Club History

History

Who needs a Type Club?

Unlike motor vehicle associations, aeroplane type-clubs were a phenomena that had not been much in evidence in Great Britain. Pre-war, a proliferation of manufacturers, large and small, tended to their customers’ technical and engineering needs, whilst sporting and competitive flying was conducted under the auspices of The Royal Aero Club. Aerodrome and social facilities were provided by a country-wide network of professionally managed Flying Clubs and Schools.

An attempt to form a British Private Aircraft Owners Club in February 1926 was a direct result of the availability and instant success of the de Havilland DH.60 Moth which was launched in February 1925, but the scheme appears to have run out of support after just a few short tours. Although private ownership was rapidly expanding, there was no urgency for mutual association nor was there basic need outside of what was already freely available from established sources.

By 1975 the situation had radically changed.

The Means

Thousands of Moth aircraft of varying designs had been manufactured and exported to every part of the globe between 1925 and 1939 when the Second World War put a temporary end to all private flying. Many of the civil aircraft requisitioned by the Crown did not survive their intensive use as military tools, life on windswept airfields or the attention of trainee aircrew and engineers.

However, substantial government orders placed before and during the Second World War for new Tiger Moth training aircraft for the military, unwittingly provided the nucleus of the post-conflict interest, and the hard core of present day Moth aircraft survivors.

Once most British Commonwealth military use of Tiger Moths ceased in the early 1950s (having trained or re-vitalised a post-war generation), huge numbers of surplus, functional aircraft together with tons of supporting airframe and engine spares and tools, were sold very cheaply into the world’s civil market to become the mainstay of flying clubs both large and small, government-sponsored flying schools, crop-sprayers, air taxi operators and some private owners. But, as modern light aircraft appeared in increasing numbers, the commercial taste for obsolete Moths changed, private ownership followed a parallel path and the type went into near terminal decline. Surviving Moths of all types were channelled into the hands of enthusiasts around the world.

By 1975 the situation was serious and had to be changed.

The Need

The de Havilland Moth Club evolved in 1975 from a belief that an association of owners and operators, specifically of Tiger Moth aircraft, should be formed to create a suitable environment for safeguarding the type, for the interchange of spare parts and encouragement of the widest possible spread of technical information and assistance.

The name 'Tiger Moth Owner’s Circle' (TMOC) was adopted which seemed appropriate but which immediately was seen to limit the interest both to de Havilland Tiger Moth aircraft and ownership. Once news of the prospective new organisation was published, requests for further details arrived from owners of other de Havilland Moth types, past owners and pilots, engineers, designers, instructors and many who just wished to be associated with an organisation attempting to keep the de Havilland standard at the masthead.

With the Golden Jubilee year of de Havilland’s first Moth, the DH.60, looming large in February 1975, it was decided that the new organisation should formalise under the title of The de Havilland Moth Club, and all members who joined during the twelve month span February 22nd 1975 to February 22nd 1976, would become Founder Members.

In the event, and by extraordinary co-incidence, exactly sixty Founder Members were enrolled. February 22nd, a significant date in aviation history as the maiden flight of the first Moth (it was a cool Sunday afternoon), occurred on that date and has remained the start of the Club’s subscription year ever since.

Evolution

From small beginnings and a few typed sheets of news and information circulated from a weary spirit copier housed in a garden shed, the de Havilland Moth Club has grown into a world-wide body of like-minded enthusiasts, each receiving a quality, quarterly journal, The Moth, with items of a domestic nature carried by the more informal sister paper, Moth Minor, and regular transmissions of late news and updates by The Electric Moth via email.

The de Havilland Moth Club became a Limited Company incorporated on 13 March 1996, and established a new trading arm, The de Havilland Moth Club (1925) Ltd. on 6 April 2000.

de Havilland Support Ltd

Based on the Club’s Technical Support Group, with the co-operation of British Aerospace, later BAE Systems, a new company was formed on 1 April 2000 with a full-time staff and offices at Duxford: de Havilland Support Limited. DHSL offers technical and spares support to a range of de Havilland aircraft and the Scottish Aviation Bulldog.

Please note that DHSL does not offer a general information service – you are invited to read the introduction to the services offered on the DHSL home page.