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The D'havilland Heron Story

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The D'havilland Heron Story

Old 15th Mar 2009, 06:51
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The D'havilland Heron Story

In 1986 Grahame Cowell wrote the history of the DH-114 Heron up to that date. I have been in touch with Grahame and based upon his original book I am re doing it to bring it up to date.

Especially with an expansion of the Prinair story andalso the final operations of the aircraft commercially in the Pacific and Australia.

If any of you flew the aircraft 1949-2009 and have pictures of them i would be happy to talk to you. (I hope to get a picture of all 148 of them).

Also any one who would like to contribute to the book by way of stories etc that would be great.

This little aircraft did more for aviation than it is given credit - even in it final commercial years it was still performing well

I look forward to hearing from you all
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 07:21
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I wonder if you know about this one, preserved at the Al Mahatta Museum, on the site of the former RAF Sharjah in the UAE. They have 4 aircraft painted to represent early Gulf Aviation machines. Their Heron is ex Australian.

The Heron "G-ANFE" is actually constructor's number 14072, a Heron 2 originally owned by West African Airways Corporation, as VR-NAQ. It was then registered G-ARKU with Overseas Aviation Ltd. In 1961 it was transferred to the Royal Navy, and converted to a Sea Heron C20 (XR443). Withdrawn from use in 1989 it was sold as G-ORSJ, later changed to G-ODLG. Sold again in 1993 it became VH-NJP with Heron Airlines in Australia. It was acquired for the museum and painted to represent G-ANFE in 2003. There is a constructor's number on a plate just behind the co-pilot's head "14072", and also there is a hand-written "NJP" on the captain's roof.

I have some photos, including some of the interior and cockpit. Do you want them?

l.garey is offline  
Old 15th Mar 2009, 14:39
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Join Date: Dec 2008
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Here's some Herons from Singapore in 1962 or 3:

Royal Ceylon Air Force CR802 and CR803 at Changi.

VQ-FAB taxies out for departure ay Paya Lebar.

VH-CLR and another on a delivery flight. Parked near the Singapore Flying Club at Paya Lebar.

David Taylor.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 20:01
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Here is a picture from the modified Prinair Heron, I call it "Kingsize", 1971 in Opa Locka, and a picture ofe the Philips Flight Department Heron 1962 in Graz, Austria

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Old 15th Mar 2009, 20:18
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Here's some snaps of ZK-BBM in Tauranga, NZ:

ZK-BBM DH114 Heron. Tauranga Airport 27 March 2007 :: ZKBBM.jpg :: Fotopic.Net
ZK-BBM DH114 Heron Flight deck. NZ Classic Flyers, Tauranga Airport 27 March 2007 :: ZKBBM_1.jpg :: Fotopic.Net

Here's one of the inside with my wife just leaving after a tour round the flight deck!!
ZK-BBM DH114 Heron Cabin. NZ Classic Flyers, Tauranga Airport 27 March 2007 :: ZKBBM_3.jpg :: Fotopic.Net

If you want the originals just holler...
Old 15th Mar 2009, 21:10
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Heron / Dove

The Heron & Dove are near identical until one counts the engines - I presume the simpler Dove came along first.

As BAe used to have Doves as comm's hacks, I've done a lot of happy hours in them, including going out of the upper escape hatch to waist level at 150kts for photography, and being in the right hand seat ( for a jolly ) when a Concorde flew underneath us on climb-out from Heathrow.

I must admit the only Heron I saw in the flesh was the Admirals' Barge.

There was a post recently that the Dove / Heron was actually a German design, grabbed as reparations - any truth in this ?

My ex's grandfather ( still in amicable contact ) was the late Robin Milne, Test Pilot on the Dove at least,* not sure about Heron.

Still I'd be interested to know if there really was a German input - must admit it felt unlikely to come apart any second, so probably not pure De Havilland !

From a Hawkers type...

* 'Bob' Milne was also Test Pilot on many other types.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 22:40
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Brought back early memories - flown to Tiree from Edinburgh for holiday in July 1960 (aged 8) in DC3 - Grandad found to be teminally ill, flown back four days later in a Heron - even now I can remember and appreciate the difference..
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 23:17
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German input

My #5 on DH Dove pic thread:

Lineshoot. Brabazon Committee funding for Type VB, to be DH.104: 25 February,1944. First flight 25 September,1945. Operation Paperclip vacuuming of German Aero data: throughout Summer,1945, concentrating on combat. Messerschmitt transport aircraft design activity: modest.

