Regarded as the greatest bush plane in the world, the de Havilland Canada Beaver DHC-2 was designed by Canadian pilots specifically to operate in, and help develop, the hostile Arctic regions of Northern Canada by flying on floats, wheels or skis. With its 450 bhp Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior 9-cylinder radial engine, it can cruise at 110 knots and has a maximum speed of 173 knots / 200 mph. With the tip tanks full, it has an endurance of 5 hours.
A classic Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) workhorse, it remains to this day a very popular and very sought-after aircraft by civilian operators around the Globe.
The Beaver AL Mk1 was the variant produced for the British Army. Entering operational service in a medium range Utility role, it quickly made its mark with the Army in Aden, Malaya and Borneo before becoming the primary surveillance platform for the Army in Northern Ireland until its replacement by the Britten-Norman Islander in 1989.
First delivered to 11 Flt, 656 Sqn AAC in the Far East in October 1961, XP 820 remained in theatre until June 1967 before returning to 132 Flt RCT at Old Sarum and subsequently to 6 Flt AAC at Netheravon.
The Beaver is the largest aircraft in the Historic Army Aircraft Flight and is always recognisable by its familiar roar on take off. XP820 was allocated to The Flight in May 1989 and remains in its ‘as delivered’ condition to this very day. It serves as a living memorial to its hugely successful operational campaign flying and to the many Army Aviation pilots, groundcrew and engineers who supported it in hostile conditions.
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