DH Dragon Rapide G-AFFF

Craigton Hill, Milngavie













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: A restored de Havilland DH-89A Dragon Rapide (G-AEML) in flight.


Restored de Havilland DH-89A Dragon Rapide G-AEML in flight


Photo: 2005 Adrian Pingstone (Arpingstone). Released by the author to the public domain. More details at Wikipedia





Aircraft Type and Background


Railway Air Services / Highland Airways de Havilland DH-89A Dragon Rapide / G-AFFF



The DH-89 was a short-haul passenger aircraft developed during the 1930's as a smaller version of the DH-86 Express. The DH-89 Rapide was equipped with two Gipsy Six six cylinder air-cooled engines. This was one of de Havilland's most successful commercial aircraft of the period.


The prototype first flew in 1934, and the production variant gained many sales worldwide. From 1936 onward, the Rapides were redesignated as DH-89A's.


DH Rapides impressed into military service during WWII were known as DH Dominies.


Several of these aircraft are still in airworthy condition. (Dragon Rapide flights)



BELOW: A DH-89A Rapide (G-AGTM) at Kemble Airfield, Gloucestershire, England.


RAF Kemble


A De Havilland DH-89A Dragon Rapide at Kemble Airfield


Photo: 2005 Adrian Pingstone (Arpingstone). Released by the author to the public domain. More details at Wikipedia





Aircraft Accident Details


On 27 September 1946, Dragon Rapide G-AFFF of Highland Airways was on a flight from Port Ellen to Renfrew. The pilot lacked experience in letting down in cloud and was having problems in locating the aerodrome. Another Rapide , G-ADAF was on approach from Inverness and after 15 minutes of waiting for G-AFFF to land , the pilot requested priority landing and landed. G-AFFF flew into Craigton Hill killing the 2 crew and 5 passengers.


The enquiry concluded that the pilot of G-AFFF mistook the instructions to the other aircraft as being for himself , which took the aircraft further North into the hill.





Aircraft Crew / Passenger Casualties


Seven people died in this accident. These were:



  • Pilot Fredrick Stephens (Scottish Airways)

  • W/O Alexander M Calvert



Alexander Jamieson

James Crombie

John McKay

George Beattie

Act Sub Lt Derek Miles (Buried - Sutton St. Fintans Co. Dublin.)


[Details in above two sections were kindly provided by Alan Leishman]






Crash Site Photos


BELOW: Part of the crankshaft from the DH Dragon Rapide that crashed at Craigton Hill near Milngavie in 1946.


part of rusting crankshaft from dragon rapide that crashed at craigton hill


Photo: © 2009 Alan Leishman



Possibly, this is the only remaining part of the aircraft to be found at the crash site.





Photo Gallery


There are no additional photos of this aircraft in the Photo Gallery.






















Crash Date / Site


Accident Date: 27 Sep 1946


Accident Site:

Craigton Hill (150m)


Region: East Dunbartonshire


Nearest town or village:



Nearest large town:

Milngavie (S) (Glasgow)


OS Grid Ref.


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition: As far as is known, only part of the aircraft's crankshaft remains onsite (photo below).




Aircraft Details


Registration or Serial: G-AFFF


Operator: Railway Air Services / Highland Airways


Operating Base (Railway Air Services HQ): Croydon Aerodrome (later, Croydon Air Port)


Base Location: Croydon, S London


Current Airport Status: Closed in 1950s. Now, partly overbuilt with housing and partly playing fields and parkland.



Principal airport data courtesy of John Woodside, A Catalogue of UK Airfields




Related Links


Dragon Rapide Related Links

DH-89A at PilotFriend

DH-89A Walk Around (High quality close-up views of Dragon Rapide)

DH-89A at Wikipedia

Dragon Rapide at Duxford


Dragon Rapide Flight Links

Air Atlantique Classic Flight

Dragon Rapide Flight over London




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