de Havilland DH.50
|First flight||30 July 1923|
In the early 1920s, Geoffrey de Havilland realised that war surplus aircraft would need replacing, so his company designed a four-passenger-cabin biplane, the DH.50, using experience gained with the earlier de Havilland DH.9. The first DH.50 (registered G-EBFN) flew in August 1923 and was used within a few days by Alan Cobham to win a prize for reliability during trial flights between Copenhagen and Gothenburg. Only 17 aircraft were built by de Havilland; the rest were produced under licence. The different aircraft had a wide variety of engine fits.
In 1924, Cobham won the King's Cup Race air race in G-EBFN averaging 106 mph (171 km/h). Cobham made several long-range flights with the prototype until he replaced it with the second aircraft. The second aircraft (registered G-EBFO) was re-engined with the Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar engine and was designated the DH.50J. Cobham flew the aircraft on a 16,000 mi (25,750 km) flight from Croydon Airport to Cape Town between November 1925 and February 1926. The aircraft was later fitted with twin floats (produced by Short Brothers at Rochester) for a survey flight of Australia in 1926. On the outward flight from England to Australia, Cobham's engineer (A.B. Elliot) was shot and killed when they were overflying the desert between Baghdad and Basra. He was replaced by Sergeant Ward, a Royal Air Force engineer who was given permission to join the flight by his commanding officer. Also in 1926, a DH.50A floatplane was used in the first international flight made by the Royal Australian Air Force. The Chief of the Air Staff, Group Captain Richard Williams, and two crew members undertook a three-month, 10,000 mi (16,093 km) round trip from Point Cook, Victoria to the Pacific Islands.
The aircraft was popular in Australia and licence production was agreed, leading to 16 aircraft being built there. Qantas built four DH.50As and three DH.50Js, Western Australian Airlines built three DH.50As, and Larkin Aircraft Supply Company built one DH.50A. SABCA built three DH.50As in Brussels, Belgium. and Aero built seven in Prague, then in Czechoslovakia. The British-built QANTAS DH.50 (G-AUER/VH-UER) was modified in Longreach, Queensland, to suit the Australian Inland Mission as an aerial ambulance. The aircraft was called "Victory' by the Rev. J. Flynn and was the first aircraft used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.
- DH.50 : Single-engined light transport biplane.
- DH.50A : Powered by one 240 hp (179 kW) Siddeley Puma in-line engine.
- DH.50J : The Australian-built QANTAS fleet were powered by one 450 hp (287 kW) Bristol Jupiter Mk IV radial engine. Other radial engines were fitted in other aircraft in the DH50J series.
- Australian Aerial Services Ltd
- Holdens Air Transport
- Czechoslovakia Government
- Iraq Petroleum Transport Company Ltd
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- Air Taxis Ltd
- Brooklands School of Flying Ltd
- Imperial Airways Ltd
- North Sea Aerial and General Transport Company Ltd
- Northern Air Lines Ltd
Data from De Havilland Aircraft since 1909
- Length: 29 ft 9 in (9.07 m)
- Wingspan: 42 ft 9 in (13.03 m)
- Height: 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m)
- Wing area: 434 ft² (40.32 m²)
- Empty weight: 2,253 lb (1,022 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 3,900 lb (1,769 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Siddeley Puma inline piston engine, 230 hp (172 kw)
- Maximum speed: 112 mph (97 kn, 180 km/h)
- Range: 380 mi (330 nmi, 612 km)
- Service ceiling: 14,600 ft (4,450 m)
- Rate of climb: 605 ft/min (3.07 m/s)
- Wing loading: 8.99 lb/ft² (25.3 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.059 hp/lb (0.097 kW/kg)
- Related lists
- Stephens 2006, pp.39–41.
- The Defeat of Distance: Qantas 1919–1939 by John Gunn
- Jackson 1987, p.190.
- 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 (Second ed.). London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-802-X.
- Stephens, Alan (2006) . The Royal Australian Air Force: A History. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555541-4.
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