Type: 5-place, single engine, civilian passenger aircraft
Notable Facts: Royal Flight aircraft operated for HRH the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII of England
Manufactured: 1932, de Havilland Aircraft Company, England
Serial Number: 4033
Current Registration: C-FYPM
Recent Markings: Royal Guards colours
de Havilland DH-83 Fox Moth
Dave Hadfield, Blake Reid
First Flight: 1932
Total Production (All Marks): 158 (UK: 98; Canada: 54; Australia: 2)
Wingspan: 31 feet
Engine: 145 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major 1C
Maximum Speed: 113 mph
The Fox Moth was an evolution of the Tiger Moth. Using many Tiger Moth components, de Havilland designers created a new light utility aircraft with good performance, economical operation and low cost. This proved to be an excellent design for cold weather operations in Canada with its enclosed forward passenger compartment and more than 50 were eventually built in Canada and went into service with bush operators across the land. Fox Moths were operated by bush aviation pioneers such as Arthur Fecteau and Max Ward.
This particular Fox Moth has perhaps the best pedigree of all. Its first owner was HRH Edward, Prince of Wales in 1932 and operated by the Royal Flight for about a year. Edward would eventually become the King who abdicated, but for a time, he was squired about by this remarkable aircraft enjoying the comforts of a burgundy leather cabin with matching folding wood tables. In 1934 it was sold to Guy Hansez, a Belgian, who flew it to the Belgian Congo and back -- a remarkable flight for that time. In 1936 it moved to New Zealand, pioneering airline routes in that country, particularly the mountainous South. This sadly led to a crash on the Franz Josef glacier in 1943, but the aircraft was rebuilt, and operated in regular airline service until 1953. Then it was bought and operated as a crop sprayer until 1957, when it was taken to Fiji. The tropical climate deteriorated the wood structure quite quickly and the aircraft was derelict by 1960. The remains were returned to NZ and restored in 1993 by Colin Smith, of Croydon Aircraft.