De Havilland D.H.104 Dove / Devon


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de Havilland Dove

To provide a post-war replacement for the D.H.89 Dragon Rapide biplane transport, which had also seen extensive service with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy as the Dominie, the de Havilland design team under R. E. Bishop's leadership in 1944 evolved a new low-wing monoplane which, with the exception of fabric-covered elevators and rudder, was of all-metal construction. Powerplant consisted of two de Havilland Gipsy Queen engines, and their constant- speed fully-feathering and reversible- pitch propellers made the de Havilland D.H.104 Dove the first British transport aircraft to use reversible-pitch propellers for braking assistance. Standard accommodation as a transport was for 8 to 11 passengers.

First flown on 25 September 1945, the prototype soon demonstrated that there was little wrong with the basic design. Apart from the addition of a dorsal fin at an early stage of development to improve stability with one engine out, much later of a redesigned elevator, and of a domed roof to give a little more headroom on the flight deck, production aircraft were generally similar to the original prototype.

The Dove production variants resulted from differing Gipsy Queen powerplants, these including the 246kW Gipsy Queens 71 and 70-3 powering the prototype and the Dove 1/2 respectively; 254kW Gipsy Queen 70-4 in the Dove 1B/2B; 283kW Gipsy Queen 70-2 in the Dove 5/6, and 298kW Gipsy Queen 70-3 in the Dove 7/8. A number of Dove conversions carried out subsequently by Riley Aircraft in the USA as the Riley Turbo Executive 400 introduced 298kW Avco Lycoming IO-72- A1A flat-eight piston engines. A more ambitious conversion by Carstedt Inc. at Long Beach, California introduced two 451kW Garrett AirResearch TPE3.31 turboprop engines and a lengthened fuselage to accommodate 18 commuter passengers. Named Carstedt Jet Liner 600, the type was supplied primarily to Apache Airlines.

Like the Rapide, which it superseded and supplemented (replaced is an unsuitable word, for Rapides just went on flying), the Dove proved to be reliable and popular, and 542 were built before production ended in 1968. Of these just over 100 were supplied under the name Devon to many air forces, including the RAF, and a small number went to the Royal Navy with the name Sea Devon. In addition to the light transport role for which they were intended, many have served as business, executive, and VIP aircraft.

de Havilland Devon

 MODELDove 7
 ENGINE2 x Havilland Gipsy Queen 70-3 inline piston engines, 298kW
  Take-off weight4060 kg8951 lb
  Empty weight2985 kg6581 lb
  Wingspan17.37 m57 ft 0 in
  Length11.99 m39 ft 4 in
  Height4.06 m13 ft 4 in
  Wing area31.12 m2334.97 sq ft
  Max. speed378 km/h235 mph
  Cruise speed261 km/h162 mph
  Ceiling6615 m21700 ft
  Range1891 km1175 miles

De Havilland D.H.104 Dove / DevonA three-view drawing (800 x 777)

Comments1-20 21-40
Terry Jacobs, e-mail, 27.02.2018 01:37

In reply to Steven Walker's, 25.11.2016
How does a person contact other people who post on this site?
I have a prop blade which might be from a Dove but need to contact a person on this site.

If you look for any serial-numbers and also identify whether it is a 3-bladed propellor or just a single blade.? Condition would also have to be known for any flying purpose as only new conditioned props are likely to pass any inspection prior to certification. Is there any paperwork with this item ?
That paperwork is also likely to be needed.
There is a website that mentions Dove /Devon spare parts and also some owners might be interested - so web search ing is appropriate...


Terry Jacobs, e-mail, 26.02.2018 17:03

In reply to Roger Byron-Collins - 16.11.2012 comments,
and just to add that G-ALFM was the 1st registration applied to the Devon-c /n 04211 in 1948 and only a few months later was under RAF control as VP961. When it was acquired in 1984 by private-owners and based at Southend Airport in the HeavyLift Hangar - where I worked on it and flew with it as ground-crew support from 1986 onwards to 1993 where it was based at North Weald,Essex. Only since 1996 has it been registered as G-HBBC of BBC AIR Ltd and as a Dove-8, which is not entirely correct (unless certain modifications were undertaken, so it is /was still a D.H.104 Devon C Mk2.
I wasn't aware of it being used for conveyong a prime-minister, so that just adds to the list of VIP's who flew in 'FM /VP961 which, correctly as mentioned was Prince Philip's personal aircraft and subsequently the first aircraft allocated to the Queens Flight in 1952.
Many happy hours working-on.ground-handling /flying-in and occasionally flying it with a Captain to many destinations in the UK and abroad.

Would love to see it flying again and having either VP961 and /or G-ALFM applied to its' original colour scheme too...


