Airco DH.2


This model aircraft represents the Airco DH.2 that was a single-seat biplane “pusher” aircraft which operated as a fighter during the First World War. It was the second pusher design by Geoffrey de Havilland for Airco, based on his earlier DH.I two seater. de Havilland designed the aircraft, but it was built by Airco. 453 of these aircraft were manufactured.

Early air combat over the Western Front indicated the need for a single-seat fighter with forward-firing armament. As no means of firing forward through the propeller of a tractor airplane was available to the British, Geoffrey de Havilland designed the DH.2 as a smaller, single-seat development of the earlier two-seat DH.I pusher design. The DH.2 first flew in July, 1915.

The DH.2 was armed with a single 7.7 mm Lewis gun which could be positioned in any one of three positions on its mounting. Once pilots learned the best method of using this equipment, they placed the gun in a fixed forward-facing position and merely aimed the aircraft rather than the gun.

The majority of DH.2’s were fitted with 100 HP Gnome Monosoupape rotary engines, but later models used the 110 HP Le Rhone 9J.

After arriving at the Front, the DH.2 proved to be more than a match for the Fokker Eindecker’s used by the Germans. The airplane had sensitive controls and at a time when service training for pilots in the military was very poor initially there was a high accident rate, which resulted in the airplane being given the name of “The Spinning Incinerator.” But as pilots built up time in the aircraft it was recognized as very maneuverable and relatively easy to fly. When the more powerful German tractor airplanes appeared in September, 1916, the DH.2 was outclassed.

Crew: One Pilot Takeoff Weight: 1441 pounds
Wingspan: 28 feet 3 inches Maximum Speed: 93 mph
Length: 25 feet 2 1/2 inches