Aircraft

Ride The Tiger Moth: What It's Like To Fly In The 1930s Aircraft

Members of the public can now take a flight in a 1930s British biplane.

A newly-created experience in North Yorkshire will allow members of the public to have a taste of what flying in a 1930s British biplane was like.

Introduced in 1932 and retired in 1959, the De Havilland Tiger Moth was used to train young airmen before they headed off to war.

The Tiger Moth was adapted for the military from its predecessor, the Gypsy Moth. The main change was giving the instructor greater access, enabling them to bale out when the student got it wrong.

Tiger Moth plane in Yorkshire 230519 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
The Tiger Moth is an evolution of the Gypsy Moth.

When building the Tiger Moth, engineers also turned the engine upside down to give the pilot a better view.

Made of metal lattice and Chinese linen stretched tight, the aircraft looks rather like a large model aeroplane.

"Both our aircraft were wartime trainers," explained Alan Fish, the owner of the 'Tiger Moth Experience'.

"The training regime should have been twice or three times longer than it actually was [during the Second World War]," he said.

"[Pilots] came very raw when they went into the fighting squadron and they were probably easy meat for the Germans."

BFBS Hannah King goes for a ride 230519 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
The aircraft is what is commonly called a 'tail dragger'.

Upon take off, it is common for Tiger Moth aircraft to waggle the tail, explained Tiger Moth Experience Pilot Jordan Cameron.

"It is so I can see where I’m going," he said.

The Tiger Moth sits very nose-high, meaning is also known as a 'tail dragger' aircraft.

"To see where I am going, I need to steer left and right in order to make sure I do not crash into anything."

"It is a training aircraft, therefore it has to be stable and easy enough to fly," said the pilot.

He also explained that given their design, Tiger Moths are more than capable to perform aerobatics. However, given the age of the aircraft used for the experience, neither of them are performing daring manoeuvres.

tiger moth flying over yorkshire 230519 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Tiger Moths had to be stable and easy to fly.

The newest addition to the Tiger Moth Experience is what was known in wartime as a 'dispersal hut', created to confound the Germans.

"The Germans knew the locations of most of the airbases in the country," said Director Toni Hunter.

"It became important to create alternative locations where both the airman and the aircraft could be situated and then be ready."

The 'dispersal huts' could be put up in a very short time and the airmen could be ready to go on a mission at a moment's notice, explained Ms Hunter.

Since opening, the Tiger Moth Experience had no fewer than five gentlemen in their 90s visit, including one who flew this very aircraft over 70 years ago.