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Dragon Airways / Hunting Clan

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Dragon Airways / Hunting Clan

Old 13th Nov 2008, 15:22
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Dragon Airways / Hunting Clan

Would any kind soul be able to point me in the right direction to
find out information on Dragon Airways which I believe was part of Hunting Clan? There is virtually nothing on the internet.
Many Thanks
Keith
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Old 13th Nov 2008, 17:50
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Dragon

Dragon Airways was founded in 1953 to operate pleasure flights at Butlins Pwllheli from the airfield at Broomhall.

Starting in June 1953, the flights were operated by Dragon Rapide G-AIYP, leased from Murray Chown, but this was written off on a pleasure flight in July.

Charter flights were recommenced in September with another Dragon Rapide bought by the company, G-AHPT, which conducted both passenger and freight flights during the autumn and winter.

Dragon Airways was registered as an airline by Messrs Guinane, Tod and Bamberg (the last being Harold Bamberg of Eagle fame) in January 1954 and the base was moved to Speke.

It immediately took over the operations of Liverpool Flying Club which had a mixed fleet of Austers and Mikes Magisters.

Dragon had acquired a further Rapide, G-AKOB, which with 'HPT operated both UK charters and pleasure flying at Pwllheli throughout 1954.

A Gemini, G-AKEM, was bought to carry out air taxi and pilot training flights. In May 1954 a licence was sought for schedule Manchester and Liverpool - Pwllheli flights using the Rapides, Austers, the Gemini and also a future permission for use of a Twin Pioneer.

Approval was received and a further application was made in June 1954 for a Speke - Renfrew licence and this was granted.

The flights to Pwllheli were operated more on an ad hoc rather than a scheduled basis and Auster G-AIPH from the flying club was added to the fleet for when loads were light, this aircraft was to remain with the company to the end.

Pleasure flights at Speke were added to the company's operations as were pleasure flights at a number of airshows in 1954.

The purchase of the Liverpool Flying Club also entailed a commitment to that organisation's Army co-operation flights which were carried out that summer and licences were granted from Stoke on Trent (Meir) to the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands for 1955. Winter 1954 saw a number of MOD charters operated.

During the summer of 1954 Captain Minshaw was appointed as Chief Pilot, Mr Tod became Chairman and Mr Guinane M.D.

Two Herons (both new) were purchased in early 1955 and entered service in May (G-ANYJ) and December (G-AODY). 'NYJ opened the Stoke services on a scheduled basis and these operated for the summer from early June and also, on the 28th, took over the Speke - Renfrew schedule which ran year round.

Also in June, the Heron operated for Hunting Clan serving Glasgow, Manchester, Copenhagen and Hamburg from Newcastle.

In July a licence to fly from Liverpool to Le Bourget was applied for but this was put in abeyance.

On November 1 1955 the company moved its base from Liverpool to Newcastle and was taken over by Hunting Clan, Elder Dempster and Tyne Tees Shipping.

Dragon took over the operation of all the Hunting Clan Newcastle rotations, the company was re-financed and given access to ther Hunting Clan fleet to susbstitute for the Herons if loads were heavy.

In June 1956 Viking G-AOCH was purchased from Fields. This shared the scheduled routes with the Herons. From Newcastle schedules were flown to Paris via Liverpool, Bergen, Belfast, London, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf but the Speke -Renfrew service ceased.

By the end of September 1956 many of the services were either heavily cut back or totally suspended. The Viking was hangared and only used for heavy loads.

Licences for London - Cork and Newcastle - Dublin were sought for 1957 but the company was leaking red ink across its entire operation.

In February 1957 it was taken over by the British Aviation Services Group. Its operation became part of Silver City's northern division and the Herons were absorbed by that company. The Viking was sold along with the Auster and the Gemini, the Rapides having been sold in 1955 and 1956.
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Old 13th Nov 2008, 20:06
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philbky - that is very helpful and quite comprehensive. Thank you very much
Brgds
Keith
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Old 13th Nov 2008, 20:51
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Keith, Could I butt in here to ask if anyone has a photo, or photos, of Heron G-AODY, She is a bit special to me, worked on her, (but much later in her career) flew as ballast on several air tests etc etc !

Keith Newsome.
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Old 13th Nov 2008, 23:33
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Look at http://www.abpic.co.uk/results.php?q...atest&limit=10
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Old 13th Nov 2008, 23:37
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No problem KeMac. Just one addendum:

Heron G-ANCI (which later served with a myriad operators) was the second Heron delivered to Dragon in June 1955, G-AODY was the third being an additional order.
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Old 14th Nov 2008, 11:41
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philbky - please check your PMs
Rgds
Kemac
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