Article: Flying in 39 Degrees of Frost

  • Gypsy Moth-WCAMCopyright
    March, 1929, The de Havilland Gazette

    In October, the first Gipsy Moth arrived in Canada and the Company soon found it difficult, owing to the enormous popularity of the new model throughout the world, to cope with the demand which ensued. Then in November the first of the metal fuselage Moths—a type specially designed for Canadian conditions as a result of the operations and experiments carried out on the spot—made its appearance from England. It was immediately demonstrated before the officials of the Dominion and Provincial Governments with the pleasing result that it has been adopted as a standard by the Royal Canadian Air Force Training Branch, Civil Aviation Branch and by the Ontario Provincial Government and by many other important users of aircraft.

    In November, the Company’s factory at the present leased aerodrome was doubled in size to cater for the 1929 Spring production and a new aerodrome was purchased where a permanent factory will be erected in the Spring. As time passed more and more work on the production machines has been done in Canada and it is expected that as soon as the new factory is available the Moth will be entirely produced in Canada.

    During 1928, the Company delivered no less than sixty-two Moths which are now spread from St. John, N.B., in the east to Victoria, B.C., in the west, with fairly even distribution across the country. At the outset of 1929, the Company finds itself in the enviable position of having orders in hand for a number of Moths exceeding the whole production for 1928. These include thirty-four Moths, landplanes and seaplanes, for the re-equipment of the Royal Canadian Air Force, five for The Civil Operations Branch which already uses a large fleet for forest fire protection, nine for Flying Clubs, a quantity for the Ontario Provincial Air Service which operates a large fleet for patrolling the forests of the Province, and many for private owners who will take delivery at the opening of the flying season in the Spring. So successful has the Gipsy Moth been that the Ontario Government has decided to re-equip all its existing Moth fleet with the 85-100hp Gipsy engine. This decision was taken as a result of a test made at the de Havilland aerodrome at Toronto when a Gipsy Moth was flown and maintained by the personnel of the Service for 152 hours on the particularly hard work of a flying school. The test covered approximately five weeks of extensive flying and on completion the engine was stripped down and found to be in perfect condition.

    Experiments conducted by the Company have resulted in the production of a very efficient and low-priced ski-undercarriage which is a necessity for winter operations in Canada. The personnel of the Company is now engaged on the problem of providing warmth and comfort for the pilot and passenger during extremely cold weather and a practical device has been evolved. It is interesting to note that the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Ontario Provincial Air Service, as well as practically every private owner, has standardised on the Handley Page automatic safety slot gear.

    The personnel of the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada, Limited, has expanded since its inception from three to nearly thirty, and although the nucleus came from the English factory the majority are Canadians who have been trained in the Company’s works.

    This article originally appeared in the March, 1929 edition of the de Havilland Gazette.

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