de Havilland Humming Bird
|DH.53 Humming Bird|
|DH.53, G-EBHX, at the Shuttleworth Collection|
|First flight||2 October 1923|
|Primary user||Royal Air Force|
Design and development
In response to the Daily Mail Light Aeroplane Competition of 1923 de Havilland built two DH.53s which were named Humming Bird and Sylvia II. The DH.53 was a low-wing single-seat monoplane powered by a Douglas 750 cc motorcycle engine. At Lympne, in October 1923, the DH.53s did not win any prizes but gave an impressive performance for a light aircraft. The Air Ministry became interested in the design and ordered eight in 1924 as communications and training aircraft for the Royal Air Force.
Early in 1924 twelve aircraft were built at Stag Lane Aerodrome and were named Humming Bird after the first prototype. Eight aircraft were for the Air Ministry order, three were for export to Australia, and one was exported to Aero in Prague. One further aircraft was later built for an order from Russia.
The production aircraft were powered by a 26 hp (19 kW) Blackburne Tomtit two-cylinder engine.
The first six aircraft for the Royal Air Force all made their public debut at the 1925 display at RAF Hendon, where they were raced against each other. The last two aircraft would later be used for "parasite aircraft" trials being launched from below an airship – the R.33. The aircraft were retired in 1927 and all eight were sold as civil aircraft.
Aircraft on display
- G-EBHX, the prototype, was airworthy and on display at the Shuttleworth Collection, but crashed on 1 July 2012, killing the pilot.
- J7326 fuselage is on display at the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre.
Data from British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Vol 2,
- Crew: one
- Length: 19 ft 8 in (6 m)
- Wingspan: 30 ft 1 in (9.17 m)
- Height: 7 ft 3 in (2.21 m)
- Wing area: 125 ft² (11.6 m²)
- Empty weight: 326 lb (148 kg)
- Loaded weight: 565 lb (257 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Blackburne Tomtit inverted vee, two cylinder engine, 26 hp (19 kW)
- Maximum speed: 63 kn (73 mph, 118 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 52 kn (60 mph, 97 km/h)
- Range: 130 nmi (150 mi, 242 km)
- Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,570 m)
- Rate of climb: 225 ft/min (1.1 m/s)
- Wing loading: 4.52 lb/ft² (22.2 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.046 hp/lb (62 W/kg)
- Jackson 1987, p. 208.
- "BBC News – Pilot dies after vintage plane crashes in Bedfordshire". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- Niles, Russ (1 July 2012). "Pilots Killed In Airshow Crashes". AVweb. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- De Havilland DH53 Humming Bird, G-EBHX, 1 July 2012, Air Accidents Investigation Branch, 10 December 2014
- Jackson 1973, p. 77.
- Jackson, A. J. (1973). British Civil Aircraft Since 1919 Volume 2 (Second ed.). Putnam & Company. 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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