Chipmunk

The DHC-1 Chipmunk was the first aircraft to be designed and built by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. Intended as a Tiger Moth replacement in the basic training role, it made its first flight from Toronto on 22 May 1946. Production was soon started in the UK, initially at Hatfield and later transferring to Chester, to provide the Royal Air Force with an ab-initio trainer designated as the T.10.

Leading Particulars

  • Engine: Gypsy Major, inline 4 cylinder, delivering 145 hp
  • Speed: 90 knots 
  • Range: 180 miles 
  • Crew: Pilot and student

Background

Entering service in 1950 the Royal Navy acquired a dozen ex-RAF aircraft in 1965 to replace the Tiger Moths of the Britannia Royal Naval College Air Experience Flight at Roborough (known as Britannia Flight), with the first entering service in 1966. 

Additional to the Roborough aircraft, 771 and 781 Squadrons also operated examples for communications and glider towing duties from RNAS Culdrose and RNAS Lee-on-Solent together with the Station Flights of RNAS Yeovilton, Lossiemouth and Culdrose. After 27 years of sterling service the Chipmunk was finally retired from Royal Navy service in 1993.

Historic Flight Pilot Training

The Royal Navy Historic Flight aircraft are flown by current serving naval pilots, but flying historic aircraft requires a specific skill set and dedicated practice.  The Flight is fortunate in having access to a number of training aircraft to develop the pilots skill set.

When pilots first volunteer to fly RNHF aircraft they are assessed by the Flights Qualified Flying Instructor in the Royal Navy’s de Havilland Chipmunk T.10 WK608, an aerobatic two seat training aircraft.  The last of its type in the Royal Navy, this aircraft gives outstanding service to the Flight, providing invaluable tail wheel experience and all year round continuation training.

In addition, Sea Fury pilots fly the Sea Fury T.20 prior to converting to the RNHF FB.11 and Sea Hawk pilots maintain flying currency in the BAE Hawk.  A North American Harvard Texan T.6 give prospective Swordfish and Sea Fury pilots experience of bigger engines, constant speed propellers and pneumatic brakes.  These training aircraft are not owned by the Royal Navy Historic Flight but loaned to the Flight as and when required to progress pilot training thanks to the kind permission of their owners.

Chipmunk T.10 WK608

RNHF

Chipmunk T.10 WK608 was built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company at Chester and, following early service with the Royal Air Force, entered service with the Royal Navy's Britannia Flight at Roborough (now Plymouth City Airport) in June 1966. 

She served with the unit until retirement of the type from service in 1993, transferring to the RNHF at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in July of that year, thus becoming the last flying example of the type in RN service.

Royal Navy Historic Flight

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RNAS Yeovilton

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Fly Navy Heritage Trust

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