RE: De Havilland Tiger Moth: PH Heroes

RE: De Havilland Tiger Moth: PH Heroes

Author
Discussion

wst

3,352 posts

120 months

Wednesday 15th August 2018
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SpamCan said:
wst said:
est practise is to take the plugs out when left for an appreciable amount of time (my experience is from Old Warden) and insert drain plugs (threaded tube that lets the oil run out without making a mess of the cooling fins, like it would if you just left the holes open - also means the tube can be painted red so it's an obvious "remove before flight" item!) for the bit that sneaks past the rings. Bit messy but averts really dangerous stuff. Worked with someone who helped the CAA on an investigation about a chap who died from turning the prop backwards to clear the oil, and on startup the oil got sucked back into the cylinders and bent the rods.

They'd still smoke like hell despite that.
Sounds very sensible to me.
I think it's much easier to implement if you have a lot of warm bodies that are otherwise doing nothing. I could understand how a solo pilot, along with all their other checks, may just turn the prop to push the oil into the exhaust instead of faffing about, letting the engine cool enough to take the plugs out after the flight etc... laugh

kurt535

3,558 posts

76 months

Wednesday 15th August 2018
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Moth is the hardest aeroplane ive flown from getting her ready for flight through to going anywhere. Everything is a challenge. I almost bought a share in one this year but thought long and hard as at the end of the day, i like going places and in a Moth it just gets too difficult.

Anyone else here cut their teeth on them with Old Bill (RIP) up at Cambridge?

2xChevrons

1,039 posts

39 months

Wednesday 15th August 2018
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WJNB said:
Fabulous article & pictures.
Like all tail-draggers the Tiger Moth can be a handful when it comes to low speed ground manoeuvring, making the likes of modern-day tricycle undercarriage types a doddle which is why there are so popular when learning to fly.
To START learning on the likes of a Tiger Moth must have been as challenging on the ground & as in the air they are unforgiving in both environments as was another a/c from the DH stable, the Chipmunk a later RAF trainer.
I can't remember which RAF officer it was (he was a WW2 ace who went on to be an air officer post-war) but the quote was:

"Going purely by how easy to fly they were, we'd have been better off training the lads in Spitfires before letting them get into Tiger Moths."

By all accounts the Spitfire is (for what it is) a remarkably easy-going and vice-free aircraft to fly, especially in the earlier marks. By contrast a Tiger Moth can be extremely finnicky, with vicious tendencies on the ground and in certain low-speed stages of flight.

But that's what you want of a trainer, especially a military trainer. You don't want something like a Cessna 172 which will virtually fly itself and has been designed to be as close to a flying car as it's possible to get. You want something that will test students' flying abilities, force them to learn and use the skills and show up any deficient habits or slackness so they can be given a bking once they're back on the ground. Better they make those mistakes at 50knts over a grass field in the Midlands than at 250knts in a dogfight over Europe.

The T-6 Texan was the same - an aircraft infamous for its ability to turn on the unwary pilot on the ground ("You don't stop flying a Texan until the engine's off and it's been tied down"), had a nasty stall and was generally regarded as being a sod to fly. But it meant that when they went from a 600hp/145knts Texan to a 1490hp/320knt P-51D many pilots found the Mustang easier to fly than the trainer, and certainly found that the Texan had taught them all the skills they needed to fly the P-51 (and then some!) which allowed them to focus on learning the skills of combat.

heavylanding

38 posts

101 months

Wednesday 15th August 2018
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I flew on some years back. As a commercial pilot I naturally wanted to familiarise myself with the cockpit before setting forth. A quick glance around, and I had a few questions...
“Where’s the ASI?” I ask
“Erm, it’s there on the wing” I’m told. A glance to my left reveals a large heart shaped pointer against a scale, on a paddle and a spring. Airflow operated.
“Right,” I say not feeling confident, “the turn and slip?”
“Put your head out the cockpit...”
“Nope, still can’t see it,” I say
“Err, well you feel the wind against your cheek...”
Right.
“And the fuel gauge?”
“Err, lick your fingers and dip them in the tank. If they come out with fuel on you’ve got enough.”
I decided to stop asking questions after that...

