De Havilland
DH89 Dragon Rapide

A highly successful regional airliner, with significant wartime usage for training and communications duties.
 
Prototype DH89 Dragon Six CH-287 Prototype DH89 Dragon Six CH-287 at Hatfield
 
The prototype De Havilland Aircraft DH89 Dragon Six (E-4/CH-287) flew for the first time on 17th April 1934 and was essentially a twin engine, scaled down version of the 4 engine DH86 Express. Designed to carry 6 - 8 passengers, it became one of the most successful British built short-haul aircraft of the era and despite its primitive plywood construction, it proved to be extemely durable.
 
It was the first new aircraft type to be flown at Hatfield after the company moved its flying activities to Hatfield from Stag Lane.  Production aircraft were known as the Dragon Rapide or simply the Rapide with the majority being the DH89A variant which was fitted with small trailing edge flaps.
 
The type was immediately successful in both the home and export markets with a significant number of pre-war British operators including Hillman Airways, Railway Air Services, Olley Air Services, Northern & Scottish Airways and Jersey Airways.  
 
It also boasted a royal connection as Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) owned a DH Dragon Rapide and upon his accession to King, he flew the aircraft to London becoming the first UK Monarch to pilot their own aircraft.

 

De Havilland DH89 Dragon Rapide G-AERN of West Coast Air Services in March 1937 De Havilland DH89 Dragon Rapide G-AERN of West Coast Air Services in March 1937
 
With the outbreak of the Second World War, the type gained a new lease of life, entering RAF service as the Dominie in navigational training (Mk1) and communication roles (Mk2).  731 Dominies were utilised by both the RAF and Royal Navy as well as a number in air ambulance and transport roles.
 
Post-war, the type became a mainstay of the Highlands and Islands routes of BEA, the company operating nearly 20 of the type as their ‘Islander’ class.
 
A total of 728 DH89 Rapide and Dominie were built, 346 of which were Dominies built by Brush Coachworks in Loughborough in addition to a combined total 380 Dominies and Rapides built at Hatfield; two aircraft were also built from spares at Witney. Large numbers of Dominie aircraft were converted to civilian use post-war and the type is said to have been operated in almost every country in the world.  The DH89, in all its variants, provided a durable, simple and forgiving light transport aircraft which was eventually superceded by the De Havilland Dove and Heron types.
 
De Havilland DH89 Dominie X7524 De Havilland DH89 Dominie X7524 in September 1942
 
A number still fly today giving pleasure flights and appearing at air shows around the world.

 

Specification


Powerplant Two 200 hp DH Gipsy Six (DH89), or (DH89A) 200 hp DH Gipsy Queen
Span 48 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight 5,500 lb (Mk4 6,000 lb)
Capacity  Pilot and eight passengers
Maximum Speed 157 mph
Cruising Speed 132 mph
Endurance 578 miles

 

Survivors


Airworthy
UK Nine examples (G-AGJG, G-AGSH, G-AGTM, G-AHAG, G-AIDL, G-AIYR, G-AKDW, G-AKIF, G-AKRP) are listed in the CAA database as having current certificates of airworthiness in January 2017. The type being a popular mount for pleasure flights.
Elsewhere Other airworthy examples can be found in France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and the USA with a number of aircraft under restoration elsewhere.
Museums
UK G-AKDW
De Havilland Museum, London Colney 

www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk

  G-ADAH
Manchester Museum of Science and Industry

www.msimanchester.org.uk

  G-ALXT Science Museum, Wroughton www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
Belgium OO-CNP
Musee Royale de l'Armee, Brussels

www.brusselsmuseums.be/en/museum/89-royal-museum-of-the-armed-forces-and-of-military-history

Brazil PP-VAN
Museu Aeroespacial, Rio de Janeiro

www.museusdorio.com.br/joomla/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=173:museu-aeroespacial#sobre_o_museu

Canada C-FAYE
Canadian Bushplane Heritage Education Centre, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

www.bushplane.com/

  CF-PTK
Under restoration by Reynolds-Alberta Museum, Wetaskiwin, Alberta

www.history.alberta.ca/reynolds/

Denmark OY-AOO
Preserved by Danish Museum of Science & Technology, Helsingor

http://tekniskmuseum.dk/english/

France F-BHCD
Musee de l’Air et Espace, Le Bourget, Paris

www.museeairespace.fr

Iceland F-BHGR
Icelandic Aviation Museum, Akureyri. Under restoration as ‘TF-ISM’

www.isavia.is/english/airports/akureyri-international-airport/icelandic-aviation-museum/

Israel VQ-PAR
Israeli Air Force Museum, Hatzerim

www.iaf.org.il/46-en/IAF.aspx

New Zealand ZK-AHS Museum of Transport, Technology and Social History, Auckland www.motat.org.nz/#/
Portugal CR-LCO
 ‘2307’ Museo do Ar, Sintra

www.cm-sintra.pt/en/heritage/air-museum

Spain EC-AKO Spanish Air Force Museum, Cuatro Vientos, Madrid www.ejercitodelaire.mde.es/ea/pag?idDoc=66EB0DC3ACBC1609C125746C0023390D
  G-ACYR Spanish Air Force Museum, Cuatro Vientos, Madrid
USA
N2290F
(X4754)
National Museum of The United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio. 

www.nationalmuseum.af.mil

  N2290B Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, Creve Coeur, St Louis, Missouri www.historicaircraftrestorationmuseum.org/

 

Other information