January, 1938, Canadian Aviation
The first of 25 Tiger Moths ordered by the Department of National Defence for the Royal Canadian Air Force was test flown at the de Havilland Aerodrome during Christmas week. These aircraft are equipped for interchangeability of wheels, skis and floats. The majority of them may be first operated on skis, since the first machine was ready for delivery on December 21st and the remainder should be delivered by the end of the winter.
The first Tiger Moth Trainer for the RCAF was the first aircraft of any type to be completely manufactured by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited at Toronto. The jigs and tools required in manufacturing the aircraft and the actual components have all been built since the contract was awarded at the end of April, 1937. The Gipsy Major engines have been assembled and tested in Toronto and only standard aircraft parts such as instruments, wheels and airscrews have been imported from England.
The factory at Toronto has been enlarged by the addition of two new hangars and the staff has been increased to 100 in number since the commencement of work on the contract. Much new manufacturing equipment has been installed, including woodworking machinery, sheet metal forming tools and machine tools; while the older departments (welding, finishing, aircraft and engine assembly and stores) have all been greatly augmented.
The RCAF Tiger Moth Trainers are fitted with sliding transparent canopy tops, which provide the comfort of a cabin aircraft along with the range of vision and ease of exit of the open cockpit type. The two cockpits are provided with duplicate panels of instruments, including all those necessary for primary and blind-flying training. A blind-flying hood is incorporated in the design of the canopy top and may be opened or closed in an instant. The instrument panels are covered with moulded rubber pads that will protect the pilots in the event of a minor accident and the special RCAF fighting harness is fitted in both cockpits. A differential-action spring loading on the elevator controls is used for longitudinal trimming, to improve the feel of the control column. Thumb-operated ratchet levers are used to operate the tail trim in both cockpits.
A ventilating system is installed which provides heated air in the cockpits when desired in winter or cool air in summer. Bayonet-type filler caps are fitted to the tanks and a quick-acting oil draining. A three-piece engine cowling similar to that used on the Dragonfly has been adapted to facilitate engine maintenance and quickly attachable masks and covers are provided to reduce the amount of cooling of the engine and the oil tank in cold weather. A pressure-type fire extinguisher in the engine bay may be operated from either cockpit or from outside the aircraft at a point convenient to the person cranking the engine.
This article originally appeared in the January, 1938 edition of Canadian Aviation.