Monday, December 10, 2012

DH.91 Albatross


First flown in May 1937, the DH.91 Albratross was intended for service as a transtlantic mail plane, but the five production aircraft saw service as airliners. The Albatross employed a ply-balsa sandwich construction that kept weight down and allowed for the design to feature smooth curves that would have been harder to produce in metal.

de Havilland DH.91 Albatross model photo
DH.91 Albatross model


The outbreak of WWII meant that the Albatross' commercial service was but brief; prototype G-AEVV Farady, seen in model form here went into service with Imperial Airways before being transferred to BOAC and subsequently to the RAF. Used a fast courier between the UK and Iceland, the aircraft was written off at Reykjavik in 1941.

The Albatross was powered by a quartet of Gipsy Twelve aircooled engines, and had a top speed of 225mph at just below 18,000 feet. Although the Albatross was denied further production orders thanks to the war, the composite wood construction method used helped make possible the later Mosquito.

Bibliography:

Photos(2): Albatross front quarter view, and a shot of the aircraft that broke during ground testing. Popular Aviation December 1938  p.21
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