De Havilland Enterprises, A History

This has to be the definitive history of De Havilland, a leading aviation pioneer and great success story. The level of detail and research is first rate with many illustrations – Most Highly Recommended.


NAME: De Havilland Enterprises, A History
FILE: R2486
AUTHOR: Graham M Simons
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  244
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, World War 1, First World War, The Great 
War, aviation, peacetime aviation, RAF, RNAS, RFC, pilots, aircrew, 
record breakers, races, civil aviation, pioneers, minor wars, WWII, 
World War 2, Second World War, Korean War, naval aviation

ISBN: 1-47386-138-1

IMAGE: B2486.jpg
DESCRIPTION: This has to be the definitive history of De Havilland, 
a leading aviation pioneer and great success story. The level of 
detail and research is first rate with many illustrations – Most 
Highly Recommended.

Captain Sir Geoffrey de Havilland was one of the true aviation 
pioneers who climbed from humble beginnings to develop some of 
the finest warplanes of the Great War, continue on through peacetime  
with innovative and record breaking aircraft, into World War Two with 
some truly great aircraft and into the jet age. In Britain and 
through his companies in Australia and Canada, Sir Geoffrey kept 
breaking the design barriers.

Naturally, not every de Havilland design was an immediate and total 
success, but that is the price of innovation and daring to dream. Not 
every design left the drawing board to soar from the factory. Even 
those that stayed dreams contributed to other designs that shattered 
the aviation world. The challenge for a historian is finding the space 
to do justice to every great de Havilland design that became an 
aviation leader. In this book the author has used a format that 
ensures every de Havilland design is covered and that all of the 
great successes receive 
adequate coverage.

When de Havilland set out in 1908, with a loan from his grandfather, 
he was competing with all the early pioneers. It was only seven years 
from the first tentative controlled flight at Kitty Hawk by the 
Wright brothers. 1908 was the year of the first flight by a British 
built powered aircraft, Sam Cody's powered kite, that immediately 
followed on from the extensive trials from 1903 to 1908 by the Royal 
Navy, with Cody and his man-carrying kites. De Havilland's starting 
product was an aero engine and this was the part of aviation 
development that was absolutely critical. Many early aircraft designs 
failed through the lack of a suitable engine. Working from basic 
rented workshops, de Havilland soon began to develop not only 
aviation products, but a successful business.

Sir Geoffrey was one of the first pilots to qualify, being awarded 
Aero Club Certificate number 53 in 1911. His success was cemented 
during WWI and from there he never looked back.

He worked for the Government Aircraft factory at Farnborough was 
responsible for the FE2, SE2, and BS1 that began to take the GAF 
into contention after some very lacklustre designs. They still had 
to struggle when Sopwith held such a lead in combat aircraft design 
with a string of incremental developments from the outstanding One 
and a Half Strutter built for the RNAS that kept ahead of enemy 
designs, its Triplane inspiring the Fokker company to design their 
triplane made famous by the Red Baron.

Sir Geoffrey hit a winning streak with his DH1 that incrementally 
developed through to the outstanding DH4A that produced 6,295 
aircraft at a time when many designs saw less than 100 built. The 
DH9 saw large rate production and these aircraft were also used by 
Britain's allies.

At the end of the Great War, there was a mountain of surplus 
military aircraft and commercial life was hard for all manufacturers, 
including de Havilland, but this did nothing to slow the rate of Sir 
Geoffrey's innovation. In light aircraft, he devised the incredible 
Moth family which sold in quantity and proved to offer a long life, 
with many still flying a 100 years later and showing no signs of 
retiring to museums as static displays. The Tiger Moth became the 
principle RAF training aircraft and many WWII pilots from Britain and 
its Allies started out on a Tiger Moth.

Between the World Wars. De Havilland was very active in designing 
record breaking aircraft of which the first Comet prop twin was a 
good example.

In World War Two, the Mosquito was to be an amazing triumph, a bomber 
that was faster than contemporary fighters and carried a bomb load to 
equal some four engine heavy bombers, offering high altitude bombing 
accuracy and unrivalled low level, high speed, precision bombing. 
French householders were amazed to look down into the cockpits of 
Mosquito bombers flying down their streets at high speed to make 
precision attacks on Gestapo and SS run prisons. Inevitably, this 
terrific performance turned the Mosquito into the first true multi-
role combat aircraft, performing as a fighter, night fighter, intruder, 
bomber, fighter bomber, maritime attack aircraft, photorecon aircraft, 
trainer, carrier aircraft. As a bomber it did, with a crew of two, what 
many a heavy bomber achieved with a crew of nine, then did bombing jobs 
that no heavy bomber could attempt. If that was the only aircraft 
developed by de Havilland for WWII it would have been a huge achievement. 
However, de Havilland produced the Vampire which was the second British 
jet fighter, flying before the end of the war and achieving carrier 
landings on some of the smaller RN carriers. The Mosquito led to the Sea 
Hornet which was a very fast prop plane at the start of the jet age, but 
the Hornet is also notable for its pioneering of new techniques with 
metal to wood and metal to metal bonding. 

How could a company top that? But de Havilland did, with the Comet 
jetliner, the first in the world. It was also followed by the very 
advanced Sea Vixen, the Sea Venom night fighter and the Trident 
airliner. In Canada, de Havilland also developed the ultimate bush 
aircraft , the Beaver and the outstanding Caribou. A great story that 
has been told well.