de Havilland DH.51
|Airworthy DH.51, G-EBIR, at the Shuttleworth Collection|
Design and development
De Havilland designed the DH.51 as an economical touring biplane, based on the 90 hp (67 kW) RAF 1A engine which was available from war-surplus stocks. The aircraft first flew in July 1924; it performed well but because it did not have a dual-ignition system it was refused a certificate of airworthiness. As it would have taken at least ten hours of flight testing to certify it with a single-ignition system, de Havilland decided to re-engine the aircraft instead. The aircraft was fitted with an ADC Airdisco Air-cooled V8 piston engine, which considerably improved performance but was no longer cheap to operate. As a result only three aircraft were built. The first aircraft was fitted with single-bay wings and was designated the DH.51A. It was exported to Australia and later converted to a floatplane as the DH.51B.
The first aircraft was exported to Australia in 1927, as a floatplane it capsized in Sydney Harbour in January 1931. The second aircraft was used in Britain until it was scrapped in 1933. The third aircraft was exported to Kenya in 1929. It returned to Britain in 1965 and is still in use today.
The third aircraft built (registered G-EBIR and named Miss Kenya; built in 1925) is on public display (and is flown regularly) at the Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, England.
Data from De Havilland Aircraft since 1909
- Length: 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)
- Wingspan: 37 ft 0 in (11.28 m)
- Height: 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
- Wing area: 325 ft² (30.19 m²)
- Empty weight: 1,342 lb (609 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 2,240 lb (1016 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × ADC Airdisco air-cooled V8 engine, 120 hp (89 kw)
- Maximum speed: 108 mph (94 knots, 174 km/h)
- Stall speed: 43 mph (37 knots, 69 km/h)
- Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,570 m)
- Jackson 1987, p. 199.
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). Orbis Publishing.
- Jackson, A.J. (1973). British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 2. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-10010-7.
- Jackson, A.J. (1987). De Havilland Aircraft since 1909 (Third ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-802-X.
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