Giffard Bay's maiden flight from Heston
Flight Magazine report of 14 February 1935 of the first flight from Heston to Jersey of Jersey Airways' new DH86 Express
Averaging 156 mph with a fair following wind, Jersey Airways' first DH 86 Express, Giffard Bay, flew its maiden trip from Heston to St Helier last Thursday. The outward distance was covered in 1 hr 11 min, and the return in 1 hr 35 min, showing an overall speed of 137 mph - a figure which may be taken as a basis for this summer's flying schedule, when the six ordered Expresses will be in service.
Apart from the modified Qantas-type nose, to accommodate full dual control, and the Dowty hydraulically operated split trailing-edge flaps, the Jersey Expresses are very completely equipped. Delivery No 1, which was flown by Mr B A Blythe — with the moral support of Capt Broad — has a Kollsman sensitive altimeter, a Smith rate-of-climb indicator, a Sperry artificial horizon and directional gyro, and a Smith turn and bank indicator.
The sensitive altimeter is an interesting and, incidentally, expensive instrument, indicating altitude changes to a minimum of twenty feet. Two hands move over a scale of one to ten, the "hour hand" giving the thousands and the "minute hand" giving the hundreds of feet. Adjustments to suit the changing barometric pressures can be made very simply and quickly.
The rate-of-climb indicator, apart from its value in sheer "avigation", enables the pilot to judge his descent from higher altitudes in relation to his passengers' ear-drums. All normal blind flying is carried out on the Sperry, and the turn indicator is fitted as a check and to comply with C of A regulations; the artificial horizon, of course, does not function in acrobatic attitudes.
In addition, Giffard Bay has Standard two-way radio. Somewhere towards Alderney on the outward journey the station on Jersey received a message from Barton, Manchester, to the effect that the 86 was calling Jersey. This year, it is hoped, Jersey will have its own complete D/F station, but in the meantime the machines obtain bearings from Portsmouth when necessary, and the pilots can usually obtain a "fix" through that station and Croydon. This year, too, will see a D/F station at Heston, and the chain will then be complete.
Although the beach at St Helier is nothing if not extensive, it is often necessary to land and take off slightly across wind. A Dragon can be handled satisfactorily under these circumstances, and on Thursday it was shown that even the much larger and heavier Express responds gamely to "aileron against rudder" tactics.
Nevertheless, the pilots will undoubtedly breathe sighs of relief when the long-awaited aerodrome is laid out; for the time being they bear most of the responsibility and are to be congratulated on a fine record.
The aerodrome on Alderney, which will be used as a base, should be ready during the summer, and one Dragon is now more or less permanently housed in a shed on the St Helier racecourse. Flt Lt C E Eckersley-Maslin, the chief pilot, uses this machine on the Rennes service.
The people of St Helier are usually very interested in the arrivals and departures of the machine, and on Thursday there was an exceptionally big crowd to greet the largest machine yet seen in the Island. Among the passengers on the maiden trip were Kathleen Countess of Drogheda, Mr C P Saraci, Chamberlain to King Zog of Albania, both Mr W L Thurgood and Mr L T H Greig, directors of Jersey Airways, and Mr A C M Jackaman, of Airports, Ltd. After lunch, at which Mr H Giffard (HM Receiver-General) and Mr J A Perrée (Chairman of Channel Island Airways, Ltd, the holding company) spoke, various notabilities and others were taken for a short flight. The Express landed at Heston again just as dark was falling.