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The de Havilland Canada company was an aircraft manufacturer with facilities based in what is now the Downsviewmarker area of Torontomarker, Ontariomarker, Canada. The original home of de Havilland Canada is now the home of the Toronto Aerospace Museum located in what is now Parc Downsview Parkmarker.

The aircraft company was created in 1928 by British de Havilland Aircraft Company to build Moth aircraft for the training of Canadian airmen, and subsequently after the Second World War, designed and produced indigenous designs. After a number of company changes, Bombardier Inc. sold the rights to the out-of-production aircraft (DHC-1 through DHC-7) to Viking Air Ltd. of Sidney, British Columbiamarker, in May 2005.
C-FGYN Adlair Aviation Ltd. de Havilland Beaver (DHC2) Mk I on floats


Establishment

Founded in 1928 as a subsidiary of de Havilland Aircraft (UK) de Havilland Canada was first located at De Lesseps Field in Toronto, before moving to Downsview in 1929.

Pre-Second World War

Flown for the first time on 26 October 1931, the DH.82 Tiger Moth was derived from the DH.60 Moth. The DH 82 was powered by a 120 hp Gipsy II engine, but the 1939 DH.82a received the 145 hp Gipsy Major. More than 1,000 Tiger Moths were delivered before the Second World War, and subsequently 4,005 were built in the UK and shipped all over the world. 1,747 were built in Canada (the majority being the DH.82c model with enclosed cockpits, brakes, tail wheels, etc.). The follow-up DH.83 Fox Moth was designed in England in 1932 as a light, economic transport and was built using as many Tiger Moth components as possible.

Second World War

The de Havilland Tiger Moth was a basic trainer of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) during the Second World War, whereby air crews from all over the British Commonwealth trained in Canada. DHC was a Canadianmarker unit of the parent British de Havilland and during World War II was made into a crown corporation of the Canadian government.

Production of the Mosquito, nicknamed the "Mossie," was the company's greatest contribution to the war effort. To reduce wartime metal use, the airframe was constructed almost entirely out of plywood. The design intent of the Mosquito was speed instead of defensive armament, and as a result it was one of the fastest aircraft in the war, reaching 425 mph at 30,000 ft. The original design was intended as a light bomber, but soon proved itself in high-level photography and every phase of intruder operations.

Out of the more than 7,000 Mosquitoes produced overall by de Havilland, de Havilland Canada produced 1,134. Several were lost en route across the Atlantic and 500 were delivered to the UK by the end of the war.

Post-Second World War

After the war, de Havilland Canada began to build its own designs uniquely suited to the harsh Canadian operating environment. The company also continued production of several British de Havilland aircraft and later produced a license-built version of the American-designed Grumman S2F Tracker. The Avro Canada aircraft production facility was transferred to de Havilland Canada by the companies' parent Hawker Siddeley in 1962.

DHC-1 Chipmunk

The first true postwar aviation project was the de Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk, designed as a primary trainer, a replacement for the venerable de Havilland Tiger Moth. The Chipmunk was an all-metal, low wing, tandem two-place, single-engine airplane with a conventional tail wheel landing gear. It had fabric-covered control surfaces and a clear plastic canopy covering the pilot and passenger/student positions. The production versions of the airplane were powered by a 145 hp in-line de Havilland Gipsy Major "8" engine.

The Chipmunk prototype first flew on 22 May 1946 in Toronto and had a total production run of 158 Chipmunks for RCAF use while de Havilland (UK) produced 740 airplanes for training at various RAF and University Air Squadrons during the late 1940s and into the 1950s. The DHC-1 Chipmunk was still being used as a training aircraft by the UK's Army Air Corps up until 1995.

DHC-2 Beaver

Returning to designing purpose-built aircraft for Canada's north, de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver was developed in 1947. After a survey of Canada's bush pilots, including the great Punch Dickins, the need for a rugged, highly versatile aerial truck which could take off and land almost anywhere, carry a large half-ton load and be very reliable, formed the basis of a new specification. The first of the STOL family that de Havilland would produce, the Beaver would carve a niche into the bush plane market.

In the civilian sector, the Beaver soon excelled on wheels, skis and floats, and in 1951, the Beaver would be selected by the US Air Force and Army as a new liaison aircraft. In the nine years that followed, 968 L-20As were delivered to the armed forces, most going to the Army. They served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, hauling freight and personnel around the battlefields, mapping enemy troop positions, leading search/rescue missions, and relaying radio traffic, among other missions. In 1962, the L-20 was re-designated the U-6A, and many remaining examples remained in service well into the 1970s. Beavers were also purchased and used by the military services of numerous other nations, including Britain, Chile and Colombia.

