Military Wiki
Type 1 Phoenix
The last surviving Phoenix II at Elstree Airfield in 1951
Role Five-seat touring monoplane
Manufacturer Heston Aircraft Company Limited
Designer George Cornwall
First flight 18 August 1935
Introduction 1936
Status last survivor destroyed in April 1952
Primary users private owners
3 impressed by Royal Air Force in 1940
Produced 1935–1937
Number built 6

The Heston Type 1 Phoenix was a 1930s British single-engined five-seat light transport monoplane built by the Heston Aircraft Company Limited.

Design and development

The Type 1 Phoenix was the first design of the Heston Aircraft Company formed in 1934. The Phoenix was a single-engined high-wing monoplane, with a wood monocoque fuselage and wood-framed wing with plywood and fabric covering. It was powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) de Havilland Gipsy VI engine, and had a retractable main undercarriage in stub-wings plus a faired tail-wheel. It was the first British high-wing monoplane fitted with a hydraulically operated retractable undercarriage.

The prototype Phoenix, registered G-ADAD, first flew at Heston Aerodrome on 18 August 1935, piloted by Edmund G. Hordern.

The fourth, fifth and sixth aircraft were designated Phoenix II, and were each fitted with an improved 205 hp (153 kW) de Havilland Gipsy VI Series II and a de Havilland constant-speed airscrew.

Operational history

The one Australian aircraft crashed shortly after delivery but four British aircraft were used by private owners and for charter flying. At the outbreak of the war, three surviving aircraft in the UK were impressed into service by the Royal Air Force.[1]

Phoenix II G-AESV survived military service to be sold for renewed civilian use in 1946 and was used for joyriding and charter flights until it crashed in the French Alps in April 1952.


Phoenix I
Fitted with a 200hp de Havilland Gipsy VI Series I engine, three built.
Phoenix II
Fitted with a 205hp de Havilland Gipsy VI Series II engine, driving a de Havilland constant speed airscrew, three built.


Used as a company demonstrator until sold in Greece in August 1936. Based at Menididisambiguation needed airfield, Athens, where in April 1941 it was destroyed during bombing by Luftwaffe aircraft.[2][3]
Sold in Australia, on 5 July 1936 it crashed in bad weather near Melton, Victoria. The owner and passenger were killed, and the aircraft was destroyed.[2][3]
This aircraft had a modified forward cockpit glazing that became standard for new-build Phoenix aircraft. It was used as a company demonstrator, and on 29 June 1936 was displayed at the SBAC show at Hatfield Aerodrome. It was sold by Heston in June 1939, and was reportedly damaged beyond repair by September 1939, and/or crashed into the River Mersey at Speke on 13 Feb 1940.[1][2][3]
A Phoenix II, it was loaned to No.4 Squadron RAF before being sold. In March 1940 it was impressed into service as a communications aircraft with No. 24 Squadron RAF. In May 1943 it was reduced to spares, and struck off charge.[1][2][3]
Also a Phoenix II, it was sold to Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd for use as a flying laboratory and based at Hatfield aerodrome, then in March 1940 it was impressed into service with No. 24 Squadron RAF. Returned to civil use in April 1946 and in April or May 1952, it disappeared on a flight over the French Alps, and is variously reported as either crashed or force-landed, then abandoned.[1][2][3]
A Phoenix II, it was used by private operators until March 1940 when it was impressed into service with No. 24 Squadron RAF. In June 1944 it was scrapped.[1][2][3]


  • Private owner
  • Charter operator
 United Kingdom

Specifications (Phoenix II)

Data from Jackson, 1988

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Capacity: Four passengers
  • Length: 30 ft 2 in (9.19 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 4 in (12.29 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 7 in (2.62 m)
  • Wing area: 260 ft2 (24.15 m2)
  • Empty weight: 2,150 lb (975 kg)
  • Gross weight: 3,300 lb (1497 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × de Havilland Gipsy VI series II 6-cylinder inline piston engine, 205 hp (153 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 150 mph (241 km/h)
  • Range: 500 miles (805 km)
  • Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6095 m)
  • Rate of climb: 850 ft/min (4.3 m/s)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Moss 1962
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Meaden 2005
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Jackson 1988


  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). Orbis Publishing. 
  • Jackson, A.J. (1988). British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 3. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-818-6. 
  • Meaden, Jack (Winter 2005). "Air-Britain Archive". UK: Air-Britain. p. 2005/149. 
  • Moss, Peter W. (1962). Impressments Log Volume III. UK: Air-Britain. 

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