Top of the Class (continued...)

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The prototype was given a brief evaluation at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment(A & AEE) Boscombe Down on April 15th. where they reported that the aircraft possessed excellent flying qualities, a good degree of manoeuvrability with effective and well harmonised controls. No vices were reported at the stall and the aircraft was considered to be easy and straightforward to fly and that, with some modifications, it would be suitable for Service requirements. Criticism of the machine was mostly confined to the cockpit area and included:

  1. the type of safety harness fitted(the shoulder harness straps were attatched to a cross cable instead of directly to the fuselage)
  2. that the brake lever was situated too low, was spongy in operation and that the mechanical brake installation was unsatisfactory('DIO-X was the only Chipmunk fitted with a drum/shoe braking system)
  3. that no indicator was fitted to the elevator trimming control
  4. adjustment to the position of the rudder bar was difficult
  5. no seat adjustment was provided at all and thus on occasions the headroom was insufficient and
  6. that the type and layout of the instruments was inferior to the standard RAF type.
In order to promote and publicise the type as much as possible during 1947 the protoype, still registered as CF-DIO-X, made many appearances. These included the opening of the Fairey Flying Club at White Waltham on April 27th, an air display and garden party at Portsmouth on May 15th. and a breakfast patrol at Broxbourne on May 29th. Air races at Lympne and Southend were also entered with some success.

Whilst 'DIO-X was being evaluated at Boscombe Down,the tenth and eleventh Canadian production aircraft were on their way to England to become G-AJVD and`KDN respectively.`JVD was registered on 26th. May and was soon pressed into service including a gruelling continental tour and 'KDN on August 14th just in time to appear at Radlett for the SBAC Show held there between the ninth and twelfth of September. With the arrival of these two helpmates,`DIO-X was flown to the de Havilland Service Department airfield at Witney near Oxford on the tenth of August where it was registered as G-AKEV on the 28th. of that month.

The opportunity was taken at this stage to replace the Gipsy Major 1C engine and Laidlaw wooden propeller with the uprated Gipsy Major 10 and Fairey Reed metal propeller. However, this major modification caused a delay until November 18th. of the issue of a C of A.As this new combination was not a standard fitment, the Air Registration Board (now the Civil Aviation Authority) required the results of several tests including cooling, installation differences between the two engine types and also new drawings.

Fortunately for de Havillands this combination had previously been tested during 1946/7 in Leopard Moth G-ACMA and the figures and drawings were available. The situation was further complicated by the fact that all three machines were operated on Canadian C of A's valid in the UK. This modification therefore required clearance from de Havilland and the Department of Transport in Canada and this was not received in London by the MTCA until November 14th. With this upgrading a change in designation to DHC-1A-1 was made.

Pat Fillingham flying Chipmunk CF-DIO-X shortly after its arrival in the UK in 1947.
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