de Havilland DH-87B Hornet Moth
Single-engine Two-seat Taildragger Cabin Biplane, U.K.

Archive Photos 1

1938 de Havilland DH-87B Hornet Moth (N74EC) on display (c.1986) at the Western Museum of Flight, Hawthorne, California (Photos by John Shupek)

1938 de Havilland DH-87B Hornet Moth (N74EC) on display (c.1986) at the Hawthorne Air Faire, Hawthorne, California (Photos by John Shupek)

Overview 2

The de Havilland DH-87 Hornet Moth is a Single-engine cabin biplane designed by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in 1934 as a potential replacement for its highly successful de Havilland Tiger Moth trainer. Although its side-by-side two-seat cabin made it closer in configuration to the modern aircraft that military trainee pilots would later fly, there was no interest from the RAF and the aircraft was put into production for private buyers.

Design and Development 2

The prototype first flew at Hatfield on 9 May 1934 and, with two other pre-production aircraft, embarked on an extensive test program that resulted in the first production aircraft (designated DH-87A) completed in August 1935 having wings of greater outboard taper. These were found to cause problems, especially when landing in three-point attitude: there was a tendency for the tips to stall, causing embarrassment to the pilot and often damage to the aeroplane. From early 1936, de Havilland offered owners of the DH-87A replacement wings of the new squarer shape at a reduced price in exchange for the original wings. Designated DH-87B, new aircraft from about manufacture Number 68 were built with the new square wings. This wing reduced the overall span by 8 inches (20 cm). The alterations slightly increased overall weight at some penalty to performance.

Production was 164 aircraft, of which 84 were placed on the British Register. Many were impressed for military service during World War II, mostly being used by the RAF as liaison aircraft.

Small numbers survived the war and with time became highly prized by vintage aircraft enthusiasts. A small number are still flying, over seventy years after production ceased.

Variants 2

Operators 2

Civil Charter Operators and Pilots 1935-2009

Military Operators

deHavilland DH-87B Hornet Moth Specifications 2

General Characteristics



  1. Shupek, John. The Skytamer Photo Archive, photos by John Shupek, copyright © 1986 John Shupek
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. de Havilland Hornet Moth


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