DH 82A Tiger Moth. Operational history By the start of World War II, the RAF was operating about 500 Tiger Moths. This number increased rapidly with the addition of civilian aircraft and increased manufacture. Over 7,000 were built in Britain, 1523 in Canada as the DH 82C and a further 200 for the USAAF as the PT-24. Other countries, including Australia, also manufactured Tiger Moths under licence.

The Canadian Tiger Moths were modified to suit a colder climate, particularly with an enclosed, sliding canopy, and some versions using ski or float landing gear. Variants Apart from changes such made in as the Canadian Tiger Moths, there were many other modifications applied to the basic Tiger Moth airframe.

An early modification was the Queen Bee, a radio-contolled target tug for the RAF and Royal Navy. Also pre-war, the DH 83 Fox Moth was a passenger version using the wings, tail, engine and undercarriage of the DH 82, with a lengthened and widened fuselage enclosing four passengers. In Australia, it was used by Qantas for its Flying Doctor Service operations.

A post-war conversion, the Thruxton Jackaroo, possessed a widened and enclosed cabin for four occupants. Postwar War-surplus Tiger Moths were widely used in the late 1940s and 1950s for pilot training by flying clubs, not only in Britain but also Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They also were used as agricultural aircraft, the front seat being replaced by a hopper containing a chemical spray mixture or dry superphosphate fertiliser. The Tiger Moth served well in these roles, only being phased out in the early 1960s.

Surviving Tiger Moths remain in use by many private pilots, their aerobatic capabilities, ease of handling and open cockpits making them widely popular.

General Characteristics


General characteristics

Length: 23 ft 11 in (7.34 m)
Height: 8 ft 9 in (2.68 m)
Wingspan 29 ft 4 in (8.94 m)
Powerplant: de Havilland Gipsy Major I inverted
4-cylinder inline, 130 hp (100 kW)
Weight: empty 1,115 lb (506 kg), loaded 1,825 lb (828 kg)


Maximum speed: 109 mph at 1,000 ft (175 km/h at 300 m)
Range: 302 miles (486 km)
Service ceiling: 3,600 ft (4,145 m)