Havilland D.H.84 Dragon
Havilland Dragon was designed in 1932 by Arthur Hagg and built at the
old D.H. plant at
Stag Lane (in what is now part of
Edgware, Middlesex). It was built in response to a request by
Fox Moth operator Edward Hillman
for a twin engined aircraft with which he wished to commence
service. This service was, in fact, inaugurated in
1933. 115 Dragons were cons-
tructed in the U.K., whilst 87 were license built in
Australia. The type was, in fact, used widely in
Australia. In fact, there were
probably more D.H. 84s registered in Australia than anywhere else.
They were certainly very common in
the 1940s and 50s. Far more so than in the U.K. Most of
Australian aircraft were built specifically for the RAAF, and most of
these machines found their
onto the register after the war. The shot below, from the
Greg Weir collection is interesting,
albeit that it shows the
tail only, as it appears to depict -AEF probably in the Southern
of New Guinea with the Qantas flag on the
VH-AEF was previously A34-68 with the RAAF. It
was sold in New Zealand in 1955 becoming
(See Fred Niven's history below).
Aviation Historian Fred Niven provides the following additional details:
"Built for the RAAF by de Havilland Australia,
Bankstown, NSW. To the RAAF, as A34-68.
This was the 1st
Australian-built Dragon sold post-war & the 1st civil aircraft
Registered VH-AEF to Butler Air Transport Co. 29/4/45 (CofR 805). Sold to Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. 18/6/48
used in PNG, before reportedly being
chartered to T.A.A. Sold by Qantas Empire
Airways Ltd. to Fawcett Aviation 14/5/53.
Sold to Rolvin Airways
Ltd., Palmerston North, NZ, 7/53. Reregistered
ZK-AXI 14/7/53, but not struck-off the Australian
Register until 11/7/55.
To the Nelson Aero Club, Nelson, NZ, 4/54 & used for charter
& aerial ambulance work.
during 1963, in need for maintenance & sold to A. Bradshaw in 1964. Sold to E. Cox & J. Bergaman,
of the Auckland Flying School, 4/67. It was badly damaged 23/4/67, in a ground
accident at Ardmore, NZ.
Later donated to the
Museum of Transport Technology. Purchased
by G.S ‘Stan’ & G.A. ‘Gilly’ Smith in 1982.
It underwent a 10-year
rebuild, completed in 1996; returning to the NZ Register 3/3/97. It was test-flown 22/4/97,
its 1st flight for more
than 30 years."