This classic British trainer made its first flight on Oct. 26, 1931. It is one of a number of models of light aircraft named for moths, in recognition of designer Geoffrey de Havilland's interest in moths and butterflies. It became popular with air forces throughout the United Kingdom as well as the civilian aviation market. In Britain, 8,101 were manufactured plus 2,751 more in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
During World War II, most Royal Air Force pilots trained in Tiger Moths, including Americans who flew with the Eagle Squadrons before the United States entered the war. In the United Kingdom, Tiger Moths performed a variety of roles in addition to that of primary trainer, including submarine patrol, air ambulance and even prisoner evacuation. The U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942 ordered 200 from de Havilland of Canada as the PT-24, but these were never delivered and were diverted to the Royal Canadian Air Force instead.
The beautifully restored Tiger Moth on display has won numerous trophies at air shows, including a prestigious Category Championship for WWII airplanes at the annual show at Oshkosh, Wis. It was donated to the museum by Susan and Kurt Hofschneider of Colonia, N.J., and J.P. Jordan of Slippery Rock, Penn.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Engine: de Havilland Gipsy Major 1 of 120 hp Maximum speed: 104 mph/90 knots Cruising speed: 90 mph/78 knots Ceiling: 14,000 ft. Range: 300 miles Span: 29 ft. 4 in. Length: 23 ft. 11 in. Height: 8 ft. 9.5 in. Weight: 1,825 lbs. loaded