De Havilland Dragonfly

Last updated

DH.90 Dragonfly
De Havilland DH90 Dragonfly.jpg
RAF de Havilland DH.90 Dragonfly AW164 (ex-G-AEDK) at RAF Gosport
RoleLight Transport
Manufacturer de Havilland Aircraft Company
First flight12 August 1935
Introduction 1936
Number built67

The de Havilland DH.90 Dragonfly was a 1930s British twin-engined luxury touring biplane built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company at Hatfield Aerodrome.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

De Havilland 1920-1963 aircraft manufacturer

De Havilland Aircraft Company Limited was a British aviation manufacturer established in late 1920 by Geoffrey de Havilland at Stag Lane Aerodrome Edgware on the outskirts of north London. Operations were later moved to Hatfield in Hertfordshire.

Hatfield Aerodrome airport in the United Kingdom

Hatfield Aerodrome,, was a private airfield and aircraft factory located in the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England from 1930 until its closure and redevelopment in the 1990s.

Contents

Development

The Dragonfly shared a clear family resemblance with the Dragon Rapide, but was smaller and had higher aspect ratio, slightly sweptback wings. The lower wing had a shorter span than the upper, unlike the DH.89, and the top of the engine nacelles protruded much less above its surface because the fuel tank had been moved to the lower centre section. Structurally, too they were different: the Dragonfly had a new preformed plywood monocoque shell and strengthened fuselage. It was designed as a luxury touring aircraft for four passengers and a pilot, with provision for dual controls. The first aircraft, G-ADNA, first flew on 12 August 1935. The Dragonfly achieved maximum performance on low power, by using the new construction methods developed for the de Havilland Comet racer, and therefore was expensive to buy (£2,650). In modern terms, it was an executive transport, aimed at wealthy private individuals, often via the companies they owned.

de Havilland Dragon Rapide short-haul biplane airliner

The de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide was a 1930s short-haul biplane airliner developed and produced by British aircraft company de Havilland. Capable of accommodating 6–8 passengers, it proved an economical and durable craft, despite its relatively primitive plywood construction.

Operational history

The first delivery was made in May 1936. Some 36 new-build Dragonflies went to private and company owners, about 15 to airlines/air taxis and three to clubs. Two each went to the Danish and Swedish air forces, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had four to combat rum-runners. Production ended in 1938. [1] [2]

Royal Canadian Mounted Police mounted police force in Canada

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the federal and national police force of Canada. The RCMP provides law enforcement at the federal level. It also provides provincial policing in eight of Canada's provinces and local policing on contract basis in the three territories and more than 150 municipalities, 600 aboriginal communities, and three international airports. The RCMP does not provide provincial or municipal policing in Ontario or Quebec.

By 1939, several aircraft had moved from private to commercial use, like the fleet built up by Air Dispatch Ltd at Croydon Airport, headed by The Hon Mrs Victor Bruce. Amongst her seven examples were also some ex-airline machines. [3] They were used as air taxis between the various London airports, and also as Army Cooperation night flying trainers. Western Airways of Weston-super-Mare Airport used its Dragonfly on a scheduled service via Birmingham to Manchester.

Croydon Airport airport in South London

Croydon Airport, also known as London Terminal Aerodrome or London Airport was the UK's major international airport during the interwar period, located in South London, England. At the launch of the first international air services after the First World War, it was developed as Britain's main airport. After the Second World War, it was replaced by Northolt Aerodrome, London Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport. In 1978, the terminal building and Gate Lodge were granted protection as Grade II listed buildings. In May 2017, Historic England raised the status of the terminal building to Grade II*. Owing to disrepair, the Gate Lodge is now classified as Heritage at Risk by Historic England. Later, funding would be received from John Power.

Manchester Airport Airport in Manchester, England

Manchester Airport is an international airport at Ringway, Greater Manchester, England, 7.5 nautical miles south-west of Manchester city centre. In 2016, it was the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger numbers and the busiest outside London. The airport comprises three passenger terminals and a goods terminal, and is the only airport in the UK other than Heathrow Airport to operate two runways over 3,280 yd (2,999 m) in length. Manchester Airport covers an area of 560 hectares and has flights to 199 destinations, placing the airport thirteenth globally for total destinations served.

