The de Havilland Dragon Rapide is a short-range twin engine biplane that first flew on 17 April 1934. Crewed by a single pilot, it carried just eight passengers and was powered by two 200 horsepower Gypsy Six engines.
Entering service with Hillman Airways in summer 1934, it appeared on routes in Great Britain, Europe and Ireland. The aircraft boasted a range of 895 kilometres (556 miles) and cruised at 212 kilometres per hour (132 mph).
de Havilland Dragon Rapide Video
Following on from the last video on the Airbus A380, this week we head over to England for a look at the de Havilland Dragon Rapide. This is from a British television programme and runs for just over four minutes.
As there are a couple of aircraft still airworthy, it’s possible to go fly on one. This is exactly what the television presenter does in the filmed segment. Much is made of the streamlining of the plane, and I think this is very obvious from its lines.
Production ended in November 1941 and a military variant called the Dominie was produced instead. Many of these were converted to Rapide standards post war, which involved painting the aircraft, adding sound proofing, cabin décor and upholstered seats.
Airlines operating the Dragon Rapide post war included KLM, who started as early as September 1945 and British European Airways from February 1947. Other airlines included Australian National Airways, Aer Lingus, Canadian Pacific, Air India, National Airways Corporation of New Zealand, Swissair and many others.
There were 727 de Havilland Dragon Rapide aircraft produced, and over 500 of those were the Dominie military variant. While the aircraft was mainly retired from mainline service by the mid-1960s, some are still flying today.
You can purchase flights on the aircraft in the UK, with a 20 minute sightseeing flight priced as low as £99 for one person. I have to say, I think it’s something I would like to do!
Have you ever flown on a de Havilland Dragon Rapide and what did you think of the video? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Featured image by RuthAS via Wikimedia Commons.