Jersey Airlines acquire an expensive De Havilland Heron - ''Flight'' report

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Heron G-AMYU flying over Jersey
The prototype Heron, G-ALZL, would later also fly in Jersey Airlines colours

From Flight, 17 July 1953

Having admired the silver, white and blue Heron which took part in the display, we welcomed the opportunity of returning to the mainland in it the following morning. Jersey Airlines added the Heron, G-AMYU, to their fleet of six Rapides in May, and it has already flown over 300 hr on the Paris, Exeter and Gatwick routes.

The company, incidentally, was formed some four years ago by the present chairman, Mr M L Thomas. With virtually no previous experience of running an airline, he has nevertheless built up an enviable reputation for efficiency and reliability.

Mr D Le Calvez, the traffic manager and self-termed "general factotum", told us that the company's Jersey staff now totals 50, with representatives in London, Exeter, Bournemouth, Coventry, Gatwick, Paris, Dinard and St Brieuc.

Expensive to buy, cheap to operate

The Heron, though expensive to buy, is cheap to operate and has proved equally popular with its pilots and with the travelling public. The loss of one engine affects performance very little, and it can be flown safely on two. Within 15 min the Heron's interior can be convened to any of three versions : 14, 15 or 17 seats, according to the route. Load factors to date suggest that these capacities are just about right for the present Jersey Airlines network.

The cabin is neatly finished in grey and fawn, with eight windows (seven large, one small) on each side, giving good view and a light and airy effet within.

From Jersey the Heron flew (in 15-seat form) with only two seats vacant — and these were reserved for passengers from Alderney, 18 minutes away. Capt Bradley set "Yoke Uncle" down in less than half the 2,730ft grass runway available on this little island. We taxied to the miniature terminal building and exchanged one passenger for three.

On these short routes the Heron can comfortably be operated by a one-man crew, so that Capt Bradley was able to invite Flight up-front for the one-hour Alderney-Gatwick stage. Perhaps the most significant part of the trip was the take-off: at little below all-up weight the Heron soared willingly with plenty of run in hand, bearing out the pilot's observation that "she leaps into the air". At 4,500ft, with the Gipsy Queen 30s set to give 1,900 rpm and 24m of boost, the Heron cruised at 160 mph.

We touched down at Gatwick, 150 miles away, exactly an hour later. The MCA party, headed by Mr Lennox-Boyd, returned to Gatwick from Alderney in Jersey's Heron later the same day.

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