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De Havilland DH 89 Dominie Rapide / Dominie / Dragon Six

Breda Ba.44





In 1930, the owner of a London bus company, Edward Hillman, opened air services from London to the seaside. He used an aircraft especially designed for him, the de Havilland Dragon, carrying eight passengers.


The Dragon Rapide was a direct development of the Dragon, employing the same structure but having tapered wings, 149kW Gipsy Six engines and a faired-in undercarriage. Known originally as the Dragon Six, it was first (E-4, later CH287) was flown on 17 April 1934 at Hatfield, put in production in 1934, and remained in production for more than ten years.

Construction consisted of a boxlike structured fuselage with plywood paneling on the inside and fabric covering on the outside. Wings had wooden spars and fabric covering.
The 48 ft spruce and fabric wings have ailerons on all four and split trailing-edge flaps are on the bottom wings between the engines and fuselage.

In 1935, a military Dragon Rapide lost to the Anson as the RAF's future Coastal Command reconnaissance machine. In 1938, the first RAF Dragon Rapide was delivered for communications duties, and eventually it became a mass production wireless (radio) trainer as well as a utility transport. It received the RAF name Dominie in 1941. Total production for the RAF and Fleet Air Arm was 521, the last being delivered in 1946.




It remained in production until 1945 and a total of 738 were built. After the war the Rapide served for several years as interim equipment of BEA, Iraqi Airways, Jersey Airways, KLM and other airlines until more modern equipment became available.
Fine pitch props were often fitted to enable an extra 200 lb payload and better short field and climb performance. The DH Rapide were slightly slower than the original flapless DH.89s. The DH89A was produced in 1935 to Capt Fresson’s requirements (of Highland Airways, Inverness) and incorporated landing flaps, a landing light in the nose, and cabin heating.

In addition many military models were exported, some (for Iraq and Spain) being of the DH 89M armed variant. Typical armament was three machine-guns (one fixed, and manually- aimed dorsal and ventral) and a bombload of up to 127 kg (280 lb).

A number of Dragon Rapides were also operated on Fairchild-produced floats by Canadian airlines, produced in Canada by de Havilland's Toronto-based company.


RNZAF Dominie


One example of the DH89A Dragon Rapide was owned by the NZ National Airways Corp (ZK-AHS Mokai) 1948-57 and five were impressed from civil airlines by the RNZAF 1939-45 and used as patrol and navigation aircraft. Fourteen DH89B Dominie served with the RNZAF for training and reconnaissance during 1943-53. The NZ National Airways Corp operated six DH89B 1947-64 (ZK-AKS Teoteo; ZK-ALB Tikaka; ZK-AKU Tawaka; ZK-AKT Tareke; ZK-ALC Tiora; ZK-AKY Tui).




The Breda Ba.44 was a 1934 licence-built DH.89 Dragon Rapide. The prototype (MM.267) had 2 x 155 hp Colombo S.63 inline 6-cylinder engines mounted on lower, revised wing plan. Production Ba.44 were powered by 2 x 200 hp DH Gipsy Six in lowered position.




DH.89 Rapide
Engines: 2 x de Havilland Gipsy Six, 205 hp.
Prop: 2 blade metal.
Wing span: 48 ft 0 in (14.63 m).
Length: 34 ft 6 in (10.51 m).
Height: 10 ft 6 in.
Wing area: 336.0 sq.ft. (31.22 m).
Gross weight: 5,550 lb (2:517 kg).
Empty wt. 3,230 lb.
Fuel capacity 76 ImpG.
Maximum speed: 135 kts / 253 km/h (157 mph).
Typical cruising speed: 132 mph (212 km/h) at 2.000 ft (610 m).
Initial climb rate 867 fpm.
Service ceiling: 19029 ft / 5800 m
Takeoff run 870 ft.
Landing roll 510 ft.
Typical range: 578 miles (930 km).
Seats: 8
Price new: £3500
DH89A Dragon Rapide
Engines: 2 x DH Gipsy Six, 200 hp
Wingspan: 48 ft / 14.63 m
Length: 34 ft 6 in / 10.51m
Max speed: 157 mph / 253 kph
Crew: 1
Passengers: 5
D.H.89A Mk 4
Engines: 2 x de Havilland Gipsy Queen 2, 149kW/ 200 hp
Max take-off weight: 2722 kg / 6001 lb
Empty weight: 1465 kg / 3230 lb
Wingspan: 14.63 m / 47 ft 12 in
Length: 10.52 m / 34 ft 6 in
Height: 3.12 m / 10 ft 3 in
Wing area: 31.21 sq.m / 335.94 sq ft
Max. speed: 241 km/h / 150 mph
Cruise speed: 225 km/h / 140 mph
Ceiling: 4875 m / 16000 ft
Range: 837 km / 520 miles
DH.89B Dominie
Engine: 2 x DH Gipsy Queen III, 200 hp.
Wingspan: 48 ft / 14.63 m
Length: 34 ft 6 in / 10.51m
Max speed: 157 mph / 253 kph
Crew: 1
Cruise: 132 mph.
Pax cap: 8.



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