The Dove was the first British aircraft to be produced after WWII, with the prototype flying just six weeks after the Japanese surrender on 25 September 1945. . The wartime Brabazon Committee had identified a requirement for a small feederliner for UK and Commonwealth domestic services and the Dove was de Havilland’s response, a replacement for the pre-war D.H. Rapide biplane. The resulting aircraft featured new versions of the Gipsy Queen engine, a raised flight deck, separate passenger cabin and all-metal construction. It also featured other innovations of the time, including constant-speed propellers, flaps, and a retractable tricycle undercarriage.
The Dove was used by airlines on shorter routes such as those to the Scilly Isles and the Scottish islands, and on feeder routes to the main airports. Many were also used as company transports, while others were also used by the Services for communications work – the RAF called it the Devon and the Navy named theirs the Sea Devon. It was one of the Brabazon Committee’s successes - the total number of Doves built was 544.
G-ALFU was built as a Dove 4, later being modified to Dove 6 specification with more powerful engines. It spent the whole of its flying career, from 1948 to 1972, based at Stansted Airport and was used by the Civil Aviation Flying Unit for checking airport navigational aids and radio communications, and for aircrew training. During its long career it flew a total of 10,597 hours. It was donated to the Imperial War Museum and moved to Duxford in 1973. In February 1984 it was transferred to Duxford Aviation Society to become part of the British Airliner Collection.
|First flight:||25 September 1945|
|Powerplant:||2 x de Havilland Gipsy Queen developing 289kW (400hp) each|
|Wingspan:||17.4 metres (57 ft 0in)|
|Length:||12.0 metres (39 ft 3in)|
|Height:||4.1 metres (13 ft 4in)|
|Empty weight:||2,869 Kg (6,325 lb)|
|Maximum speed:||370 km/h (230 mph, 200 knots, Mach 0.30)|
|Range:||1,416 km (880 miles, 765 nmi)|
|Service ceiling:||6,614 metres (21,700 feet)|