Tiger Moth Rally celebrates a century of de Havilland design

A century of aircraft design is set to be celebrated at the de Havilland Moth Club’s International Tiger Moth Rally at Woburn on 17 and 18 August.

In addition to club members’ Tiger Moth biplanes, a diverse range of aircraft from the drawing board of Sir Geoffrey de Havilland will celebrate 100 years of his work.

The oldest design set to fly in to the specially prepared grass air strip in the Deer Park at Woburn will be a replica Royal Aircraft Factory BE-2 observation biplane, a type which entered service a century ago.

A CENTURY-OLD DESIGN

Designed and test flown by Geoffrey de Havilland, in 1913 the BE2 became the first-ever purpose-built military aircraft to operate with the Royal Flying Corps. The aircraft on display at Woburn carries the serial of the first British aircraft to arrive in France on the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, as a flying tribute to Britain’s earliest military aviators. Known as the “Biggles Biplane”, the aircraft spent seven years being rebuilt at Northampton’s Sywell aerodrome before returning to the skies in 2011. It is the only flying example of the type in the UK.

de Havilland watchers can also look out for examples of the original DH60 Moth, which in 1930 was made world-famous by Amy Johnson’s solo flight from England to Australia. The Moth had already by then become the most popular light aircraft in the world.

TOURERS, VINTAGE AIRLINERS AND A ‘FLYING HANSOM CAB’

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Other pre-war de Havilland designs include the sleek Puss Moth and Leopard Moth monoplane tourers of the 1930s, the twin-engined de Havilland Dragon and Dragon Rapide biplane airliners and the Fox Moth air taxi. With the pilot’s cockpit behind a cabin for up to four passengers, it created a distinctive ‘flying hansom cab’.

Other classic designs in attendance will include the post-war DHC-1 Chipmunk, initially developed by de Havilland’s Canadian associate company, as well as products of now bygone British makers such as Auster and Miles.

‘GET UP CLOSE HOUR’ FOR ENTHUSIASTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS

In addition to delighting aviation enthusiasts, the event is set to be a mecca for vintage and classic car fans. The gathering will offer very ‘Best of British’ with some of the country’s top vintage cars and vintage aeroplanes showing off their style in a unique Garden Party environment. The event will also allow a special ‘get up close hour’ each day, when all enthusiasts can take photographs and meet pilots. There will be club flying competitions on Saturday and an air display on Sunday afternoon.

Ticket prices ‘on the day’ cost £10 per person on Saturday, £15 Sunday; with accompanied under-16s admitted free. Discounted prices are available for advance tickets bought via the internet. Additional details of all ticket prices and VIP ‘Club Enclosure’ hospitality, along with further news of this great event can be found at www.mothsatwoburn.co.uk