De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk

De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk

infobox Aircraft
name = DHC-1 Chipmunk

caption = Privately owned DHC-1 Chipmunk F-AZSM
type = Trainer
manufacturer = de Havilland Canada
designer = Wsiewołod Jakimiuk
first flight = 22 May 1946
introduced = 1946
retired = 1972 (Canada)
status =
primary user = Royal Air Force
more users = Royal Canadian Air Force Portuguese Air Force Belgian Air Force
produced = 1947-1956
number built = 1230 [ [ deHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk] ]
unit cost =
variants with their own articles =
developed from =

The de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk is a tandem, two-seat, single-engined primary trainer aircraft which was the standard primary trainer for the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Air Force and several other air forces through much of the post-Second World War years. The de Havilland Chipmunk was the first true postwar aviation project of de Havilland Canada.

Today, over 500 DHC-1 Chipmunk (affectionately known as "Chippie") airframes remain airworthy with more being rebuilt every year.

Design and development

The Chipmunk was designed to succeed the de Havilland Tiger Moth biplane trainer that was widely used during the Second World War. Wsiewołod Jakimiuk, a Polish prewar engineer, created the first indigenous design of the aircraft at de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. It is an all-metal, low wing, tandem two-place, single engine aircraft with a conventional tail wheel landing gear and fabric-covered control surfaces. The wing is also fabric-covered aft of the spar. A clear perspex canopy covers the pilot/student (front) and instructor/passenger (rear) positions. "CF-DIO-X", the Chipmunk prototype, flew for the first time at Downsview, Toronto on 22 May 1946 with Pat Fillingham at the controls [Bain 1992, p. 141.] . The production version of the airplane was powered by a 145 hp in-line de Havilland Gipsy Major 8 engine while the prototype was powered by a 108 kW (145 hp) de Havilland Gipsy Major 1C.

Two Chipmunk aircraft were evaluated by the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down. As a result, the fully-aerobatic Chipmunk was ordered as an "ab initio" trainer for the Royal Air Force (Prince Philip took his first flying lesson in one in 1952). The Royal Canadian Air Force also adopted the Chipmunk as their primary trainer.

British-built and early Canadian-built Chipmunks are notably different from the later Canadian-built RCAF/Lebanese versions. The later Canadian-built airplanes have a bubble canopy, while early Canadian, and all Portuguese and British examples have the multi-panelled sliding canopy, the rearmost panels of which are "bubbled" out for better instructor visibility.

From the 1950s onward, the Chipmunk also became a popular civilian aircraft, being used for training, aerobatics and crop spraying. Most civilian aircraft are ex-military.

uper Chipmunk

One of the most famousWho|date=September 2008 civilian Chipmunks was the US-basedClarifyme|date=September 2008 "Super Chipmunk," a highly-modified air show performer. Along with an uprated engine, the aircraft underwent an extensive makeover including clipping its wings, adding retractable landing gear, conversion to a single-seat layout, adding an autopilot and being fitted with a red, white and blue wingtip and tail smoke system. The control stick received a three-inch extension for greater control during extreme aerobatic maneuvers. For over 25 years the Super Chipmunk in its distinctive bright color scheme of blue stars and sunburst effect was the late, legendary aerobatic pilot Art Scholl’s personal ride — used to perform a unique and breathtaking aerial routine that culminated in his signature move, the "Inverted Ribbon Pickup."

Three Super Chipmunk conversions were made, Scholl's "N13A" and "N13Y" and Harold Krier’s "N6311V". Another more recent "Super Chipmunk" was converted by air show performer, Jim "Fang" Maroney who similarly modified an ex-RCAF example by strengthening the airframe, replacing the original 145 hp engine with a 260 hp version incorporating an inverted fuel and oil system, clipping three feet off the wings and adding 30% more rudder and 10% more elevator. A spatted landing gear was retained. Other similarly converted "Super Chipmunks" are currently being flown by air show performers Greg Aldridge and Steve and Suzanne Oliver. "N13Y" is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington-Dulles International Airport.

Operational history

United Kingdom

The RAF received 735 Chipmunks, designated Chipmunk T.10, manufactured in the UK. They initially served with Reserve Flying Squadrons (RFS) of the RAF Volunteer Reserve (VR) as well as the University Air Squadrons. A few Chipmunks were pressed into service in Cyprus on internal security flights during the conflict in 1958. Some were from 1956 to 1990 used for covert reconnaissance by BRIXMIS operating out of RAF Gatow, Berlin.Fact|date=January 2008They were still in service for ATC Air Experience Flights until 1996 (the final AEF to use the Chipmunk was No. 10 Air Experience Flight, RAF Woodvale) when they were replaced by the Bulldog (itself replaced by the Grob Tutor in 1999-2001). Chipmunk T.10s were also used by the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm for primary training. The last Chipmunks in military service are operated by the British historic flights - the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (including one of the BRIXMIS aircraft), the Royal Navy and Army historic flights, to keep their pilots current on tailwheel aircraft for flying displays in the UK.


The RCAF accepted its first DHC-1 Chipmunks in 1948 and did not retire the last one until 1972, three years after unification in 1968. The Chipmunk's long service was due, in part, to its fully aerobatic capabilities and superb flying characteristics, which made it a delight to fly. It is also a mechanically sound aircraft and, consequently, many ex-RCAF Chipmunks are still operational around the world.


Downsview built 217 Chipmunks, the last in 1956. A total of 1,000 were built in Britain initially at Hatfield Aerodrome and then later at Hawarden Aerodrome. A further 66 Chipmunks were licence-manufactured by OGMA (Oficinas Gerais de Material Aeronáutico, at Alverca) from 1955 to 1961 in Portugal for the Portuguese Air Force.



