de Havilland D.H. 86 Express
Civil DH 86 Express G-AEJM


The DH 86 was a four engined development of the D.H.84 Dragon, developed in 1933 to meet an order by the Australian QANTAS for an airliner to fly the Singapore to Australia route. A number were operated by various military services. A total of 62 were built.

The DH 86 had a busy career until eight were impressed into RAAF service from late 1939.

A total of six DH 86 aircraft flew with the Fleet Air Arm, all were either ex RAF (2) or impressed (4). The first, DH 86 X9442 joined 782 squadron from April 1940 at Donibristle. The other aircraft joined the squadron later in 1940. Various aircraft were lost, AX841 was destroyed by enemy aircraft on the ground at Lee on Solent on 16 July 1940, and AX840 was lost whilst flying near Bell Rock when on a training excercise by gunfire from a Royal Navy minesweeper over a mile away on 8 July  1942. Ten passengers were on board.  The last to serve with the RN,  L8037,  was finally struck off in February 1945 from 782 squadron at Donibristle.

Civil DH 86

Fleet Air Arm history

De Havilland D.H.86
Total FAA 1939-1945:        6
First delivered to RN:         1940
First squadron 1939-1945:   782 sqdn 4.1940 (X9442)
Operational squadron:          None
Last served with RN           782 squadron 2.1945 (L8037)

Aircraft Type:
De Havilland D.H. 86 
Primary Role:
Transport / trainer
First Flight: 
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
de Havilland
Four 200 hp (150kW) D.H. Gipsy Six I engines (two engines each on port and starboard sides)
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan 64 ft 6 in (19.66 m), Length 46 ft 1 in (14.05 m),      Height 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m) Wing Area: 59.55m2
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Empty 6,140 lbs (2,785 kg), Loaded 10,250 lbs (4,649 kg)



Max speed 144 kts (267 kph)
Cruise 123 kts (228 kph)
Ceiling 17,400 ft (5,303 m)
Range 660 nm (1,223 km)
Two crew and 10 passenger transport
Battle honours:
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours and Operational History

None with the Fleet Air Arm.

DH86 serving with the RAAF 1 Air Ambulance Unit

Surviving aircraft and relics
Believed extinct - none known

Associations and reunions

  • The de Havilland Moth Club
  • Croydon Aircraft Company Ltd specialise in the manufacturing and restoration of de Havilland and vintage aircraft.
    A31 De Havilland DH 86A technical details and history
    Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 085130 232 7 
    Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


    Return to Home Page


    This page is published by Fleet Air Arm Archive and is updated regularly.
    © 2000-2001 All rights reserved for all information created for or on behalf of the Fleet Air Arm Archive
    Contact email: