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Post WW2: de Havilland DH.104 Devon

First flown in 1945, the Devon was the first de Havilland aircraft to be built entirely of metal -- all previous types being of fabric covered wood construction.  

 

RNZAF DevonDesigned as a ten seat passenger aircraft to replace the aging de Havilland Rapide, the twin 380 horse power supercharged Gipsy Queen engines provided enough power to give the Devon a higher speed than the de Havilland Rapide despite it being a far heavier aircraft.

The Devon was also the first British aircraft to use reversible pitch propellers for braking assistance upon landing.

Initially named the "Dove", it was deemed that this name was not suitable for military use, and thus all military variants of the DH104 type were referred to as the "Devon". The Royal Navy also flew several of the type, which were named the "Sea Devon".

devonUp to 1967, when production ceased, a total of 542 Devons were built.

Thirty of these twin engined general purpose aircraft were acquired for service in the RNZAF beginning in 1948. They were used as trainers, VIP transports and communications aircraft. These reliable and rugged machines provided sterling service until the final examples ceased flying operations in 1980. Several remain in the Air Force inventory however, serving as technical training aids at the TTS section at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, just three miles from Omaka, the site of the Classic Fighters airshow. 

The Devons were finally withdrawn from RNZAF service in 1981.

 

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