Puss Moth Refurbishment At Shuttleworth

The Puss Moth G-AEOA in the workshop at the Shuttleworth Collection. (photo Nigel Hitchman)

The de Havilland DH.80A Puss Moth G-AEOA, seen here at Old Warden aerodrome, Bedfordshire, UK on 5 Feb 2023, is undergoing a refurbishment. Still owned by brothers Andrew and Paul Wood, the last ‘permit to fly’ expired in 1995. It has been recently brought to the Shuttleworth engineering hangar to be inspected and made airworthy again. Nigel Hitchman

The cockpit of the Puss Moth. While complete and in good condition, it is evidentially tired. (photo Nigel Hitchman)

This Puss Moth, G-AEOA, construction number 2184, was built in 1931, It was first registered as UN-PAX (later YU-PAX) fitted with a Gipsy III engine, and delivered to to Societe Bata of Zagreb, a subsidiary of a then-innovative multinational footwear business which was an early user of aircraft for corporate work. (A  Lockheed 10 is operated as a heritage example commemorating the business today.) The Puss Moth was to return to the UK with Airwork in 1936, being registered G-AEOA for the first time.  In World War Two, it was impressed for military service with the Royal Air Force as ES921, being registered as G-AEOA to Stanley Hobson Hardy in 1938. It wore a red and cream scheme in the 1970s.

de Havilland’s Puss in Context

The Puss Moth was another innovation from the de Havilland company at the end of the twenties, as a high-wing monoplane two-three seat light aircraft powered either by the company’s 120 hp Gipsy, or 130 hp Gipsy Major. Popular, as a then-rare enclosed cabin type, it was a success both with private owners and for record setting pilots in the 1930s with 259 built in the UK, plus a then also rare overseas production run of 25 by the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd in Toronto. While a success, early accidents caused by wing flutter needed a strut design rearrangement to solve.

Canadian built de Havilland Puss Moths outside the factory showing different types of undercarriage. (Flight Archive image)

The Puss Moth gained widespread royal interest, as seen here, from Japan and at home.

Other static preserved examples are in museums as far spread as Australia, Scotland, Italy, and Canada, with several airworthy examples extant. James Kightly

A Puss Moth preserved at the Reynolds Alberta Museum, Canada. (Photo by James Kightly)

The confectionery business, J S Fry & Sons made much of their Puss Moth as “the first delivery aeroplane in Britain, with a consignment of chocolate for London” in 1932. (Photo, Bristol Post via Robert Allen)


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