207 SQUADRON ROYAL AIR FORCE HISTORY
VP962 becomes G-OPLC
The Dove was the first post war British aircraft built by de Havilland and was named after the Bird of Peace. The first Dove flew on 25 September 1945, with its public debut in October. By 1950 over 300 Doves had been built and sold in nearly 30 countries, eventually remaining in production for 21 years.
Dove G-OPLC started life with the Royal Air Force on 15 November 1948 and during 36 years of military service this DH104 Devon C2 :
- flew with 2nd Tactical Air Forces Communications Squadron in West Germany
- flew with HQ Allied Forces in Central Europe
- flew the Pakistan Air Adviser and the Saigon Air Attaché
- was posted to 207 Squadron in their VIP Communications role at RAF Northolt, London.
At the time it had several advanced technical features:
- an all metal airframe
- a tricycle undercarriage
- supercharged fuel injected six cylinder engines.
The Doves saw service from feedliner, aerial survey work, through military communications to the executive role.
VP962 was completely refurbished (at a cost said to be in excess of £300,000 in 1992 terms!) to the highest standards of safety and comfort.
source: FLYER magazine, May 1992
Little sign of her 36 years in military service remained:
- G-OPLC now had leather trimmed seats, gold plated fittings and a deep pile carpet, to make flying in the Dove a unique and memorable experience.
- the on-board avionics included storm warning systems and up-to-the minute GPS navigation.
- the large picture windows offered panoramic views of the countryside and provided a new perspective on the world below.
The Dove was then re-registered G-OPLC by owners RSJ Aviation International. They had been awarded the only Air Operators Certificate to operate a de Havilland Dove on full public transport licence for the first time since the early 1960's.
Built in 1948 the 6-passenger de Havilland Dove - the only one of its kind then availiable for charter within Europe - now offered all the advantages of private charter - travelling to your own timetable, and landing closer to your final destination - together with the comfort, luxury and elegance associated with the heyday of flying: now all too often a distant memory.
No compromises were made to create this unique flying experience. With complimentary champagne, in-flight entertainment and door to door luxury limousine if required, a flight in the Dove was marketed as an ideal way to entertain guests or reward success. The company claimed 'Able to reach northern France in under an hour for a game of golf or a taste of wine, flying in the Dove opens up unmatched opportunities at affordable prices.'
information provided to M J E Swiney by RSJ Aviation International in 1992.