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The Aircraft Manufacturing Company Limited (Airco) was a British aircraft manufacturer operating from 1912 to 1920. Airco
Airco
produced thousands of aircraft for the British military during the First World War, most of which were designed by their chief designer, Geoffrey de Havilland. Advertised in 1918 as the largest aircraft company in the world, Airco
Airco
established the first airline in the United Kingdom, Aircraft Transport and Travel
Aircraft Transport and Travel
Limited, as a subsidiary. A glut of war surplus aircraft and a lack of government interest in aviation caused the company to become unprofitable, and in 1920 it was sold to Birmingham Small Arms Company, who had its operations liquidated later that year.

Contents

1 Geoffrey de Havilland 2 Wartime production 3 First daily international flights 4 Sale to BSA and liquidation 5 List of Airco
Airco
Aircraft 6 References

Geoffrey de Havilland[edit] Airco
Airco
was established in 1912 by George Holt Thomas at The Hyde
The Hyde
in Hendon, north London, England. Two years later, learning that Geoffrey de Havilland, who was then at the Royal Aircraft Factory in Farnborough, might be available, Holt Thomas invited de Havilland to join Airco
Airco
as chief designer. De Havilland's Airco
Airco
designs were to provide around 30% of all trainers, fighters and bombers used by Britain and the United States during the First World War.[1] De Havilland's designs for Airco
Airco
were marked with his initials "DH".[2] Their pusher configuration fighter DH.2 of 1916 helped to end the "Fokker scourge" of 1915. Later notable aircraft designed and built by Airco
Airco
during the war included the DH.6 trainer, of which more than 2,280 examples were built, and the DH.4 and DH.9 light bombers. These types, and the DH.9A, a developed version that served for many years with the postwar Royal Air Force, formed the basis of early de Havilland designed airliners, including the company's DH.16 and DH.18 types which were operated by Aircraft Transport and Travel
Aircraft Transport and Travel
Limited, the first airline established in the United Kingdom, also owned by George Holt Thomas.[citation needed] Wartime production[edit] Flight Magazine reported in 1920 that during the period from August 1914 to November 1918 the D. H. Airco
Airco
machines built in Great Britain and the United States of America comprised approximately 30 per cent of the total output of aeroplanes of these two allies.[3] William Taylor Birchenough worked as test pilot for the company from August 1914. By December 1918, Holt Thomas claimed in an advertisement that Airco was the largest aircraft company in the world and was building aeroplanes, engines and propellors in large numbers, as well as airships and flying boats.[2] The engines being built included licensed production of Gnome and Le Rhone rotary engines.[2] The company's works at Hendon
Hendon
employed between 7,000 and 8,000 people and had the latest metal-working machinery, a materials testing laboratory, and a wind tunnel.[4] Airco
Airco
was completing on average a new aircraft every 45 minutes.[5] First daily international flights[edit]

Airco DH.16
Airco DH.16
used by Aircraft Transport and Travel

Aircraft Transport and Travel, a subsidiary of Airco,[2] started the world's first regular daily international service on 25 August 1919, between Hounslow Heath Aerodrome and Le Bourget. DH.16s were used for this service.[citation needed] Sale to BSA and liquidation[edit] Following the cessation of hostilities, the large number of war-surplus machines, sharp fluctuations in business confidence, and the government's failure, unlike those of USA and France, to provide any form of support, Airco
Airco
became unprofitable.[4] Thomas endeavoured to sell Airco
Airco
to a car manufacturer. Airco
Airco
and BSA, parent company of Daimler, announced on 1 March 1920 that Airco
Airco
had amalgamated with Birmingham Small Arms Company.[6] Within days BSA discovered Airco
Airco
was in a far more serious financial state than Thomas had revealed. Thomas was immediately removed from his new seat on the BSA board and all BSA's new acquisitions were placed in liquidation. BSA failed to pay a dividend for the following four years.[7] With help from Thomas, de Havilland bought the group's assets he needed to form the de Havilland Aircraft Company in 1920. Aircraft Transport and Travel
Aircraft Transport and Travel
had been allowed to continue to operate until December 1920. BSA then bought Aircraft Transport and Travel's aircraft from the liquidator and, in early 1921, established Daimler Airway and Daimler Air Hire
Daimler Air Hire
under Daimler Hire
Daimler Hire
Limited's Frank Searle.[citation needed] List of Airco
Airco
Aircraft[edit]

Airco
Airco
DH.1:(1915) – Two-seat biplane fighter with single pusher propeller

Airco
Airco
DH.1A - Around 70 built with Beardmore engines.

Airco DH.2
Airco DH.2
(1915) – Single-seat biplane fighter with single pusher propeller Airco DH.3
Airco DH.3
(1916) – Two-engine biplane bomber. Two prototypes only built; formed basis for later DH.10 design

Airco
Airco
DH.3A - Second prototype with a Beardmore engine.