Not only solidly Brit but DH airframe, engine, prop.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 23:21
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My last job before this photo was taken was to line up all eight heron props, that can take alot of swinging ! especially with hot engines.
This will give those who havn't had the chance to see the difference in size between a dove and a heron.
Norwich Airport 1970 ( I think).


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Old 16th Mar 2009, 01:51
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Tornado Ken is correct. The Dove and Heron were 100% de Havilland.

The original Dove and Heron used many common parts but by the time the Dove 8 came along there were massive differences to both the Heron and previous Doves though the lineage was still obvious.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 05:45
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Back in fifties I saw a DH Dove (or was it a Heron) on its US sales tour at KLGA. It had fixed landing gear with rather strange looking fairings on the nose leg. A fixed landing gear spoiled what was otherwise a rather nifty looking aircraft.

When did they change over to the retractable gear?

I did fly on the Prinair Herons over to St Croix from San Juan. I remember them as being quite comfortable and the overhead escape hatches made sense in the overwater flying.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 07:10
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The Heron 1 had the fixed undercarriage. The retractable Heron 2 came along in 1952

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Old 16th Mar 2009, 08:51
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The old Croydon Airport terminal is about a mile form me with a Heron mounted on a plinth outside - looks a little dilapidated these days.

Walking across Kenley Aerodrome last night at sunset, a Dove passed by a mile or so to the south - very distinctive and attractive sight and sound!
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 09:23
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The Heron

Could it be that I flew in the Heron between Bahrain and Dharan in the mid 70's?

All I remember was was heat and noise..

Stories have it that pilots were always trying to improve their transit time and the record was 7.5 minutes ?
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 10:25
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I remember going to an airshow at Coventry in the mid 80's by Dove (G-ARDE) and then getting to go on Board the Heron that was also attending. What surprised me was the fact that I felt there was more head room in the Heron than the Dove. I have wondered ever since if despite the family resemblance the Heron used taller side panels in the fuselage compared to those in the Dove.
I agree that the Dove / Herons were 100% De Havilland (OK the tyres were Dunlop's).
The other game we had was asking the public to tell us what was operated by hydraulics on the Dove (DE), the brakes were pneumatic as were the flaps and undercarriage. After they got the propeller as hydrauliclly activated we still required them to mention one other hydraulic circuit.
Anyone out there got any ideas?

There were things in the cockpit that I found interesting. On was the large knurled knob that held the stop in place to prevent the propeller going into reverse pitch and the other was the look on the faces of PPLs trying to find the mixture and carb heat controls.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 10:49
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re WZ662's cockpit comments

Here is the cockpit of ex VH-NJP at Sharjah.
dHPilot: does it look familiar?


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Old 16th Mar 2009, 20:46
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WZ662: I worked on Herons and Doves for a while so I can confidently state that the hydraulic system worked the w.....
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 04:03
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Had the opportunity to fly in VH-ASH the first Heron into Australia a number of times when a teenager. Question: how did the variable pitch prop work seeing you only had a throttle to work with?
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 04:31
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Variable Pitch

The early Herons had bracket props that didn't fully feather. To change pitch it was done in tandem with the throttle. Also the mixtures were interconnected so wehen you flew the aircraft it was like flying a modern jet just push the levers forward and away you went.

Later construction numbers offered fully feathering props, and again pitch change was done through the inter connection. To feather the prop you had hydraulic feathering pumps and a set of 4 buttons to hit if the need arose.

Our Gipsy Heron had bracket props - one of which left the airframe on take-off one day. This was due to the servicing engineering failing to do the 150hrly prop torque check.

The Admirals barge (#130) that is in the USA has the fully feathering props.
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 05:49
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We had two DH114's with Air North, based at Rotorua. First one ZK-EJM I was type rated on 21/12/76, the second one has already appeared in this thread, ZK-BBM, although it looked a lot different than in the photo's shown, someone must have photo's of BBM when it was painted all over an orangey red colour with black on top of the nose and cockpit.

We were allowed to operate them single pilot VFR, but because of the lack of an Auto Pilot not legally IFR, but there were times when, due to circumstances etc etc.

Must have had three at one time, I have an ZK-EKO in the logbook as well, remember on of them came from Air Pacific, or maybe two of them. They did not require any heating systems up there so the systems were removed. This led to some very cold flights in the middle of winter, in the dead of night, NZAA-NZCH-NZAA with loads of freight. Remember one flight, raining very hard, windscreen, and other parts leaking copiously, the crash axe was used to put a drainage hole in the depression, heels for the use of, just below the rudder pedals before it had time to freeze ones feet to the deck.

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