Beaver AL Mk1

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.


Our Beaver XP820

The Beaver is the largest aircraft in the Historic Army Aircraft Flight and is always recognisable by its familiar roar on take off. Our Beaver 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.

The Beaver was designed as a utility aircraft capable of carrying a significant load (up to one tonne) into short, unprepared airstrips. This suited the British Army’s requirements especially in jungle operations. The AAC Historic Aircraft Flight operates one Beaver Mk1.

Our Beaver is airfame number 1483 and was delivered To the Army Air Corps by de Havilland Aircraft, Hatfield on 30 August 1961 to Hawarden, Chester via Liverpool Docks. The first flight of the aircraft took place on 27 October 1961. It assigned to the 2MU (Maintenance Unit), Army Air Corps at Sealand, North Wales on 31 October 1961 for preparation for overseas shipment on 6 November 1961 with serial number XP820.

The aircraft joined 11 Flight, 656 Light Aircraft Squadron AAC in the Far East in October 1961, XP 820 remained in theatre until June 1967. The aircraft was with 390 MU Seletar, Singapore between 16 March and 30 March 1962 before returning to 11 Flight. On 8 April 1964 it was with 30 Flight Royal Army Service Corps at Seletar. This unit was re-designated 132 Flight, Royal Corp of Transport (RCT) during July 1965.

The aircraft was shipped to 19MU at St Athan, South Glamorgan on 6 June 1967 and then assigned to 132 Flight RCT at Old Sarum on 13 July 1967 as part of 667 (Development and Training) Aviation Squadron. The unit later became 132 Aviation Flight on 16 January 1970 and moved to Netheravon, Wiltshire on 21 September 1970 where 667 Squadron was retitled 7 Aviation Regiment in 1971.

The aircraft was transferred to 6 Flight, 667 Squadron during 1975 in the VIP transport role and then later operated with the Advanced Fixed Wing Flight (AFWF) as a trainer at Middle Wallop, Hampshire from around 1976.

The aircraft was declared surplus to requirements in May 1989 and finished her active service at the AAC Centre, Middle Wallop before being transferred for the last time to the Army Historic Aircraft Flight at Old Sarum, Wiltshire. The aircraft was handed over to the Historic Aircraft Flight Trust on 1 February 2015 and registered on the civilian register as G-CICP on 12 November 2013.


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Technical Information and Development


Wing Span14.6 metre (48 feet)
Length 9.2 metres (30 feet 4 inches)
Height 2.7 metres (9 feet)
Weight, Empty1,293 kg (2,850 lb)
Weight, Gross2,313 kg (5,100 lb)
Cruising Speed209 km/h (130 mph)
Max Speed258 km/h (160 mph)
Rate of Climb311 metres/minute (1,020 feet/minute)
Service Ceiling5,490 metres (18,000 feet)
Range756 km (470 miles)
Power PlantPratt & Whitney R-985 AN-14B Wasp Junior 450b hp, radial engine
DHC-2 Beaver – Technical Information

The de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver was developed in the late 1940s as a utility aircraft to meet the needs of bush pilots in Canada’s remote north. It was designed to be a rugged and reliable airplane that could operate from rough or unprepared airstrips and handle a wide range of payloads. The Beaver was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engine, which provided reliable and economical performance. The airplane had high-wing configuration, which allowed for good visibility and Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities. It was also equipped with sturdy landing gear that could handle rough terrain and floats for water operations.

The Beaver made its first flight on 16 August 1947, and it quickly gained popularity among bush pilots for its versatility and dependability. The airplane was soon being used for a wide range of purposes, including air ambulance, cargo transport, and military training. The Beaver was built in a number of different versions, including floatplanes, skis, and wheels, and it was exported to countries around the world. In total, over 1,600 Beaver aircraft were built, and it remains a popular and respected aircraft to this day.


Beaver Gallery