Tiger Moth flights are wonderful flying experiences. They give you a taste of what it was like to fly during the 1930s when these aircraft first took to the skies, and as a trainee pilot during World War II when they were used to teach ab initio students how to fly. Step away from modern life for a while and enjoy the pure nostalgia of flight as it was 90 years ago.
During the flight, you will have the opportunity to take in the stunning scenery and to get a taste of vintage flying in this legendary aircraft. The Tiger Moth is a great choice for those looking for an unforgettable flying experience as a gift to a loved one or a treat for themselves.
The Tiger Moth is a British biplane that was made by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was used as both a civilian and military aircraft, and it is one of the most successful biplanes ever built. The Tiger Moth’s design includes two open cockpits in tandem with dual controls, allowing the pilot to hand over control of the aircraft to the passenger or student pilot. The aircraft is powered by a de Havilland Gipsy Major engine. Today, these vintage aircraft are carefully maintained by dedicated mechanics and flown by experienced pilots.
A 30 minute Tiger Moth flight is an amazing experience that you will probably want to repeat. You can enjoy the flight as a passenger but if you want to know how it feels to fly the aircraft you will be able to take control and enjoy all the sensations of flying this open cockpit biplane. Tiger Moth flights are available at select locations around the UK, USA, and a few other countries. If you’ve ever visited the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire and seen the Tiger Moths in the display hangars, you may have wondered what it would be like to experience vintage aviation of this type.
What happens during a Tiger Moth flight experience?
Your Tiger Moth flight will begin with a pre flight briefing from your instructor pilot. He or she will describe what is about to take place, where you will be flying and for how long, and what you can expect from the flight.
No matter what your level of flying experience, be sure to ask questions if you’re in any doubt or just curious. There is no such thing as a dumb question and you will not be judged for any lack of knowledge. The instructor will be committed to ensuring your safety and enjoyment. If you like this flight experience they hope you will return to repeat it with more flying lessons! The instructor will probably ask you what type of flight experience you would like, from gentle flight with as few maneuvers as possible to some aerobatics during which you’ll be glad you’re strapped in tightly.
The Tiger Moth flight experience varies depending on the location, but generally, you will be able to take the controls of the aircraft during the flight. This is a great opportunity to experience ‘stick and rudder’ flying in a vintage aircraft. If you would rather not fly the aircraft yourself then you can simply enjoy the view and take as many photos as you like. The duration of the flight can vary. It’s possible to purchase anything from 15 minute Tiger Moth flight to a full hour in the air. And of course, you will also have a chance to enjoy the stunning views from above as you fly along at a gentle pace.
Tiger Moth Flights Near Me – Where to book
Several flight schools in the UK offer Tiger Moth flights.
- A Tiger Moth flight (various durations) at the Bicester Heritage Centre (formerly RAF Bicester) in Oxfordshire. Try some aerobatics if you like or just settle down to enjoy the views of some flights over Oxfordshire.
- A Tiger Moth flight (various durations) at Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent. They have two aircraft available. One was built in 1934 and the other is a rare Australian aircraft built in 1959.
- Tiger Moth Flights at Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey. Redhill was the home of the Tiger Club from 1959-1990.
- How about a Tiger Moth flight over God’s own country, Yorkshire? The flights take place at Sherburn Aerodrome, near Leeds. You’ll be donning a flying jacket for the full 1940s experience, see an original WW II dispersal hut, and contributing to the RAF Benevolent Fund all at the same time.
- Fly over the Sussex Downs or the south coast in a 1940s Tiger Moth or a Stampe from Shoreham Airport (also known as Brighton City Airport).
- There are Tiger Moth flights of various durations available at Derby Airfield in Egginton, Derbyshire. From the same airfield, you can book a Dambusters Flight experience, flying the route that the 617 Squadron aircraft flown by Guy Gibson and his crewmates used to practice their dam busting raids.
- You can take lessons in a Tiger Moth at North Weald airfield in Essex. This historic airfield that was an operational fighter base during WWII.
- Damyns Hall Aerodrome, near Upminster, is another airfield in Essex offering Tiger Moth flights.
- How about some open cockpit flying in a Tiger Moth from Cotswold (Kemble) Airport near Cirencester in Gloucestershire?
- Why not combine a Tiger Moth flight with a ride in an APC (Armoured Personnel Carrier) and make it a full day out at the IWM at Duxford in Cambridgeshire?
- If you can’t decide where or when then Tiger Moth flight vouchers, valid at locations nationwide, are available to purchase online.
Who can go on a Tiger Moth flight?
Almost anyone can enjoy a Tiger Moth flight. However, these are tail dragger aircraft with no cockpit doors so you should be able to climb in to and out of the front cockpit (the pilot will sit in the rear cockpit). Either the pilot or a member of the ground crew will help you with this.
There is likely to be a minimum age and there may also be weight restrictions. Call the flying school to check. Also, if you are in any doubt about a particular medical condition then you should consult your doctor before doing any flying.
What’s it like to fly in a Tiger Moth
Flying in a Tiger Moth is an unforgettable experience. The open cockpit and the sound of the engine combine to give you a sense of freedom that is unparalleled. Even though the plane is small, it is incredibly nimble, responsive, and generally docile. Every movement of the controls is transmitted directly to the plane, so you feel like you are one with the aircraft.
Once you have strapped in to that front cockpit and enclosed within the wooden fuselage you will start to take in your surroundings. You’ll be able to look more closely at the Tiger Moth wings and the aircraft’s fuel tank in the upper wing above.
