Percival Q6 YI-ROH
A fine air to air photograph of Percival Q6 YI-ROH 'Bird of Eden'


The Percival Q6 was a twin engine, low-wing monoplane of wooden construction, powered by a pair of De Havilland Gipsy Six engines.  Originally designed as a civil transport aircraft, it was later utilised by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy (RN) as a communication platform.

The ‘Type Q’ was Percival Aircraft Company's first twin-engine aircraft and was constructed of wood, with a plywood and fabric covering. 


Initially, two versions were designed in the Q4 (a four-seat executive transport aircraft) and the Q6 (a six seat feeder-liner) although it was only the Q6 which actually saw production.


The first prototype (G-AEYE) flew for the first time from Luton Airport on 14th September 1937. Production commenced in 1938 with the first airframe being sold to Sir Phillip Sassoon, a leading politician of the day. The prototype was then followed by 26 production aircraft, a number of which were exported, including one aircraft to King Ghazi of Iraq, two aircraft to the Lithuanian Government and a further two aircraft to the Egyptian Government.


Civilian aircraft were subsequently impressed for use by the RAF during the Second World War and these were informally known as the Q6 Petrel, although this was never an official Air Ministry designation.'

Unusually, the type was built with either a fixed or retractable undercarriage. The fixed undercarriage featured a ‘trousered’ undercarriage leg beneath the engine nacelle. This was very similar in appearance to that of the De Havilland DH89 Dragon Rapide.  


Only four of the aircraft used the optional retractable undercarriage.


Percival Q6 Petrel P5634
Percival Q6 Petrel P5634 in RAF service


The Percival Q6 was in effect, an equivalent of the post-war De Havilland DH104 Dove with seven aircraft being built from the outset for RAF use. Three aircraft returned to civil use after the war.



Powerplant Two 205 hp DH Gipsy Six Series II
Span 46 ft 8 in
Maximum Weight 3,500 lb
Capacity  Pilot and 5 to 6 passengers
Maximum Speed 195 mph (206 mph with retractable undercarriage)
Cruising Sped 175 mph (188 mph with retractable undercarriage)
Range 750 miles


Number built & Variants

Percival Petrel Q.4
0 built
4 Seater civil executive aircraft                                                
Percival Petrel Q.6 6 Seater feeder-liner
Percival Petrel Q.6 Mk1
1 built
Prototype fitted with wings originally intended for the Q.4
Percival Petrel Q.6 Mk II
12 built
Production variant with fixed undercarriage
Percival Petrel Q.6 Mk III
4 built / 1 conversion
Variant with retractable undercarriage
Percival Petrel Q.6 Mk IV
0 built
Proposed air survey variant
Percival Petrel Q.6 Mk V
9 built
Military communications aircraft for 4 passengers



Percival Petrel Q6
This aircraft was hangared at Redhill Aerodrome for many years, before a move to Duxford and then to the Isle of Man for rebuild. Restoration continues at Seething Airport, Norwich.
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