No Money Mondays: The DeHavilland Tiger Moth By Aeroworx
September 21, 2021
The 1930’s gave us a number of notable fine examples of aircraft. The pre-war period had begun shifting toward approaching aviation as a viable commercial option with Douglas bringing forward the DC line that we all know and love; particularly with the success of the DC-3. However, as much as I would enjoy talking for days on end about the DC line, I want to shift our sights on a smaller, often overlooked plane that is loved by many who know of it. So, grab your goggles and your map, we’re taking a look at the De Havilland Tiger Moth by Aeroworx for X-Plane 11; a version is also available for 10.5.
The DH.82 Gipsy Major was a later variant of the Tiger Moth family introduced at around the start of the second world war with a more powerful 145hp engine than its predecessors. Aesthetically, the Moth is modelled very well, using models with permission from Ants Airplanes and Dan Hopgood. During development, the team also had free access to a real Moth which really shows with this offering.
The Cockpit of the Moth consists of a simple layout with throttle and fuel mixture control to the left of the pilot, fuel cut-off below the main panel to the left, parking brake to the left of the panel, tail wheel lock to the right, pedals and stick. Along with these controls is an even simpler arrangement of switches for battery, generator and a non-functional light switch on the main panel, along with the magneto switch on the side of the fuselage itself, just outside of the cockpit. It should be noted that for a pilot that isn’t familiar with the Moth, like many planes before it, there is no starter. To start the engine, the pilot needs to manually crank the prop itself.
The display cluster is mounted onto a walnut burl textured main panel and is as rudimentary as it was at the time. Standing, mounted upright from the main panel is a classic grid compass. Surrounding it are airspeed indication in knots in the classic British gauge layout, pitch angle, Altimeter, Engine R.P.M., Oil Pressure and in the centre above the grid compass sits the turn and side slip gauge. Just below the main panel to the right sits a simple radio unit. The fuel gauge however, is located on top of the upper wing above the cockpit.
On the ground, the Moth handles very well and being a light taildragger, it can be a nimble plane to taxi with practice. On take-off, the pilot should gently roll up the throttle to desired R.P.M. to avoid any sideways deviation from engine torque, much like many single engine craft of the time. Once in the air, the plane is very easy to fly and performs manoeuvres with ease. It has a great range for a plane of its size and age. There is no autopilot and navigation is very much manual. As with many planes of the period, the pilot has to stay aware of heading and any deviation caused by wind changes; being so small and light, it is a lot more prone to catching cross winds.
To land, gently rolling back on the throttle and descending, maintaining control of the speed until levelling just above the runway is a simple affair. Easing back slightly more on throttle with practice will bring the plane gently back down to touchdown. The pilot has to be aware of their speed, too slow and the plane will lurch down suddenly and cause a hard bouncy landing, too much speed and the plane will still generate too much lift causing a bouncy landing as well. If the parking brake is set the plane will touch down and pivot driving the nose into the ground. Keeping speed just right, the landing can be a gentle and smooth experience. Slowing on ground is achieved by rolling and using the control surfaces to create drag.
For many, the art of flying vintage aircraft in the old-fashioned way of VFR can be a daunting learning experience. This offering of the Tiger Moth, which in reality was a trainer aircraft for the RAF at the time, really lends itself to learning the intricacy of that style of flying, as well as developing the skills for navigation and airmanship. I thoroughly enjoyed this aircraft and would encourage anyone wishing to try vintage aircraft or anyone interested in the orienteering ways of old biplanes to give this one a try. I wasn’t disappointed and I doubt you will be either.
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