;DHC-1A-1 (Chipmunk T.1):Powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 1C engine, only partially aerobatic.;DHC-1A-2:Powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 engine, only partially aerobatic.;DHC-1B-1:Powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 1C engine, fully aerobatic.;DHC-1B-2:Powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 engine, fully aerobatic.;DHC-1B-2-S1:Powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 for Royal Egyptian Air Force.;DHC-1B-2-S2:Powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 for Royal Thai Air Force.;DHC-1B-2-S3 (Chipmunk T.2):Powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 for RCAF refresher training operated by Royal Canadian Flying Clubs.;DHC-1B-2-S4:Version for Chile;DHC-1B-2-S5 (Chipmunk T.2):Built for Royal Canadian Air Force.


;Chipmunk T.10:de Havilland Gipsy Major 8 engined version for the Royal Air Force, 735 built.;Chipmunk Mk 20:Military export version of T.10 powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 Series 2 engine, 217 built.;Chipmunk Mk 21:Civil export version of Mk 20 but fitted to civil standards, 28 built.;Chipmunk Mk 22:T.10 converted for civilian use. Conversion also involves restamping the Gipsy Major 8 (which is military) to a model 10-2 (which is civil).;Chipmunk Mk 22A:Mk 22 with fuel tankage increased to 12 Imperial gallons per side vs. 9. Aerobatics forbidden in the UK with this conversion.;Chipmunk Mk 23:Two converted T.10s powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 Series 2 engine and with agricultural spray equipment.


;Chipmunk T.20:Military version powered by de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 Series 2 (145 hp) engine, 66 built.

American conversions

;Super Chipmunk:Single-seat aerobatic aircraft, powered by a 194-kW (260-hp) Avco Lycoming GO-435 piston engine, equipped with revised flying surfaces and retractable landing gear. Three conversions.Fact|date=September 2008

Australian conversions

;Aerostructures Sundowner:One Australian Chipmunk was fitted with a 180-hp (134-kW) Lycoming O-360 flat-four piston engine, wingtip tanks, clear-view canopy and metal wing skinning.Fact|date=July 2007;Sashin SA-29 Spraymaster:Several Australian Chipmunks were converted into single-seat agricultural spraying aircraft.Fact|date=July 2007


Military operators

* Belgian Air Force (Two operated from 1948 for evaluation);BIR;CAN
* Royal Canadian Air Force;flagicon|Sri Lanka Ceylon;DNK;EGY
* Egyptian Air Force;IRL
* Portuguese Air Force
** Squadron 802, Águias (Sintra)
** Air Force Academy (Academia de Forca Aerea, Sintra);SAU;SYR;THA
* Royal Thai Air Force;UK
*Army Air Corps
** Basic Fixed Wing Flight
** Army Air Corps Historic Aircraft Flight
* Royal Air Force
** RAFVR RFS, No.8 Sqn, No.31 Sqn, No.114 Sqn, No.275 Sqn, RAF Gatow (Berlin) Station Flight, University Air Squadrons, Air Experience Flights (Air Training Corps), Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
*Royal Navy
** 771 NAS
** 781 NAS
** Britannia Flight, Royal Navy Historic Flight;URY
* Uruguayan Air Force;ZAM

Civilian operators

* National Test Pilot School

pecifications (DHC-1 Chipmunk)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
ref=The De Havilland Canada Story [ Hotson 1983, p. 237. ]
crew=2, student & instructor
payload main=
payload alt=
length main= 25 ft 5 in
length alt= 7.75 m
span main= 34 ft 4 in
span alt= 10.47 m
height main= 7 ft in
height alt= 2.1 m
area main= 172 ft²
area alt= 16.0 m²
empty weight main= 1,517 lb
empty weight alt= 646 kg
loaded weight main= 2,014 lb
loaded weight alt= 953 kg
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main= 2,200 lb
max takeoff weight alt= 998 kg
more general=
engine (prop)= de Havilland Gipsy Major 1C
type of prop=
number of props=1
power main= 145 hp
power alt= 108 kW
power original=
max speed main=120 kn, 138 mph at sea level (140 mph is also given)
max speed alt= 222 km/h
cruise speed main= 90 kn
cruise speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
range main= 225 NM
range alt=445 km
ceiling main= 15,800 ft
ceiling alt= 5200 m
climb rate main= 900 ft/min
climb rate alt= 274 m/min
loading main=11.709 lb/ft²
loading alt=5.782 kg/m²
power/mass main= 13.889 hp/lb
power/mass alt=8.824 kW/kg
more performance=

ee also

similar aircraft=
* Zlin Trener
* PT-19/26
* Miles Magister
* Yakovlev UT-2
* LWD Junak
lists =
* List of aircraft of the RAF
see also=




* Bain, Gordon. "De Havilland: A Pictorial Tribute". London: AirLife, 1992. ISBN 1-85648-243-X.
* Fisher, Bill. "Chipmunk: The First Forty Years". Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, UK: de Havilland Type Design Organisation, 1986.
* Fisher, Bill. "Chipmunk: The First Fifty Years". Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, UK: de Havilland Type Design Organisation, 1996.
* Hotson, Fred. "The De Havilland Canada Story". Toronto: CANAV Books, 1983. ISBN 0-9690703-2-2.
* "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985)". London: Orbis Publishing.
* Jackson, A.J. "British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 2". London: Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-370-10010-7.

External links

* [ RAF Museum]
* [ National Air Force Museum of Canada]
* [ Caledonian Chipmunks]
* [ Delta Aviation]
* [ Skylark Aviation]
* [ CHIP1375 - Portuguese Chipmunks reference]
* [ - The Complete Aviation Reference]
* [ Museu do Ar (Portuguese Air Force)]

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