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The Dove was a popular aircraft and is considered to be one of Britain's most successful postwar civil designs, in excess of 500 aircraft being manufactured between 1946 and 1967. Several military variants were operated, such as the Devon by the Royal Air Force, the Sea Devon by the Royal Navy and the type also saw service with a number of overseas military forces.
In 1946, aviation magazine Flight praised the qualities of the newly developed Dove, noting its "modernity" as well as the aircraft's load-carrying capacity, safe engine-failure performance, and positive maintenance features. Considerable attention was paid to aspects of maintainability, many of the components being designed to be interchangeable and easy to remove or replace, such as the rudder, elevator, and power units; other areas include the mounting of the engines upon four quick-release pickup points, the routing of cables and piping, and detachable wings and tail cone. The extensive use of special Redux metal-bonding adhesives reduced the need for riveting during the manufacturing process, reducing overall weight and air-skin friction.
While standard passenger versions of the Dove would carry between eight and eleven passengers, the cabin was designed to allow operators to convert between higher and lower density seating configurations. Features such as a single aircraft lavatory and an aft luggage compartment could be removed to provide for increased seating capacity. Various specialised models were produced for other roles, such as aerial survey, air ambulance, and flying classroom. A strengthened cabin floor structure was used to enable concentrated freight loads to be carried as well. The Dove could also serve as a dedicated executive transport, and in such a configuration it was capable of seating a total of five passengers; the executive model proved to be popular with various overseas customers, particularly those in the United States.
The crew typically consisted of a pilot and radio operator. However, rapidly removable dual flight controls could be installed for a second flying crewmember instead. A combination of large windows and a transparent perspex cabin roof provided a high level of visibility from the cockpit. From a piloting perspective, the Dove was observed for possessing easy flying qualities and mild stall qualities. A TKSanti-icing system was available for the Dove, involving an alcohol-based jelly delivered via porous metal strips embedded on the leading edges of the wings and tail.
The Dove first flew on 25 September 1945. In December 1946, the Dove entered service with Central African Airways. Initial production of the Dove was performed at de Havilland's Hatfield factory, but from 1951 onwards, the aircraft were built at the company's Broughton facility near Chester. The final example of the type was delivered in 1967. Production of the Dove and its variants totalled 544 aircraft, including two prototypes, 127 military-orientated Devons and 13 Sea Devons.
From 1946 large numbers were sold to scheduled and charter airlines around the world, replacing and supplementing the prewar designed de Havilland Dragon Rapide and other older designs. The largest order for the Dove was placed by Argentina, which ultimately took delivery of 70 aircraft, the majority of which were used by the Argentine Air Force. LAN Chile took delivery of twelve examples and these were operated from 1949 onwards until the aircraft were sold to several small regional airlines in the United States in 1954.[page needed]
In excess of 50 Doves were sold to various operators in the United States by Jack Riley, an overseas distributor for the type. De Havilland later assumed direct control of U.S. sales, however did not manage to match this early commercial success for the type.
An early batch of 30 Devons was delivered to the Royal Air Force, these aircraft were used as VIP and light transports for over 30 years. The Royal New Zealand Air Force acquired 30 Devons between 1948 and 1954 and these remained in service for VIP, crew-training and light transport duties into the 1970s.[page needed]
The Biafran Air Force operated a single Dove during the Nigerian Civil War, the aircraft was lost and subsequently found in 1970 on the premises of a school in Uli. A second US-registered Riley Dove N477PM delivered in 1967 to Port Harcourt from Switzerland never reached Biafra because it was stopped by Algerian authorities.
A few Doves and civilianised Devons remain in use in 2011 in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and elsewhere with small commercial firms and with private pilot owners.
Dove 7 : Uprated version of the Dove 5, seating up to 11 passengers, fitted with two 400 hp (300 kW) Gipsy Queen 70 Mk3 piston engines and revised cockpit.
Dove 8 : Uprated version of the six seat executive Dove 6, fitted with two 400 hp (300 kW) Gipsy Queen 70 Mk3 piston engines and revised cockpit.
Dove 8A : Five seater version of the Dove 8 for the U.S. market.
