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G-AMSV Returns to Coventry

An old friend returned to Coventry yesterday when G-AMSV, in her striking Indian Air force livery, landed here for extensive maintenance by our engineers. Sierra Victor was part of the Air Altantique fleet here for many years. She'll...

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Baginton Air Pageant

The initial details for the Baginton Air Pageant are up on the website! As we don't have the space for a full-on air show attracting 20,000 or so people, we're aiming for low-key, themed days like this. A couple of thousand people,...

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Newquay Pleasure flights

We promised we'd be back to fly in Cornwall, and here we are. We'll be heading south with a Rapide and Chipmunk to spend a week at Newquay from 25th July, with a further visit planned in August. The flights are bookable in the normal...

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New Dakota Book

Geoff Jones just told me that his new book on the DC-3, released to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Dak's appearance, is now available. The cover sports a lovely shot of G-ANAF, shot by Simon Westwood before her radome goiter was...

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Nimrod Engine Run

We've just confirmed plans by NPT to run all four of the Nimrod's Rolls-Royce Speys on Saturday 9th May. We expect the thunder to start just after lunchtime. Come along and enjoy some audio power - and please dip into your pockets...

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From the Blog Header
Become a member of the Classic Air Force
de Havilland Dove or Devon?
Devon nose Cabin interior Devon panel Devon in the clouds Devon close formation
Status: Flying
Owned by: The Classic Aircraft Trust
Current location: Both
Available for pleasure flights: No

We've never completely settled on what to call her.  In civil guise, the de Havilland DH104 was called the Dove, which fits the aircraft well. The domed cockpit and tall windscreen that give the aircraft its face create an expression of wide-eyed innocence. There's an unsubstantiated rumour that the Ministry of Defence were unhappy operating an aircraft named after the bird of peace, so they changed its name to Devon.

As our 104 C1 was built for the Royal Air force in Hawarden Chester, that makes her a Devon, but she seems happy to answer to either name.  She was built against Ministry of Supply Contract 6 / Aircraft / 235. Allocated the military serial number VP981, she entered service on 13 June 1946 at RAF Hendon, London (now home to the Royal Air Force Museum).  This makes her one month younger than our comparitively ancient-looking Rapide, G-AIDL!

VP981 served at Hendon for three years before being allocated to the Air Forces Western Communications Flight, based at Melun – Villeroche, Fontainebleau, France in June 1949. During this time, used by the office of the Air Attaché as well as by Air Chief Marshall Sir Basil Embry as his personal transport during his time as Commander Allied Forces, Central Europe.

She returned to the UK in 1966, joining the Western Communications Squadron at RAF Andover, Hampshire. During March that year, she was converted to Devon C2 specification.

In February 1969, the Western Communications Squadron was re-badged as 21 Squadron and when this was disbanded in 1975, the aircraft was transferred to 207 Squadron at RAF Northolt in West London, where she remained until August 1975.

She was then put in storage until May 1985, when the aircraft joined the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire where the aircraft was used as crew transport and general ‘run-about’ in support of the BBMF Lancaster, Spitfires and Hurricanes. The BBMF was eventually allocated a Douglas DC-3 Dakota and the Dove was declared surplus to requirements and put up for auction in October 1998. Air Atlantique were successful in their bid and she flew to her new home in Coventry.

In order for the aircraft to carry fare paying passengers, it was registered with the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) as a Dove 8 and allocated an out of sequence registration – G-DHDV.

The aircraft still regularly operates pleasure flights across the UK.

Classic Air Force also has a number of Dove/Devon airframes in storage for either eventual restoration or spares reclamation as required. These include Devon C2s XM223 (G-BWWC) and VP959 (G-BWFB), Sea Devon C21 XK895 (G-SDEV) and deHavilland Dove 8 G-ARHW.