The de Havilland D.H.60 Moth was a highly successful biplane trainer/touring aircraft developed in the 1920s and was probably the first mass-market aircraft in the world. The most numerous variant of the Moth were those equipped with de Havilland's own in-house developed Gipsy engine and these aircraft were known as Gipsy Moths.

The Moth was developed in 1925 as a conventional two-seat biplane trainer/touring aircraft of wooden construction covered with fabric. Sales of the first variant known as the Cirrus Moth were hampered by the limited availability of the Cirrus engine so de Havilland decided to replace it with their own Gipsy engine. The resulting aircraft proved to be extremely successful and the Gipsy Moth soon became the mainstay of British flying clubs and flying schools in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1929, it was estimated that out of 100 aircraft in Britain, 85 were Moths, most of them Gipsy Moths. After World War 2, the dominance of the Gipsy Moth gave way to the Tiger Moth (a later variant used by the RAF as a trainer) as large numbers of these ex-military training aircraft became available. However there are still many Gipsy Moths which remain in airworthy condition to this day.

Note: The photo in the infobox shows a floatplane version of a Moth but this one has a Cirrus instead of a Gipsy engine.

Biggles and the Gipsy MothEdit

In Biggles in the Orient, Biggles bales out of a Mosquito over the Burmese jungle in order to investigate a Hurricane which had mysteriously spun out of control and crashed. He tells Tug Carrington, his co-pilot, to pick him up from a nearby river with a floatplane.

With Air Commodore Raymond's help, a Gipsy Moth floatplane is borrowed from an air taxi company and Tug uses it to rescue Biggles.

In the short story The Case of the Black Sheep, Flight Lieutenant R. Q. Paullson uses a Moth seaplane, maker's number R.1247 to pick up a parcel of contraband nylons thrown overboard by the steamer Sirocco. Unfortunately for him, Biggles and Ginger happened to be watching.

In Another Job for Biggles, the drug dealer Nicolo Ambrimos owned a Moth which he used to smuggle hashish from his farm at El Moab to Egypt. Bertie met the aircraft and pilot when it landed at Aerodrome 137. When the pilot opened fire at Bertie, he responded, puncturing the tyre with his gun. The Moth pilot escaped on foot. Later the wheel of the Moth was repaired with a spare from Aden. Bertie flew the Moth with Zahar to El Moab to blow up the dam there. At the end of the book, Biggles and Bertie taxied the Moth from El Moab back to Aerodrome 137, with Zahar and Ginger sitting on the wing centre-sections.

In The Case of the Submerged Aircraft, Biggles was asked to investigate an aircraft discovered in a higland loch. This turned out to be Gipsy Moth GB-XKL, belonging to the missing aviator Alva Murray, a man wanted for questioning about the death of his wife.

List of Books and stories where the Gipsy Moth appearsEdit

Non-Biggles storiesEdit


  • Crew: Two (dual controls)
  • Length: 23 ft 11 in (7.29 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 0 in (9.14 m)
  • Loaded weight: 1,650 lb (750 kg)
  • Engine: 1 × de Havilland Gipsy I piston engine, 100 hp
  • Maximum speed: 102 mph (164 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 85 mph (137 km/h)
  • Range: 320 mi (515 km)
  • Service ceiling: 14,500 ft (4,420 m)

See alsoEdit

Wikipedia:de Havilland DH.60 Moth