The world’s oldest in-service passenger aircraft, a 1936 de Havilland Dragon, which is owned and operated by Aer Lingus, visited Cambridge Airport on the eve of the Olympic Games.
A rare ‘Eagle’ visits Cambridge on the eve of the Olympics
The first Aer Lingus aircraft was a de Havilland DH84 Dragon EAIBI named Iolar, which in Gaelic means ‘Eagle’. The aeroplane was delivered to the newly formed Aer Lingus in 1936 an operated between Ireland and Blackpool.
This aircraft, which visited Cambridge, is not the original ‘Eagle’ but is a sister aircraft, which was lovingly restored by Aer Lingus personnel at Dublin Airport, to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Aer Lingus in 2011. The aircraft, which was being flown by Captain Pat Murphy, accompanied by Navigator, Clifford Lebioda and Engineer John Fields, was on route from Dublin to Texel in the Netherlands, on route to Berlin for the Berlin Air Show.
The aircraft stopped briefly at Cambridge Airport for fuel, where the aircraft received a rapturous welcome from Cambridge Airport staff and ExecuJet, as well as from numerous aircraft spotters who lined the fence beside the end of the runway to watch this very rare aircraft land.
Terry Holloway, Deputy Chairman of Cambridge Airport, said: ‘Marshall of Cambridge and the Airport has very long and deep-routed links with de-Havilland and it was a particular pleasure to welcome this very rare aeroplane to Cambridge Airport. This particular aircraft was built at Hatfield, Hertfordshire, in 1936 and was personally test flown by the legendary Geoffrey de Havilland on 18 April 1936. The Airport will be supporting a wide number of similar sized – but more modern – executive aircraft during the next few weeks, during the Olympic Games, which will be handled by ExecuJet through our executive terminal and the arrival of this particular aeroplane enabled us to reflect on our very distinguished aviation heritage at Cambridge Airport’.
Cambridge Airport is part of the Marshall Group of Companies, a private family business, owned and managed by the Marshall family. The business was founded in Cambridge in 1909, and entered aviation in 1929. Marshall Group activities which take place at the Airport include Marshall Aerospace (Engineering and Technology), Marshall Executive Aviation (Jet Charter and Management) and Cambridge Aeroclub (GA Training and Maintenance).
Cambridge Airport primarily targets the East of England market with a strong focus on Cambridge and its business, academic and industrial sectors. It is also a strong provider to the equine community as it is just 10 miles from Newmarket and offers regular services for the transportation of horses.
The Airport offers new regular airline and tour operator services to destinations across Europe including France, the Channel Islands and Italy.
The Airport is ideally positioned for easy access to London with just under an hour’s drive to Canary Wharf and East London, the location of the key Olympics venues.
With a 1965m/6447ft runway accepting aircraft up to Boeing 757 or Airbus 320 and all regional jet types, it is suitable for short to medium haul passenger airline services. It boasts CAA Category 7 Fire & Air Traffic Control status and has full navigational aids and communications, which include radar approach coverage up to 30nm and a new GPS approach to complement its ILS system.
Cambridge Airport is home to a variety of aviation service providers including charter operator Marshall Executive Aviation, MEA which operates a Cessna Citation Bravo and Citation XLS as well as a Bombardier Challenger 300.
The de Havilland Dragon featured a low fuel consumption of around 13 gallons per hour and its basic simple design assured low maintenance costs. Its cruising speed is a sedate and comfortable 110 miles per hour and it was a very practical aircraft for the Dublin to West Coast o the United Kingdom routes. A total of 115 Dragons were built in the United Kingdom, of which just three remain flying today; one in New Zealand, Iolar in Ireland and one in the United Kingdom.
For further information contact:
Group Support Executive
The Marshall Group of Companies
The Airport, Newmarket Road
Cambridge, CB5 8RX
Tel: 01223 373227 (Office)./ 07785 316763 (mobile)
Founded in 1909, the Marshall Group has a turnover of £2.5bn and over 5,700 employees. Headquartered on a 900-acre site in Cambridge, Marshall has three principal arms to the business: Aerospace and Defence; Property; and Ventures.