With almost 1,700 built in a production run lasting two decades, civilian-owned Beavers continue plying their trade in over 50 countries all around the world. A turbine-conversion, the Turbo-Beaver first flew in December 1963. This version featured a Pratt & Whitney PT6A6 turboprop, which offered lower empty and higher takeoff weights, and even better STOL performance. The Turbo Beaver's cabin was also longer, allowing maximum accommodation for 11, including the pilot. Externally, the Turbo Beaver had a much longer and reprofiled nose, and squared off vertical tail. DHC also offered conversion kits enabling piston powered Beavers to be upgraded to Turbo standard. Other conversions have been performed by a number of companies including Kenmore Aviation and Viking Air.

DHC-3 Otter

Another in de Havilland Canada's successful line of rugged and useful STOL utility transports, the Otter was conceived to be capable of performing the same roles as the earlier and highly successful Beaver, but was bigger, the veritable "one-ton truck."

Using the same overall configuration of the earlier and highly successful DHC2 Beaver, the Otter is much larger overall. The Otter began life as the King Beaver, but compared to the Beaver is longer, has greater span wings and is much heavier. Seating in the main cabin is for 10 or 11, whereas the Beaver could seat six. Power is supplied by a 450 kW (600 hp) Pratt & Whitney R1340 Wasp radial. Like the Beaver, the Otter can be fitted with skis and floats. The amphibious floatplane Otter features a unique four unit retractable undercarriage, with the wheels retracting into the floats.

Design work at de Havilland Canada began on the DHC3 Otter in January 1951, the company's design efforts culminating in the type's first flight on 12 December 1951. Canadian certification was awarded in November 1952.

After de Havilland Canada demonstrated the Otter to the US Army, subsequently that service went on to become the largest DHC3 operator (as the U1). Other military users included Australia, Canada and India.

Small numbers of Otters were converted to turbine power by Cox Air Services of Alberta, Canada. Changes included a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop, a lower empty weight of 1692 kg (3705 lb) and a higher maximum speed of 267 km/h (144 kt). It was called the Cox Turbo Single Otter. A number of other after market PT6 conversions have also been offered.

The Otter found a significant niche as a bush aircraft and today it remains highly sought after.

DHC-4 Caribou

de Havilland Canada's fourth design was a big step up in size compared with its earlier products, and was the first powered by two engines, but the Caribou was similar in that it is a rugged STOL utility. The Caribou was primarily a military tactical transport that in commercial service found itself a small niche in cargo hauling.

de Havilland Canada designed the DHC-4 in response to a US Army requirement for a tactical airlifter to supply the battlefront with troops and supplies and evacuate casualties on the return journey. With assistance from Canada's Department of Defence Production, DHC built a prototype demonstrator that flew for the first time on 30 July 1958.

Impressed with the DHC4's STOL capabilities and potential, the US Army ordered five for evaluation as YAC-1s and went on to become the largest Caribou operator, taking delivery of 159. The AC-1 designation was changed in 1962 to CV-2, and then C-7 when the US Army's CV-2s were transferred to the US Air Force in 1967. US and Australian Caribou saw extensive service during the Vietnam conflict. In addition some US Caribou were captured by North Vietnamese forces and remained in service with that country through to the late 1970s. Other notable military operators included Canada, Malaysia, India and Spain.

The majority of Caribou production was for military operators, but the type's ruggedness and excellent STOL capabilities also appealed to a select group of commercial users. US certification was awarded on 23 December 1960. AnsettMAL, which operated a single example in the New Guinea highlands, and AMOCO Ecuador were early customers, as was Air America (a CIA front in South East Asia during the Vietnam War era for covert operations). Other Caribou entered commercial service after being retired from their military users.

Today only a handful are in civil use.

DHC-5 Buffalo

Known originally as the Caribou II, the de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo tactical transport was basically an enlarged DHC-4 with turboprop engines employing a high-set wing, upswept aft fuselage with loading ramp and T-tail. The DHC-5 had been developed to meet the requirements of the US Army for a transport that would be able to carry loads such as the Pershing missile, a 105 mm howitzer or 3/4-ton truck. Development costs were shared by the US Army, Canadian government and de Havilland Canada; the first of these transports made its maiden flight on 9 April 1964.

Hopes for large orders were dashed when the US Army abandoned fixed-wing aircraft. 122 were built in two production runs, including a handful of Buffalo aircraft for the US Army and four C-8 transports for the USAF. When no further orders resulted from the US Army evaluation of the DHC-5 (designated originally YAC-2 by the US Army, and later C-8A), the Canadian Armed Forces acquired 15 of the DHC-5A (designated CC-115): six were converted subsequently for deployment in a maritime patrol role.

