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de Havilland Heron — the “obvious successor”

29 January 2014

de Havilland Heron — the “obvious successor”

03° 07′ 00″ N /  101° 42′ 14″ E

de Havilland Heron — photo by Joseph May

de Havilland Heron at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum in Kuala Lumpur and utilized, until retirement, for VIP as well as personnel transportation duty — photo by Joseph May

The de Havilland Dove design (see previous post) was so successful as Britain’s first post WW II airliner design it was, naturally, improved a few years after the Dove’s debut as well as enlarged becoming the Heron. Essentially the de Havilland Heron had an extended fuselage and four engines, as compared to the Dove’s two. The Heron has a lot of compatibility with the Dove so any operation serving the Dove could easily also service the Heron. De Havilland produced Herons at a fifth the number of Doves but these served worldwide in 30 countries, as well. The Heron’s fuselage was not only longer but also taller with the passengers able to walk erectly as they made their way along the aisles. Curiously, if boarding passengers first took seats in the rear Heron’s would sit on their tails until ground crews were able to install tail stands to preclude such unsettling behavior. Herons could carry nearly twice the number of passengers of the Dove at the same speed and range using the same engines as well as several other interchangeable parts — bootstrapping the Heron’s introduction with regard to establishing a logistical support network.

de Havilland Heron — photo by Joseph May

de Havilland Herons obviously shared much in common with the de Havilland Doves in design as well as engines — photo by Joseph May

de Havilland Heron — photo by Joseph May

de Havilland Heron pilots also shared generous headroom as with the Dove pilots — photo by Joseph May

de Havilland Heron — photo by Joseph May

The de Havilland Heron had four air-cooled six-cylinder in-line Gypsy Queen engines but otherwise looked very much like the Dove sitting to its right — photo by Joseph May

An excellent article on the Heron has been written by Ross Sharp of Shortfinals’s Blog and it also has a nicely done photo of the de Havilland Heron known as the Duchess of Brittany of the former Jersey Airlines which was restored and kept flying during summers — with seats available for enthusiasts — on Jersey Island (one of the Channel Islands in the UK).

9 Comments leave one →
  1. 29 January 2014 07:47
    Hi, Joe……I imagine you know of this site already…but I thought I’d send it along in case not. In addition to the things I learn from your site, I’ve found that I also learn in detail (also like yours, ‘fun fodder’ for further search! ..:-) about craft I had no familiarity with before…especially early models…plus the photography is very well done too.

    • travelforaircraft permalink
      29 January 2014 18:14

      Thanks Dave! You’ve hit the nail on the head regarding the blog — create as wide an exposure as possible regarding aviation 🙂

  2. shortfinals permalink
    29 January 2014 08:54

    Dear Joe……A grand series of shots of a Heron I am unlikely to see! Thank you kindly for the mention of my blog. Actually, the Jersey Airways Heron that I showed was only ‘parked up’ on the apron outside one of the hangars at Coventry. She is still very much an active airframe, and undertakes pleasure flying in the summer months. Cheers!

    • travelforaircraft permalink
      29 January 2014 18:15

      Ross! Thanks so much and we will remedy the error immediately 🙂

  3. Allan Damp permalink
    4 February 2014 11:04

    Just as a detail observation, the Heron in the photos is a Series 2, which had retractable landing gear. The Series 1 had fixed gear.

    • travelforaircraft permalink
      10 February 2014 11:49

      Too true…the British have an eye for frugality, don’t they?

  4. Ian Mc Innes permalink
    22 August 2017 08:32

    Re the Heron,,,can anyone advise whether some early model Herons were fitted with a fixed nose gear,,,,but had retractable main gears.

    • travelforaircraft permalink
      30 August 2017 14:47

      Ross Sharp–an extraordinary historian–thinks not. It would be aerodynamically odd, but you know that otherwise you wouldn’t have asked. Perhaps someone saw a Heron with landing gear trouble?

      • Ian mc Innes permalink
        1 September 2017 08:22

        Thanks Ross
        Herons served our town in 1954 and I was always under the impression that the main gear retracted though the nose gear was fixed,,,,however I could never confirm this in more recent times…….thanks for clearing up my childhood misconceptions.

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