The De Havilland Beaver has a rich history around the world. Of course, now it is a great part of Alaska’s aviation heritage. The Beaver has been a cornerstone of the sport fishing community in Bristol Bay since the first lodges and fishing outfits began in the 1950’s. We at Crystal Creek Lodge own and operate 4 De Havilland Beavers, 3 on floats, and one on bush wheels. We operate these airplanes for the Crystal Creek Lodge fly out fishing and adventure program. The DHC-2 Beaver is perfectly suited for the Alaska bush environment. The airplane boasts a design that allows for short take-offs and landings (STOL performance) as well as versatility in utility for carrying both passengers and cargo. The Beaver was designed to operate in all seasons and the majority of weather conditions, and it possesses great performance characteristics for a floatplane. Additionally, the Beaver enjoys a cult-like fan following of pilots and passengers alike. Here are 9 things that you may have not already known about the history of the DHC-2 Beaver aircraft:
1. August 16th, 1947 marked the maiden flight of what would be known as the DHC-2 Beaver aircraft.
2. Nine (9) DHC-2 Beavers are still in service with the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary for search and rescue efforts.
3. A Royal New Zealand Air Force Beaver supported Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition to the South Pole in the year 1958.
4. The DHC-2 Beaver was named one of the top ten Canadian engineering achievements of the 20th century by the Canadian Engineering Centennial Board.
5. Following the end of World War II, de Havilland’s sales director Punch Dickins conducted a research effort by interviewing and collecting feedback from active pilots to understand what they wanted in a new aircraft. For the first time in history, the origins of an aircraft would be based on information from pilots rather than fiscal data or aerodynamic research. The result was unbeatable STOL performance for an aircraft of its size.
6. The Beaver was deployed by the British Army Air Corps during the Troubles at least until 1979 for photo-reconnaissance missions. One of them was hit seven times by machine gun fire in South County Armagh, near the border with the Republic of Ireland in November 1979, while taking valuable photos of an IRA checkpoint.
7. American actor Harrison Ford has his own privately owned DHC-2 Beaver; he is known for referring to it as being his favourite among his entire fleet of private aircraft
8. The US Army ordered a total of 970 DHC-2 Beavers, more than half of the overall production run for the type.
9. Despite the fact that production ceased in 1967, hundreds of Beavers are still flying—many of them heavily modified to adapt to changes in technology and needs.
Wikipedia Contributors. “de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 Oct. 2017. Web 14 Oct. 2017. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Canada_DHC-2_Beaver>