Following delivery of 24 to the Brazilian Air Force and 16 to the Peruvian Air Force, the production line was closed down. In 1974, the company realised there was a continuing demand for the Buffalo and production of an improved Buffalo (DHC-5D) was initiated. This version had more powerful engines which permitted operation at higher gross weights, and offered improved all-round performance. In the early 1980s, de Havilland Canada attempted to modify the Buffalo for civilian use. The aircraft was to be branded as the "Transporter." After loss of the demonstration aircraft (SN 103 C-GCTC) at the 1984 Farnborough Airshow, the project was abandoned. Production of the Buffalo ended in 1982, but the last of 122 aircraft built was not delivered until April 1985.

DHC-6 Twin Otter

One of Canada's most successful commercial aircraft designs, with more than 800 built, the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter remains popular for its rugged construction and useful STOL performance.

Development of the Twin Otter dates back to January 1964, when de Havilland Canada started design work on a new STOL twin turboprop commuter airliner (seating between 13 and 18) and utility transport to replace the earlier single-engined DHC-3 Otter. The new aircraft was designated the DHC-6 and prototype construction began in November that year, resulting in the type's first flight on 20 May 1965. After receiving certification in mid-1966, the first Twin Otter entered service with longtime de Havilland Canada supporter, the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests.

The first production aircraft were Series 100s. Design features included double slotted trailing edge flaps and ailerons that can act in unison to boost STOL performance. Compared with the later Series 200s and 300s, the 100s are distinguishable by their shorter, blunter noses.

The main addition to the Series 200, which was introduced in April 1968, was the extended nose, which, together with a reconfigured storage compartment in the rear cabin, greatly increased baggage stowage area.

The Series 300 was introduced from the 231st production aircraft in 1969. It too featured the lengthened nose, but also introduced more powerful engines, thus allowing a 450 kg (1,000 lb) increase in takeoff weight and a 20 seat interior. Production ceased in late 1988. In addition, six 300S enhanced STOL performance DHC-6-300s were built in the mid 1970s.

All models are capable of being fitted with skis and floats.

de Havilland Canada Dash 7

The four-engine de Havilland Canada Dash 7 was designed as a STOL (short takeoff and landing) 50-seat regional airliner capable of operating from strips as short as 915 m (3,000 ft) in length. It was meant to serve small city airports like the London City Airportmarker where noise requirements were particularly strict, and featured four slow-turning props to cut noise.

The main design features to achieve such a capability were an advanced wing and four Pratt & Whitney PT6A turboprops. Double slotted trailing edge flaps run the entire span of the high mounted wing, dramatically increasing the lifting surface available for takeoff. Extra lift is also generated by the airflow over the wing from the relatively slow turning propellers. The wings also feature two pairs of spoilers each - the inboard pair also operate as lift dumpers, the outboard pair can act differentially in conjunction with the ailerons to boost roll control.

Financial backing from the Canadian Government allowed the launch of the DHC7 program in the early 1970s, resulting in the maiden flight of the first of two development aircraft on 27 March 1975. The first production Dash 7 flew on 3 March 1977, the type was certificated on 2 May 1977 and it entered service with Rocky Mountain Airways on 3 February 1978. The market for the city-to-city aircraft never materialized (London City was serviced by British aircraft, notably the BAe 146) and the type was most used for its excellent STOL capabilities.

The standard passenger carrying Dash 7 is the Series 100, while the type was also offered in pure freighter form as the Series 101. The only major development of the Dash 7 was the Series 150, which featured a higher maximum takeoff weight and greater fuel capacity, boosting range. The Series 151 was the equivalent freighter. Production of the Dash 7 ended in 1988, following Boeing's takeover of de Havilland Canada.

de Havilland Canada Dash 8

A 78-seat Q400 (Dash 8) operated by British European.
De Havilland Canada began development of the Dash 8 in the late 1970s in response to what it saw as a considerable market demand for a new generation 30 to 40 seat commuter airliner. The Dash 8 emphasized operational economics over STOL performance, which proved much more successful.

Like the Dash 7, the Dash 8 features a high mounted wing and T-tail, an advanced flight control system and large full length trailing edge flaps. Power is supplied by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW120 series (originally designated PT7A) turboprops. The first flight of the first of two preproduction aircraft was on 20 June 1983, while Canadian certification was awarded on 28 September 1984. The first customer delivery was to NorOntair of Canada on 23 October 1984.

The aircraft was introduced just as an older generation of feederliners was becoming too old to maintain economically, and there were few other new aircraft designs of its size that were ready for purchase; the ATR-42 entered service a year later, while most other designs (Dornier 328, Fokker 50, etc.) were only started in response to the success of the Dash 8. To date over 900 Dash 8s have been delivered, and another 300 are already on order.

