This recognition comes in part from the Tiger's amazing longevity - first flown in , the Tiger Moth was still active in military service in the s, when Royal Navy Tigers were flying on and off aircraft carriers. Easy to fly, but difficult to fly well, from the first the Tiger was a trainer but it has also been used as glider tug, crop sprayer, film 'stunt' plane and wing walker platform. In Tiger Moths were even fitted with anti-personnel bombs and the Tiger also flew on floats and from catapult launchers. With over built, the Tiger saw service with almost every British and Commonwealth air force, as well as being exported to air forces in South America, the Middle East and the Pacific.
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De Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth
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Coming from a successful line of biplane designs, the DH. Its success resulted in an immediate order from the RAF, who viewed the aircraft as an ideal primary trainer for pilots beginning on their flying careers and destined to fly their latest front line aircraft. Their modest original order was followed up by several subsequent orders and as the world descended into conflict in , the Royal Air Force would have around Tiger Moths on strength.
Many more examples were owned by flying clubs all over the country and many of these would also being pressed into military service, due to the need to train as many new pilots as possible. With its growing reputation, the aircraft also secured many overseas orders, ensuring that the de Havilland production lines were fully committed in supplying this superb aircraft.
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From the perspective of the student pilot, the Tiger Moth was a relatively stable and forgiving aircraft to fly, with few handling vices and generally supportive of the odd silly mistake. As Britain prepared for invasion during the early summer of , there were plans for the gentle natured Tiger Moth to show a much more aggressive side and support the Spitfire and Hurricane pilots they had previously trained.
This would see even the most unlikely of aircraft equipped with bomb racks and given a new offensive capability. Should a German invasion have been attempted, there would have been the very real possibility of swarms of bomb laden Tiger Moths raining fury on the enemy troops below, as Britain used every means in her power to ensure the failure of such a cross channel incursion.
With many Tiger Moths remaining in airworthy condition, it is interesting to consider that this famous basic training aircraft is still doing the same job today as it did during its service introduction in the s.
De havilland DH Tiger Moth MkII "International" AZ-Model
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