MG Mark

608 posts

177 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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Aaaahhhh.... De Havilland.....

Lovely craft. Basic, reliable and straightforward. Yes, they have their foibles and need more fettling than a Cessna, but that's the nature of the beast from the era of hand production, not mass production.


Dr Jekyll

20,598 posts

220 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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2xChevrons said:
The T-6 Texan was the same - an aircraft infamous for its ability to turn on the unwary pilot on the ground ("You don't stop flying a Texan until the engine's off and it's been tied down"), had a nasty stall and was generally regarded as being a sod to fly. But it meant that when they went from a 600hp/145knts Texan to a 1490hp/320knt P-51D many pilots found the Mustang easier to fly than the trainer, and certainly found that the Texan had taught them all the skills they needed to fly the P-51 (and then some!) which allowed them to focus on learning the skills of combat.
I've heard something similar, that the T6 was used as a trainer not because it was easier to fly than a fighter but because it was cheaper to fix.

Eric Mc

113,039 posts

224 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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It was used by the RAF because it was available in large numbers.

The British Purchasing Commission visited the US just before World War 2 to see what aircraft they could order off the shelf - as it was recognised that the British aircraft industry would not be able to produce all the aircraft the RAF and Royal Navy needed as war became more and more imminent.

One of the companies visited on this trip was North American Aviation Inc at Downey California who were producing a modern and advanced training aircraft called the BC-1/AT-6 (US Army) or SNJ (US Navy). It seemed to fit the bill for the RAF so they ordered large numbers of then. Indeed, at the time it was the single biggest order North America had ever received. up until then.

There was a British advanced trainer available at the time (the Miles Master) but it just could not be built in sufficient numbers fast enough.


TWPC

693 posts

120 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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2xChevrons said:
WJNB said:
Fabulous article & pictures.
Like all tail-draggers the Tiger Moth can be a handful when it comes to low speed ground manoeuvring, making the likes of modern-day tricycle undercarriage types a doddle which is why there are so popular when learning to fly.
To START learning on the likes of a Tiger Moth must have been as challenging on the ground & as in the air they are unforgiving in both environments as was another a/c from the DH stable, the Chipmunk a later RAF trainer.
I can't remember which RAF officer it was (he was a WW2 ace who went on to be an air officer post-war) but the quote was:

"Going purely by how easy to fly they were, we'd have been better off training the lads in Spitfires before letting them get into Tiger Moths."

By all accounts the Spitfire is (for what it is) a remarkably easy-going and vice-free aircraft to fly, especially in the earlier marks. By contrast a Tiger Moth can be extremely finnicky, with vicious tendencies on the ground and in certain low-speed stages of flight.

But that's what you want of a trainer, especially a military trainer. You don't want something like a Cessna 172 which will virtually fly itself and has been designed to be as close to a flying car as it's possible to get. You want something that will test students' flying abilities, force them to learn and use the skills and show up any deficient habits or slackness so they can be given a bking once they're back on the ground. Better they make those mistakes at 50knts over a grass field in the Midlands than at 250knts in a dogfight over Europe.

The T-6 Texan was the same - an aircraft infamous for its ability to turn on the unwary pilot on the ground ("You don't stop flying a Texan until the engine's off and it's been tied down"), had a nasty stall and was generally regarded as being a sod to fly. But it meant that when they went from a 600hp/145knts Texan to a 1490hp/320knt P-51D many pilots found the Mustang easier to fly than the trainer, and certainly found that the Texan had taught them all the skills they needed to fly the P-51 (and then some!) which allowed them to focus on learning the skills of combat.
Interesting stuff, thank you.

My kids have all learned to sail in a floating bathtub called an Optimist. Last summer we went to a talk by Ben Ainslie (of four Olympic gold medals, 2013 Amercia's Cup fame...) and one audience member asked him which was the hardest boat to sail of all those he has experienced. He said it was the Optimist.

