99 de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk

The de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk is a tandem, two-seat, single-engined primary trainer aircraft. Developed shortly after the Second World War, it sold in large numbers in the immediate post-war years, typically employed as a replacement for the de Havilland Tiger Moth biplane. With a Gipsy Major engine developing 143 bhp, it cruises at 90 knots, can dive to a top speed of 173 knots / 200 mph and has an endurance of 3 hours.

The Chipmunk was de Havilland Canada’s first post-war aviation project and its maiden flight was on 22nd May 1946. It was introduced to operational service that same year. During the late 1940s and 1950s, the Chipmunk was procured in large numbers by military air services where it was often utilised as their primary trainer aircraft. The type was produced under licence by de Havilland in the UK, who would produce the vast majority of the 1,284 Chipmunks that were built. The type was slowly phased out of service from the late 1970s, although in the ab initio elementary training role, this did not happen in the Army until 1997.

The Chipmunk is an aircraft that holds many fond memories for all Army pilots who learnt to fly prior to 1997, as it was the type that was used for Flying Grading and as the basic trainer on all Army Pilots courses since the early 1950s. The main reason for its popularity as a trainer was because it was easy to handle on the ground, as well as in the air. At its peak, the School of Army Aviation operated 21 aircraft in daily use.

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Our Chipmunk WD325

Our de Havilland Chipmunk T.10 with airframe number C1/0263, was built under licence in the UK by de Havilland in 1951. The aircraft was one of the first to be assigned to the Army Air Corps with serial number WD325 and used for Army pilot training at Middle Wallop on 9 October 1957.


Our original de Havilland Chipmunk T.10 model was converted to a civilian Civilian Mk.22 standard during 2021 and 2022.

Technical Information and Development

Wing Span10.46 metres (34 feet 4 inches)
Length7.75 metres (25 feet 5 inches)
Height2.16metres (7 feet 1 inches)
Weight, Empty688 kg (1,517 lb)
Weight, Max Take Off998 kg (2,200 lb)
Cruising Speed166 km/h (103 mph)
Max Speed222 km/h (138 mph)
Rate of Climb4.6 metres/second (900 feet/minute)
Service Ceiling4,800 metres (15,800 feet)
Range417 km (259 miles)
Power Plantde Havilland Gipsy Major 8 engine 145hp (108kW)
Technical Information: DHC-1 Chipmunk

The Chipmunk was the first aircraft following the Second World War to be completely designed and developed by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada. The aircraft was envisaged to be a replacement for the de Havilland Tiger Moth biplane. The prototype DHC-1 Chipmunk first flew in May 1946 and it quickly attracted interest from the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Chipmunk is a tandem two-seat, single engine aircraft that has been primarily used as a primary trainer aircraft. It is a low wing monoplane design that makes heavy use of metal in its construction. The majority of the airframe is composed of stressed skin which enabled thinner wings and resulted in increased performanced and durability. The wing is fabric covered aft of the spar and also has fabric covered control surfaces. Early production models were only semi-aerobatic while later production models (including the RAF and Army Air Force T.10 models) were fully aerobatic.

The Chipmunk design include a number of features to enable it to better perform in the trainer role including: hand-operated single-slotted wing flaps; anti-spin strakes; disk brakes on the wheeled undercarriage; a thin propeller composed of a solid lightweight alloy; an engine-driven ivacuum pump in place of external venturi tubes to power cockpit instrumentation; electric and Coffman cartridge engine starters as alternative options; cockpit lighting and an onboard radio system.

British built and early Canadian aircraft were fitted with a multi panel sliding panel canopy while the Canadian built versions had a bubble canopy. British built aircraft also had repositioned undercarriage legs, anti-spin strakes, landing lights and an all-round strssed airframe.

A total of 218 Chipmunks were built for the Royal Canadian Air Force by de Havilland Canada during the 1940s and 1950s. Three Chipmunk aircraft were shipped to the United Kingdom for evaluation by the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down. Following the successful evaluation it was decided to place an order for 735 aircraft to be built by de Havilland in the UK. The aircraft was designated the T.10 and replaced the de Havilland Tiger Moth biplane in the RAF’s primary pilot training role. A further 217 aircraft were built by de Havilland for export. The School of Army Aviation operated 21 of the UK Chipmunks in the primary trainer role at Middle Wallop.

In addition to being used in the training role the during 1958 the Chipmunk saw service in Cyprus for conducting internal security flights during the height of civil unrest during the Cyprus dispute. Eight disassembled aircraft were flown out in the holds of Blackburn Beverley transports; following their reassembly, these Chipmunks, which were operated by No. 114 Squadron, were operated for some months into 1959.

From 1956 to 1990, the Chipmunks of the RAF Gatow Station Flight were used to conduct covert reconnaissance missions over the Berlin area. A number of Chipmunk T.10s were also used by the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm to conduct primary training. Notably, Prince Philip had his first flying lesson in a Chipmunk in 1952; he has declared the type to be his favorite aircraft.

The Chipmunk was in service with Air Training Corps (ATC) for Air Experience Flights (AEFs); the final of these AEF flights to use the Chipmunk was No. 10 Air Experience Flight, RAF Woodvale, when they were replaced by the Scottish Aviation Bulldog. THe aircaft was retired from RAF service in 1996. The last Chipmunks in military service are still operated by the British historic flights – the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (including one of the Gatow aircraft), the Royal Navy and Army historic flights, to keep their pilots current on tailwheel aircraft.

Portugal ordered 10 aircraft from de Havilland and then built a further 66 Chipmunk aircraft under license. Some of these aircraft remained in service in 2018.


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