de Havilland Dove

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DH.104 Dove
De Havilland DH-104 Dove 8 D-INKA OTT 2013 05.jpg
de Havilland Dove
Role short-haul airliner
Manufacturer de Havilland
First flight 25 September 1945
Status Limited service
Produced 1946 - 1967
Number built 542
Variants de Havilland Heron

The de Havilland DH.104 Dove was a British monoplane short-haul airliner from de Havilland, the successor to the biplane de Havilland Dragon Rapide and one of Britain's most successful post-war civil designs. The design came about from the Brabazon Committee report which called for a British designed short-haul feeder for airlines.


Production of the Dove and its variants totalled 542 including 127 military Devons and 13 Sea Devons. The first customer deliveries were made in early summer 1946 and the last example was delivered in 1967. Initial production of the Dove was at de Havilland's Hatfield factory, but from the early 1950s most were built at the company's Broughton facility near Chester.

Operational service[edit]

RNZAF Devon C.1 of 42 Squadron at Wellington Airport in 1971

The Dove first flew on 25 September 1945. From summer 1946 large numbers were sold to scheduled and charter airlines around the world, replacing and supplementing the pre-war designed de Havilland Dragon Rapide and other older designs. LAN Chile took delivery of twelve examples and these were operated within that country from 1949 until sale to small United States airlines in 1954.[1][page needed] The largest order for Doves was placed by Argentina which took delivery of 70[2] which were mainly used by the Argentine Air Force.[3][page needed] An initial batch of 30 Devons was delivered to the Royal Air Force[4] and these 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.[1][page needed] A Dove was used by Biafran Air Force during the Nigerian Civil War, and its wreck was found in 1970 in the court of a school in Uli;[5] a second US-registered Riley Dove N477PM delivered in 1967 to Port Harcourt from Switzerland never reached Biafra because was stopped by Algerian authorities.[5] 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.

Preserved aircraft[edit]

ZS-BCC (CN04079) a Dove 6 of South African Airways is on display at the South African Airways Museum, Rand Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Early production Dove 1 of Skyways in June 1948
de Havilland Dove
  • Dove 1 : Light transport aircraft, seating up to 11-passengers. Powered by two 340 hp (254 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Queen 70-4 piston engines.
    • Dove 1B : Dove Mk 1 aircraft, fitted with two 380 hp (283 kW) Gipsy Queen 70-2 piston engines.
  • Dove 2 : Executive transport version, seating up to six passengers. Powered by two 340 hp (254 kW) Gipsy Queen piston engines.
    • Dove 2B : Dove Mk 2 aircraft, fitted with two 380 hp (283 kW) Gipsy Queen 70-2 piston engines.
  • Dove 3 : Proposed high-altitude survey version. Not built.
  • Dove 4 : Military transport and communication version.
    • Devon C Mk 1 : Transport and communication version for the RAF.
    • Devon C Mk 2 : Transport and communications version for the RAF. Re-engined version of the Devon C Mk 1.
    • Sea Devon C Mk 20 : Transport and communications version for the Royal Navy.
  • Dove 5 : The Dove 5 was powered by more powerful engines. The aircraft was fitted with two 380-hp (283-kW) Gipsy Queen 70-2 piston engines.
  • Dove 6 : Executive transport aircraft. Uprated version of the Dove 2, powered by two 380 hp (283 kW) Gipsy Queen 70-2 piston engines.
    • Dove 6B : Stressed for operations at a maximum weight of 8,500 lb (3,856 kg).
Riley Dove with Lycoming engines and taller swept fin at Long Beach airport in April 1987
  • Dove 7 : Uprated version of the Dove 1, fitted with two 400 hp (298 kW) Gipsy Queen 70-3 piston engines.
  • Dove 8 : Uprated version of the Dove 2, fitted with two 400 hp (298 kW) Gipsy Queen 70-3 piston engines.
    • Dove 8A : Five seater version of the Dove 8 for the U.S. market. The Dove Custom 600 was an American designation of the Dove 8A.

  • 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 ehp (451 kW) Garrett AiResearch TPE331 turboprop engines. The fuselage was lengthened by 87 inches to accommodate 18 passengers.[6]
  • Riley Turbo Executive 400 / Riley Turbo-Exec 400 / Riley Dove 400 : Conversions of the Dove, carried out by Riley Aeronautics Corp in the USA. The aircraft were fitted with two 400 hp (298 kW) Lycoming IO-720-A1A flat-eight piston engines. Some of the Riley conversions were fitted with a taller swept vertical fin and rudder. 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 Herron. They were also test flown out of this facility.


de Havilland Devon
Dove 6A belonging to the National Test Pilot School departs the Mojave Airport

Civil operators[edit]

 Southern Rhodesia

Portuguese Angola

Portuguese Cape Verde

Portuguese Mozambique

Transportes Aéreos de Timor Dove at Bankstown Airport in the early 1970s.

Portuguese Timor

 Sierra Leone

 South Africa

 United Kingdom
 United States

Military operators[edit]

 Belgian Congo
  • Force Aérienne Katangaise[8]
 New Zealand
 South Africa
 United Kingdom

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 13 May 1948, Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington, second daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, was killed in the crash of a chartered de Havilland Dove near Privas, France.[9]
  • On 2 December 1952, Reginald C. Adsett of Arncliffe, Civil Aviation Department, senior examiner of airmen was fatally injured and T. H. Dalton, of Manly and R. J. Harris, of Bankstown, Civil Aviation Department examiner of airways were seriously injured in a take off incident at at Narellan, near Camden, Australia.
  • On 15 January 1958, Dove G-AOCE of Channel Airways crashed on approach to Ferryfield Airfield, Lydd, Kent, United Kingdom due to mismanagement of the aircraft's fuel system, leading to both engines stopping due to lack of fuel. All seven people on board survived.
  • On 13 April 1966, Abdul Salam Arif was killed in the crash of Royal Iraqi Air Force de Havilland DH.104 Dove 1, RF392, in southern Iraq, and was replaced as president by his brother Abd ar-Rahman al-Bazzaz.
  • On 28 January 1970, TAG Airlines Flight 730 crashed over Lake Erie killing all 9 people aboard.[10]
  • 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 asymmetric flap deployment on approach. All passengers and crew survived with only minor injuries. The aircraft was damaged beyond economical repair.

Specifications (Dove 7)[edit]

de Havilland Dove Srs 5

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67[11]

General characteristics


See also[edit]

Related development



  1. ^ a b Sykes 1972
  2. ^ Jackson 1987, p. 445.
  3. ^ Jackson 1978
  4. ^ Jackson 1987, p. 446.
  5. ^ a b War in Nigeria (Biafra), 1967-1970 By Tom Cooper 13 November 2003, 02:38
  6. ^ "Carstedt Jet Liner 600", Flight International, 19 January 1967: 85 
  7. ^ "F-12 (cn 04156)"., 11 February 2006. Retrieved: 11 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Congo, Part 1; 1960-1963". ACIG. 2003. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  9. ^ NYT, 14 May 1948 "RICH PEER VICTIM OF FRENCH CRASH; Lord Fitzwilliam on Airplane With Kennedy's Daughter -- Ex-Envoy Leaves Paris"
  10. ^
  11. ^ Taylor 1966, pp. 150–151.
  12. ^ Jackson 1987, p. 450.


  • Jackson, A.J. de Havilland Aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam & Company Ltd, 1978. ISBN 0-370-30022-X.
  • Jackson, A.J. de Havilland Aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam, Third edition, 1987. ISBN 0-85177-802-X.
  • Sykes, T. The DH104 Dove and DH114 Heron Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1973.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1966.

External links[edit]