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De Havilland Swallow Moth Aircraft Information

De Havilland Swallow Moth

DH.81 Swallow Moth

National origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer: de Havilland Aircraft Co. Ltd
First flight: 21 August 1931
Retired: 3 February 1932
Number built: 1

The de Havilland DH.81 Swallow Moth was aimed at the low cost sporting aircraft market during the Great Depression. It was a single engined two seat low wing monoplane; only one was built.


The DH. 81 Swallow Moth was a low wing cantilever monoplane. This arrangement and its plywood covered fuselage and closely cowled 80 hp (60 kW) inline Gipsy IV engine gave it a very clean aerodynamic look. The wings carried ailerons that were horn balanced at the wing tips and the empennage was of characteristic de Havilland form, with a balanced rudder. There was separate tandem seating for two, initially open, but later enclosed with a one-piece hinged cabin top. With this enclosure the aircraft was called the DH.81A and the top speed went up by 12 mph (19 km/h). The main undercarriage was simple and tidy, the leg reaching to mid-fuselage in front of the leading edge of the wing, with bracing struts fore and aft to the keel; the later Leopard Moth used a similar arrangement. A small tailskid completed the undercarriage.

The Swallow Moth was first flown by Geoffrey de Havilland on 21 August 1931. Some alteration to the fin followed and the flight testing continued until February 1932. During this time the class B marking E-7 was allocated, but the Swallow Moth never made it to the civil register. Its design influenced later de Havilland aircraft, particularly the 1938 Moth Minor.


Data from Jackson 1978, pp.302

General characteristics

Crew: 1
Capacity: 1
Length: 23 ft 6 in (7.16 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft 6 in (10.82 m)
Height: 8 ft 4 in (2.56 m)
Wing area: 149 ft (13.85 m)
Gross weight: 1,30 lb (603 kg)
Powerplant: 1 x de Havilland Gipsy IV four cylinder inverted inline aircooled engine, 80 hp (60 kW)


Maximum speed: 117 mph (188 km/h)


Jackson, A.J. (1978). de Havilland Aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam Publishing. ISBN0 370 30022 X.

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