The theory about the worth of learning in a machine that requires serious application extends beyond flying! I suppose the equivalent in car terms is learning in one with no acceleration, no brakes and dodgy synchromesh, teaching anticipation and awareness. My parents' Simca 1100 had all those qualities.

Eric Mc

113,039 posts

224 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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And the total opposite of the move towards autonomy.

Lowtimer

4,203 posts

127 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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Dr Jekyll said:
Without wishing to start a riot, how does the Stampe compare?
As always, depends what you want it for.

Don't get me wrong: I love a good Tiger Moth, much more than many aerobatic pilots. But the Stampe SV4, while it looks very similar, is a fundamentally superior proposition in every way as a pure flying machine. It performs better if they're both fitted with the same engine (the ones in my past both had the 145 hp Gipsy Major 10/2). Faster climb, better cruise, and vastly, vastly better flying control, as well as an airfoil that works reasonably well both ways up. You can still have fun competing a good Stampe in Intermediate level aerobatics competitions, whereas a Tiger Moth just doesn't have the capability.

So as an owner-driver wanting an aerobatic weekend toy I would choose a Stampe every time, or a Bucker Jungmann with a 150hp Tigre engine. Or, more likely, a Yak-52, which is what I actually did when it came to putting my own money down, but which is more of a sense of junior WW2 Biggles fantasy than the WW1 Biggles fantasy provided by the Tiger Moth..

But if I were putting one on a flying school fleet for primary training and conversion training (to get people who'd trained on modern types used to the ways of vintage pre-war aviation) then I would choose the Tiger Moth. Its failings as an aerobatics mount are its strengths in preparing people for other very old-fashioned aeroplanes. And for giving non-pilot passengers a taste of 'wind in the wires' it's a sensible choice. They are a lot tougher than they look, there is a decent support network in place for maintenance and repair, everyone's heard of them and most people are happy to get them in their logbook at least once.

Eric Mc

113,039 posts

224 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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Isn't the Stampe a slightly later design?

Lowtimer

4,203 posts

127 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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Dr Jekyll said:
I've heard something similar, that the T6 was used as a trainer not because it was easier to fly than a fighter but because it was cheaper to fix.
Well, mainly it was used as a trainer because at the time there just were no two-seat trainer versions of single seat fighters, and as complex monoplane types replaced simple biplanes in the '30s you had to have something to fill the massive gap that very quicly opened up between primary flying training and operational training.

You needed a two-seater on which graduates of ab-initio training on ultra-simple aeroplanes could get used to closed cockpits, retractable undercarriages, flaps and variable-pitch props with an instructor present to prevent them from destroying the engine, the airframe or themselves.

The T-6 is quite a pudding in performance terms - 500 to 600 hp might sound a lot, but the sheer weight and drag of the thing blunts it severely - but from an instructor's point of view it's pleasingly tricky in some corners of the flight envelope. So a trainee who survives being chopped off the course, and who thereby has shown themself to be safe to be trusted with a T-6 in all modes of flight, is statistically a pretty decent candidate to advance to a single-seat piston fighter.

Lowtimer

4,203 posts

127 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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Eric Mc said:
Isn't the Stampe a slightly later design?
By one measure only slightly later - the Stampe first flew in 1933, the Tiger Moth in 1931 - but in design terms, yes, and it really, really shows.

Main reason being that aerodynamically the Tiger is very much a linear development of the original 1925 dH.60 Moth design, and in particular uses a modified dH.60 wing design, whereas Jean Stampe went for a new much more advanced wing design. for his biplane. He was the local sales agent for the Moth and realised he could design something in a similar market niche. that did everything the Moth did, but much more too.

The two look similar cruising overhead, but in the details of the aerodynamics there's a generation of learning between them. Progress was rapid in those days!


Edited by Lowtimer on Thursday 16th August 10:18

Eric Mc

113,039 posts

224 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
quotequote all
The Tiger Moth was not really "designed" in the traditional sense. It was basically remedying shortcomings that were recognised with the DH60 family - so what you say makes perfect sense.

