La Ferté Dragon Rapide takes shape

At La Ferté-Alais, restoration of the Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis’ de Havilland DH89A Dragon Rapide F-AZCA has seen application of more of its post-war Fleet Air Arm colour scheme.

A regular performer in Blue Way cigarette brand colours and a subsequent RAF scheme until the late 2000s, the Rapide is being returned to flight with support from France’s main national heritage foundation, the Fondation du Patrimoine (see Workshop, Aeroplane October 2023).

Originally delivered to the RAF as X7381 in 1941 as a Dominie, the machine flew with the Air Transport Auxiliary, No 2 Signals School and the A&AEE during the war years. It crossed the Channel in 1952 for parachutist-dropping duties, and arrived at La Ferté-Alais during 1973. The new scheme represents Dominie HG709, operated by the RNAS Culdrose (HMS Seahawk) Station Flight in 1960-61, which was also the subject of a recent 1/72-scale Oxford Diecast model.

Latest touches to the striking, post-war Fleet Air Arm colour scheme on Dragon Rapide F-AZCA in the La Ferté-Alais workshops.
Latest touches to the striking, post-war Fleet Air Arm colour scheme on Dragon Rapide F-AZCA in the La Ferté-Alais workshops. BERNARD CHARLES