U.S. Air Service




DH 6

Development and Operation

At the end of 1916 the RFC recognized the immediate need for new training planes if it were to fulfill its commitment for expansion. It realized that there was an immediate need for an aircraft, which was safe to fly, capable of quick and easy production, and easy to repair.

Capt. Geoffrey de Haviland responded to this request with a 2-seat tractor biplane, of very elemental design, with a communal cockpit. The fuselage was in two parts--the front part covered in plywood and the rear section of conventional wooden box-girder construction. The square-ended wings were of conventional construction with the upper and lower wings being interchangeable. The aircraft was powered either by the RAF 1a or the Curtiss OX-5 engine. By the end of 1917 the D.H. 6 was replaced as a trainer by the Avro 504K.

At the end of January 1918 the Admiralty requested additional aircraft to perform submarine patrols of the coastal waters from the Tyne to the Tees. At the end of March 1918 two Flights of D.H. 6's were supplied. They were based at Cramlington. Eventually 23 Flights of D.H. 6's, a total of 192 aircraft, were used in this role. Five of these Flights were used by the U.S. Navy in patrols off the Irish Coast.


Aircraft and Flight Characteristics


RAF 1a Engine

Curtiss OX-5 Engine

Military Load *




360 lbs.

180 lbs.

    Fuel and Oil

207 lbs.

207 lbs.

    Empty Weight

1460 lbs.

1534 lbs.

    Loaded Weight

2027 lbs.

1926 lbs.

Maximum Speed

2000 ft.

6500 ft.


66 mph

75 mph


Climb to 6500 ft.

29 minutes

35 minutes



6100 ft

* Incapable of carrying both an Observer and a bomb load

  1. Bruce, J.M., British Aeroplanes, 1914-1918
  2. Thanks to Ralph Smith for the photo.

To find other Doughboy Features visit our

Directory Page

For Great War Society
Membership Information

Click on Icon

For further information on the events of 1914-1918 visit the homepage of

The Great War Society

Additions and comments on these pages may be directed to:
Michael E. Hanlon (medwardh@hotmail.com) regarding content,
or toMike Iavarone (mikei01@execpc.com) regarding form and function.
Original artwork & copy; © 1998-2000, The Great War Society