De Havilland D.H.95 Flamingo
|Virtual Aircraft Museum / United Kingdom / De Havilland
The company's first aircraft of all-metal stressed-skin construction, the de Havilland D.H.95 Flamingo was designed by R. E. Bishop as a mediumrange passenger transport to carry 12-17 passengers and a crew of three. It featured hydraulically retractable landing gear, split trailing-edge flaps and was powered initially by two 664 kW (890hp) Bristol Perseus XIIc radial engines. The prototype was first flown by de Havilland chief test pilot Geoffrey de Havilland Jr at Hatfield on 28 December 1938; during subsequent flight testing a third, central fin was fitted temporarily. In May 1939 this aircraft was delivered to Guernsey & Jersey Airways Ltd for route-proving trials, linking Heston and Southampton's Eastleigh Airport with the two principal Channel Islands.
The outbreak of war precluded commercial use on these services, but the Royal Air Force had ordered two Flamingoes for communications duties with No. 24 Squadron and one for The King's Flight, the last being delivered to RAF Benson on 7 September 1940. It was transferred to No. 24 Squadron in February 1941, the unit having acquired also the prototype, two aircraft ordered by civilian customers and the fifth airframe which had been used by the manufacturer for development of the Bristol Perseus XVI radial. This engine was fitted to all subsequent examples, including one used by the Royal Navy's No. 782 Squadron at Donibristle for communications flights to the Orkney and Shetland Islands and to Northern Ireland, and eight flown by BOAC on Middle East services, based at Cairo. The Royal Navy's Flamingo was the only aircraft to return to civil use after the war, seeing limited service with British Air Transport at Redhill where it was scrapped in 1954. Flamingo production totalled 16 aircraft.