The FE.1 was purchased by the War Office for £400. The Balloon Factory had a system of naming aircraft types after aviation pioneers; FE for Farman Experimental, BE for Bleriot and SE for Santos Dumont.
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The FE.2 was supposedly a modification of the FE.1 but was actually a new aeroplane. It was first flown in August 1911 by Geoffrey de Havilland before being modified in 1912 as seen here. It was also fitted with floats and flown from Fleet Pond.
The BE.1 was supposedly a reconstruction of a Voisin which had been given to the War Office by the Duke of Westminster but only the engine was reused. When that was replaced with a renault engine it acquired the nickname “the silent aeroplane”.
This BE.2a was built by the Bristol company and modified by the installation of an extra fuel tank in the front cockpit. On 22 November 1913 Captain C.A.H. Longcroft flew the aircraft non stop 650 miles (1046 Km) from Montrose to Farnborough for which he was awarded the Britannia Trophy.
The Airco factory from the west. Geoffrey de Havilland’s office was in the building on the right which still stands on Edgware Road opposite Colindale Avenue.
The DH.2 was the first Airco type to enter operational service during World War One. These aircraft served with 29 Squadron on the Western Front, protecting slow moving reconnaissance aircraft.
The DH.5 was designed to combine visibility and performance. The type was not as successful in combat as the DH.2 but gave valuable service in the ground-attack role and at training units.
DH.9 bombers under construction in the Airco factory. It was intended that the type would replace the successful DH.4 but it had an inferior performance. Despite this the type saw extensive service with the RAF.
Airco also produced a machine which was not an aeroplane at all. It was the Airco Starter, Hucks Pattern, universally known as the Hucks Starter. It is connected here to a DH.10 Amiens twin-engined bomber. This aircraft entered RAF service just after the end of World War One.
A de Havilland DH.60 Cirrus II Moth (G-EBPR) flying over the factory at Stag Lane, 1927. Owners of Moths could hire garages at Stag Lane where they could keep their aircraft.
The DH.9a was used by the Royal Air Force and Auxiliary Air Force around the world. This example is shown serving with No. 47 Squadron in Iraq in 1926. Over 2000 were built by Airco, de Havilland and other contractors.
The DH.16 was based on the DH.9a but carried four passengers in an enclosed cabin. It was the first of the company’s aircraft designed as an airliner. One was exported to Argentina and eight were used by AT & T on cross channel air routes.
Alan Cobham used the second DH.50, shown here, to cover 62,000 miles (99,758 Km) on long-distance flights. He is seen with his mechanic (A.B. Elliott on right) at Hinaidi while taking Sir Sefton Brancker (left) to a conference in Rangoon, 1924.
The DH.66 was designed to operate mail and passenger flights between Iraq and Egypt. This aircraft is seen, however, being refuelled on Malta in 1927. The type had a long service; the South African Air Force still operated two during World War Two.
The Gipsy Moth was used widely by flying clubs. This is a typical scene at Brooklands in June 1933. Far more people could now afford to learn to fly and aviation became a popular hobby.
The DH.86 was designed for safety when flying over water. It was powered by four Gipsy Six engines, a six-cylinder development of the Gipsy Major. Jersey Airlines used them to fly from Jersey to Heston, where these passengers are boarding.
The prototype Flamingo airliner first flew on 22 December 1937. It is seen here in the markings of Guernsey & Jersey Airways Ltd during trials with that company. When World War Two began it was moved to 24 Squadron at Hendon.
This Tiger Moth was built by de Havilland before production was transferred to Morris Motors. It also served at No.1 EFTS which had been the de Havilland School of Flying. Thousands of military and civil pilots gained their wings on this aircraft type.
Assembling Mosquito fuselages. The method of construction allowed many items to be fitted before the two halves were joined together, speeding up production. They were built in Canada and Australia as well as Britain.
The Merlin engines of a Mosquito being serviced. The Mosquito was one of the fastest piston-engined aircraft to serve with any air force during World War Two. It relied on speed instead of guns to avoid being attacked.
Although the Tiger Moth was mainly used as a trainer some were equipped during the early months of World War Two as bombers. They were flown on “scarecrow patrols” looking for enemy submarines. Fortunately they did not find any before more suitable aircraft became available.
The Mosquito night fighter was equipped with many types of radar. It was able to attack enemy aircraft over their own airfields as well as defend British cities.
No.105 Squadron RAF was the first unit to receive the bomber version of the Mosquito and operated it in the role for which it had originally been designed. They could fly faster than most fighters which enabled them to operate by day or night.
A DH.103 Hornet in flight, June 1945. In July 1944 Geoffrey de Havilland junior flew the Hornet for the first time. It was designed for use in the Far East but it did not enter service before the end of the war.
The third production Vampire F.1. The prototype first flew in 1943 but aircraft were not delivered to the RAF before World War Two ended. This aircraft was retained by the manufacturers, modified, and established a world altitude record of 59,446 ft (18 Km) on 23 March 1948.
The Chipmunk was designed as a replacement for the Tiger Moth by de Havilland’s Canadian subsidiary. It was adopted by the Royal Air Force and built at Hatfield and Chester.
The Dove first flew on 25 September 1945. The flags under the cockpit of this company demonstrator represent all the countries in which the type was sold by the time this photograph was taken (1950) and reflect its popularity.
The third DH.108. John Derry proved the capabilities of this aircraft by exceeding Mach 1 in a dive from 40,000 feet (12,187 metres) on 9 September 1948. The aircraft was later transferred to the Royal Aircraft Establishment.
The prototype Comet in the markings of the British Overseas Airways Corporation. It made its maiden flight on 27 July 1949 with John Cunningham at the controls.
A Comet C.2 is refuelled at RAF Lyneham ready for a trooping flight to Cyprus during the Suez Crisis, 1956. This version of the Comet included many improvements and helped restore confidence in the design.
The second prototype DH.110 which first flew in July 1952. The type was not adopted by the RAF but eventually entered service with the Royal Navy in 1960 as the Sea Vixen.
A Trident in the markings of British European Airways. The design was begun by de Havilland but not completed before the take over by Hawker Siddeley. The type first flew in 1962 and entered airline service in 1963.
The prototype DH.125. It was marketed as the DH.125 because of the company’s good reputation but production actually started after de Havilland was absorbed into the Hawker Siddeley Group.
The workshops of the Integral Propeller Co during World War One. The manufacture of propellers changed little before the start of World War Two. They were made from layers of wood glued together and then carved to shape.
Flying boat hulls under construction. May Harden & May built a number of flying boats at its workshops at Hythe near Southampton. Many were designed by the American Curtiss company or its former employee, Lt Cdr John Porte RN.
Air Transport & Travel Ltd initially used DH.9 aircraft which had the military equipment removed. Although they still carried military markings they were used to carry passengers and freight between London, Paris and Amsterdam.
This DH.9b was built by Airco for Air Transport & Travel Ltd. After the airline ceased operation this example was exported and used by for survey work in Canada. This was one of the first aircraft built as an airliner.
The de Havilland TK.4 was designed by the de Havilland Technical School to be the smallest possible aircraft to which the Gipsy Major II engine could be fitted. Here it is seen with one of the largest de Havilland aircraft, the Albatross airliner.
The Horsa glider was designed to carry troops and equipment to a battlefield. It was widely used by the British Army in World War Two. These gliders were used by American forces during the landings in Normandy in 1944.
de Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd assembled aircraft in Melbourne, Australia, for markets in the Far East. The Tiger Moth in the foreground is for the Royal Australian Air Force and those in packing crates for shipment to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).