Aircraft built under license

The de Havilland Canada company produced a large number of aircraft under license, mostly versions of designs from its original parent company, British de Havilland Aircraft.

de Havilland Fox Moth

Fox Moths were produced in Canada after the Second World War mainly to keep the plant in production, but also to satisfy the increasing need for new bush aircraft. All the Canadian modifications made to the Tiger Moth were also applied to the Fox Moth. De Havilland designed a special stretcher for the Fox Moth, in order that it could operate as an air ambulance. Of the 53 produced, 39 remained in Canada, most of which were operated in float/ski configuration and gave years of satisfactory service.

The Fox Moth, though efficient, was a bit of an anachronism. For example, a modern, moulded plexiglas sliding cockpit hood was attached to what was essentially a 1932 aircraft. Communication between the passenger cabin in the fuselage and the cockpit to the rear was through a hole in the instrument panel.

de Havilland Mosquito

Before the end of the Second World War, de Havilland Canada built 1,134 Mosquitos, of which 444 were on strength with the RCAF in models Bomber Mk VII through Trainer Mk 29 from 1 June 1943 to 28 September 1951.

de Havilland Canada (Grumman) CS2F Tracker

In 1954, the Royal Canadian Navy decided to replace its fleet of obsolescent TBM Avenger anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft with domestically-produced license-built versions of the new Grumman S2F Tracker. The contract for the CS2F was worth $100 million Canadian, at the time, the largest post-Second World War Canadian defense contract. Subassemblies of the aircraft would be produced by various Canadian companies and shipped to de Havilland Canada facilities, where de Havilland would build the forward fuselage and crew compartment, assemble the aircraft, oversee installation of the ASW electronics and prepare the aircraft for delivery.

The first Canadian-built Tracker flew on 31 May 1956. A total of 99 Trackers were produced for RCN service starting in the same year. A few of these aircraft would serve with the Canadian military until the 1990s.

The End of de Havilland Canada

In the 1980s, the Canadianmarker government privatized DHC and in 1986 sold the aircraft company to then Seattlemarker-based Boeing. DHC has since been acquired by Montrealmarker-based Bombardier Aerospace. The de Havilland (Canada) company was eventually incorporated into the Bombardier group of companies and the Dash Eight remains in production with a particular emphasis being placed on its quiet operation in comparison to other aircraft of a similar size.

On 24 February 2006, Viking Air of Victoriamarker purchased the type certificates from Bombardier Aerospace for all the original De Havilland designs including:

  • DHC-1 Chipmunk
  • DHC-2 Beaver
  • DHC-3 Otter
  • DHC-4 Caribou
  • DHC-5 Buffalo
  • DHC-6 Twin Otter
  • DHC-7 Dash 7


The ownership of the certificates gives Viking the exclusive right to manufacture new aircraft.

Despite its demise, de Havilland Canada has left a legacy of innovative and unique aerospace designs and its products are still flying in considerable numbers worldwide.

Aircraft

Product list and details (date information from de Havilland Canada)
 Aircraft   Description   Seats   Launch date   1st flight   1st delivery   Scheduled to cease production 
de Havilland Moth - for RAF and RCAF Trainer Two 1928
de Havilland Tiger Moth - for RAF and RCAF Trainer Two 1931
de Havilland Fox Moth - for RAF and RCAF Transport Crew of one; seats five 1932 (production restarted in 1946)
de Havilland Mosquito - for RAF and RCAF Fighter, fighter/bomber Two 1940 1945
DHC-1 Chipmunk Trainer Two 1946 1956
DHC-2 Beaver Bush plane Crew of/ seats seven 1947 1967
DHC-3 Otter Bush plane Crew of one; seats 10-11 1951 1965?
DHC-4 Caribou Specialized transport Crew of three 1958 1960s late 1960s
DHC-5 Buffalo Cargo turbo prop Crew of three 1964 1965 1974
DHC-6 Twin Otter Utility aircraft Crew of two; seats 20 1965
DHC-7 Dash 7 Turbo prop airliner Crew of two; seats 35-54 1972 1975 1988
DHC-8 Dash 8 Turbo prop airliner Crew of two/three; seats 37-78 1983 1984
CS2F Tracker - For RCN under license from Grumman Anti-submarine warfare aircraft Crew of four 1956 1956


See also



References

Notes

  1. Tate, Colonel D.H. "Canada Aviation Museum Aircraft: Grumman CS2F / CP-121 Tracker" Retrieved: 28 April 2006.
  2. "Viking acquires de Havilland Canada type certificates." Viking Press Release, 24 February 2006.
  3. De Havilland Canada


Bibliography

  • Hotson, Fred W. The de Havilland Canada Story. Toronto: CANAV Books, 1983. ISBN 0-07-549483-3.
  • Milberry, Larry. Aviation In Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-07-082778-8.
  • Molson, Ken M. and Harold A. Taylor. Canadian Aircraft Since 1909. Stittsville, Ontario: Canada's Wings, Inc., 1982. ISBN 0-920002-11-0.


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