Our DH89a Rapide took to the skies for the first time in 40 years in August 2013. She led an interesting life, a brief history is outlined below.


Ordered in 1944 as a DH89B Dominie 2 serial RL944, she was never delivered to the RAF & was almost exported to Brazil, but instead she departed DH Witney at 1220 on 24 Feb 1946 & was delivered to the Lancashire Aircraft Corporation.

She spent 1946 & ’47 travelling the UK & Europe on taxi, charter & pleasure flights, even venturing as far north as Oslo & south to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). She was sold at the end of 1947 to Universal Flying Services, flying taxi & charter flights until 1949 before becoming the company communications aircraft for Blackburn Aircraft at Brough. Her service continued with Hawker-Siddeley after Blackburn was absorbed & by 1965 she was Hawker’s last Rapide in service. Withdrawn from use in October ’65, she & G-AHGC were destined for the Nov 5th bonfire at Dunsfold.

DH89a Rapide G-AHAG ‘Bryher’

Scillonia Airways ceased operation in 1969, with G-AHAG carrying out the last operational flights from Lands End. Scillonia’s assets were sold off at auction & G-AHAG was bought for £205 & leased to the Army Parachuting Association.

Repainted orange, she was starting to look shabby, not having been refurbished since 1956, but spent the next two years dropping parachutists alongside Rapides G-AGTM & G-AIDL, both now preserved by Air Atlantique. On July 15 1972 during a formation drop, she famously gained a passenger midair when two parachutists hit the roof of her fuselage having jumped out of the Islander above, one of whom went through the roof & ended up in her radio bay. Sadly in 1972 she was taxied into by a Cessna, with her engines almost out of life she was not repaired, instead being relegated to the back of a hangar to be eventually de-rigged & sat gathering dust.


Ralph Jones (Southern Sailplanes) acquired G-AHAG in 1979 & she arrived at Membury by road in 1980. Ralph spent the next 30 years collecting spares & working on her part time. In 2009 the restoration gained new interest & accelerated to full time with a team of volunteers & the staff at Flight Composites, Membury. Extensive work was also carried out by Sky4 Aviation at Branscombe.

She is finished in a colour scheme based on the Scillonia Airways schemes used on their Rapides from ’63 to ’69. The interior is finished in period leather with eight seats.

She will now remain in private ownership, but will be available for hire, displays & a small number of public pleasure flying days & no doubt will be seen around the UK in the coming years.

In the nick of time G-AHAG (& AHGC) was saved by Bryan Neely, who was expanding his Scilllonia Airways fleet. Repainted in Scenic Flights colours, G-AHAG was named ‘Bryher’ after one of the smaller Scilly Isles & for four years was a familiar sight over the skies of south west England flying passenger services & pleasure flights.