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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 :

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.

Three De Havilland Tigermoth fuselages , which includes VT-DOU in the foreground, formerly HU-483 of the Indian Air Force as found in Chennai. Photo Courtesy : Simon WatsonClick to Enlarge
Click to EnlargeMore Tigers! A stack of six Tigermoths from the Cache exported from Chennai. VT-DOZ was formerly HU-504 of the Indian Air Force. Photo Courtesy : Simon Watson

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 TypeSerial NoOther IdCurrent Location
DH-82 TigermothHU-187Later VT-DPC in South Africa
DH-82 TigermothHU-483Later VT-DOU in South Africa
DH-82 TigermothHU-488Later VT-DOW G-BINH - Under restoration in UK
DH-82 TigermothHU-492Later VT-DOX in South Africa
DH-82 TigermothHU-498Later VT-DOY in South Africa
DH-82 TigermothHU-504Later VT-DOZ in South Africa
DH-82 TigermothHU-511Later VT-DPAin South Africa
DH-82 TigermothHU-708Later VT-DPBin South Africa
DH-82 TigermothHU-858Later VT-DPEG-BUJY - Under restoration in UK
DH-82 TigermothHU-887Later VT-DPHin South Africa
DH-82 Tigermoth-Later VT-CZVCurrently D-ETHC in Germany "Miss Sophie"

1. Flypast Magazine July 2000 issue, Key Publishing.

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