DH.83 Fox Moth


The Fox Moth was designed in 1932 and provided a light transport aircraft with good performance and economical operating costs suitable for small airlines. Legend has it that A.E. Hagg wanted a suitable aircraft to transport his family, and that the cabin dimensions were paced out to suit. The plywood and fabric fuselage was then combined with standard Tiger Moth wings, tail section, undercarriage and engine. The pilot was located in an open cockpit behind an enclosed cabin capable of holding up to four passengers in a manner described as 'distinctly chummy'. The prototype (powered by a 120hp Gipsy III) flew in March 1932. 98 aircraft were produced in England, with 2 in Australia, and 1 in Japan. Post-war production of the DH.83c was taken up by de Havilland Canada who completed 52. Canadian aircraft operated in a 'bush' role, frequently using floats and skis. One further DH.83c was built in England.

In New Zealand the Fox Moth is best known for its role with Bert Mercer's Air Travel (NZ) Ltd. ZK-ADI flew the first scheduled route on December 18, 1934. A second aircraft, formerly operated by the Royal Flight was acquired and registered ZK-AEK. ZK-ADH (belonging to the Canterbury Aero Club) was leased by Air Travel (NZ) while ADI was out of the air. ADH was later written off in a crash in June 1936, but did not disappear entirely. When Air Travel (NZ) sought another aircraft in 1938, parts of ADH were combined with a fuselage produced earlier by apprentices at the de Havilland Technical school to become ZK-AGM. AGM was subsequently destroyed by fire after a crash on April 27, 1963 near Wanaka. The distinctive orange and silver DH.83s were passed to NAC when that company absorbed Air Travel (NZ) in 1947, and later sold to private operators.

A number of other Fox Moths were operated by Aero Clubs in New Zealand. I would appreciate any information regarding their registrations and subsequent fates. DH.83 Fox Moth survivors in New Zealand that I know of are:

  • ZK-ADI (c/n 4097, ex NZ566, ZK-ASP, N83DH, G-ADHA).
  • ZK-AEK (c/n 4033, ex G-ACAJ, G-ACDD, OO-ENC, VQ-FAT)
  • ZK-APT (c/n FM.48, ex )
  • ZK-AQB (c/n FM.49, ex )
  • ZK-AQM (c/n FM.50, ex )
  • ZK-ARQ (c/n FM.53, ex )
  • VH-USJ (c/n 4058, ex G-ACEB)
  • Last Update:- 5 March, 2002

    Technical Data


    A dark blue aircraft is not the easiest to get photos of - but I think you get the idea. ZK-AEK is presented in a similar condition to when it was operated by the King's Flight in 1933, so the interior is very plush - lots of red leather! ZK-ADI has been returned to the Orange fuselage with green markings and silver wings it wore when operated by Air Travel (NZ) Ltd. Unfortunately orange and green don't scan the best, but again, I think you get the idea.

    Wanaka Airshow 98 Forward fuselage

    Close Up

    Remember to let me know if you have a request for an image of a particular part of the aircraft!

    Cockpit exterior Cockpit exterior Cabin Interior Interplane struts Undercarriage l Section ALIGN= Forward fuselage
    Cockpit interior

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