A34 De Havilland Dragon
The prototype de Havilland DH 84 Dragon first flew on 24 November 1932, and was an immediate success as a feeder-line passenger aircraft because of its low operating cost. One Dragon, G-ACGG, was equipped as a VIP four-seater for the Prince of Wales, while another, G-ACCV "Seafarer", was fitted with long-range tanks and was flown across the Atlantic in 1933 by Jim and Amy Mollison.
Sixty-two Dragon Is and 53 Dragon IIs (the latter distinguished by individually framed windows and faired-in undercarriage struts) were built between 1932 and 1936, whilst a military version, the DH 84M Dragon, operated with the Iraqi, Danish, and Portuguese Air Forces.
Between January 1940 and 25 March 1941, the RAAF impressed seven Dragon Is (A34-3, -4, -7, -8, -9, -10, -11, ex-VH-UZZ, -ABK, -URD, -UZF, -URF, -AAC, -UTX) and four Dragon IIs (A34-1, -2, -5, -6, ex-VH-URX, -URU, -AAO, -URY).
Because of an urgent requirement for radio and navigation trainers, orders were placed with the de Havilland Bankstown factories to build a second generation of Dragons. These aircraft were strictly utility versions with unframed windows similar to the Dragon Is.
The first aircraft, A34-12, flew on 29 September 1942, and by June 1943, eighty-seven DHA 84s had been built. In addition to being used as trainers, the Dragons also served in the communication, rescue, freighter, and air-ambulance roles operating with Nos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Communication Flights/Units, No 2 Air Ambulance Unit and Nos 33, 34, 35 and 36 Squadrons.
During the war years, 42 Dragons were written-off and, by June 1946, the remaining 56 aircraft had been sold to civil operators.
TECHNICAL DATA: de Havilland DH 84 Dragon Mk I
Six/eight seat passenger feeder-airliner impressed and built for training and communications duties.
Two 130hp DH Gipsy Major 1.
Span 14.43 m (47 ft 4 in); Length 10.51 m (34 ft 6 in); Height 3.07 m (10 ft 1 in).
Empty 1043 kg (2300 lb); loaded 1905 kg (4200 lb).
Max Speed 206 km/h (111 kt); Cruise speed 175 km/h (95 kt); Initial climb 186 m (612 ft)/min; Ceiling 12,500 ft (3810 m); Range 740 km (400 nm).
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