deHavilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver

Described as one of the 10 greatest Canadian achievements of the century, the DHC-2 Beaver is simply a bush plane in a class of its own. Reliability, sturdiness, and safety are it's best known features.

The aircraft was developed with an eye for the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests which was looking to replace its Stinson SR-9s. The Beaver was the perfect pioneering icon: it was the first all-metal, Canadian-designed bush plane. The aircraft might have looked very different as it was originally planned for the 295 horse power Gypsy Queen 50, but development delays for that engine resulted in a change to the 450hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior. First flying on August 16 1947, and beginning deliveries in April 1948, production did not cease until 1967 for a total of 1,657 aircraft for military and civilian clients over two decades. (Not counting the Mk.3 'Turbo' Beaver). The Beaver won favor with the U.S. Air Force as a utility aircraft – so much so, that the aircraft became known as the "general's jeep" after serving in the Korean War.

The plane's high lift wing and flap configuration was the main reason behind the Beaver's success. Its short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities, even with heavy loads, made it appealing to pilots who needed to fly it into small remote airfields or lakes. The sturdy, simple aircraft became such a success that it was eventually in use in nearly 60 countries around the world – a true testament to its natural versatility. In fact, the Beaver was so successful that more were built than any other aircraft designed and built in Canada.

This fine aircraft was the first single-engine utility aircraft to be turbine powered by deHavilland; producing over 60 Turbo units before production ceased. The Turbo Beaver has more power, better all-around performance, a longer cabin and larger payload than the Beaver from which it was developed. In land plane form, the Turbo Beaver operates from unsurfaced ground strips or forest clearings of three hundred meters (1,000 feet) in length. With fuel reserves, operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), it carries a load of about half a ton on practical stages for nearly 1,000 kilometers (about 600 statute miles). With an available 6,000 pound gross weight upgrade, the Turbo Beaver can haul 2,450 pounds of freight. A cabin extension, providing for extra windows, a large baggage door and a cargo net, is also available in two different configurations. The Turbo Beaver can also be fitted with floats, amphibious gear or skis. The Turbo Beaver is versatile and may be adapted for agricultural spraying, dusting and seeding as well as in oilfield, mining, and industrial transportation applications. Designed with maintenance in mind, a number of Turbo Beaver modifications make for quick turnarounds and easy maintenance.

De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver Technical Data

  • TYPE: STOL light utility transport.
    • Wing span: 48 ft 0 in / 14.63 m.
    • Length: 30 ft 4 in / 9.25 m
    • Height: 9 ft 0 in / 2.75 m.
  • POWER PLANT: One Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN Wasp Junior radial engine of 450 hp.
    • Empty: 2,850 lb / 1,293 kg
    • Max. takeoff: 5,100 lb / 2,313 kg


On wheels  
Basic weight 1360 kg
Disposable load 953 kg
Gross weight 2313 kg
On Skis  
Basic Weight 1465 kg
Disposable load 847 kg
Gross weight

2313 kg

    • Max. speed: 121 knots / 225-257 km/h
    • Cruise: 109 knots / 201-209 km/h
    • Service ceiling: 18,000 ft
    • Initial climb: 1,020 ft/min
    • max climb : 1,020ft/min (5.2m/sec)
    • Range: 676 nautical miles / 1,252 km with reserves
  • CAPACITY: Accommodation: 8
    Standard seating for pilot plus 7 passengers. A 35 cu. ft. agricultural hopper may be fitted.


"The Beaver was really a super, flying pick-up truck. You could say it's the classic bush plane of the post-war period. And it was one of the great successes for Canadian aviation engineers."
- Rénald Fortier, Curator of Aviation History, The National Aviation Museum

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