Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

By Tom Lymburn
Minnesota Flyer 

Mystery Airplane: May 2014

1932 de Havilland DH-83C Fox Moth


Built using the wings, tail feathers, landing gear and engine mount from the DH-82 Tiger Moth mated to a new fuselage, the Fox Moth, capable of carrying four passengers, first flew from Stag Lane on 29 January 1932, attaining its type certificate on 20 May 1932. The prototype, G-ABUO, was shipped to Canada for tests on skis and floats. Registered CF-API, it continued in service until 1950. Ninety-eight Fox Moths were built in the UK, serving small airlines and racing in the King's Cup. The Prince of Wales acquired G-ACDD in 1933, using it until it was replaced by a DH-84 Dragon. Some were impressed into the RAF, RAAF, Royal Navy and Air Transport Auxiliary during WWII.

At the end of the war, demand from bush pilots persuaded de Havilland of Canada to produce the DH-83C using wartime DH-82C components and a 145 hp Gipsy Major engine. Fifty-three were built at Downsview between January 1946 and the end of 1948. Many operated on skis and EDO floats. The most well known was DF-DJC, delivered to bush pilot Max Ward at Yellowknife, Northwest Territory. His operation evolved from one plane into Wardair Ltd., an international charter service.

I took this photo of CF-DJB in Ottawa in 1991. Delivered in 1947, it was acquired by Wardair in 1980 and painted like Ward's CF-DJC, which had been destroyed in a crash. Max and Marjorie Ward donated CF-DJB to the National aviation Museum in 1989. At least 23 Fox Moths survive in Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand and the United States, with six airworthy.

This month's winner is Doug James of Scottsdale, AZ. Others who knew the DH-83C were Timothy Aanerud, Graydon Carlson, Joe Connell and Ed Wells. Congratulations to Randy Corfman and the Minnesota Pilots Association for the very successful Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering held at Golden Wings on 21 and 22 March. It attracted a large crowd and featured exceptional symposiums and informative exhibitors. Blue skies and tail winds.


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