18 June 2019
Oxford's latest model of a much-loved dragon truly earns its wings
Oxford Diecast de Havilland Dragon DH.84 - EI-ABI "Iolar"
REF NO: 72DG003
This model commemorates the original Dragon EI-ABI which operated Aer Lingus’ first service from Dublin (Baldonnel) to Bristol on 27 May 1936. That original aircraft was sold in the UK in February 1938 and was lost during World War II.
Aer Lingus bought another Dragon in 1967 and re-registered it as EI-ABI to replicate its original aircraft. G-AECZ, as it was originally registered in 1936, was built by de Havilland at Hatfield and its first flight was performed by Geoffrey de Havilland himself. Its Certificate of Airworthiness was issued on 18 April 1936, and it was operated by several small operators until it was impressed into military service in 1939, being later allocated RAF serial AV982. It was restored to the civil register in 1946.
The aircraft was sold for a nominal sum to Aer Lingus in 1967, and it was repainted to represent the original EI-ABI. During the 1980s and with the approaching 50th anniversary of Aer Lingus, it was decided to restore the Dragon to flying condition. Special arrangements were agreed with the authorities to use the registration EI-ABI. It made its first post restoration flight on 10 April 1986 and its Certificate of Airworthiness was issued on 18 April 1986, coincidentally 50 years to the day after its first C of A had been awarded. The aircraft remained active for the next five years, attending various air displays and fly-ins as well as being used for Aer Lingus corporate events.
EI-ABI is one of only two Dragons still airworthy in Europe, and in fact is the only UK-built example still active, as the other example is an Australian-built aircraft which was produced in 1942.
This is the third release by Oxford of de Havilland's beautiful design and it has been a long time coming but definitely worth the wait.
That simple 1930s livery, as most were back then, looks simply magnificent and works so well with the lines of the airframe. Oxford has done an outstanding job of replicating such a unique aircraft.
The finish to the paintwork is flawless and those lines and registration have been perfectly applied. Despite the livery looking so muted compared to modern aircraft, this makes it stand out even more and the same can most definitely be said of Oxford's replication. Put it front and centre, I say!