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Dragon Rapide (Hardback)

De Havilland's Classic Biplane Airliner

Aviation Photographic Books 20th Century

By Colin Higgs, Jo Hillman
Imprint: Air World
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 200 black and white
ISBN: 9781526784742
Published: 30th January 2021

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It was the early 1930s, fifteen years since the end of the First World War. Aviation was becoming more popular, but was still a rich man’s hobby. In the midst of this came Geoffrey de Havilland and his aircraft company. He, and his design and engineering teams, created a line of simple, reliable and relatively cheap airliners which revolutionised air travel and were ordered in their hundreds.

The DH.89 Dragon Rapide flew for the first time in 1934. From its appearance on the drawing board the aircraft flew within a few months, announcing its arrival by competing in air races and entering commercial service. The prototype was the first of more than 700 aircraft, a huge number for a biplane commercial airliner design.

The DH.89 was operated in many parts of the world. In 1939 Rapides were requisitioned by the military who were so pleased with this reliable aircraft that they ordered 500 new ones to be built as trainers, and named the Dominie, for both the RAF and Royal Navy.

When peace returned there were huge numbers of surplus aircraft available but at this point, instead of being scrapped, they were bought up by airlines to be used again as short haul airliners for local services. Many of these services continued into the 1960s before finally being replaced. Even today, in the 21st Century, there are still many airworthy Rapides used for pleasure flying all round the world.

It is the story of this remarkable aircraft that is revealed in this unrivalled collection of archive images, the majority of which, having been drawn from private collections, have not been published before.

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About Colin Higgs

COLIN HIGGS has more than thirty years of experience in the publishing, broadcast and home entertainment industries and for much of that time has co-produced, written and researched aviation documentaries together with Bruce Vigar of Leading Edge TV. Colin’s business, A Flying History, was created to make accessible the unique and substantial Peter Keating and John Stroud aviation image collections.


About Jo Hillman

Coming from a background in BBC television rights and management JO HILLMAN entered into the world of aviation via a specialist distribution company and involvement in the filming of air shows. A keen, if amateur, historian she is now the Archive Manager for A Flying History and spends much of her time researching, marketing and developing the Peter Keating and John Stroud archives and the A Flying History brand.

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