Dove Custom 800 : A customised version of the Dove, carried out by Horton and Horton in Fort Worth, Texas. Typically outfitted with removable bulkheads, various custom interiors were available, including airliner-orientated configurations.
Carstedt CJ600F stretched cargo conversion of a Dove 1 fitted with TPE331 turboprops. At Dallas Addison in 1975
Carstedt Jet Liner 600 : Conversions of the Dove, carried out by Carstedt Inc, of Long Beach, California, USA. The aircraft were fitted with two 605 hp (451 kW) Garrett AiResearch TPE331turboprop engines. The fuselage was lengthened by 87 in (2,200 mm) to accommodate 18 passengers. Only six aircraft were converted before one aircraft was lost due to a mid-air structural failure.
Riley Turbo Executive 400 / Riley Turbo-Exec 400 / Riley Dove 400 : Conversions of the Dove, carried out by Riley Aeronautics Corp in the United States. The aircraft were fitted with two 400 hp (300 kW) Lycoming IO-720-A1A flat-eight piston engines. Riley conversions were fitted with a taller swept vertical fin and rudder but those retaining the standard DH fin were named Riley Dove 2. During the late 1960s, Riley Aeronautics, located at the Executive Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, did interior refitting work on both the De Havilland Dove and the Heron.
Royal Jordanian Air Force - 6 - Two Series 1 transferred from Jordan National Airlines, two aircraft intended for Jordan National Airlines converted to Series 5 and transferred to air force, two new Series 7s delivered in 1965
On 15 October 1951, Dove VH-AQO operated by Airlines (WA) Ltd crashed near its destination, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, on a flight from Perth. All seven occupants were killed. The accident was eventually attributed to fatigue cracking of the wing spar.
On 1 December 1954, a Dove 2B VH-DHD of De Havilland Australia crashed at Narellan, near Camden, Australia. Reginald Adsett, a chief examiner of airman for the Australian Civil Aviation Department was killed. Two other were seriously injured.
On 11 April 1968, Dove 1 Z-900 of the Egyptian Air Force was lost over the Sahara desert following instrument failure. The aircraft was not found until 1 June 1971, all nine occupants had died of starvation.
On 28 January 1970, TAG Airlines Flight 730 crashed over Lake Erie after having suffered an inflight structural failure, killing all nine people aboard.
On 6 May 1971, Apache Airlines Flight 33 from Tucson, AZ to Phoenix, AZ crashed near Coolidge, AZ after suffering an inflight structural failure, killing all twelve people aboard.
On 3 December 1993, a Dove VH-DHD chartered dinner flight lost engine power during takeoff, resulting in the aircraft crashing into five houses in Essendon - a suburb containing the original airport for Melbourne Australia. There were no fatalities amongst either the ten occupants of the Dove nor anyone on the ground, but all aboard the aircraft and one pedestrian were taken to hospital.
On 3 February 2006, New Zealand based Devon, ZK-UDO (ex-RNZAF Devon 21) suffered a hard landing at RNZAF Base Ohakea due to an asymmetrical flap deployment on approach. All passengers and crew survived with only minor injuries; the aircraft was damaged beyond economical repair.
Aircraft on display
Dove 1 on display at the Museo Nacional de Aeronautica de Argentina
A de Havilland Dove featured prominently in the Gavin Lyall adventure novel Shooting Script. G-ARBH features in the 1962 film The Wrong Arm of the Law as the personal aeroplane of Peter Sellers' character Pearly Gates. Near the beginning of the 1980 film Flash Gordon (film) travel agent Dale Arden and New York Jets quarterback Flash Gordon board a de Havilland Dove which subsequently crashed into a greenhouse adjacent to the secret laboratory of Dr. Hans Zarkov. The atmospheric disturbances that caused the crash were instigated by planet Mongo's ruler Ming the Merciless. The crash sequence was filmed using a 30-inch-long model Dove diving into a miniature landscape.
Specifications (Dove 7)
de Havilland Dove Srs 5
Data from Flight International, Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966-67, Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1967-68
Capacity: 8 passengers / 1,477 lb (670 kg) max payload