De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver: The Plane from Six Days Seven Nights
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De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver: The Plane from Six Days Seven Nights

This article aims to educate the reader about the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, the first all metal bush plane manufactured by de Havilland Canada which is a familiar aircraft that could be seen in small airports around the world. As it gained screen appearance in the 1998 adventure film Six Days Seven Nights, knowledge of this type of aircraft will also update the knowledge of film viewers of the significance of the presence of the type of aircraft on the film.

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Being a sturdy workhorse with the ability to take off from semi-prepared airstrips with Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities, the DHC-2 Beaver was de Havilland's STOL utility transport with lots of history since its introduction in 1947. In designing the Beaver a consensus was taken among pilots of what expectations they need for an airplane that will meet their necessities and de Havilland was able to assemble its best engineers to come up with an airplane design which offer extra power and STOL performance as would be expected of a truly dedicated bush plane.

A single engine and high wing configuration characterized the Beaver with the ability to be equipped with wheels (as a taildragger), skis for snow landing or floats for landing and taking off on water as the demand for its varied flight destination may require. It was also built with full sized doors on both sides to allow for easy loading of cargo or drums of fuel when the destination has no access to fuel source for refuelling. Categorized as a light utility transport powered by a single Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial piston engine rated at 936 kW (1,255 hp) it could attain a maximum speed of 262 km/h (163 mph) at 1524 m (5,000 ft). The range with full tank of fuel could reach 1,180 km (733 mi) with a service ceiling of 5,485 m (18,000 ft). The basic type has room for a pilot and a maximum of 7 passengers or 680 kg (1,500 lb ) of cargo.

Reputed as the first all metal bush plane built, it has a monocoque fuselage design that expanded to three versions, the DHC-2 Mk-1 which totalled 1,631 produced until 1969, the DHC-2 Mk-2 where only one was built and the DHC-2 Mk-3 where 60 units of the type was built until 1968. It's excellent performance in harsh conditions, made it the winning choice for both civilian and military in specialized functions.

The Beaver earned the opportunity to be featured on film as a charter aircraft of choice to be crash landed and yet allow its pilot and passenger to fly them back to safety in the 1998 adventure film “Six Days Seven Nights”. Based on the story, Harrison Ford played Quinn Harris, pilot of the chartered DHC-2 plane used in the film utilized by Robin Monroe (Anne Heche), a journalist for a magazine who must leave her holiday to be back at work in an emergency. The immediate need to be airlifted from an island in the South Pacific called for a charter flight and Quinn's DHC-2 took the scene only to be forced to land in the midst of a tropical thunderstorm which became the twist to the story. Harrison Ford, a certified pilot for both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters in real life actually owned a DHC-2 Beaver as part of his fleet of  aircraft which includes 6 airplanes and a helicopter. The acquisition of the Beaver was said to have been brought by Ford's encounter in utilizing the same type of aircraft in the film.


pp. 112-113, Aviation Factfile - Civil Aircraft by Jim Winchester


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Comments (8)

Thanks for sharing. I actually really liked this movie, as it was film in Hawaii, my home

Thanks for the reaction and glad to know you are familiar with this film, Martin. It's actually everyone's fantasy for a good love story.

Very well composed article. Thank you

Great film, great plane and great presentation Will.

very interesting

A very nice tribute to a great aircraft. Believe it or not I have actually had some stick time in one of these beauties. A friend of mine has one in his classic aircraft collection and I have flown it a few times at air shows for him. He still collects and restores them but had to give up flying them when he lost an eye in a factory accident.

Have a happy and prosperous week, Deep Blue.

Thanks for your reaction Rob, Ron, Carol. That was a very memorable past you have for this aircraft Jerry. How I wish I could feel the controls of this aircraft if I could still retrieve back my better days in flying my friend.

Very interesting story of this fantastic aircraft and film. I learnt a lot from your article, Will. Thank you my friend!