The de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk is a tandem configuration primary aircraft trainer developed to be a replace the famous Tiger Moth. Almost 1,300 were built for the RAF, RCAF and Portuguese Air Forces. The Chipmunk conducted its first flight in 1946 and entered production in 1947. A number of Chipmunks have found their way in to civilian service where they have been modified to suit their owners needs. This has included turboprop engines, bigger wings, bigger cockpits and wingtip fuel tanks. The Portuguese Air Force are still operating the Chipmunk as a basic trainer 70 years after entering service.
The Chipmunk entered service with the RAF as a basic trainer and eventually 735 T.10 variants were produced. In addition to providing primary training and equipping the Air Experience Flights, eight aircraft were diverted to 114 Squadron in Cyprus to conduct security patrols. In addition, up until 1990, Chipmunks based at RAF Gatow were used for covert surveillance over Soviet controlled areas of Berlin. The Chipmunk has also trained Royals to fly. The late Prince Philip conducted his first flight in one and a bright red Chipmunk was used to train HM King Charles III to fly, this aircraft is now in civilian hands and has been preserved in its Royal scheme. A pair of Chipmunks are still in service with the RAF who use them for training pilots that join the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
A pair of civilian owned Chipmunk T.10s will be appearing on static display at this year's Air Tattoo.
Photo Credit: RIAT Volunteer
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