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Aircraft Manufacturing Company - Airco - was established at The Hyde in Hendon, north London, England during 1912 by George Thomas. Geoffrey de Havilland joined two years later as the chief designer, on leaving his post with the Royal Aircraft Factory. His designs for Airco were marked with his initials "DH". The first great success was a pusher engine fighter DH.2 of 1916, that helped to defeat the "Fokker scourge" of 1915. More than 2,280 examples of the DH.6 trainer were built. The DH.4 and DH.9 were important light bombers of World War I - 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 Limited, the first airline established in the United Kingdom, that was also owned by George Holt Thomas.

Following the cessation of hostilities the company's undue reliance on military orders became a handicap however and the company became bankrupt in 1920. Its assets were bought by the Birmingham Small Arms Company which did not pursue aviation-related business. The aviation related assets of the company were bought by Geoffrey de Havilland and he formed the de Havilland Aircraft Company in 1920.


List of Airco Aircraft

  • DH.1 (1915) — Two-seat biplane fighter with single pusher propeller
  • DH.2 (1915) — One-seat biplane fighter with single pusher propeller
  • DH.3 (1916) — Two-engine biplane bomber. Two prototypes only built; formed basis for later DH.10 design
  • DH.4 (1916) — Two-seat biplane day bomber with single tractor propeller
  • DH.5 (1916) — One-seat biplane fighter with single tractor propeller
  • DH.6 (1916) — Two-seat biplane training aircraft with single tractor propeller
  • DH.9 (1917) — Two-seat biplane day bomber with single tractor propeller.
  • DH.8 (1918) — Development of DH.9 with more powerful engine and greater wingspan
  • DH.10 Amiens (1918) — Two-engine biplane bomber. First prototype used pusher propeller; second prototype and production aircraft used tractor propellers
  • DH.11 Oxford (1919) Variant of DH.10 with radial engines. One prototype built; not produced
  • DH.16 (1919) — Variant of DH.9A with cabin for four passengers. Used as airliner
  • DH.18 (1920) — Single-engine biplane airliner. Cabin for eight passengers

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