De Havilland Tigermoth, Miss Sophie, D-ETHC. This aircraft was previously VT-CZV before it was inducted into the service of the IAF in early 1950s. Photo Courtesy : http://www.miss-sophie.org
Right from Independence, the IAF was operating the De Havilland DH.82 Tigermoth as a primary trainer for its training needs. The Tigermoth also equipped several auxillary squadrons raised by the IAF. These aircraft were excellent trainer aircraft and were operated till the end of 1957 by the Auxillary squadrons before being phased out. It is not known as to what happened to the nearly 150 airframes operated by the IAF. Though many have been lost in attrition, as many as 50+ of the Tigermoths may have been disposed off to private operators and flying clubs.
Towards early 1980, Ten Tigermoth airframes were bought by a UK company after these were found in storage in Chennai. All the aircraft had civilian registrations and also had service with the Indian Air Force. The airframe serial number list is given below.
One of this batch of Tigermoths which made its way to Germany as Miss Sophie. This aircraft was procured from UK and is operated as D-ETHC. The aircraft has the colors RAF Training scheme with serial N-6740. The aircraft started service with this serial during WW2 with the RAF before moving to the civlian register as G-AISY. The aircraft then came to the Indian Civilian registry in July 1948 as VT-CZV before it was acquired by the Indian Air Force. Its IAF Identity is not known.
Two other airframes were registered on the UK Registry. VT-DOW became G-BINH and VT-DPE became G-BUJY. G-BINH flew for a short while in the 80s before encountering an accident. The remaining airframes were sold to a South African consortium. The aircraft were shipped to South Africa in January 2000 and are still believed to be there.
|Aircraft Type||Serial No||Other Id||Current Location|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-187||Later VT-DPC||in South Africa|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-483||Later VT-DOU||in South Africa|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-488||Later VT-DOW||G-BINH - Under restoration in UK|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-492||Later VT-DOX||in South Africa|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-498||Later VT-DOY||in South Africa|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-504||Later VT-DOZ||in South Africa|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-511||Later VT-DPA||in South Africa|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-708||Later VT-DPB||in South Africa|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-858||Later VT-DPE||G-BUJY - Under restoration in UK|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||HU-887||Later VT-DPH||in South Africa|
|DH-82 Tigermoth||-||Later VT-CZV||Currently D-ETHC in Germany "Miss Sophie"|
1. Flypast Magazine July 2000 issue, Key Publishing.