Airco DH.4
Airco DH.4
(1916) – Two-seat biplane day bomber with single tractor propeller

Airco
Airco
DH.4A Civil version. Built in the United Kingdom. Two passengers in glazed cabin behind pilot. Airco
Airco
DH.4R Single seat racer - 450 hp (3406 kW) Napier Lion engine.

Airco DH.5
Airco DH.5
(1916) – Single-seat biplane fighter with single tractor propeller Airco DH.6
Airco DH.6
(1916) – Two-seat biplane training aircraft with single tractor propeller Airco DH.9
Airco DH.9
(1917) – Two-seat biplane day bomber with single tractor propeller.

Airco DH.9A
Airco DH.9A
(1918)- development of DH.9 with Liberty engine Airco DH.9C
Airco DH.9C
(1921) - conversion of DH.9 as passenger aircraft

Airco DH.10
Airco DH.10
Amiens (1918) – Two-engine biplane bomber. First prototype used pusher propeller; second prototype and production aircraft used tractor propellers. Manufactured by Daimler.

DH.11 Oxford (1919) Variant of DH.10 with radial engines. One prototype built; not produced

Airco DH.15
Airco DH.15
Gazelle (1919) - One DH.9A aircraft converted into an engine test-bed. Airco DH.16
Airco DH.16
(1919) - redesign of DH.9A with cabin for four passengers. Used as airliner Airco DH.18
Airco DH.18
(1920) – Single-engine biplane airliner. Cabin for eight passengers

References[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Airco
Airco
aircraft.

^ The King's Interest In Flying. Factory And Aerodrome Visited. The Times, Friday, 1 Jun 1917; pg. 9; Issue 41493 ^ a b c d Airco
Airco
display advertisement, page 3, The Times, 3 Dec 1918 ^ page 1147, Flight Magazine, 4 November 1920 ^ a b Mr. G. Holt Thomas. The Times, Friday, 4 Jan 1929; pg. 14; Issue 45092 ^ Mr. G. Holt Thomas. Colonel G. W. Dawes. The Times, Saturday, 5 Jan 1929; pg. 14; Issue 45093 ^ Air Transport Combine. Aircraft And B.S.A. Firms Unite The Times, Monday, 1 Mar 1920; pg. 14; Issue 42347 ^ Dudley Docker: The Life and Times of a Trade Warrior R. P. T. Davenport-Hines 1984 Cambridge University Press

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Category

v t e

de Havilland and Airco
Airco
aircraft

By manufacturer designation

Biplane No.1 Biplane No.2 DH.1 DH.2 DH.3 DH.4 DH.5 DH.6 DH.9 / DH.9A / DH.9C DH.10 DH.11 DH.12 DH.14 DH.15 DH.16 DH.17 DH.18 DH.19 DH.20 DH.21 DH.22 DH.23 DH.24 DH.25 DH.26 DH.27 DH.28 DH.29 DH.30 DH.31 DH.32 DH.33 DH.34 DH.35 DH.36 DH.37 DH.38 DH.39 DH.40 DH.41 DH.42 DH.43 DH.44 DH.45 DH.46 DH.47 DH.48 DH.49 DH.50 DH.51 DH.52 DH.53 DH.54 DH.55 DH.56 DH.57 DH.58 DH.59 DH.60 DH.61 DH.62 DH.63 DH.64 DH.65 DH.66 DH.67 DH.68 DH.69 DH.70 DH.71 DH.72 DH.73 DH.74 DH.75 DH.76 DH.77 DH.78 DH.79 DH.80 DH.81 DH.82 DH.83 DH.84 DH.85 DH.86 DH.87 DH.88 DH.89 DH.90 DH.91 DH.92 DH.93 DH.94 DH.95 DH.96 DH.97 DH.98 DH.99 DH.100 DH.101 DH.102 DH.103 DH.104 DH.105 DH.106 DH.108 DH.110 DH.112 DH.113 DH.114 DH.115 DH.116 DH.118 DH.119 DH.120 DH.121 DH.122 DH.123 DH.125 DH.126

By role

Fighters

DH.1 DH.2 DH.5 DH.77 Mosquito Hornet Vampire Venom Sea Venom Sea Vixen

Bombers

DH.3 DH.4 DH.9 DH.10 Amiens M'pala Oxford Okapi Mosquito

Passenger

DH.9C DH.16 DH.18 DH.34 DH.50 Giant Moth Hercules Fox Moth Dragon Express Dragon Rapide Albatross Flamingo Dove / Devon Comet Heron Trident

Sports

DH.51 Hawk Moth Humming Bird Moth Puss Moth Leopard Moth Hornet Moth

Trainers

DH.6 Tiger Moth Don Moth Minor

Racers

DH.88

Technical school

T.K.1

.