Q6 Petrel

A light executive aircraft whose success was curtailed by the outbreak of the Second World War.
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 Gipsy Six engines.  Originally designed as a civil transport aircraft it was later utilised by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy as a communication platform.

The ‘Type Q’ was Percival’s first twin-engine aircraft and was constructed of wood, with a plywood and fabric covering.  Initially, two versions were designed: The Q4, a four-seat executive transport aircraft and the Q6, a six seat feeder-liner although it was only the Q6 which saw production.


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


Civilian aircraft were subsequently impressed for RAF use during the Second World War and were informally known as the Petrel, although this was not an official Air Ministry designation.'  

Unusually, the type was built with either a fixed, or a retractable undercarriage with the fixed undercarriage featuring a ‘trousered’ undercarriage leg beneath the engine nacelle which was very similar to that of the 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 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 feederliner
Percival Petrel Q.6 Mk1
1 built
Prototype fitted with wings originally intended for the Q.4
Percival Petrel Q.6 MkII
12 built
Production variant with fixed undercarriage
Percival Petrel Q.6 MkIII
4 built / 1 conversion
Variant with retractable undercarriage
Percival Petrel Q.6 MkIV
0 built
Proposed air survey variant
Percival Petrel Q.6 MkV
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.