Charles de Vries, e-mail, 06.08.2021 Terry Jacobs

I worked for Welbeck Estate Group ( who owned DH104 G-HBBC through their company BBC Air Ltd. It was bought by their CEO Roger Byron-Collins in 1996 from 3 enthusiasts when the aircraft was based at North Weald. It underwent a £300,000 renovation at Kemble and Coventry. I got to know a lot about this aircraft as with my CEO in October 1999 at RAF Northolt we took HRH Prince Philip for a 30 minute flight in VP961 who was most impressed and commented on it's excellent restoration.This visit was extensively covered at the time in Pilot magazine as well as Royal Air Force News. Whilst it was based at RAF White Waltham HRH obtained
his twins licence and captained the aircraft on 67 occasions. Our CEO's father Arthur was RAF aircrew with 40 years service and whilst the aircraft was based at RAF Northolt and RAF Wildenrath Germany he flew the then Prime Minister Harold Wiklson on many occasions. It was sold in 2012 to Roger Gawn of Melton Constable Hall who in addition to the DH104 also purchased RAF Sculthorpe and RAF West Raynham Norfolk that Welbeck Estate acquired previously from the MOD in 1990 and 2006.


doug a, e-mail, 01.12.2017 18:42

dove was dad 's favorite plane. trying to track down cn 04308.N747BB. it does have Lycoming engines after a hard landing in Albany,NY. thanks


Steven Walker, e-mail, 25.11.2016 19:53

How does a person contact other people who post on this site?
I have a prop blade which might be from a Dove but need to contact a person on this site.


Glenn Werner, e-mail, 25.04.2016 04:30

How does a person contact other people who post on this site?


Glenn Werner, e-mail, 25.04.2016 04:14

I have many hours of "thumb time" in the Riley versions of the Doves. I worked at Southeastern Commuter Airlines and we operated N808RH & N 673R for some time. I must say that they were some nicest aircraft I'd ever flown. I also helped on the Riley conversion on N711BK working under Floyd Blair in Sebring, Fla. Mr Blair worked for Riley in Ft Lauderdale in the late sixties. I still have many of the technical drawings for the Riley conversion. I sure hated to see that our two Doves were scraped, they were both good solid and dependable aircraft. Glenn


rick smith, e-mail, 18.11.2015 23:09

I would love to find a model of the DH 104 to build as a tribute of sorts, in memory of my dads' best friend. He was co-piloting one out of Las Vegas when it caught fire and crashed just after takeoff in 1968. I think it's a beautiful plane, as are most English designs.


Ron Walke, e-mail, 12.11.2015 17:45

I worked on the Devon while serving as an instrument fitter at RAF Buckeburg and Wildenrath 1954 55


Tony Hanson, e-mail, 23.06.2015 09:52

i have a single prop blade I found in a garden and I'm trying to identify it. It has a box printed on it where I can make out the De Havilland text but the other info has warn out. Can anyone give me any dimension or any spec on this. There are stamped numbers on the mounting. Any help greatly appreciated.


Igor Mossyrsch, e-mail, 31.05.2014 21:45

I'm flying the Dove 1.04 for LTU-Classic (find us on Facebook)
we keep it flying !!


Mark O'Neill, e-mail, 28.05.2014 11:21

Believe it or not, I fly one today, for a living, not just wheeled out for airshows but working hard and earning her keep flying all over europe almost every day, 65 years old this year, the aeroplane, not me.


Paul Allen, e-mail, 12.03.2014 18:07

I flew Doves as co-pilot out of Gatwick in the early 60's, most of the flying was at night. They were a joy to fly.


Danny Turner, e-mail, 17.10.2013 01:07

I am flying a restored '56 "Riley 400" Dove in Alabama. Does anybody know of another active Dove in the US?


Barry, 31.05.2013 12:27

The colour photo at the top of this page is the Dove 8 (G-AREA)that belonged to British Aerospace and now resides at the De Havilland Heritage Museum at London Colney. The Dove 8 is somewhat unusual in having the port elevator 14" shorter than the starboard to releive flutter.
In response to Larry White the DeHavilland Heritage Museum has a rather tired looking Heron (G-AOTI) on display.


Les Stone, e-mail, 27.03.2013 23:05

When I was at RAF Manston with the ATC on annual camp, we were treated to a flight in a Devon whilst they did patrols of the English Channel. We checked various ships by flying alongside and more often than not we were looking up at the decks. A couple of weeks later I returned and the Devon was out of service due to prop damage when one struck a wave....that's how low we flew.


Roger Byron-Collins, e-mail, 16.11.2012 13:31

Wonderful aircraft. My father M /Nav Arthur Collins RAF flew many Devons (military Doves)with Met Comm Squadron at RAF Northolt near London and RAF Wildenrath Germany between 1960 and 1969. For a while he used to fly the British Prime Minister in VP961 (G-HBBC)This was the aircraft that was the personal transport of HRH Prince Philip and in which he learnt to flay whilst with the Royal Flight. In 1996 I acquired this particular aircraft and restored for a cost of $500,000. I sold it last year. I also owned Dove G-APZU between 1971 and 1974 which I operated out of Southend and Luton with my airline Macedonian Aviation. Also an ex Sea Heron G-RNAS I owned between 1997 and 2007 when it was 'stolen' from Filton airfield and sunk in a quarry near Chepstow.


Mike Laundy, e-mail, 04.03.2012 22:27

I flew the Sea Devon in the late 1980s when seconded to the Royal Navy from the RAF, I was the squadron QFI on 750 sqn flying the military version of the Jetstream (Mk2 and Mk3). We used the Sea Devon as an introduction to twin engine flying for Navy helicopter pilots who were appointed to fly the Jetstreams. It was very easy to fly and especially easy to land.


Clif Ranney, e-mail, 14.02.2012 21:42

Worked on and flew in Dove N44B belonging to Massey-Harris in the 1950's. Tracked this bird to CO where I believe it is being used for spare parts.


DON HANNEN, e-mail, 05.11.2011 22:16



Bob l, e-mail, 23.10.2011 21:49

Worked at a small fbo called New England Aviation in Manchester NH. Had 2 there mainly for parts. Nice looking airplane


1-20 21-40

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