I love the other lesser known Moths - such as the Puss Moth, Fox Moth, Leopard Moth etc - real gentlemen's aerial carriages..

Yertis

15,780 posts

225 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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Eric Mc said:
And the total opposite of the move towards autonomy.
Autonomy in that context is pure double-speak. The car isn't autonomous, and the passenger inside certainly isn't. The entire project is about the destruction of autonomy.

(I'm agreeing with you by the way!)

2xChevrons

1,039 posts

39 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
quotequote all
TWPC said:
Interesting stuff, thank you.

My kids have all learned to sail in a floating bathtub called an Optimist. Last summer we went to a talk by Ben Ainslie (of four Olympic gold medals, 2013 Amercia's Cup fame...) and one audience member asked him which was the hardest boat to sail of all those he has experienced. He said it was the Optimist.

The theory about the worth of learning in a machine that requires serious application extends beyond flying! I suppose the equivalent in car terms is learning in one with no acceleration, no brakes and dodgy synchromesh, teaching anticipation and awareness. My parents' Simca 1100 had all those qualities.
I learnt to sail in a combination of Toppers and Laser Ones - very much the same sort of principle because while they are simple to sail they certainly aren't easy. If you can sail a triangular course in a Laser in Portsmouth Harbour in a Force 5 without spending half of it on your side or underwater then you've got a pretty good grounding in the techniques of sailing. Then when you get into a Mirror or a Wayfarer you think "Oh, hang on, this thing basically sails itself once its trimmed right and doesn't need constant attention!" Which means you can use the skills that you gained just keeping the Laser upright to get the Mirror to go fast.

Oppies are the same - they're incredibly good 'ab initio' sailing trainers because they're slow, stable and very difficult to capsize. But that also means that to get them to go to windward and to get round a course ahead of the pack (especially when that pack consists of a dozen identical and equally handicapped Oppies) you have to really know what you're doing.

The Tiger Moth was described as "very easy to fly, but very difficult to master" and that same should go for every vehicle intended for use as a learning platform.


Eric Mc

113,039 posts

224 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
quotequote all
Yertis said:
Autonomy in that context is pure double-speak. The car isn't autonomous, and the passenger inside certainly isn't. The entire project is about the destruction of autonomy.

(I'm agreeing with you by the way!)
I'll have to take your word for it.

RoverP6B

4,188 posts

87 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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The Tiger Moth is a brilliant trainer for the simple reason that it is NOT easy to fly. It requires constant concentration and, if you let your mind wander, and are not absolutely on top of it, it will turn round and bite you, HARD. It's an aeroplane that kills fools.

I believe they may also have been built at sites other than Hatfield and Cowley: I've an idea I read that both Airspeed at Christchurch and DH at Hawarden built some...

Steve_D

13,099 posts

217 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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RoverP6B said:
The Tiger Moth is a brilliant trainer for the simple reason that it is NOT easy to fly. It requires constant concentration and, if you let your mind wander, and are not absolutely on top of it, it will turn round and bite you, HARD. It's an aeroplane that kills fools..........
My father related practising spins with another pilot.
The aircraft climbed a little and went into stall. A wing dropped and they entered a spin. The spin was centred on the playground of a school with the kids at play. After a while my father said 'are you going to pull out any time soon' to which the reply came 'Christ I thought you had it'

Steve

Jex

679 posts

87 months

Thursday 16th August 2018
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kurt535 said:
Anyone else here cut their teeth on them with Old Bill (RIP) up at Cambridge?
Probably an apocryphal story, but I liked it nonetheless. A photographer wanted to get some aerial photos of Cambridge, so he got in touch with Marshalls and they said they could take him up in one of their Tiger Moths - nothing much to get in the way of the camera. Anyway, he arrived at the airfield and was told the Moth was out there ready to go. He got in and asked the pilot to fly over the centre of Cambridge. The photographer then started to take loads of photos asking the pilot to fly around over the city. Eventually the pilot asked: "What are you doing?" The photographer replied: "Taking photos for an article about the Cambridge colleges", to which the pilot nervously replied: "So you're not my instructor then?".