The DH 84 Dragon bi-plane was developed by De Havilland for the commercial operators Hillman’s Airways at their request, following their use of its predecessor the single engine Fox Moth. The Dragon retained the simple light design comprising a plywood box fuselage and using the same type of engine. Taking its first flight towards the end of 1932, the Dragon also proved an instant success as a small commercial aircraft. The wing panels were outboard of the twin engines and could be folded for storage. The first four examples were delivered to Hillman’s in April 1933 and carrying six passengers, each with 45lb (20 kg) of luggage, flew the London to Paris route using 13 gallons of petrol an hour.
The Dragon proved popular with a number of short haul operators worldwide and here we see it in the restored livery of Railway Air Services Limited, decorated in silver with green and red lettering. Note too, the individually silver framed windows and transparent nose cone. The red Railway Air Services logo appears on the tail fins as well as being printed in full along the front fuselage beneath the cockpit.
Upgraded cosmetically in 1933, only 115 of these little aircraft were made, excluding some made in Australia under licence, before being replaced by the more powerful De Havilland Dragon Rapide, also in the Oxford range, so make space in your pre-war civil aviation timeline for this detailed little gem!