Monday, June 4, 2012

TRIP REPORT - Local Joyflight at Old Station Fly-in - Des Porter's De Havilland DH-84 Dragon VH-UXG

At the Old Station Fly-in and Heritage Show held at Raglan last Saturday 26 May, Des Porter flew his well-known, and ever-popular De Havilland DH-84 Dragon VH-UXG up from Caboolture.  

After arriving and enjoying a quick morning tea, Des opened the lovely old plane up for 15-minute joyflights over the local area, with all proceeds from these being donated to the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service.  Of course, I jumped at the chance to take a flight in VH-UXG!  This post shares some of the experience of flying in the 1934-build De Havilland DH-84 Dragon. 

The old bird was manufactured in England, but has called Australia home since 1936. According to Des, the plane unfortunately suffered some significant damage after his father crashed it sometime during the 1950's, however after restoration was able to take to the skies again.

The Dragon is powered by a pair of very old, although immaculately maintained (and regularly rebuilt) De Havilland Gyspy Major 10-2 piston engines.  Des commented his particular aircraft has a relatively short-range endurance, although the flight from Caboolture to Rockhampton can be comfortably achieved.  Typical cruising altitude on the trip is around 4000ft.

While taking me, and the other passengers on our joyflight around the Old Station, Des maintained a low altitude of 500ft to improve visibility of the surrounding area - and of the "Old Station" Farm!  The views were absolutely spectacular!

After a short outbound leg, we turned back towards the Farm which we soon overflew and then turned finals onto Runway 24 for landing.

In my opinion, $40 for a 15 minute flight in the old DH-84 Dragon VH-UXG, was money well spent, and I would definitely do it again if I ever get the chance. 

Sincere thanks to Des for actually allowing me to ride in his Dragon.  Truth-be-told, I nearly didn't make the ride and, as it turned out, this was the final ride on the Saturday!

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