In response to the Daily Mail Light Aeroplane Competition of 1923 de Havilland built two DH.53s which were named Humming Bird and Sylvia II. The DH.53 was a low-wing single-seat monoplane powered by a Douglas 750 cc motorcycle engine. At Lympne, in October 1923, the DH.53s did not win any prizes but gave an impressive performance for a light aircraft. The Air Ministry became interested in the design and ordered eight in 1924 as communications and training aircraft for the Royal Air Force.
Early in 1924 twelve aircraft were built at Stag Lane Aerodrome and were named Humming Bird after the first prototype. Eight aircraft were for the Air Ministry order, three were for export to Australia, and one was exported to Aero in Prague. One further aircraft was later built for an order from Russia.
The production aircraft were powered by a 26 HP (19 kW) Blackburne Tomtit two-cylinder engine.
The first six aircraft for the Royal Air Force all made their public début at the 1925 display at RAF Hendon, where they were raced against each other. The last two aircraft would later be used for "parasite aircraft" trials being launched from below an airship – the R.33. The aircraft were retired in 1927 and all eight were sold as civil aircraft.
The DH.53 Humming Bird Slow Flyer KIT (500mm wingspan, 1/20 scale, balsa wood) is another eye-catching flying model from Tony Ray AeroModel. This Golden Age 1/20th Scale Model of the DH Humming Bird will turn heads wherever she is flown. At a full 500mm and utilizing a powerful 8.5mm gear driven motor there is plenty of power for handling a slight breeze outdoors and for flying indoors at larger venues.
What a fantastic looking aircraft.