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HISTORIC AIRPLANES: A Fatal Error - the de Havilland Twin

When manufacturer L.W.E. Engineering Company produced its first retrofitted twin engine de Havilland, postal officials were ecstatic about the result. The new airplane would fly faster and carry more mail than the standard de Havilland. On its first trip, the airplane carried 630 pounds of mail (as opposed to 500 pounds in a standard de Havilland), and could fly up to 15 miles per hour faster.

The first trips were the only successful ones for this airplane. Soon reports were flooding Air Mail Service headquarters of crashes and mechanical problems with the airplanes. The first airmail employee killed by a twin de Havilland airplane was Charles Nanista, a field worker who was hit on the head on August 8, 1920, by a twin DH-4 propeller at Chicago field. On February 3, 1921, Kenneth M. Stewart lost his life in the twin DH-4 when engine failure caused his craft to crash in Minnesota.

The twin de Havillands were removed from service.

Click here to go back to the Short Summary of A Fatal Error - the de Havilland Twin.

Twin engine de Havilland in snowstorm  
Click on the photos to view a larger image.

(top left) Twin engine de Havilland in snowstorm
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