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Dutch Profile Rapide / Dominie in Dutch Service

Authors:    Nico Geldhof – Gerben Tonrij – Luuk Boerman   
Publisher:  Dutch Profile
ISBN:  978-94-90092-42-9
Printed 2022 
39 pages
Price: approx 15,- euro in The Netherlands

De Havilland D.H.89, also known as De Havilland Dragon Rapide, is an English twin-engine biplane that was produced by De Havilland aircraft manufacturer. The airliner could carry 6-8 passengers. The Dragon Rapide, constructed entirely of wood, proved itself to be a solid and economical aircraft. The first flight was on April 17, 1934. The twin-engined D.H.89 Dragon Rapide was the smaller successor to the four-engined D.H.86 Express. Both aircraft had tapered wings and streamlined bonnets around the Gipsy six-cylinder engines. Immediately after its introduction in the summer of 1934, the D.H.89 became a popular aircraft with airlines in England and abroad.
During the Second World War, the D.H.89 was used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) for passenger transport, navigation training, radio training and liaison missions. The D.H.89 remained in service in the British Army until 1963. There are still a number of Dragon Rapides flying around as museum planes.
From September 1945 onwards, KLM used a number of D.H.89 aircraft to restart its flight routes immediately after the Second World War. Until 1962 a Dragon Rapide was in service for aerial photography at KLM Aerocarto. The Dragon Rapide has served with airlines and air forces in more than thirty countries worldwide, from Canada to Australia.

The (Dutch) Communications Flight was founded in July 1944 and was based at Hendon Air Base near London. The "B"-Flight consisted of four Dominies DH-89B. Among other things, they took care of the connection between England and the liberated part of the Netherlands. Later they went to LSK. The Flight was disbanded in May 1946 and a large part of the equipment was transferred to units of the LSK such as the No. 1 Transva. They were then given the Dutch rosettes and registrations V-1 to V-4. V-1 Limburg, V-2 Zeeland; V-3 Gelderland. A number of additional Dominies were also purchased as replacements in case of accidents, but in fact four were always in use. Immediately after the war, the first "air lines" were started and the Dominie's flew from mid-1946 with no.1 TransVa from Valkenburg and later the 334 Squadron, founded in 1952. The aircraft were mainly used for transport. In the period 1946 to 1950, the winters were very harsh, which meant that the Wadden Islands were not accessible by water. The Dominies were used to assist a lot at that time.
This Dutch Profile informs you about the history of the Rapide and the Dominie in Dutch service, both military LSK, Klu and civilian, KLM and KNILM. The development of the aircraft , followed by its use in the Netherlands, is discussed extensively. It is not an aircraft that has flown in large numbers in the Netherlands, so the history is therefore limited, yet there is still plenty to write about, for example the deployment for the United Nations to Palestine, in a white livery.
As usual from Dutch profile, the whole is richly provided with photos and the necessary color profile pages by Luuk Boerman. I knew the type from general aviation literature and photographed it in England years ago, but never really delved into Dutch history. Personally, I think it is one of the great advantages of the Dutch Profile series, which makes it possible to briefly and concisely learn about the history of aircraft in Dutch service, civil and military.

A Dutch Profile of the quality we are used to. For a complete overview of Dutch military and civil aviation, it belongs in your bookcase. Eight color profiles, fifty-five photos (1 in color) and of course the list with information about all aircraft. I enjoyed reading the book and have learned a bit more about this type.

Thanks to Dutch Profile for providing the review copy.

Reviewer :  Fred Bachofner


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this review was published November 2023 by M. de Vreeze, IPMS NL webmaster