Seven airframes were shipped to Canada, and erected by de Havilland Canada, where they served a variety of small commercial operators, the R.C.M.P. and two with the R.C.A.F. At least one, CF-BFF, was fitted with Edo floats, and used commercially.

de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. was an aircraft manufacturer with facilities based in what is now the Downsview area of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The original home of de Havilland Canada was the home of the Canadian Air & Space Museum located in what is now Downsview Park.

Edo Aircraft Corporation

EDO Aircraft Corporation was an American aircraft manufacturing company known primarily for manufacturing pontoons for floatplanes.

In about 1937, three Dragonflies were bought by the Romanian government for crew training, appearing on their civil register. [4]

At the start of World War II, about 23 Dragonflies were impressed into the R.A.F and Commonwealth air forces, some six surviving to 1945. Overall, there were about thirteen flying in that year.

Dragonfly used by Silver City Airways as an executive transport in 1953 DH.90 Dragonfly Blackbushe 1953.jpg
Dragonfly used by Silver City Airways as an executive transport in 1953

Silver City Airways operated a Dragonfly G-AEWZ as an executive transport from 1950 until 1960. By around 1970, only the two survivors noted below were active.

The fuel tanks in the Dragonfly were in the thickened lower centre-section, not immediately behind the engines as in the Dragon Rapide. As a result, only one aircraft was lost to fire. A common cause of loss was the frequent development of a vicious ground loop either on takeoff or landing, resulting in undercarriage writeoff and spar damage.

Variants

Surviving aircraft

de Havilland DH.89 and DH.90 De Havilland DH.89 and DH.90.jpg
de Havilland DH.89 and DH.90

Two flyable aircraft survive:

Former operators

Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium
Canadian Red Ensign (1921-1957).svg  Canada
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark
Flag of Egypt (1922-1958).svg  Egypt
British Raj Red Ensign.svg India
Flag of Iraq (1924-1959).svg  Iraq
Flag of Laos.svg
Laos
  • Cie Laotienne de Commerce et de Transport (CLCT) - Two aircraft only
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
Flag of Peru (1825-1950).svg  Peru
Flag of Rhodesia (1968-1979).svg  Rhodesia
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania
Flag of South Africa (1928-1994).svg  South Africa
Flag of Spain (1931-1939).svg Spanish Republic
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom

Specifications

Data from [10]

General characteristics

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 144 mph (232 km/h)
  • Range: 625 mi (1,000 km at full load. At lower loads, a 25 Imp gal (114 L, 30 US gal) tank at the rear of the cabin increased range to 900 mi (1440 km) [11] )
  • Service ceiling: 18,100 ft (5,515 m)
  • Rate of climb: 875 ft/min (4.5 m/s)

See also

Related Research Articles

de Havilland Tiger Moth aircraft

The de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth is a 1930s British biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and many other operators as a primary trainer aircraft. In addition to the type's principal use for ab-initio training, the Second World War saw RAF Tiger Moths operating in other capacities, including maritime surveillance and defensive anti-invasion preparations; some aircraft were even outfitted to function as armed light bombers.

de Havilland Express

The de Havilland Express, also known as the de Havilland D.H.86, was a four-engined passenger aircraft manufactured by the de Havilland Aircraft Company between 1934 and 1937.

de Havilland Puss Moth aircraft

The de Havilland DH.80A Puss Moth is a British three-seater high-wing monoplane aeroplane designed and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company between 1929 and 1933. It flew at a speed approaching 124 mph (200 km/h), making it one of the highest-performance private aircraft of its era.

de Havilland Albatross four-engine propeller-driven airliner

The de Havilland DH.91 Albatross was a four-engine British transport aircraft in the 1930s. A total of seven aircraft were built in 1938–39.

de Havilland Dove airliner family by de Havilland

The de Havilland DH.104 Dove is a British short-haul airliner developed and manufactured by de Havilland. It was a monoplane successor to the prewar de Havilland Dragon Rapide biplane. The design came about from the Brabazon Committee report which, amongst other aircraft types, called for a British-designed short-haul feeder for airlines.

