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The de Havilland DH.85 Leopard
Moth is a three-seat high-wing monoplane designed and built
by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in 1933. It was a successor
to the DH.80 Puss Moth and replaced it on the company's Stag
Lane and later Hatfield production lines. It was similar in
configuration to the earlier aircraft, but instead of a fuselage
with tubular steel framework, a lighter all-plywood structure
was used which allowed a substantial improvement in range,
performance and capacity on the same type of engine.
The prototype first flew on 27
May 1933 and in July won the King's Cup Race at an average
speed of 139.5 mph, piloted by Geoffrey de Havilland. A total
of 133 aircraft were built, 71 of them for owners in the British
Isles, before production ended in 1936.
Leopard Moths were impressed into military service in Britain
and others in Australia during World War II, mostly as communications
aircraft. Only a few managed to survive six years of hard
usage although a small number were still airworthy seventy
years after the last was completed.