The view from the cockpit is also magical. As you fly along you’ll be reminded of the ageless wonder of flight. You’ll be experiencing the same sensations that Tiger Moth pilots encountered during the 1930s. You will notice how the Tiger Moth responds to gentle adjustments of the stick and rudder. Your first flight in an open cockpit tail dragger will be quite unlike normal flight in a light aircraft, and it will be a fantastic experience.
What to wear for your Tiger Moth flight experience
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing what to wear for your Tiger Moth flight experience. The flight school might provide you with a leather flying helmet and goggles and a leather flying jacket to complete the authentic 1930s experience. They may also offer you a flight suit to wear over your clothes in place of the jacket.
- First, you’ll want to dress for the weather. By that, I mean the weather above, not just the weather on the ground. Even on a warm spring or summer’s day, it can be much colder when you’re at 2,000ft in an open cockpit.
- Second, comfortable clothing is a must. You’ll be sitting in the cockpit for the duration of the flight, so you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing something that won’t restrict your movement.
- Finally, closed-toe shoes are a must. Boots or trainers are fine, though avoid wearing anything with loose accessories. This is for safety reasons, as loose clothing and shoes can pose a hazard while flying.
With these guidelines in mind, you’re sure to have a safe and enjoyable experience flying in a Tiger Moth!
Tips for your Tiger Moth flight experience
- All flights are weather dependent so call the flight school before setting off to the airfield and they will advise if there are suitable flying conditions.
- Go with a friend and relative and ask them to take plenty of pictures of you climbing into and out of the aircraft.
- Ask the flight school if they provide any in-cockpit camera footage as part of the flight experience package.
- If you’re a student pilot or already a qualified pilot, mention that you want to log the experience as a flying lesson e.g. General Handling.
- If you take a camera with you for the flight, keep a firm grip on that phone or camera. You don’t want the wind to whip it out of your hand or to drop it onto the cockpit floor where it will not only be irretrievable for the duration of the flight but may also interfere with the aircraft’s control cables.
- Accidents in these gentle aircraft are vary rare and the flight school will have its own Public Liability Insurance. You may want to check your own private insurance for any restrictive clauses.
The history of the de Havilland Tiger Moth
The de Havilland Tiger Moth is a British biplane that was used for initial training by the Royal Air Force during the 1930s and 1940s. The Tiger Moth was designed to be an easy-to-fly aircraft that could provide new pilots with the basic skills they would need to fly more advanced aircraft. Its design an low speed meant made the Tiger Moth’s handling ideal for training future fighter pilots.
This aircraft’s distinctive design has made it one of the most recognizable aircraft of the era. Despite its success as a training plane, the Tiger Moth was retired from service in the 1950s and replaced by more modern trainers, most notably the de Havilland Chipmunk. However, the plane’s simple design and affable personality have made it a popular choice for aircraft enthusiasts and many examples remain airworthy.
The Tiger Moth remains one of the most popular vintage aircraft among collectors and pilots. One of the reasons for the Tiger Moth’s enduring popularity is its engine. The de Havilland Gipsy Major is a four-cylinder inline engine that produces around 130 horsepower. Its simple design made it easy to maintain and repair, even in the field. The Gipsy Major also has a good power-to-weight ratio, making the Tiger Moth a nimble and responsive aircraft. In addition, the engine is relatively quiet, which made the Tiger Moth a favorite among flight instructors who had to deal with the constant noise of aero engines.
Soon after it first flew, this aircraft was put into service as a trainer by the Royal Air Force. It quickly became popular with both students and instructors and remained in service for over 20 years. In addition to its use as a trainer, the Tiger Moth was also used as a light utility aircraft. After the war, many Tiger Moths were sold on the civilian market, and they remain popular to this day with many airworthy Tiger Moths flying and displaying at airshows and lifting gently from grass airstrips.
Where to see Tiger Moths on display
De Havilland Aircraft Museum, England
The de Havilland Aircraft Museum is a museum located in London Colney, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. The museum is dedicated purely to the history and preservation of de Havilland aircraft. The museum houses a collection of over 50 de Havilland aircraft, as well as a variety of artifacts and documents related to the company’s history. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and events for both children and adults. There are also examples on static display at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.
Mackay Tiger Moth Museum, Australia
The Mackay Tiger Moth Museum is one of the most unique museums in Australia. The museum is dedicated to the history and preservation of the Tiger Moth aircraft. The Tiger Moth was a popular aircraft in the early 20th Century and was used by the Australian military during World War II. The Mackay Tiger Moth Museum houses a collection of over 30 Tiger Moths, as well as other aircraft from the same era. The museum is open to the public seven days a week and offers a variety of guided tours and educational programs. Visitors can learn about the history of the Tiger Moth aircraft, and see how these iconic planes are being preserved for future generations.
The de Havilland name lives on
de Havilland Aircraft of Canada is an aircraft manufacturer with its head office in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was founded in 1928 as a subsidiary of de Havilland Aircraft.
In the 1930s, de Havilland Canada built more than 600 bush planes for use in forestry and mining operations in the Canadian north. The company also produced a series of successful passenger aircraft. In the 1960s, the company was acquired by Hawker Siddeley and became a part of that company’s aircraft division. In 1986, DHC was sold to Bombardier Inc. and became a subsidiary of that company.
Today, de Havilland Canada is a world-renowned aircraft manufacturer with a global customer base. The company’s products include the Dash 8 series of turboprop airliners and the Global series of business jets.
- DHC-1 Chipmunk
- DHC-2 Beaver
- DHC-3 Otter
- DHC-4 Caribou
- DHC-5 Buffalo
- DHC-6 Twin Otter
- DHC-7 Dash 7
- DHC-8 Dash 8