Pre-war clas­sics at DHAM

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS - Re­port & pho­tos: Peter Cooper

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

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