Railway Air Services (RAS) was a British airline formed in March 1934 by four railway companies and Imperial Airways. The airline was a domestic airline operating routes within the United Kingdom linking up with Imperial's services.

de Havilland DH.60 Moth aircraft

The de Havilland DH.60 Moth is a 1920s British two-seat touring and training aircraft that was developed into a series of aircraft by the de Havilland Aircraft Company.

de Havilland Fox Moth light transport biplane developed by de Havilland in the UK in the early 1930s

The DH.83 Fox Moth was a successful small biplane passenger aircraft from the 1930s powered by a single de Havilland Gipsy Major I inline inverted engine, manufactured by the de Havilland Aircraft Company.

Desoutter Mk.II aircraft

Desoutter is a British monoplane liaison aircraft manufactured by Desoutter Aircraft Company at Croydon Aerodrome, Surrey.

de Havilland Giant Moth airliner biplane built by de Havilland in the 1920s

The de Havilland DH.61 Giant Moth was a 1920s British large single-engined biplane transport built by de Havilland at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware. Intended primarily for use in Australia, a number were also shipped to Canada.

de Havilland Moth Minor general aviation aircraft built by de Havilland in England and Australia in the 1930s

The de Havilland DH.94 Moth Minor was a 1930s British two-seat tourer/trainer aircraft built by de Havilland at Hatfield Aerodrome, England and by de Havilland Australia at Bankstown Aerodrome, Australia.

de Havilland DH.50 aircraft

The de Havilland DH.50 was a 1920s British large single-engined biplane transport built by de Havilland at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware, and licence-built in Australia, Belgium and Czechoslovakia.

de Havilland Hercules airliner by de Havilland

The de Havilland DH.66 Hercules was a 1920s British seven-passenger, three-engined airliner built by de Havilland Aircraft Company at Stag Lane Aerodrome. As a more modern replacement for the D.H.10s used on the RAF's airmail service, Imperial Airways used the Hercules effectively to provide long-distance service to far-flung regions. Although the giant airliners were slow and cumbersome, they pointed the way for future airliners.

de Havilland Gipsy I-4 piston aircraft engine

The de Havilland Gipsy is a British air-cooled four-cylinder in-line aircraft engine designed by Frank Halford in 1927 to replace the ADC Cirrus in the de Havilland DH.60 Moth light biplane. Initially developed as an upright 5 litre capacity engine, later versions were designed to run inverted with increased capacity and power.

de Havilland Hawk Moth

The de Havilland DH.75 Hawk Moth was a 1920s British four-seat cabin monoplane built by de Havilland at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware.

The de Havilland DH.92 Dolphin was a 1930s British prototype light biplane airliner designed and built by the de Havilland aircraft company.

Penshurst Airfield military airbase (1916-1946) and commercial airport (1920-1936) in western Kent, England

Penshurst Airfield was an airfield in operation between 1916–36 and 1940–46. Initially a military airfield, after the First World War it was used as an alternate destination to Croydon Airport, with some civil flying taking place. The airfield closed following the crash of a Flying Flea at an air display in 1936, and was converted to a polo ground.

References

  1. Jackson (1978), pp. 374–9
  2. Hayes, pp. 145–50
  3. Hayes p.158
  4. Grey, C.G. and Bridgman, L., Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1938.(1972). p. 51b. Newton Abott: David & Charles ISBN   0-7153-5734-4
  5. Jane's 1938 p.82c
  6. Aircraft Registration Mark Query
  7. Croydon Aircraft Company Archived 14 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. 1 2 Jackson (1988) p 471.
  9. Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Register
  10. 1 2 Jackson (1988) p 150.
  11. Jackson (1978) p.374