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The de Havilland DH.84 Dragon was a successful small commercial aircraft designed and built by the de Havilland company.

Following the commercial success of its single-engined De Havilland Fox Moth that had first flown in March 1932, that aircraft's original commercial operator Hillman's Airways requested that a larger twin-engined version be built. It was a simple, light design with a plywood box fuselage using the same type of engine and similar outer wing sections of the earlier single-engined aircraft. It was originally designated the DH.84 "Dragon Moth" but marked as the "Dragon." The prototype became the first production example and entered commercial service in April 1933. It could carry 6 passengers each with 45 lb (20 kg) of luggage on the Londonmarker-Parismarker route on a fuel consumption of just 13 gal ( l) per hour.

The inaugural service of the Irish Airline Aer Lingus was provided by a DH Dragon, EI-ABI "Iolar", which means "Eagle" in the Irish Language. For the 50th anniversary of the airline in 1986, a replica Dragon was acquired and restored as the "Iolar".

The "Dragon" proved very attractive as a short-haul low capacity airliner and was soon in service world-wide. From the 63rd aircraft late in 1933, the "Dragon 2" with improvements including individually framed windows and faired undercarriage struts was produced. Even though these changes were largely cosmetic the streamlining improved the aircraft's speed by about 5 mph (8 km/h), allowed 250 lb (113 kg) more payload to be carried and added 85 mi (137 km) of range.

British production of the DH.84 ended at the 115th aircraft, when it was replaced on the assembly line by the more powerful and elegant De Havilland Dragon Rapide. However, during World War II the DH.84 was put back into production at Bankstownmarker, Australia as a navigational trainer for the RAAF, being preferred to the Rapide because its smaller engines were then being manufactured locally for De Havilland Tiger Moth production. A further 87 were built.

Following the end of the War, surviving DH.84s were released into commercial service and a number are still flying today.
DH84 Dragon G-ECAN at Woburn Tiger Moth Rally 2007


Variants

  • Dragon 1 : Twin-engined medium transport biplane.
  • Dragon 2 : Improved version. Fitted with framed cabin windows and two faired main undercarriage legs.
  • DH.84M Dragon : Military transport version. The DH.84M was armed with two machine guns, and it could carry up to sixteen 20 lb (9 kg) bombs. Exported to Denmarkmarker, Iraqmarker and Portugalmarker.


Military Operators

  • Two DH.84 Dragons
  • Eight DH.84M Dragons
  • Three DH.84 Dragons


Specifications (DH.84 Dragon 1)

See also

References



  • ISBN 0-85177-813-5



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