De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver AL.1

  • Manufacturer: De Havilland Canada
  • Model: DHC-2 Beaver AL.1
  • Year built: 1961
  • Aircraft Type: Fixed wing single engine
  • Number of Seats: Pilot plus 7
  • Number of Engines: 1
  • Engine Type: Reciprocating
  • Engine Manufacturer and Model: Pratt and Witney Wasp Junior
  • Civil registration: G-CICP
  • Military registration: XP820

The Beaver – Possibly the greatest bush plane in the world

The De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, was designed to operate in the hostile Arctic regions of Northern Canada. It is widely regarded to be the greatest bush plane in the world. It can be operated with floats, wheels or skis. The Beaver is equipped with a 450 bhp Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior 9-cylinder radial engine. It’s cruises at 110 knots and has a maximum speed of 173 knots/200 mph. With tip tanks full, it has an endurance of 5 hours.

A classic Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) workhorse, the Beaver remains to this day a very popular and highly sought-after aircraft by civilian operators around the Globe.

The Beaver AL.1 in Army Service

Designated the Beaver AL.1, it was produced for the British Army and entered operational service in the 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. It was replaced by the Britten-Norman Islander in 1989.

In October 1961, the HAAF Beaver XP820 was delivered to 11 Flight, 656 Squadron Army Air Corps stationed in the Far East. It remained there until June 1967 before returning to 132 Flt RCT at Old Sarum Salisbury and subsequently to 6 Flt AAC at Netheravon.

The Beaver is the largest aircraft in the HAAF fleet and is easily recognisable by the familiar roar of its Wasp engine on take off. XP820 was allocated to the Flight in May 1989 and remains in its ‘as delivered’ condition. It serves as a living memorial to its hugely successful operational flying campaigns and to the many Army Aviation pilots, groundcrew and engineers who supported it over the years.