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de Havilland Canada U-6 Beaver

23 November 2011

de Havilland Canada U-6 Beaver

What is not to love about this aircraft? Big radial engine for power and reliability. High wing with high lift devices to enable short field performance and ground maneuvering around field clutter. A roomy cabin and stout landing gear. A pick-up truck for the skies. Canada’s de Havilland company considers the DHC-2 Beaver their ¼-ton truck since that was the aircraft’s capacity, or about six people.

So what’s not to love?

Well, at first the Beaver wasn’t!

De Havilland Canada (DHC) introduced the DHC-2 Beaver in 1947 but there were few customers. Then the Korean War broke out and the U.S. Army needed a more powerful liaison and utility aircraft and in a hurry. The Army became de Havilland’s biggest Beaver buyer (it was designated the U-6 Beaver) and the aircraft soon caught on in the civilian world.

Ultimately, DHC built the Beaver for 20 years making about 1700 of them. They have also flown in the arctic with skis and on water with floats and versions have been re-engined with a turboprop. Landing on beaches and fields is the Beaver’s forte and hundreds are flying this day.

The de Havilland U-6 Beaver in the U.S. Army Aviation Museum — photo by Joseph May

The Beaver’s beefy radial engine — photo by Joseph May

The Beaver seen here is in the  U.S. Army Aviation Museum and painted with a fine olive drab livery. For more posts on the museum, other aircraft in it, or to see an antarctic equipped Beaver simply paste the museum name or “Beaver” into the search window — then select ENTER 🙂

4 Comments leave one →
  1. shortfinals permalink
    23 November 2011 10:51

    A lovely series of shots, Joe!

    The British Army had 42 Beavers as the AL Mk. 1, all with the Wasp Junior engine, although one was converted (as a Mk. II) to an Alvis Leonides radial (as in the PistonProvost trainer). One of them still flies with the Army Heritage Flight at air shows, and a lovely sound it makes, too!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      23 November 2011 12:13

      You have access to specialized information — it’s like you could curate an aviation museum!

  2. diana permalink
    24 November 2011 13:55

    I don’t know if you realize, but the original home of the de Havilland Aircraft Factory located in Toronto, Ontario, which has been home to the Canadian Air & Space Museum for the past 10+ years, was given eviction papers in September by its landlord. The Museum was given 6 months to pack up and get out. They are no longer open to the public. It is an incredible insult and shame, and Museum staff, volunteers, politicians, media and others are doing what they can to fight this and reverse the decision. If you’d like to learn more, the web site is: diana, Museum volunteer. (P.S. do you know that actor Harrison Ford is a de Havilland Beaver owner?)

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      25 November 2011 10:04

      Diana, Thanks so much for your comments and concerns regarding the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. A post about their being in dire straits went up less than a few weeks ago with a plea for readers to sign the petition. The post was entitled “Death of a Museum” and I think I placed questions about shame to the governments of Toronto as well as Canada to disregard the heritage so dismissively. Again, thanks so much, Joe

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