Pre-war classics at DHAM
The de Havilland Aircraft Museum at London Colney has two new restorations on show.
In 1923, the de Havilland Aircraft Co. designed a light monoplane aircraft for the Daily Mail Trials at Lympne that October. The resulting DH53 prototype made its first flight on 2 October from Stag Lane and was subsequently registered as G-EBHX. While unsuccessful in the Lympne trials, it fared better once re-engined.
Only fifteen DH53S were built, including eight with Tomtit engines ordered by the Air Ministry. Two such ‘Humming Birds’ – J7325 and ’26 – were delivered to RAE Farnborough for R33 airship ‘parasite’ trials in February and March 1925 respectively. J7326 performed the first successful release from the R33’s ‘trapeze’ on 4 December 1925. Registered as G-EBQP, it was written off in an accident at Hamble on 21 July 1934 but rejoined the civil register some forty years later. Today jointly owned by Peter Kirk & Terence Pankhurst, the Humming Bird arrived for restoration by the DH Aircraft Museum on 23 March 2003. With its original J7326 markings reinstated, the restored fuselage is on display minus the wings, which are kept separately on site.
The DHAM’S replica DH88 Comet rebuild continues. Built in Australia during the late 1980s to represent Macrobertson Air Race-winning G-ACSS
Grosvenor House in The Great Air Race television series, this reconstruction has been at the museum since 2001. Under gentle restoration for many years, it now appears as another Macrobertson racer – all-green, fourth-placed G-ACSR. The completed ‘G-ACSR’ should stay in the Geoffrey de Havilland hangar but, due to the current lack of space, without its outer wing sections. The replica, while incomplete, is nonetheless another interesting exhibit in this excellent collection.
Former R33 airship trials DH53 Humming Bird J7326 is displayed at London Colney
Replica DH88 Comet representing all-green Macrobertson racer G-ACSR