The whole 9 yards


PILOT REPORT DH9 flight-testing

Retrotec’s magnificent restoration of the Historic Aircraft Collection’s Airco DH9 has brought this First World War bomber back to the skies for the first time in many decades. For the pilot entrusted with its flight-testing, the painstaking programme proved a most insightful affair

The Historic Aircraft Collection’s DH9, E8894, being flown by Clive Denney — the only person other than the author to have piloted the bomber thus far — en route back from Old Warden to Duxford this August.

When he was chief designer and test pilot for the Army Balloon Factory, subsequently the Royal Aircraft Factory, Geoffrey de Havilland designed, built and personally flight-tested the BE1 and BE2 series of aircraft in the years before World War One. Looking at the layouts of these machines, it would appear that by any measure the flying qualifies were likely to be woeful, but they did at least fly, which was something of a triumph at the time.

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